A blogger in China revealed a 11-minute video from a hidden camera of cleaning practices at 14 luxury hotels in China. At least four major international hotel chains have apologized, including Hilton and Marriott.  These include:

  • Le Royal Méridien Shanghai
  • Shangri-La Hotel in Fuzhou
  • Park Hyatt in Beijing
  • The Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai
  • Sheraton in Guiyang city
  • Mandarin Oriental Pudong
  • Bulgari Hotel Shanghai
  • Four Seasons Shanghai
  • Ritz-Carlton Shanghai
  • The PuLi Hotel and Spa
  • Aman Summer Palace Luxury Resort

At least 7 of the luxury hotels named in the video are in Shanghai. The city’s health inspection agency are investigating.

How Clean Are Hotels?

Videos and articles have long exposed the “hidden” cleaning practices at hotels.  Most of us know that some areas in a hotel room are magnet for germs, including “drinking cups and mugs, remote controls, light switches, faucets and, maybe the most unnerving, bedding.”

To be fair, I should also note that this news isn’t specific to hotels in China. Hotel rooms aren’t ever as clean as you might hope to expect.  While I recognize that cleaners face time pressure to clean rooms quickly, some of the practices revealed in the video are simply gross (and violate hygienic standards).

The infractions include:

  • Wiping a sink (and toilet) and then using the same towel to wipe down cups (gross and highly unsanitary!)
  • Soaking cups in shampoo
  • Reusing the cup cover in the trash

If the cleaners won’t hand their family and friends a cup that had just been wiped down with the same towel that had just been used for cleaning a sink/toilet/mirror, what makes them think this is acceptable for others? It is unsanitary. And completely unacceptable.

Bottom Line

This news caught my attention since I have an upcoming stay at one of the identified properties.

I’m glad that the video exposes these issues so that it could hopefully yield swift corrective actions.  However, I am also quite disappointed. While I am not a germaphobe and don’t expect all hotels to be spotless, I certainly do hold luxury hotels to a much higher standard.

Meanwhile, I don’t expect to change my own travel practice anytime soon.  Never assume any of the drinking cups are clean – always wash them before every use.  Also, always carry a small pack of antibacterial wipes when you travel for when you need it.

And of course, I’m still always going to spotcheck for bugs.


Are you surprised?  Are there certain things you always do when you check-in to a hotel?