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Even 5-star hotel rooms are not clean?! 8 tips to avoid hotel hygiene horrors

In most hotels, a housekeeper only has 30 – 40 minutes to clean a checkout room, where the linens must be changed and straightened; the bathtub, toilet, and sinks must be cleaned and sanitized; the floor must be mopped, and the carpet must be vacuumed. While every traveler wants to stay in a clean hotel room, the fact is not all hotel rooms are cleaned thoroughly.

How dirty can a hotel room be?

According to a Time Magazine report, 81% of hotel room surfaces being sampled had some fecal bacteria. Many come from other travelers’ germs, mostly because not every spot in a hotel room will get sanitized every time when a guest checks out. The direst places or spots in a hotel room include:

Light switches, TV or any types of remote controls, toilets (including the flush handle, toilet paper dispenser, and the wall/floor around a toilet), bathroom sinks, telephone, keyboard, hairdryer, carpeting, and bedspread.

Other items, such as drinking glasses, coffee machines, or kettles, may also cover with germs if they are not clean properly. Another example is the bathroom towels because many bacteria can easily be trapped and transferred from one traveler to another if they are not thoroughly washed and dried. One study found 90% of bathroom towels (not necessarily hotel towels only) were contaminated with coliform bacteria.

Well then, if we stay in a more expensive hotel, like in a luxury property or a place managed by a reputable hotel chain, hygiene in a hotel room should not be a concern. As they usually charge for a higher price, they use better products, and their staff receives better training. Then, they should provide better service and cleaner hotel rooms. Is that right?

Not all 5-star hotel rooms are as clean as we think

Last week, a video about some housekeepers’ unsanitary cleaning practices recorded in 14 luxury hotels in China went viral on social media. Many of these hotel brands are known for their expectational customer service, including Bulgari, Conrad, Park Hyatt, Le Meridien, The Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton, Shangri-La, and Waldorf Astoria. The video captured some of the most disgusting hotel hygiene horrors. For example, housekeepers were found

* Using the same sponge to clean drinking cups, toilet seat, and shower stall.
* Wiping the drinking cups, bathroom sink, and mirror with the towels or flannels that have been used by the guests.




Major hotel chains reported in the video have apologized, stating that those behaviors violated their company’s hygiene standards. The Chinese government also stepped in and began an investigation into such poor hygiene practices.  

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that similar acts were caught and reported in the luxury hotels in China. Back in December 2017, it was reported that the housekeepers in the Kempinski Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel, and the Sheraton Hotel, all in Harbin, a city in Northeast China, also adopted similar horrifying hygiene practices in cleaning the guestrooms.

It is difficult to conclude that this was just an isolated case in China. Very likely, such horrifying hygiene practices can be found in other parts of the world.

It is important to note that, however, many travelers will not get sick even if they are exposed to the bacteria in a hotel room because germs are just everywhere. They live and grow in the same environments as human beings do.

8 tips to avoid hotel hygiene horrors

We, as travelers, have little control over how hotels clean our guestrooms, but there are approaches we can take to protect ourselves. For example,

1.    To use disinfectant wipes to clean the countertops and the surfaces that are often “ignored” by the housekeepers (as suggested in the previous section);
2.    To wash our hands first and then use our hands to collect water when we brush our teeth;
3.    To use disposable cups for drinking purposes;
4.    To sanitize the drinking classes with hot water before the first usage;
5.    To bring a pair of slippers and use them in the hotel room;
6.    To wear our own pajamas;
7.    To leave a good tip to the housekeepers as a way to thank and reward them for cleaning our room thoroughly, especially when we are coming back;
8.    If budget allows, to stay in a higher-tier or an upgraded room because hotels tend to pay more detailed attention to their loyal customers and those who are paying more for better service.


When you travel, what do you do to make sure you are staying in a clean hotel room? Any other tips you would like to add?

Notes: This post is also available on Multibriefs.com; the picture was downloaded from The New York Magazine

Comments

  1. After reading this article about hotel hygiene horrors, it freaked me out and made me think twice before I book a hotel room at any hotel. How dirty can a hotel room be? Well, this article mentioned that the "Time Magazine" reported that 81 percent of the hotel surfaces were filthy with fecal bacteria which were left by other guests' germs. The areas include,remote controls, the toilets, bathroom sinks, the telephone,drinking glasses, and many more. Even hotel towels were contaminated with coli form bacteria. Who is behind these unsanitary cleaning practices? Housekeepers are the main problem.This secret came out when a video about housekeepers' bad habit cleaning practices in 14 luxury hotels in China became popular on social media. The housekeepers were caught on camera using the same exact sponge to clean the whole bathroom and the hotel room. Wow,this really shocked me that housekeepers would practice these vile cleaning habits.This type of hygiene horror should not happen if guests' book a hotel room at an expensive luxury hotel because they use better products and their housekeepers receive better training. There are tips that guests can take to protect themselves and to avoid these hygiene horrors at hotels.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Elizabeth Garcia HRT 3020-Section 3

    In a previous hospitality class we learned about housekeeping not having enough time to be able to clean everything that needs to be cleaned. There are a lot of big and small things in hotel rooms that need to be cleaned but that doesn't always happen due to the fact that the housekeepers have many other rooms to clean in a certain amount of time, leading them to cleaning only the main things and making the beds. I was not aware of the fact that housekeepers using the same towels and flannels to clean drinking glasses and toilet seats. I recently stayed in a hotel over spring break and when I was in the bathroom the first thing that came to mind was that the room probably wasn't as clean as it should be due to the time crunch housekeepers face. The hotel was not on the higher end but even then it should be clean. I was very shocked to find out that higher end hotels are also not as clean. As a guest, you pay for certain standards and it you are paying to stay in a five star hotel then it the rooms should be clean all over the place. Of course this should apply to budget hotels as well but how can guests in cheaper hotels expect their rooms to be clean and disinfected if they're not like that in higher end hotels? This is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed better and fixed before people start getting sick due to staying at these hotels.

    ReplyDelete

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