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Anxiety attack, no hot water: M Social Hotel guests cry foul after power shutdown interrupts staycation

Anxiety attack, no hot water: M Social Hotel guests cry foul after power shutdown interrupts staycation
PHOTO: Facebook/Jeffrey Wong

It was meant to be a lovely staycation at M Social Singapore to commemorate their 10th year anniversary, but Jeffrey Wong and his wife were among the many that found their festivities cut short after the power in their hotel went out.

A scheduled power shutdown during the wee hours of Dec 19 left some guests stranded and panicked, while others reportedly resorted to gathering outside the hotel due to poor ventilation in their rooms.

In a post uploaded onto Facebook last Friday (Dec 18), Wong ranted about how he was only informed of the hotel's scheduled power shutdown a couple of hours after he had checked in.


In an update later that night, Wong said he and his wife decided to head downstairs as they could not bear the "pressure in a small room with no electricity".

As a result of the power outage, none of the elevators were in service, so he and his wife pair tried to take the stairs, he recounted. However, the exit leading to the stairs was locked, leaving them stranded. As calls to the hotel's deputy manager and security allegedly went unanswered, Wong's wife began to suffer an anxiety attack.

According to Wong, he "kicked up a fuss" for roughly half an hour before security staff came to their aid and escorted them out of the building.

Officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force were also called in to attend to Wong's wife. 

In the videos attached to his post, both the lifts and the stairway exits were shown to be unresponsive. Wong also shared photos showing a small crowd of guests standing outside the hotel in their sleepwear, some even in their robes.


Other unhappy guests

Speaking with AsiaOne, another guest, who wanted to be known only as Ms Ng, said that she did not receive any prior notice of the power outage even though she had booked her stay directly via M Social Singapore's website.

When she checked in just after noon on Dec 18, she noticed a standee at the front desk, roughly the size of a postcard, stating that there would be a scheduled power shut down, though only for a period of five to 10 minutes.

"The hotel staff who checked me in did not mention it at all to me verbally as well," she added.

According to Ng, it was only around 7pm that evening that a sheet of paper was slipped beneath her door with a timeline of the expected power disruptions.

During the outage, she said the hotel's phones were non-operational while calls from her personal mobile phone to the hotel went unanswered.

Not able to use the electric kettle in her room, she took the cargo lift down to the back of the hotel to look for hot water, but only found one elderly man, who she believed was the "manager of the power system", surrounded by a group of 10 to 15 angry guests, she said. 

She added that she waited around half an hour for help but gave up as the hotel manager did not show up.

There was "no mention of the shutdown" when she was checking out the next day either. 

Till date, Ng says she has yet to receive any form of service recovery.

Hotel says guests were informed, staff were on-site

In response to AsiaOne's queries, a spokesperson for M Social Singapore said that efforts were made to inform guests of the shutdown.


"This included informing guests at front desk and putting up notices at the lift lobby and rooms."

The shutdown was part of an annual mandatory exercise and was carried out in coordination with the Energy Market Authority, the hotel explained. 

Clarifying the timeline of the exercise, the hotel said that the shutdown at midnight on Dec 19 lasted "only" two and a half hours instead of the four hours it had stated in its letter to its guests. 

A shorter shutdown that lasted half an hour was also conducted later that morning. 

During both periods, the hotel's security team were patrolling the building. 

A "small number of guests" left their rooms during the rooms and headed to the front desk, the hotel noted.

"Police who were also on the scene said all was in order after a full investigation," said M Social Singapore. 

With regards to Wong's wife, the spokesperson said the hotel duty manager and head of security had stayed by her side until the paramedics had declared that she was alright.

"M Social has reached out to all affected guests to check on their well-being.

"Most guests have been understanding and have expressed appreciation for the efforts made by the hotel."

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