A man who spent two weeks in managed isolation claims his hotel was "a horrible place" with cracked walls, mould, broken furniture, ripped curtains and a blocked shower drain.
The Auckland man, who only wanted to be known as Mark, also said he was not surprised a person escaped Rotorua's Sudima Hotel on Wednesday night, comparing what he described as "depressing" living conditions there to a prison.
Sudima Hotels responded saying it was "very concerned and disappointed to read of this guest's poor experience" and that Mark was moved to another room.
"Constraints placed on our operational teams while operating as a managed isolation facility have interrupted some maintenance schedules," the hotel said.
Mark's claims come after a man escaped managed isolation through a fenced area at the Sudima on Wednesday night – sparking a full NZ Defence Force staff search.
The man, who has not been charged, was missing for half an hour before being taken to hospital for assessment.
He had previously returned a negative Covid-19 test. Police believed he did not move beyond the immediate area and security had been bolstered.
Mark, who did not want to use his last name, told the Rotorua Daily Post he and his partner were "not surprised the man wanted to escape" and they believed it would not have been difficult to do.
The couple stayed in managed isolation at the Sudima after returning from the United Kingdom to see Mark's sick father on August 17.
Mark said they asked to be moved from their original room because it was too small.
He claimed the couple's hotel experience included mould, cracks in the walls, broken furniture, ripped curtains and blinds and a blocked shower that took 20 minutes to drain when he stayed there.
He provided photos of alleged issues from both rooms he said they stayed in.
He said, in his opinion, it was a "depressing, horrible place" and claimed they had complained to the hotel on numerous occasions but not much could be done as staff could not enter the room.
When asked if it would have been difficult to escape the hotel, Mark said that it would have been easy and "he could've got out if he wanted to… especially that late at night with hardly anyone around".
Mark also claimed the hotel consistently failed to give the couple full meals as they were the "only ones in their block and were easily forgotten".
He said this was not a huge loss because, in his view, the food was "hardly edible".
He said he would be paying what he believed were "ridiculous" prices for room service that included $42 for a bottle of wine and $10 for a microwave pie and potato chips.
Mark also alleged that when they left they found the mattress they had been using was badly stained with what looked like blood.
He said they "wouldn't have slept on it" if they had known.
"It really was the most disgusting experience… we were horrified to have been treated like this in our own country and feel New Zealanders should be made aware of just how low the standard is for the unlucky ones that get the short straw isolation accommodation," he said, expressing his view.
"It has totally put us off Rotorua."
The couple fully supported isolation and keeping the community safe but the conditions were, from their perspective, not acceptable.
However, he said the staff and defence force officers at the hotel were helpful and understanding.
The couple had complained to Managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) which had opened a case review into the incident, he said.
A manager at the Sudima Hotel Rotorua said all media inquiries on the topic needed to go through MIQ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
The Rotorua Daily Post asked MBIE a number of questions, including how the man escaped, where he went and where he was now and sought a response to Mark's claims.
The ministry was also questioned about how the escapee was able to flee given Rotorua got 50 new Defence Force guards for the city's managed isolation facilities only a week ago.
A managed isolation and quarantine spokeswoman said eight security staff and one police officer were on shift at the time. "The extra NZDF deployment are set to begin duties at the managed isolation facility at the Sudima Rotorua next week.
"However, in immediate response to this incident four additional NZDF personnel were moved to the facility, along with two additional private security."
She said CCTV footage was being reviewed. "Information at present indicates the man exited through a door and forced his way through fencing layers."
She said initial information suggested the man stayed close to the facility and was not in contact with any member of the public.
"The public health risk has been assessed by officials as low, and the man's day three test result was negative. The man has undergone assessment in hospital, and will be returning to managed isolation at the appropriate time where additional wellbeing support will be put in place."
Managed Isolation and Quarantine staff also confirmed they "received complaints from the couple and that an MIQ complaints staff member had apologised to the couple for their experience".
"We have received excellent feedback from other returnees about this hotel, but have passed on this person's feedback on to hotel management."
All managed isolation and quarantine facilities adhere to Ministry of Health guidelines around cleanliness requirements, they said.
"Returnees are provided three meals per day and snacks to their room that are funded by the Government. For any additional meals, guests can order room service or deliveries from local shops or supermarkets at their own expense."
A further statement said: "Sudima Hotels is very concerned and disappointed to read of this guest's poor experience.
"We sincerely apologise for any vexation the issues raised have caused.
"Sudima Hotels staff are able to respond to guest concerns on a 24-hour basis and are able to safely relocate any guest to another room if any issues are brought to our attention during a guests stay.
"We can confirm that this guest was moved to another room during their stay.
"Constraints placed on our operational teams while operating as a managed isolation facility have interrupted some maintenance schedules," the statement said.
Rotorua MP Todd McClay said residents were promised that nothing like this would happen and it was just "another blow" for the city.
He said they would be outraged to hear that the city joined Hamilton and Auckland where people had broken out of isolation.
"Labour promised this wouldn't happen. They rushed people into quarantine in Rotorua in the dark of night and promised that the facilities would be secure. They've now reportedly let someone over the fence in Rotorua."
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said it was "obviously disappointing" but she had been reassured that the matter was dealt with quickly and the risk to the wider community was low.
She said the expectation was that people would abide by the conditions that had been put in place to protect the public.
"We have all played our part and we ask that those re-entering New Zealand also play their part and not put us at unnecessary risk."
Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey declined to comment.