Hotels charging GovGuam holding fee for unoccupied rooms

The Wyndham and Santa Fe hotels have been awarded contracts to serve as GovGuam quarantine facilities.

The Government of Guam is paying for unoccupied rooms at the hotels that have been leased to house arriving passengers in quarantine for 14 days.

On May 18, Monday, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said the lease agreements did not require payment for unoccupied rooms, but a review of those contracts shows a so-called “holding fee” is being charged.

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“Santa Fe is $93 a night and that includes three meals and laundry services. For the Wyndham and the Days Inn, I’m informed that it is $110 a night. If we needed to reserve rooms, I understand there is some fee attached to that. We’re not required to pay for all the rooms in the hotel. We’re only paying for the ones being occupied,” the governor said.

That’s what the governor said Monday when asked whether GovGuam is paying for unoccupied rooms at the facilities that have now been awarded contracts by the Guam General Services Agency for use as quarantine facilities for arriving passengers returning to Guam.

However, a review of the hotel contracts shows that in fact a fee is being paid for unoccupied rooms.

The rate for unoccupied rooms at the Wyndham Garden is $65 a night, according to the purchase order provided by the administration.

The Governor’s press secretary, Krystal Paco San Agustin, declined to say whether the governor misspoke on Monday. She said the charge for the unoccupied rooms is a holding fee in case those rooms are needed.

In addition, she said the fee for the unoccupied rooms is lower than the cost for rooms that are being occupied by quarantined arriving passengers

At the Wyndham, GovGuam is committed to pay $110 a night. At the Santa Fe, it’s $99 a night.

The nightly costs at both hotels are also far below the standard market rates paid prior to the pandemic.

Paco-San Agustin also pointed out that both facilities are fully occupied at this time, with 123 passengers at the Santa Fe and 147 at the Wyndham.

Another 36 passengers are quarantined at the Wyndham’s sister property, the Grand Hotel in Tumon.

Under the initial unbid and unsigned agreements made by the governor under her emergency powers at the onset of the pandemic in March, GovGuam was obligated to pay for all the rooms at one set price, whether occupied or not.

As the governor has said many times in recent weeks and again during her Monday news conference, those agreements were made under her emergency powers with the intent of stopping the spread of the disease.

“I had to make decisions right away. So none of the work, and none of the actions, and none of the decisions I have made are incorrect. None of the decisions I have made are illegal. And so I do not acknowledge, because of how we did the second hotel procurement, any wrongdoing or any illegality or any kind of violations of laws, rules, and regulations,” the governor said.