Fresh pressed linen. A shimmering bathroom. A pristine minibar. A mattress so clean you could eat off it. When you go to a high end New York hotel you expect to slurp and sleep your money’s worth.
Unlike some of New York’s notoriously (and hilariously) awful budget hotels, in the upmarket places (ranging between three and five stars) the following investigation went (literally) undercover in, piece of mind regarding cleanliness should be a given.
The investigation, however, found three Manhattan hotels ranging from $150 to $600 a night (Hyatt Place Times Square, Hampton Inn Times Square Central and Trump International Hotel) were not cleaning properly between guests.
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In fact, they found what news.com.au has called a “disturbing” trend: sheets hadn’t been cleaned and surfaces hadn’t been wiped.
The investigation, conducted by TV program Inside Edition, involved sending producers with the program to each of the hotels and using a washable spray to stencil an Inside Edition logo – only visible under UV light – to the pillows, bed sheets and bath towels.
They also hit commonly touched surfaces, like the airconditioning control, TV remote and desk.
The next day, using a different name, they checked into the same room to see if the linens had been changed and surfaces wiped.
As Inside Edition reported on Monday, “At the Hyatt Place Times Square, producers found the logo glowing brightly on the bed sheet and pillowcase, indicating they had not been changed between guests. While the desk had been wiped down and the towel was replaced, the gel was visible when the remote control was placed under a UV light.”
“The results were shocking, especially considering the struggling hotel industry is trying to lure back guests on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic with promises of rigorous new cleaning protocols.”
When Inside Edition showed what they found to a manager, they claim they were told the hotel would “definitely look into it” and “that [it] shouldn’t be possible at all.”
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A Hyatt spokesperson then told Inside Edition, “We are deeply concerned about the situation described, as it is not representative of Hyatt’s rigorous and enhanced cleaning protocols that have been deployed globally due to COVID-19,” adding, “We are working with the hotel’s owner to ensure the hotel is implementing proper cleaning protocols that are consistent with Hyatt’s commitment to cleanliness for the safety and well-being of our guests.”
Meanwhile at the Hampton Inn Times Square Central, it was found a pillowcase had not been changed, and the remote control and thermostat hadn’t been wiped down.
“When Inside Edition alerted a manager about the situation, he said he would need to get a different manager, but no one ever came back.”
In response, a spokesperson for the Hampton Inn said retraining would be in order, telling Inside Edition: “Our hotel’s cleanliness is one of our highest priorities, especially during these unprecedented times. An internal investigation revealed that our housekeeping team relied on a visual inspection of the room’s cleanliness to determine which areas received attention, deviating from our protocols.”
“This is a violation of our standards to thoroughly clean each room. Both our housekeeping team and management apologize for this mistake and we are retraining our team members to reinforce our procedures.”
Finally, at Trump International Hotel, while the sheets and bathroom towel had been changed, Inside Edition found “the pillowcase had not” and “the counter area above the minibar and the remote control also had not been wiped between guests.”
A hotel spokesperson then gave a classically ‘Trumpian’ response: “Following an internal review, we have concluded that the claims made by Inside Edition are categorically false.”
“Trump International Hotel & Tower New York is one of the premier luxury hotels anywhere in the world and has received countless accolades, including the Forbes Five-Star award for the past 13 years, for its consistently impeccable service.”
Of course, during normal times, it’s hardly a secret to anyone that has worked anywhere near the industry that hotels take short cuts. But in these unprecedented times, it’s simple: consumers expect better.