A few days ago, I checked into a local hotel in Singapore for a staycation as well as to clock a night’s stay which would go towards maintaining my loyalty membership status.

At about 3pm, I arrived at my staycation hotel. After doing the necessary SafeEntry check-in on my mobile phone, I passed an unmanned table near the main entrance (presumably where somebody was meant to check that I had done my SafeEntry check-in, or perhaps do a temperature check) and made my way across the seemingly dimly-lit lobby towards the front desk, where two staff members were attending to guests. When it was my turn, I was told (to my dismay) that only cash or PayNow were available as payment modes as they were temporarily unable to accept credit card payments. (Probably a Wirecard problem.)

While my registration was taking place, a grungy male in a T-shirt with large disc-like ear studs arrived and checked in next to me. “I’m here to serve my SHN,” he told the staff member before asking if smoking was permitted in the guest rooms. After hearing that it was a non-smoking hotel, the SHN guest then asked if smoking outside the premises was okay, to which the staff member attending to him laughed and said yes, although “if you want you better do it now otherwise once you start, you can’t anymore”.

I was slightly disturbed to hear the exchange since I had assumed SHN guests had separate check-in processes and access points from regular guests. At that stage, I heard more people streaming in, and turned around to see a queue slowly forming behind me, with the bulk of the crowd comprising not happy couples with arms locked ready for hours of parentally unsupervised fun during their lovely staycation but rather fatigued individuals with looks of resignation. 

Feeling slightly worried and unsafe, I quickly made my way towards the lift and used the contactless hand sanitiser dispenser machine before boarding the lift to my assigned floor…which was when I saw the following sight.

SHN Escape Movie…or a Remake of The “Shining”?

I have stayed at several Singapore hotels for staycations after the Circuit Breaker was lifted, including some that had hosted a substantial number of SHN guests, and I have never witnessed the sight of chairs placed outside every single room along the level in this manner. Was the hotel exercising an unusual form of contactless delivery for in-room meals and room amenities even for regular guests…or was something more disturbing taking place in terms of operations and guest room assignment?

I left the premises within five minutes and immediately took a taxi home, because I did not feel psychologically safe and comfortable and honestly feared for my health and wellbeing had I continued staying onsite. I do hope it is a colossal misunderstanding on my part, or that slips in adhering to prevailing government regulations in relation to the management of hotel guests during the pandemic (if any) were less extensive and serious than I had assumed.

All being said, I have never felt so uncomfortable being in a hotel in my life.


Shawn is a full-time lawyer based in Singapore. Neither a professional critic, blogger nor photographer, Shawn is simply somebody who loves food and luxury hotels very much and (likes to think that he has) a quirky sense of humor. When Shawn is not premature ageing and turning his hair further grey due to stress and vicious deadlines, he is somewhere spending an exorbitant amount of money trying out new dining places and hotels.

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