Singapore builds bubble hotel for business travel

Singapore is getting used to the new normal for travel.

And looking for ways to tap into demand for business meetings, even if the global health crisis drags on.

It's created a safe-bubble hotel where locals and short-term visitors can talk.

Meeeting rooms in Connect@Changi are divided by walls of glass.

Attendees communicate via speaker.

Documents can be passed back and forth, each time sterilised with UV light.

Robin Hu is head of international policy and governance at investment company Temasek, which developed the facility.

"It wasn't long before we realised that the pandemic was likely to have a really long tail, and possibly lasting for years, so therefore it was a problem looking for solutions."

Bookings have just opened for the hotel, which will eventually offer 660 guest rooms.

Even the air is segregated.

Guest and visitor areas are ventilated by different ducts.

And there will still be a very strict testing regime.

Travelers will be tested before departure, on arrival, and regularly at the venue.

For all the complications, demand isn't just coming from business:

"But interestingly, we have also had inquiries from parents who have kids studying here in Singapore, whom they haven't met for an entire year, and if we are doing some good to parents to relieve their anxiety, and I think we'll be doing something good as well."

Hu can't say if the hotel will be hosting one high-profile event.

The World Economic Forum is due to hold its much-delated annual meeting in the city in August.

Whether it will take place in the bubble hotel, isn't yet confirmed.

Video Transcript

- Singapore is getting used to the new normal for travel and looking for ways to tap into demand for business meetings, even if the global health crisis drags on. It's created a safe bubble hotel where locals and short-term visitors can talk. Meeting rooms in Connect@Changi are divided by walls of glass.

Attendees communicate via speaker. Documents can be passed back and forth, each time sterilized with UV light. Robin Hu is head of international policy and governance at investment company Temasek, which developed the facility.

ROBIN HU: It wasn't long before we realized that the pandemic was likely to have a real long tail, and possibly lasting for years. So therefore, it was a problem looking for solutions.

- Bookings have just opened for the hotel, which will eventually offer 660 guest rooms. Even the air is segregated. Guest and visitor areas are ventilated by different ducts.

And there will be a very strict testing regime. Travelers will be tested before departure, on arrival, and regularly at the venue. For all the complications, demand isn't just coming from business.

ROBIN HU: But interestingly, we've also had inquiries from parents who have kids studying here in Singapore, whom they haven't met for an entire year. And if we are doing something good to parents to relieve their anxiety, and I think we'll be doing something good as well.

- Hu can't say if the hotel will be hosting one high-profile event. The World Economic Forum is due to hold its much-delayed annual meeting in the city in August. Whether it will take place in the bubble hotel, isn't yet confirmed.