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Surprise hotel guests don’t want to leave

It’s an unused mining camp that has been converted into an Australian coronavirus quarantine hotel, but unlike other sites around the country, guests at the Manigurr-ma residential village in Howard Springs would rather never leave.Located just outside Darwin, guests at the rural complex are provided with pretty basic shelter and amenities, but say a stay…

It’s an unused mining camp that has been converted into an Australian coronavirus quarantine hotel, but unlike other sites around the country, guests at the Manigurr-ma residential village in Howard Springs would rather never leave.

Located just outside Darwin, guests at the rural complex are provided with pretty basic shelter and amenities, but say a stay at this camp is like “paradise”.

Built in 2012 by Japanese energy firm Inpex as accommodation for its mining workers, the camp was closed in 2018 and has remained vacant ever since.

The site however has now become the perfect hub for returning travellers to the Top End, with the amenities ranging from modern medical facilities, a lecture theatre, lap pool, cafeteria, basketball courts, gym and recreation area with a pool table and dartboards.

It is understood quarantine guests are allowed out of their cabins for 20-minute slots of exercise a day such as a walk, run or perhaps enjoy the warm climate Darwin has on offer.

“I wake up every day in paradise,” former guest Darren Dennis told 9News.

“It hasn’t been as hard as what you would expect compared to Melbourne when you’re being locked down in a hotel with no fresh air. “It’s actually been quite relaxing.”

At the time of construction, the Manigurr-ma Village website described the facility as a “stylish, innovative and sustainable accommodation village” and the first of its kind in a major Australian city.

With hard borders in place in the Northern Territory, anyone – including residents – has to quarantine if they have been to a declared COVID-19 hotspot in the 14 days before arriving in the Top End. This includes places that were declared hotspots after they visited them. All of Victoria and most of NSW is considered a ‘hotspot’ by the NT Government.

Since opening the facility for quarantine guests, there have been no cases of community transmission stemming from the facility.

The praise for the facility is in stark contrast to other quarantine sites around the country, where guests have complained of poor food options and little room ventilation.

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