Love On The Battlefield: Millennium & Copthorne Hotels in the frontline against Covid-19 around the world
In the face of the battle against Covid-19 in Singapore and around the world, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) has committed to extending support to the communities it operates in, and is standing in solidarity with key frontline workers and healthcare professionals.
Welcoming frontline workers battling Covid 19
M&C, a subsidiary of listed property giant City Developments Limited, operates in 80 locations across 22 countries around the world including China, the US, the UK and New Zealand. It is the most glo balised of local hotel groups and has experienced a major brunt of the pandemic. In turn, the hotel group has rolled out help programmes to public health authorities, medical workers and other frontline personnel in the locations it operates in.
Its UK properties, such as Millennium Gloucester Hotel London Kensington and Copthorne Tara Hotel London Kensington, are accepting reservations from government-approved categories of travellers, and as such, are welcoming key workers, infrastructure workers and government employees exclusively. This is so they could receive much needed rest during the original planned lockdown period from 23 March to 13 April 2020. Britain's lockdown has since been extended to 8 May.
The M&C hotels there also accommodated displaced travellers affected by flight cancellations and travel restrictions, working with local embassies to accommodate expatriates who were trying to return home.
Chelsea Football Club (FC) also wo rked with the UK National Health Service (NHS) to offer a number of rooms in the M&C hotels at the club's Stamford Bridge Stadium for medical staff working in hospitals in West London.
The arrangement is for a two-month period from 23 March, which will then be reconsidered in light of circumstances at the time.
Commenting on Chelsea FC's support of the NHS, club Chairman Bruce Buck said, "Working closely with our partners at Millennium Hotels and Resorts, it has been our pleasure to offer an aggregate of 128 rooms in our Millennium and Copthorne Hotels for NHS staff to stay between shifts. These provide reprieve for staff who are unable to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes. Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time."
Across the Atlantic, M&C hotels in the US, including The Bostonian Boston, Millennium Hotel Buffalo, Millennium Times Square and Mill ennium Premier in New York, have offered special room rates for medical personnel, including nurses, doctors and first responders. The Bostonian Boston has also launched its University Housing Package for university students and faculty members who are not able to travel home.
The Biltmore Los Angeles is also housing the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) who are the first responders in the city. The rooms are paid for by the Los Angeles Police Foundation, a non-profit independent group that buys police equipment and offers other support to the LAPD.
In China, Grand Millennium Beijing has partnered with businesses Silver Mountain Group, HKI Group and non-profit organisations such as Beijing Yu Sun Say Charity Foundation and GoHigh Capital to donate urgently-needed medical supplies to 36 frontline hospitals and medical institutions in Hubei province, Henan province, Shandong province, Beijing, Tianjin and Hong Kong. The monetary donati on allowed the purchase of medical supplies including 487,500 surgical gloves, 68,400 masks, 4,500 medical protective gowns, 1.5 tonnes of disinfectants and 100 forehead thermometers.
Millennium Hotel Zunyi and Millennium Resort Wuyishan also took part in a donation initiative, where more than 6,000 suitcases valued over RMB 5 million were presented to medical institutions across China, allowing their medical teams to travel to Wuhan to support the pandemic efforts.
Caring for affected displaced guests and residents
In New Zealand, all hotels except the Grand Millennium Auckland, have temporarily closed due to lockdown restrictions that started on 26 March and will last till 23 April or until further government notification.
The 452-room Grand Millennium Auckland has government approval to provide essential services to help stranded overseas visitors and air crew who are working to bring New Zealanders home. The hotel team, which is in l ockdown together at the premises, has been keeping guests occupied and entertained with special activity sheets delivered everyday with breakfast. It includes word searches, puzzles, fun facts and light-hearted news to help them stay positive, with answers delivered later that evening with dinner.
M&C hotels in Singapore have been assisting government agencies battle coronavirus: M Hotel, Copthorne King's Hotel and Studio M Hotel have been designated as hotels for all returning Singaporeans and long-term residents to serve out their 14-day self-isolation, also known as Stay Home Notice.
When the Malaysia Movement Control Order was issued on 18 March prohibiting Malaysian citizens from travelling abroad, workers who commute to Singapore for work were affected. Hotels, including Orchard Hotel, quickly extended a helping hand, offering discounted accommodation to affected staff from companies. Staff of Grand Copthorne Waterfront also passed the hat around f or a donation drive to help a home for the aged that was hit by the virus; the outbreak there resulted in the death of one of its elderly residents.
"We have over 2,600 rooms in Singapore and all hotels have been hit by low occupancies as guests cancelled or stayed away. But other persons like medical care givers and ordinary workers affected by the outbreak and restriction on movements also suffer. In our small way we try to pitch in; and it is good to put our resources to good use by supporting the government's efforts to house returning Singaporeans," said Mr Kwek Leng Beng, Executive Chairman of M&C. "For us to win this fight against Covid-19, we need to stand united and do our part."
We Clean. We Care. We Welcome.
To ensure guests have a pleasant and safe experience, M&C launched the 'We Clean. We Care. We Welcome.' campaign globally. Implemented measures include more rigorous cleaning and sanitisation of guest rooms and public a reas, and temperature taking for staff and guests. Regular staff training to ensure proper hygiene practices and Covid-19 awareness have also been put in place.
For Singapore hotels, Orchard Hotel, Copthorne King's Hotel and M Social Singapore, have received the SG Clean quality mark, launched by Singapore's National Environment Agency to recognise organisations that have met sector-specific sanitation and hygiene standards.
In both the Middle East and Singapore, recreational facilities such as swimming pools and gyms have closed to help curtail the virus spread. Dining in Singapore has also been limited to takeout- and delivery-only due to tightened measures announced on 3 April. Hotel dining in the UK hotels have also been restricted to takeout-only and room service, and properties in Greater China such as Millennium Hotel Zunyi and Millennium Resort Wuyishan have launched dining deliveries for residents.
Around the worl d, M&C has waived fees and have allowed for cancellation with full refunds for guests with bookings from hotels in Greater China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Iran and the United Arab Emirates.
A beacon of hope
In a show of solidarity with key workers, health care professionals and patients M&C used its hotel room lights to put on a luminous display of love on 6 April. Six hotels across the UK, Middle East, China, the US, New Zealand and Singapore each lit up rooms to form a heart motif on their facades. The hotels representing each region were Copthorne Tara Hotel London Kensington in the UK, Grand Millennium Dubai in the Middle East, Grand Millennium Beijing in China; Millennium Maxwell House Hotel Nashville in the US; M Social Auckland in New Zealand; and Orchard Hotel in Singapore.
"Frontline staff around the world have been working tirelessly in this long fight with Covid-19. We want to extend our support to the communities in which we operate, to provide a helping hand to these workers, the vulnerable and underprivileged and the displaced. We hope for the world to heal together so that in time, we will be able to journey again with our loved ones and make new memories," said Mr Clarence Tan, Group Chief Executive Officer of M&C.
With staff strength of over 11,500, M&C has more than 145 hotels across some 80 locations worldwide, accounting for some 43,000 rooms. M&C is the wholly owned subsidiary of CDL. Both M&C and CDL are members of Hong Leong Group.