Hotel bosses at Ten Hill Place, Edinburgh, who turned adversity on its head by giving rooms to frontline health workers at the height of the pandemic, have revealed the full extent of the initiative. Instead of shutting down during lockdown, the hotel accommodated frontline workers for a total of 2137 nights – at a cost of £100,000.
Scott Mitchell, Managing Director at Surgeons Quarter, which owns the hotel, said, “It has been an honour and a privilege to accommodate key workers and give them a safe space to rest and recover between difficult shifts. We are so proud of the small part our team has played in helping those at the frontline fighting this virus.”
During the initiative, the 129-room, four-star hotel provided free accommodation for more than 500 medical and clinical staff working in the city’s hospitals. It also provided thousands of free meals to the workers.
The move was also appreciated by health workers who were able to take advantage of the accommodation with letters of thanks flooding in. One registered paediatric surgeon whose card read: “I have never been prouder of being a member of RCSEd. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I really appreciated all the care and hospitality I have received … I hope to come and stay in happier times.”
While another said, “My stay has felt like a second home to me, peaceful and relaxed even during these circumstances. Saying thank you doesn’t even come close to expressing how wonderful you have been.”
Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said: “Our thanks and gratitude go to the hotel staff and to the many other people and organisations who have supported NHS workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their generosity is much appreciated.”
Mr Mitchell added: “Now our focus is on preparing for the next phase. Like everyone else in the hotel and hospitality sector we want to get back to business.
Surgeons Quarter Travel, its recently launched travel agency, also continues to match workers throughout the country with free stays offered by hotels, B&Bs and letting operators willing to accommodate front line staff.