China hotels red-faced after dirty cleaning practices revealed

Roman Schwartz
November 18, 2018

The roughly 12-minute-long video features global chains such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings-owned Conrad Beijing and Waldorf Astoria, as well as Marriott International's Sheraton and Le Royal Meridien.

Other luxury hotels seen in the video include the Bulgari in Shanghai, where rooms cost up to 4,500 yuan per night.

The clip has been shared more than 80,000 times online and a topic section on Weibo dedicated to the video has been clicked on 99 million times.

The whistle-blower claimed he placed a secret camera in separate hotel rooms and then posted the 11-minute video on Weibo, according to the South China Morning Post.

This is not the first time that some of China's most expensive and sought-after hotels have been caught in shoddy cleaning practices.

High-end hotels in China run by global chains Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt have issued apologies after a video went viral, showing unhygienic practices, including one cleaner who used the same sponge to wipe drinking cups and a toilet. He was inspired to create it after walking in on a housekeeper who was using a bath towel to clean cups. The majority of the online users went to Weibo accounts of the said hotels, noting they couldn't imagine why staff members from well-known hotels have such behaviors.

The Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai and the Sheraton in Guiyang city also apologised and said they were reviewing their procedures.

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The Mandarin Oriental hotel in the commercial hub of Shanghai vowed "it would not tolerate the inappropriate cleaning behavior in guest rooms shown in the video".

The video received over than 66,000 likes and about 30,000 comments after 12 hours being posted.

"Even the best hotels in China, their hygiene and ethics levels are not comparable to a small hotel in Japan", one user wrote.

The Shangri-La Hotel in Fuzhou said the actions in the video violate its hygiene standards, while the Park Hyatt in Beijing called it an isolated occurrence. It apologised to customers and said it would retrain staff.

The Shangri-La Hotel in Fuzhou told the video was genuine and that its hygiene standards had not been upheld.

Authorities in the Chinese capital launched on-site inspections on Thursday at four hotels involved in the scandal, while regulators in Shanghai say that violators will be punished if wrongdoing is confirmed. Worker shortages and low pay make it hard for hotels to pressure employees to follow the rules, as they can just quit and find jobs elsewhere.

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