Monday, June 21, 2010

The Safety and Cleanliness of Your Hotel Room

By Mike Grasso

In the past, I have reported on bed bugs and other critters sometimes found in hotel rooms. I also re-posted a video piece where undercover video captured some of the unsanitary practices hotel maids engage in. Luckily, these unfortunate situations are more often the exception than the rule. But even at mid and high-end hotels with a good housekeeping and maintenance staff on hand, there remain a few potential safety and cleanliness issues that you the guest should be aware of. I've posted six pictures below, can you find at least one potential "hazard" in each? My responses are outlined below.

1. Sofa: The visible stains on couches are usually spot treated by hotels; deep cleaning of sofa's is infrequent. Therefore, invisible stains such as blood, urine, saliva and semen would not be seen without a black light. Try to keep a barrier (i.e. clothing) between you and the sofa.

2. Phone and clock: Does the phone work? Important to check in the event an emergency were to strike. Be sure the time is correct, particularly if you are relying on this as an alarm clock.

3. Coffee maker and cups: Ceramic coffee mugs are a nice touch at hotels, but have been identified as items insufficiently or improperly cleaned by cleaning staff. The video that previously aired caught maids simply rinsing out cups (not washing), while other maids were observed them spraying them out with glass cleaner! Lesson here: Be sure you personally wash your coffee mug.

4. Bed: One of the first activities I do once checking into my room is to pull the comforter off completely. Never (not even once) have I observed comforters being removed from rooms for cleaning. Yet these can be the primary source of undesirable filth, stains and bacteria from countless previous guests.

5. Carpet: While hotels do deep clean their carpets periodically, they tend to accumulate mold, bacteria and fungus in between cleans as a result of dirt and spills. Vacuuming alone won't do the trick. So again, best to add a barrier (socks or slippers) between the carpet and your skin.

6. Window: Some things I consider are whether it will properly open in an emergency. Does it lock properly? (Note in the picture this is a room at ground level). If I open with window, is there a screen to protect from mosquito's or other insects entering?