An Australian couple have revealed how they managed to serve their two-week quarantine in a luxury two-storey penthouse overlooking Sydney’s Darling Harbour.
Tessa Dorman, 31, and her fiance Josh Wood, 32, arrived home from London on November 2, and spent the next two weeks having dinner overlooking Sydney’s stunning harbour and de-stressing in the spa.
The stay in the Novotel’s $500-a-night-suite all came down to luck of the draw – with Ms Dorman revealing they had no idea what their hotel would look like, or where it would be.
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Australian couple Tess Dorman, left, and Josh Wood, right, reveal how they managed to score a two-storey apartment overlooking Sydney Harbour for quarantine
The couple arrived to a beautiful bouquet and ate dinner overlooking Sydney’s stunning skyline for two weeks
‘We arrived at the airport, and met the army and were told to sit on a bus, it was really nerve-racking. We felt like prisoners because we had no idea what was going to happen or where we were going,’ Ms Dorman told Daily Mail Australia.
They couldn’t believe their luck when security closed the door to the luxury suite behind them.
‘We didn’t pay more or ask for an upgrade, when we arrived at the Novotel we were told to get off the bus, that there was a bigger room here for us because we were a couple,’ she said.
The Novotel suite is valued at about $500 per night – but the couple didn’t have to pay extra for the fortuitous upgrade
‘We were told ‘you don’t have a key, once we go you cannot leave. You can call reception for room service or a nurse and food will be dropped at your door three times a day’ then they shut the door and left.’
The couple turned around and saw the staircase which revealed a second storey, and as they walked around the suite and up the stairs the anxiety that had been building up around quarantine melted away.
Hotel quarantine in Australia costs $3000 per adult, and covers accommodation at a randomly selected hotel and meals, but it’s been hit and miss for returning travelers.
The couple flying during the pandemic – showing off the masks and face shields given to travelers on flights in July
‘We felt like we had won the lotto, then the food came it was spaghetti and meatballs from the restaurant downstairs and it was delicious.’
The couple believe in the power of mindfulness and manifestation – Ms Dorman can get quite claustrophobic so wanted a big space or balcony, while Mr Wood had dreamed about a multi-level apartment when he imagined quarantine.
‘We had completely separate lounge rooms, work areas and two bathrooms. We had enough space to be our own people,’ she said.
‘Some people just get a room with a bed, or a small desk. We are so lucky.
‘We just focused really hard on manifesting a positive space and were so relieved when we arrived.
‘Even though we couldn’t leave we had the choice to move up stairs or downstairs. We focused on being positive because if you focus on being stuck or anxious then that is how you feel.’
The couple were given some activities for their stay and were lucky enough to have space to ‘spread out and be their own people’
Since leaving Australia in July – after their two week visit was extended in March – the couple have been avoiding lockdowns and quarantines, visiting Croatia, Greece, Cyprus and Italy
The couple had two loungerooms, two bathrooms and ‘plenty of space’ to spread out during their mandatory quarantine
Ms Dorman and Mr Wood left Australia in July to ‘pack up their life in London’ where they had lived for free, house sitting, for three and a half years.
They had come to visit family ‘for two weeks’ in March before the pandemic became more serious, countries started to lock their borders and their flight to the UK was cancelled.
The couple have managed to avoid quarantine and lockdown since – first travelling to Greece, Croatia, Italy and Cyprus from Australia before heading to London once the city’s notoriously strict lockdown had eased.
They left the UK before the second lockdown, moving home to Canberra, via quarantine in Sydney.
Pictured here before heading to London to ‘pack up their lives’ and move back to Australia
The happy couple said manifestation, positive thoughts and working through negative emotions have been key for them this year – and helped bring positive things into their lives
The Novotel has been one of the popular hotels for quarantined travelers – Ms Dorman praised the food which was restaurant quality
Ms Dorman says she had joined quarantine hotel Facebook groups briefly after booking flights home.
‘I was in the group for less than a day, everyone was so negative. So I muted it because it was making me more anxious,’ she said.
Her partner, Mr Wood, had done some more research – so when the bus arrived at the Novotel he knew they ‘would be okay’.
Ms Dorman said the law of attraction, working through negative thoughts and focusing on positive outcomes have helped her through this period and credits this mindset with their ‘lucky’ room allocation.