The Arora Group is offering Covid-19 tests to guests staying at its airport hotels, starting with the Sofitel London Heathrow at Terminal 5.

The ‘Test and Rest’ package includes an overnight stay, breakfast, and a self-administered PCR Covid-19 test. The group has partnered with Halo, a UK-based biotech firm, to provide the testing system.

Guests will be asked to download the Halo app on arrival and scan their test kit before spitting into a tube and returning it to the kit. The sample will then be sent to Halo’s lab at Imperial College, London, with results and a certificate provided on the app the following morning. Provided they do not test positive, guests will then be able to immediately fly to destinations that require proof of a negative result.

The package at the Sofitel property starts at £179 per room, inclusive of VAT, accommodation and one test (weekend room-only rate – £199 mid-week) – additional tests can be added to the package at £60 inclusive of VAT per person.

The group says that the service will soon be rolled out to Arora’s other Heathrow hotels.

Surinder Arora, Founder and CEO of Arora Group, commented:

“Our beloved hospitality, airline and the wider tourism industry has been devasted by the pandemic and we felt the need to do something to give both business and leisure travellers the confidence to travel. The ability to stay in a hotel the night before a flight and get a recognised PCR saliva based COVID-19 test and subsequent result before the flight the following day – just made sense”.

Dr Nigel Kellow, Chief Medical Officer at Halo added:

“We’re really excited to be able to work with Arora Group on this pioneering initiative to help get the world moving again. We believe that in HALO we have created a system that offers hotel guests and many others a safe, secure and simple way to travel and enjoy life again in confidence. We hope more organisations in the travel industry will follow Surinder Arora’s example.”

The Sofitel London Heathrow recently won the award for Best Airport Hotel in the Business Traveller Awards 2020.

The Arora Group owns several other properties at and around Heathrow Airport, including Renaissance London Heathrow, Holiday Inn Heathrow Terminal 5, Crowne Plaza London Heathrow Terminal 4, Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4, and Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3.

*****UPDATE: Following several queries from readers regarding which destinations this test is valid for travel to, we have been provided with the following from Halo:

“Halo Covid-19 screening uses RT-qPCR nucleic acid testing, among the most sensitive virus tests available anywhere in the world. Samples are saliva-based, which is scientifically proven to be at least as accurate as nasal swabs and easier to perform.

“Halo tests have approvals internationally from FDA, CE, the UK government (CQC/MHRA) and are accepted as part of the NHS national system. As well as secure app notification Halo provides downloadable certification which is being relied upon by major airline flight crews to enter destinations around the globe that require a recent PCR test.

“While we cannot guarantee certification will be accepted by every border authority in every state, we are confident Halo provides the most reliable form of Covid-19 testing for travel and are working hard with governments and businesses to help the world’s travel industry to return to normal.”*****