We’ve been “released” from MIQ for about a week now. In George Michael’s beautiful voice….. “Freedom…!!”
There has been a lot of family time, eating, local playground and parks, and just good ol’ chilling. It has been surreal to be out and about – maskless, in a “world” which is more or less covid-free. That deserves a post by itself. This, is about our stay in Naumi Airport Hotel 😉
Here’s a write-up of our time in Naumi so we can look back at it in years to come, and hopefully this post will also be helpful to those who ended up here as well. Read on 😉
It’s about a 10 minutes bus-ride from Auckland International Airport. Initially I was a bit disappointed to find out we were going to spend the next 14 days in ‘some hotel near the airport in Mangere’ instead of a fancy 5-star big name hotel in the city. Please do not troll me for that 😉 It all changed when we realised a few things – the rooms we were given, the food and most importantly – our outdoor space.
3 kids, 2 adults – what sorta room did you get?
Unfortunately all adjoining rooms were taken by other families, so we were given two separate rooms that were next to each other but did not have an interconnecting door. It wasn’t ideal, but we made do.
To go back and forth, it was either out to the patio, cross-over and back in – which was faster as we did not have to use an access card but, we had to be masked to step outside. That was pretty inconvenient. At least our rooms were next to each other……
Was there enough space?
I would say yes. Each room had two double beds, and in one room we kind of rearranged the furniture so that the beds joined up.
It was however quite squashed when it came to eating time for all 5 of us. We brought in the outdoor tables, some sat on the bed. Kinda worked.
Did you say you could go outside?
You stay in the room for the first day which is Day 0, which is when you’ll need to do a PCR test. After it comes out negative on Day 1, you are given a blue band which means you are good to go out. Outdoor time was from 8:30am till 6pm (something like that). That, was nice.
Take note that you will also have to stay in your room if there is a group of people checking in, or going to get their PCR tests.
You can exercise at the carpark where the army overlooked. People could walk/jog in circles, kind of like what you see in those prison movies. There were also a few garden areas where you could go, but it was only for “static” activities.
What about the kids?
There is an allocated area in the carpark where they can draw and run around in, keeping away from other people.
We spent some time in the other garden areas too which was nice – they were picking lillies, dried leaves, enjoying the winter sunshine.
Could the kids use the scooters or kick a ball around?
Not in Naumi.
You can do whatever you want in the room (just don’t break anything). But no scooters or balls outside, which I kind of understand as it will be hard to control how fast these kids move and they might crash into another family…..which means you start your MIQ all over again 🙂
Could you “bubble up” with someone you met on the plane?
Sorry, no. Well at least that was what they told us. It’ll be the family you flew with from your original point of departure.
So no interaction with other people? Like, at all?
You can say hi, speak to them from afar, but you cannot get close. Can’t remember the distance – 2 metres, probably? Watch the kids, especially when they’re in the carpark area as it’s hard to control little ones. The guys will come out and advise you to stay afar if the kids get close.
Was there any covid-friendly ‘social’ activities?
There was pink shirt day – and they held a competition for the kids – that was fun, cause the girls all got a goody bag afterwards. And they also did a Zoom competition which we joined – and won ( I have a feeling everyone won haha ) – another bag of treats, hooray.
How was the staff in the hotel? Were they very strict?
I would say yes, they were fairly strict. Initially I thought we could walk back and forth in the gardens to exercise but was advise that it was only for ‘static’ activities. Similarly with face masks out in the patio, we had to keep it on.
How was the food? Do you have a choice?
Food was actually pretty good for us in Naumi – see photos. It’s quite nice not having to cook for 14 days, hehe. With a pricetag, of course….
For lunch and dinner, you do get two choices, one of which is typically vegetarian.
Breakfast wasn’t the best as it was either Skippy, Light & Right, Weetbix or Cup noodles, and pastries. So no you’re not getting fancy avo on toast or eggs benedict, where did you think you were heading to? 😉 We did however requested to get hard boiled eggs especially for the kids which they did accommodate for the rest of our stay – so if you want eggs, give them a call. Please don’t quote me though…..
And the kids – do they have a separate menu for them?
Yes – same same though – mac n cheese, steamed fish, nuggets and fries, etc. Few days in, we ended up ordering from the adults’ menu for the kids, to get some variety. They even have pureed stuff for the little babies!
You can order from Naumi’s bar, or from the supermarkets if you wish to get in some beer and wine.
Did you go crazy with 3 kids?
Na. It wasn’t that bad because we had a room on ground floor which opened up to the gardens so they could go out anytime they wanted to (as long as it wasn’t one of the times mentioned above). That really helped.
What did you bring to keep them entertained? For 14 days?
Okay I’m not one of those parents who has the patience to do lots and lots of arts and crafts, so we packed what we could and thought would help. Here’s a few things that I would recommend to others :
- Paper and lots of colouring pen, crayons, scissors, glue stick
- Megablocks for toddlers (easier to keep track of instead of Lego)
- Reusable stickers, the type you can remove from the glass
- Toys like Magnatiles, Blocks, Puzzles – things that take a lot of imagination and time…. haha
Is it true you get an activities pack from the Ministry of Education?
Yes. I did not know this so it came as a nice surprise when the handsome army chap came to our door with three boxes of goodies for all three kids! Even the baby!
Does anyone come to clean the room?
Of course not, haha! You’re in quarantine. No one comes into your room for the entire 14 days that you are there. At Naumi we were lucky that the floors are wooden. There was a little dustpan and hand held brush so you could go down on your fours and clean the floor. It got really dirty really quick, especially with kids.
Anything you recommend to bring?
I read a lot about people recommending to bring a vacuum but we didn’t have space/time to bring one.
I did however bring a yoga mat, which doubled up as a soft playmat. The kids would sit and eat on it – easier to pick up and shake the crumbs into the bin. They’ll usually play in it as well, made it more comfortable instead of sitting on the wooden floor.
Also packed two shower curtains as recommended from the Facebook group – which we did use to lay on the grass on the good days so the baby could crawl around and play.
A few other miscellaneous things :
- Nail-cutter. Imagine 2 weeks of nail-growing, for you and the kids.
- Face masks for chill time
- Lots of socks, and jandals – ended up wearing this in the room as the floor was so cold (and oftentimes dirty…)
What about laundry?
Each person gets to put out 2 bags of laundry over the entire stay. Lucky for us we have 5 “people” – doesn’t matter kids or babies, so we could take out 10 lots of laundry, which was more than enough.
What if you need towels and linen to be changed?
Every 3 days, you are allowed to put this out as well – if you wanted to. No nanny to change your linen, he he, so if you’re lazy and your bed is clean, leave it.
Can your family and friends visit you?
This was a nice surprise for us to find out that we could have visitors! So no it’s not like in prison where they sit on the other side and you talk over a phone, though that would have been quite good for photos. They can come to other side of the exterior fence, and you talk to them from the carpark during your ‘exercise time’. It’s pretty cool .
Can they drop things off?
Yes! 🙂 Tell them to bring more toys for the kids!
Backtrack a little. What about PCR tests? Kids as well?
You need to do one on the first day which is Day 0. Then Day 3. And Day 12.
Babies from 6 months and above need to get one done too but they were really gentle with our 11 month old and our two other kids. All through the nose.
How was it as an overall?
Everyone asked us this and I’ll say this much – it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.
Mainly because the kids could get outdoors, so they didn’t drive us crazy. I mean, it’s not like they could do a lot outside, but at least they could. And there’s always good ol’ screentime 😉 It also helped that the staff were very friendly and nice, so you didn’t feel like you were in “prison”……..
So to the staff at Naumi – cheers for making our stay bearable!
And to the team who set up the New Zealand Hotel Quarantine Facebook group, and to the many who responded to my queries before and whilst I was in MIQ – thanks. Grateful that I found the group just a few days before we left Dubai. I would highly recommend you join if you are planning on going home – you could scroll through or “search” to see other people’s experiences in the different hotels that they were put up into.
Happy to be out and about in Auckland, mask-free! If you’re reading this while you’re quarantine, hang in there. You’ll be out and about soon 😉
Note : We stayed in Naumi Airport Hotel in May 2021. If you ended up in Naumi anytime after that, things may change depending on the Covid situation, so please double check with the hotel itself on the rules and regulations. This post is not an “official” piece of how it will be for you – it is just how it went for us 😉