What’s it like in a New Zealand Managed Isolation facility? What is the food like? Can you go outside? What is provided by the facility?

These are all questions I asked myself, and have been asked by others since arriving in New Zealand and sharing my experience in Managed Isolation. So, I thought, rather than having questions all over multiple Instagram or blog posts, it would be best to have them all collated in one place! Whether you are about to go into Managed Isolation, or are just interested in what it’s like… this post has some handy tips, answers to questions, and useful info you need to know!

General Questions

Q: How did you find out where you would be completing your stay in Managed Isolation?

I didn’t find out where I would be doing my 14 day stay in Managed Isolation until I actually arrived at Auckland airport. Once through security and baggage claim, you go to arrivals and get told just before you jump on a bus to the hotel you are staying at.

Q: What things should I bring with me?

I have done a whole separate post about this… click here >> Managed Isolation: Packing List <<

Q: What was it like to check in at your hotel?

Once off the bus, I collected my bags (I actually pointed to them as they were taken off the bus for me and put onto a trolley), I stood in another queue and waited to be called forward to check in. I was called forward to the desk which had a Perspex screen in front of it to protect the reception staff. I showed them my passport and they handed me an envelope with lots of information about my stay, the testing processes, what help I can receive during my stay, how meals work etc. It was really smooth and very well organised. I got given my room key and off I went to my room. My bags were taken up for me and that was that!

Q: Can I do laundry?

YES. Most hotels will offer at least one load of laundry during your stay. Some have a limit on how many pieces you can do, others (like mine) say I can fill two bags provided during my stay. Any additional laundry is done at an extra cost.

Q:Can you go outside?

Within the hotel, and depending on where you are, yes! At The Pullman, there was a small outside area which we could walk around in. The area was managed by hotel staff and the Army and everyone had to check in and check out of the area. If it was too busy, you had to wait in a queue until things died down. Some hotels do not have outside areas and offer a bus service to local recreation areas which are cordoned off for those in Managed Isolation. It differs between hotels but all will be made clear in your welcome pack at your hotel.

Exercise Area

Q: Can you mix with others in your hotel?

You can talk to people outside, or whilst waiting for a lift, but you can’t go into other peoples rooms, or socialise in the lobby etc. Most of the people I have talked to was in passing in the hallway or whilst in a queue to go outside. I tended not to mix with people as it’s just an added risk of infection as you don’t know who has been tested and who hasn’t.

Q: Is there a smoking area?

Yes. At my hotel (The Pullman) there was a small smoking area. Smoking in your room or the walking area was not permitted. Only 8 people at a time can go into the smoking area but I have never seen people waiting to go into it.

Q: What is your room like?

I was very lucky with my hotel ( I think so anyways). I had a lovely big room with large windows that look out over the water. As I am on the 10th floor I have a really nice view. The bed was really comfortable and I even had a bath!

Q: What was provided in your room?

What’s provided varies between hotels, but in my room I was provided a kettle, tea, coffee, hairdryer, ethernet cable, fridge, milk, water, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower cap, slippers, cotton buds, soap, shower gel and tissues. I also got given lots of spare towels, and when I asked for them, I got two extra pillows for the bed.

Q: Does someone come in and clean your room?

No! No one apart from your ‘bubble’ (the people actually sleeping in your room) are permitted in your room during your stay. This means no one will come in and change linens or clean your room. Half way through my stay I was offered clean towels and bed linen and so I changed my sheets. I wasn’t provided any cleaning products to clean my room which I was a little surprised about, but I know some hotels do give you some wipes etc to give your room a freshen up!

Food & Drink

Q: What is the food like?

I was so so lucky with the food. Apart from 1 meal I really didn’t like, I have had amazing food during my stay. There has been a great variety, it’s been really fresh, and not too beige which is what I was worried about!


Q: How is food delivered to you?

All food/meals provided by the hotel come in a paper bag in takeout boxes and you are only given plastic cutlery. In my packing list, I suggested bringing some cutlery – it’s been a real life saver.

Q: I’m Vegan/Vegetarian, will they accommodate this?

Yes. Again, I am sure this varies from hotel to hotel, but at The Pullman there is always a veggie option which I regularly chose and was delicious! Vegan – I think you would need to tell the hotel this on arrival to ensured you are offered a vegan meal and accommodated.

Q: I have certain food allergies, will they be able to accommodate this?

Yes. Every meal, and on arrival, I was asked whether I had any dietary requirements. The hotel will do it’s best to ensure you have a variety of food available to suit your needs.

Q: Can I order takeaways?

Yes. If you don’t want a meal one day, you can just tell reception to cancel whichever meal it is and you can order an Uber Eats. Just be sure to put your room number on the order as the hotel staff bring it to your room, you do not interact with the Uber Eats drivers.

Q: Can I get snacks or food/drinks delivered?

Some hotels allow food and drink deliveries. At The Pullman, I was told I couldn’t have food or alcohol delivered. You can bring your own in if its in your suitcases, and that included alcohol (just make sure you hide it) Most hotels will not allow alcohol to be delivered as you need to buy it from the hotel.

Q: Can I have alcohol in my room?

Sort of goes with my point above, yes you can have alcohol but it either needs to be bought from the hotel or sneaked in in your bags!

Q: When do you get your test?

When I was staying in isolation everyone was tested on day 3 and day 12 of their stay. You get sent a consent form to fill in and they call your room when you are due to have your test.

Q: What is the test like?

The test is uncomfortable but not super painful. It made my eyes water but was over in less than 30 seconds.

Q: What happens after your test?

After your test, you go back to your room and wait for your results. They will either text you or put your results under your room door.

Q: What happens if you test positve?

If you test positive, you are moved to another facility where you will continue to do your managed isolation. If you test positive on day 12, you are moved and kept until you test negative. (I think)

Have I missed something?

Have another question? – Write it in the comments below!


* Please note all information/advise is my own from my own personal experience and was correct at the time of my stay at The Pullman Auckland in Nov 2020 *