Cleaners In China's 5-Star Hotels Found Scrubbing Cups With Toilet Brushes

They were also caught washing towels in toilets and using them to wipe the floor.

  • In a shocking video released by Pearvideo on Tuesday, 26 December, housekeepers at 5-star hotels in China were found cleaning drinking cups, sinks with toilet brushes and used towels

      Cleaner at one of the hotels was seen using the toilet brush to clean cups, sinks. Image via miaopai

      Cleaner at one of the hotels was seen using the toilet brush to clean cups, sinks.

  • The hotels are Kempinski, Shangri-La and Sheraton, located in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province in northeast China

      Bath towels used to clean cups. Image via miaopai

      Bath towels used to clean cups.

    • All the three hotels are well-known and highly-rated hotels in Harbin.

      To record the footage, the online video-news site Pearvideo had sent one of its workers undercover as an intern, who secretly filmed the housekeepers at the three hotels.

      In the footage, housekeepers at the Kempinski and Shangri-La are shown using the same brush to wipe drinking water cups and then drying them with used bath towels.

      The cleaners are also shown using toilet water to wet a bath towel before using the same to wipe down the floor.

      At the Shangri-La, an employee cleans the bathtub with a toilet brush, before telling the intern, "When a customer is around, don't clean like this."

    • The same brush was used for both the basin and toilet bowl. Image via miaopai

      The same brush was used for both the basin and toilet bowl.

  • While Harbin city officials confirmed that the poor hygiene practices shown in the footage had taken place and that it would punish the hotels, it's not clear if the hotels have been punished in any way

    • As the footage spread on social media, causing quite a sensation, inspectors from the health commission, tourism office, market supervision department, food and drug administration, and legislative affairs office descended on the properties to collect samples for testing, whose results confirmed that the hotels had hygiene problems.

      All three luxury hotels were accused of failing to change bath towels, bed sheets and pillow cases for new guests, despite charging from about 700 yuan to 2,700 yuan (USD105 to USD410) for a room per night, AsiaOne reported.

    • Image from AsiaOne Image via AsiaOne
  • All three hotels have since apologised

    • While the Kempinski said that it "deeply regretted" the transgressions and has enhanced protections to ensure that all staff work in accordance with the strictest hygiene standards, the Shangri-La said that it is investigating the issue.

      Shangri-La added that if what was shown in the video is proved to be true, it is "unacceptable" and the company will immediately strengthen training and supervision and make sure that all employees follow its quality standards.

      The Sheraton Harbin Xiangfang Hotel, meanwhile, said that it was "deeply sorry" that certain employees did not strictly execute sanitation standards and re-trained its entire staff on Wednesday, 27 December.

    • A cleaner folding a quilt on the floor. Image via Pearvideo

      A cleaner folding a quilt on the floor.

  • This is the second instance in the last three months involving sanitation mismanagement at luxury hotels in China

    • Back in September, the Intercontinental Beijing Sanlitun, Hilton Beijing, W Beijing Chang’an, JW Marriott Beijing and Shangri-La Hotel Beijing were found to be failing to properly clean hotel rooms in between guest stays, reported media company, Caixin.

  • Watch the footage that was released on 26 December here:

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