Top Hotels Failing to Change the Sheets and Don’t Dare Drink From Those Bathroom Cups

In 1874 Stockholm’s Grand Hotel became the first in Europe to change sheets in between guests. Two years ago a Residence Inn in Manhattan was caught not changing the sheets and indeed 3 out of 9 New York hotels that were tested weren’t changing sheets.

That’s gross. So is the Beijing hotel that was caught using the toilet bowl cleaner on the room’s drinking glasses.

On the one hand it’s surprising, but that housekeeping violates brand standards really shouldn’t be. At some properties it’s directed from the top, at other properties it’s failure in monitoring from the top. Either way management is to blame.

It happens everywhere, as the New York sheets example illustrate. Although delivering less than promised value is certainly common in China where I’ve been told about major brand hotels that fill luxury toiletry bottles with cheap replacements — driving down costs, and guest usually don’t know the difference.

There’s a video out of China which has been seen tens of millions of times over the past few days exposing the awful housekeeping practices at 14 hotels including Le Royal Méridien Shanghai; Park Hyatt in Beijing; Waldorf Astoria Shanghai; Ritz-Carlton Shanghai; and even the Aman Summer Palace.

The nearly The 12-minute video, posted online earlier this week, shows workers cleaning bathrooms. In several clips, they can be seen wiping down sinks, coffee cups and glasses with the same used towel. One wipes a glass with the bottom edge of her cleaning uniform.

Some hotels appear to be taking this more seriously than others. I was disappointed to see the Park Hyatt Beijing dismiss this as an isolated incident.

(HT: Travel Gadget Reviews)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. We check for bed bugs and if the sheets are clean. Had it happen once in New Orleans, luckily we caught it.

  2. Stayed in a very clean hotel in SFO several years ago. Made Coffee in the room, poured it into the dark blue cup and when I lifted it up, I noticed RED lip stick marks still on the cup. SMDH. Want to see what is out there, hotel wise, venture onto this site:

    its bad.

  3. Once I discovered the bedsheets wrinkled. I told them “these have been slept on”. They insisted that they were clean, just not pressed. I demanded to have them changed. They did. And guess what? The new set of bedsheets were not wrinkled of course…this was in a five star hotel. I learned that hotel category is not a guarantee for cleanliness. No matter what hotel I stay I check the bed, disinfect all touchable surfaces with wipes, and re-wash all cups and glasses I am planning to use. Call me paranoid, but I sleep better afterwards…

  4. I check for hairs/dirt etc on sheets and am finding more and more often that sheets are not changed. It seems to be trending for some reason. It also does not seem to correlate with how nice or expensive the hotel is. I am seeing it more often across the board. Anyone else noticing an increase?

  5. In Israel I had two opposite situations. One – I had them change our sheets in front of me – on a bed with no mattress pad. Two – The Jaffa, Luxury Collection, obviously changed the sheets every night of our 4 night stay. I carry my own paper bathroom cups. Good thing because the saw how the crew was cleaning the glasses. That totally creeps me out.

  6. Surprised this is happening in China as I am accustomed to seeing this housekeeping sloppiness in USA

  7. I can bet they often don’t change linens between guests. I’ve seen linens that looked sparkling clean with hairs on them. Once I confronted a very nice hotel in Stockholm about it, and they were adamant it arrived like this after the laundry. Not impossible, I guess, but things like this freak me out to no end. Even if you make them redo the bed, how do you know the next set of linens is fresh?

    During the stay, they’ll go to great lengths to avoid changing sheets, from that bull*hit “help us conserve water” to blatantly not changing the sheets even when you specifically instruct them to by putting their bull*hit card on the bed. I’ve noticed that nothing matters, neither the hotel category, nor the tips you may or may not leave. They just don’t like changing the sheets!

  8. Thanks as always for bringing this ugly topic out in the lime light
    Many a hotel guest isn’t aware of or chooses to ignore as does the offending hotels
    In my own perception while this has been an issue forever it got much worse when hotels started with much of their phony green movements years ago asking guests to reuse their towels etc
    It gave housekeepers an excuse to be lazy and save the hotel money
    Great hotels don’t or rarely have these issues but it is more likely to happen in lower category hotels where policies and protocols are lax
    But it also happened recently at the more 800 Million dollar new Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills
    Pubic hair long black hairs all were found in my 800 dollar a night standard room
    One most inspect and look under the top sheet at mattress protector and surrounding areas in case of neglect or worse bed bug droppings’
    Let the buyer/ guest beware!

  9. Thank you, Steve! (For stripping the bed.)
    I think we should all start doing that! It helps housekeeping and assures the next guest gets new sheets!
    Pay it forward.

  10. This is what happens when you don’t pay housekeeping staff enough to make a living and expect customers to tip instead of just paying 0.0000001% of your global multi-billion dollar megacorp’s profits. Profits over people, such is the way of capitalism.

  11. No we do not change the sheets, we pull them tight as we don’t get time god dam it!!!!!!!

  12. Thank you Steve, you just gave me a wonderful idea. I will be stripping the beds down and pulling all of the towels and wash cloths down and putting all of the linen in the bath tub…WET. I absolutely had no idea that these hotels were not changing all of the bed linen. I usually stay at a Marriott or a sister hotel affiliated with Marriott. These rooms are easily $150.00 or more per night so we all know that they make enough money to clean the linen thoroughly. I guess when they start getting hit with multiple lawsuits from customers who get sick from being in a filthy environment. Who wants to lay on top of someone else”s bodily excrement. Some people have all kinds of skin diseases which causes the skin to flake or scab up and fall off. Then, we have to worry about someone else”s bodily hair and fluids: semen, urine, sputum, blood, etc. It makes me sick to know that these hotel chains don’t care enough about their customers to really clean everything. Wow, I am floored right now!!!

  13. I worked at one of London 4star hotels as night porter, the German duty manager who gave me training in food prep didn’t wash her hands before making sandwiches and salad, in fact she cleaned her eyes with fingers before touching the salad. I can tell you it’s a lot of bad stuff going on I would never order anything at night service.

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