Text by: Kelly Chan
29 November 2021
Who says quarantine during the pandemic has to be lonely? Hong Kong residents Monique de Raaij and Asheefa Sarangi proved otherwise with their successful “The Wave” event while quarantined at Nina Hotel Island South.

In September, de Raaij and Sarangi invited more than 170 rooms via Whatsapp to decorate their windows with positive messages formed by colourful post-it notes. Some shouted “Ciao Hong Kong”, “Cheer Up 8” and “Let’s Rock” lifting up the spirits of passers-by who waved back to the residents with cheerful smiles.
A girl quarantined at Nina Hotel Island South looked at the people who were waving at her from the outside

Staff members of Nina Hotel Island South waved at the guests by the swimming pool as a support of "The Wave" event
More than 170 rooms joined "The Wave" event and decorated their windows with positive messages formed by colourful post-it notes
Nina Hotel Island South sponsored guest-led initiatives including snacks and drinks for virtual Happy Hours and surprise gifts

The Healing Power of Wave

de Raaij thought her stay would be just another boring quarantine until a husband came to visit a resident staying at the mid-level of the hotel. She recalled, “he waved to his wife and daughter from the hill. Some of the other residents saw him and started waving back too. We all felt very connected and thought we should top it up the scale and started The Wave event.”

Sarangi was especially touched by the “Alex I Love U” message two floors below her. She said, “this resident was very worried about his girlfriend having an emergency surgery at the hospital. When something tragic happens during quarantine and you can’t go out, you feel helpless and can only show love through a window message.”

And there was this couple who just sent their youngest child overseas for college and suddenly felt a deep hole of emptiness. “But they said The Wave eventually turned quarantine into a second honeymoon to heal them,” Sarangi said with a big laugh.

Not Just Another Room Number

Sarangi appreciates the help and support from the Nina Hotel Island South. “The staff members went out to get as many post-it to us as possible. During Mid-Autumn festival, they even provided paper lanterns for decorating our rooms. We were especially touched when they waved at us from the pool deck. They treated us like human beings and not just another guest room number.”

Though she felt bad for the extra workload for the staff members. Cissy Choi, General Manager of Nina Hospitality however said, “no trouble at all. The Wave event meant a lot to those under quarantine, it shows great empathy. We are happy to be part of the event and made it happen”

The hotel sponsored guest-led initiatives like snacks and beers for virtual Happy Hours and arranged surprises. “We knew they might feel bored, so we sent simple games to each room and surprised them with gifts once they completed the game.” Said Cissy.

Quarantine at Nina Hotel connected the guests and the staff members in a way they never expected. Choi said warmly, “even after the guests finished quarantine and left the hotel, they still send festive greetings and food to us just like a second family. We are grateful to see that we created a strong sense of community in the time of social distancing”