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Most people love getting away from it all, especially if they can do so in a nice hotel. Over the past year or so, however, that has become difficult to do because of the pandemic. In fact, there are very few people who were able to get away during that time, but for one man in NYC, the entire pandemic was a stay at a 5-star hotel.

March 2020 is when New York City shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was still a need, however, for someone to be at each of the properties in case something went wrong. This included the Chatwal hotel, a 5-star hotel in Midtown.


According to Crain’s, there were a number of people considered for the position of watching the hotel, but one after another, they stepped away from the job because of family or fear. That is when 36-year-old Robert Mallia stepped in. He had no children and no wife, so he volunteered for the job.

As it turned out, Mallia had worked on the building as part of his job as a designer for the Dream Hotel Group. They have worked on many hotels in Manhattan, and Mallia stepped into the role nicely. He was given room 307 and that is where he has spent 14 months of his life.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Although he admits that it wasn’t exactly one of the 5-star suites in a luxury hotel, it was home to him. He also was able to go back to his apartment from time to time in Long Island, but primarily, he stayed at the Chatwal.

At this point, most people are probably thinking that he has been living in the lap of luxury. In reality tho, most of the staff had been staying home and he had to care for his own needs. This included a lot of takeout food.

He starts his day at 5:30 am with some housekeeping and maintenance chores. He also makes his round once per week to flush all of the toilets and all sinks and showers are turned on for 10 minutes twice per month.

Photo: flickr/KB Collection Hotels & Resorts

Although he is primarily on his own, there are some security guards on duty and a weekly visit from the chief engineer. Now that things are starting to reopen, it won’t likely be long before Chatwal is busy again. Perhaps he sums things up best when he said to the New York Post: “I miss being at my home.”