Business Insider Edition

A Switzerland hotel has a 14-day, R1 million Covid-19 package

Sophie-Claire Hoeller , Business Insider US
 Mar 27, 2020, 11:36 AM
A room at Le Bijou.
Le Bijou
  • Le Bijou, a luxury Swiss hospitality company, is offering a "Covid-19 Service."
  • The customisable package comes with optional add-ons including doctor visits, in-room coronavirus testing, and 24/7 nurse care.
  • Its co-founder describes its units as "luxury Airbnbs," explaining they have kitchens and luxury amenities such as private gyms and saunas.
  • Units are fully automated: Guests don't need to interact with any other humans, not even at check-in.
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In the days of self-isolation and social distancing, a Swiss hotel's slogan "hotel service without the other people" has taken on a whole new meaning.

Because the hotel chain Le Bijou was already set up so guests could avoid human contact, its co-founder and chief executive Alexander Hübner told Insider that it didn't take much to launch "Covid-19 Service." The service can only be described as a luxury Covid-19-themed package with options for doctor visits and food delivery.

Le Bijou has 42 units - which Hübner describes as "luxury Airbnbs" - at properties in cities across Switzerland. Units have full-service kitchens and amenities like saunas, Jacuzzis, fireplaces, and gyms, according to Hübner.

Besides cleaners, the units all operate without any staff, including check-in. Hübner added that guests have a private app and remote 24-hour concierge that they can use to order meals, personal chefs, groceries, massages, cabs, and more - though, of course, some of the offerings have changed in light of the pandemic.

Some of the apartments have private gyms.
Le Bijou
"The whole thing is set up to be fully automated so you don't need to see any other people," Hübner said.

Hübner said creating the Covid-19 Service was a logical next step. He said he saw the overnight stays of his guests getting longer, and that he started getting more inquiries for doctors to make room visits, so he decided to turn these services into a package.

The Covid-19 Service is customisable, with add-ons including doctor visits, in-room coronavirus testing, and 24/7 nurse care. Le Bijou has partnered with a private clinic to provide medical services, according to Hübner.

He says that the hotel got five reservations total last week, but has seen bookings shoot up to five a day since launching the service. "The inquiries are growing exponentially," he said.

Le Bijou has properties in cities across Switzerland.
Le Bijou
While reservations are still open for single nights, he says that most people are choosing to book for anywhere between two weeks and two months.

Guests are a 50-50 mix of tourists stranded in Switzerland, and older, at-risk locals who may not have any help at home, according to Hübner.

While he advises guests that have tested positive to stay home in accordance with Swiss government guidelines, he says that considering some people only show mild symptoms, or are even asymptomatic, he can't rule out that some of his guests may be positive. It should be noted that, according to a report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus can be transmitted without any apparent symptoms.

Hübner says the hotel is taking precautions because of the coronavirus.
Le Bijou
While the hotel has always been about a human-less experience, Hübner says it's still taking precautions because of the coronavirus.

Now, rooms will be cleaned before and after a stay (not during), garbage pick-up is coordinated with guests, and deliveries are dropped outside of the door, rather than being brought inside and unpacked, according to Hübner. The cleaning staff is also decked out with masks and gloves, he said.

With tourism and events having dropped sharply, so have the prices at Le Bijou: What would usually cost $1,000 (R17 000)a night is currently being offered for $500 (R8 700). Guests can have a health professional check in on them twice a day for an additional $800(R14 000) a day or take an in-room coronavirus test for another $500 (R8 700). A 24/7 nurse service is also available for an extra $5,000 (R87 000) a day, according to Hübner.A two-week stay can therefore cost anywhere between $6,000 (R105 000) and $77,500 (R1 million), should guests opt for the 24/7 nurse service and a coronavirus test.

In Switzerland, hotels are classified as essential businesses, and may remain open.

USA Today reports that hotels in Thailand and Australia are offering similar coronavirus-themed packages.

However, it is important to note that Americans have been advised not to travel abroad during the pandemic.

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