Hotels and apartments open to medical staff

29 Apr 2020 by Hannah Brandler
STAY Camden

In this time of national emergency, hotels and apartment platforms are assisting in the fight against coronavirus by opening up vacant rooms to medical staff.

The hospitality industry is pulling together to provide local accommodation for medics working long shifts, who might not be able to commute home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This means that while some hotels are closed to guests, they will remain open to NHS and care workers. See our feature on which London hotels are closed here.

In the UK, some 25 per cent of UK hotel operators have remained open to help serve the NHS and key workers. The survey by HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association, questioned more than 60 hospitality industry leaders – who were all HOSPA members – and who all represented a mix of larger corporate hotel groups, independent hotels or smaller chains.

In addition to helping the NHS, some 9 per cent of hotel operators have offered rooms or support to the homeless, with the bulk of this assistance coming from the larger corporate hotel groups.

This echoes a more global story where cities have begun to requisition vacant hotels to house the homeless during the crisis.

Business Traveller will update this page as we are informed of more hotel initiatives in the coming weeks.

Accor hotel with heart sign


In Australia and New Zealand, Accor is working with government authorities and community organisations to provide shelter to

  • Front-line health workers
  • The homeless and disadvantaged
  • Vulnerable families
  • Returning residents who are required to go into quarantine for 14 days

Many Accor hotels are being utilised (Accor brands include: SO/, Sofitel, MGallery, Art Series, Pullman, Swissôtel, Grand Mercure, Peppers, The Sebel, Mantra, Novotel, Mercure, Tribe, BreakFree, ibis, ibis Styles, ibis Budget).

In the UK, Accor has formed an Emergency Response Desk:

  • More than 60 hotels in the UK have opened their doors to help those in need during this crisis
  • Accor has launched an emergency response platform to provide NHS, hospital patients, key workers and disadvantaged people with accommodation solutions in UK.
  • Hotel brands including ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget, Mercure, Novotel and Adagio have opened their doors to NHS and other government mandated key workers, in addition to local and national government needs including the homeless, asylum seekers and repatriation of Brits returning home to the UK
  • Excel hotels are supporting Project Nightingale, accommodating front line NHS staff at the  field hospital in the Excel Centre
Citadines Connect Sydney Airport - Room interior


Some of Ascott’s London properties are currently open to NHS workers, such as Citadines Trafalgar Square London.


STAY Camden

The Labs Collective, London

Co-working company Labs is opening up its Stay property in Hawley Wharf, Camden, to medics from today. Its serviced apartment brand Stay debuted in London earlier this month with the opening in Camden.

Each apartment has a kitchen, living room and laundry facilities. Stay will also provide guests with a complimentary care package with basic provisions.

The initiative will continue for one month, and will extend in terms of time frame and number of beds as the situation develops. 

Labs is also dedicating its largest event space and several private offices for the use of emergency services and critical call centres. The 1,300 sqm Camden House event space will be used as a “common room” for medics, with complimentary tea and coffee throughout the day and night. 

Dotan Weiner, chief operating officer at the Labs Collective, commented:

“As a business we talk about how we provide environments for people to thrive and now is our chance to really deliver on that. With the current uncertainty surrounding everyday lives, the need for a community hub of facilities and support has become more important than ever. We know the emergency services across the UK are working tirelessly to cope with the increased demands during the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak and to be able to support by making space and accommodation available is a privilege.”

Native Glasgow

Native aparthotels, UK

Native’s aparthotels across London, Manchester and Glasgow have closed to guests following government advice. 

The properties in London and Manchester, however, will remain open to NHS staff in need of a place to rest between shifts. 

We have previously reviewed the properties in London’s Bankside and Glasgow.


Stock Exchange Hotel

Hotel Football and Stock Exchange Hotel, Manchester

Former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have opened their two hotels to NHS staff free of charge. 

176 beds have been freed up for medical workers, after consultation with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Read more about the initiatives here.

hotelfootball.com; stockexchangehotel.co.uk


Millennium Hotel

Millennium Hotel at Chelsea Football Club, London

Premier league club Chelsea has also opened up the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to NHS workers for an initial two-month period.

This will apply to NHS staff working in hospitals in the North-West London region, but may extend to hospitals in other districts in due course. Reservations will not be accepted through the website or the hotel directly for NHS staff accommodation.

The number of rooms and time frame may be extended depending on demand.

The cost of accommodation will be covered by club owner Roman Abramovich.


Locke Broken Wharf

Locke Hotels

While design-oriented serviced apartment brand Locke has temporarily closed its newest opening Locke at Broken Wharf, Millennium Bridge, it has kept some other properties open.

London’s Leman Locke, Whitworth Locke in Manchester and Eden Locke in Edinburgh will remain open for some guests.

In line with new UK Government guidelines, the hotels will only be accepting new arrivals if the guests are:

  • Using it as their permanent abode (e.g. long-term assignees, overseas workers or resident guests) or as their interim abode, while their primary residence is unavailable (e.g. due to a travel ban or being displaced from their permanent home).
  • A key worker

Guests will be required to self-certify prior to check-in. If you fall into any of these categories, contact  [email protected].

The website states:

“We are working in partnership with the UK Government and NHS accommodation providers to house key workers through this period of great need.”

The brand has also launched a grocery delivery service to provide fresh produce and dry goods to its guests and local neighbourhood.



Oyo Hotels and Homes

OYO has launched a new ‘virtual hotel’ named Oyo Rooms for Carers where people can book overnight stays at the cost of £25 per room, per night. The room nights at the virtual hotel will then be passed over to NHS trusts for frontline healthcare workers to redeem at their nearest Oyo hotel.

The campaign was kick-started by Oyo this week, with contributions from individual team members, partners and Oyo covering 1,000 rooms which will be made available to NHS staff and other key workers between now and the end of May.

The campaign is now also open to any members of the public who want to show some care to healthcare professionals.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to NHS staff working tirelessly on the front line and Oyo Rooms for Carers is our way of saying thank you,” said Rishabh Gupta, head of Oyo UK. “We are beginning with rooms for NHS workers, but if the support is there, we’d also love to open this up to more organisations providing vital services.”

Oyo is not taking a commission on these bookings. The full revenue from every room night booked will be passed on to the hotels accommodating NHS workers to cover the minimum costs of keeping those hotels staffed and operational under the current circumstances.

Hotels under the OYO brand are all independently-owned, small businesses that partner with Oyo on certain capabilities including revenue management, technology and brand.

Rishabh Gupta, head of Oyo UK, commented:

“A number of hotels under the Oyo brand have already partnered with NHS Trusts and councils to offer rooms to those in need – something we are still exploring with other hotel owners and will announce more on soon.

“More immediately, these fixed rates are available to key workers in any sector who might need to cut out lengthy commutes or avoid returning home each night to a household they might share with more vulnerable individuals.

“This is not an exercise in profitability. Rates have been set on the assumption of longer stay guests and to cover the minimum costs of keeping these hotels operational under the current circumstances. Oyo works with small- and medium-sized, independently-owned hotels and we are grateful to our owners for their cooperation and their efforts in making sure the doors stay open for key workers during these times.”


Town Hall Hotel

Town Hall Hotel

This hotel in east London remains open for long-stay guests and is also welcoming bookings from key workers with proof of status.

NHS workers can stay at the hotel for £50 per night (for up to three nights) and get 50 per cent off room service.

The hotel also works with charity Age UK to deliver weekly provisions to those in need.


Double Room, Thetford Travelodge


Travelodge is operating approximately 50 hotels in locations across the UK to support NHS workers and local authorities, 20 of which are located close to major hospitals.

These Travelodge hotels are located in major cities and towns running from Plymouth to Aberdeen. This includes 20 Travelodge hotels close to major hospitals, including the new Nightingale hospital to support NHS workers. The company is also operating 10 hotels across London.

In addition, the company is supporting around 30 local councils around the country by providing accommodation for the less vulnerable.

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge, Spokeswoman said:  “We are reviewing daily which hotels are best positioned to support the needs that arise with the government while ensuring we comply with the restrictions in place to protect the public.”

For details of Travelodge hotels that are currently open, visit: www.travelodge.co.uk

Claridge's hotel, London


The luxury hotel reopens its doors to key workers from April 3, after closing last week due to government advice.

The hotel will house up to 40 NHS staff from St Mary’s Hospital Paddington, and will also offer breakfast and dinner.

Claridges will also deliver daily packed meals for over 500 NHS workers and community support teams across London via Meal Force.

There are plans to offer the service at the Maybourne Group’s other hotels, which include the Connaught and the Berkeley, if needed.


An Airbnb Plus home


Airbnb has launched a global initiative to house over 100,000 Covid-19 responders. The home-sharing platform is partnering with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps and other nonprofit organisations to help support relief workers.


Airbnb partnered with the French government to offer free stays for doctors, healthcare workers and social workers last week, after a similar pilot was launched in Italy.

Airbnb will connect hosts willing to offer their place for free to medical staff via the platform’s Open Homes programme – designed to provide free, temporary housing to people going through a difficult time.

Airbnb will waive all fees for the stays and will give €50 to hosts to help with cleaning costs.


Airbnb hosts are offering NHS and other frontline medical staff free places to stay, with all fees waived by Airbnb.

Nearly 1,500 places have already been offered by hosts in the UK through the Open Homes platform – designed to provide free, temporary housing to people requiring emergency shelter.

Patrick Robinson, Airbnb’s director of public policy, commented:

“The entire country is behind our heroic NHS and medical staff as they battle the coronavirus outbreak. We have made it our priority to stand with the Airbnb community to do what we can to help.

“By working together, we can ensure that frontline workers can find a free and convenient place to stay as they continue their critical work. We thank our doctors and nurses across the country from the bottom of our hearts and are grateful to hosts who have already opened their homes during these difficult times.”


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