'Intimate charm' or 'refugee prison'?: The hotel where men's No 1 Novak Djokovic is being held

The Park Hotel's promotional images starkly contrast some of those posted on Tripadvisor by guests. Credit: The Park Hotel/annie3875/Tripadvisor

Men's tennis number one Novak Djokovic was denied entry into Australia on Thursday after authorities said he did not meet the country's Covid vaccination requirements.

Djokovic has been transferred to The Park Hotel in Melbourne, where he will wait until Monday to discover whether he can remain in Australia and compete in the Open there.

All eyes are on The Park Hotel, although not for the first time.

Novak Djokovic Credit: AP

The facility - used by the government to detain refugees and asylum seekers waiting for visas - has featured extensively in Australian media, in stories involving fires, Covid outbreaks and allegedly maggots in meals.

The Park Hotel, previously known as Rydges on Swanston, describes itself as a "4.5-star hotel" set in the suburb of Carlton. Meanwhile, on travel review site Tripadvisor, users have given the hotel an average of four stars.

While satisfied customers describe "fantastic, clean accommodation" with an "intimate charm", there is also a sizeable amount of negative reviews.

Posts from less-than-impressed guests are titled "to be avoided at all costs", "unclean, total rip off". Many others take aim at The Park Hotel's treatment of immigrant detainees, with one user labelling The Park Hotel as a "a prison for refugees".

Many refugees and asylum-seekers at the hotel have been transferred from Australia’s off-shore detention centers of Manus Island and Nauru.

One Tripadvisor user claims he was bitten by bed bugs at the hotel. Credit: Scott E/Tripadvisor

Australian charity Asylum Seeker Resource Centre slammed poor quarantine conditions, delays in test results, and limited access to health professionals after 20 refugees and asylum seekers tested positive during a Covid outbreak last October.

Outside the Park Hotel on Friday, protesters against the detention of asylum-seekers held up signs saying “free the refugees.”

Salah Mustafa told The Guardian: “Today, I am negative, my son is negative. But tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, what then? Everywhere is infection. “We are trapped here. We are stuck in our rooms, waiting [for] this virus to come.”

One guest said there was 'mould growing in all corners' of her shower. Credit: annie3875/Tripadvisor

Just last month, Australia’s SBS News published images which appear to show food given to the detainees containing maggots and mould. Also in December, the outlet also reported that one person was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation after after emergency services were called to "several fires". Police also allegedly said a staff member had been assaulted. It is unknown how the fires started.

Park Hotel has not responded to ITV News' request for comment.