Chinese travelers are wondering whether their five-star hotel experience is worth the money after Chinese activist-blogger known as Huazong released a video of dirty housekeeping practices at a variety of Western luxury hotels.

The hidden camera video released on Weibo showed staff at several Western luxury hotels, including Hilton, Park Hyatt, Marriott, Bulgari, Conrad, The Ritz Carlton, Waldorf Astoria, and Shangri-La, cleaning cups, sinks, and toilet seats with the same sponges and even the towels provided for guests to wipe down bathroom surfaces. According to the Straits Times, the video has been watched as many as 29 million times.

While this is the latest incident of this nature involving luxury hotels, it is by no means the first. Last year, Sheraton, Shangri-La, and Kempinski hotels in Harbin were fined by local authorities after cleaning staff were filmed using the same brush to clean toilets, sinks, and even room cups.

The activist-blogger video shows hotel staff engaging in unsanitary cleaning practices at luxury hotels across China and has been viewed 29 million times

It’s a major blow to these hotel chains, but the 11-minute video, which shows clips from different hotel rooms, isn’t necessarily representative of the quality of service or prevalence of unhygienic practices at all locations of these brands in China. The video, while damning, might only represent a minority of incidents involving the cleaning staff at these hotels.

Nonetheless, Huazong claims to have spent 2,000 nights at 147 five-star or luxury hotels to compile the video. He claims that unhygienic cleaning was a typical problem at almost all the chains he stayed.

Many of these chains have already issued apologies to Weibo and other platforms, including the Waldorf Astoria which posted on an apology on their official account.

The damage to these brands’ reputations may affect business in China and abroad, although it is too early to tell. The hotels will be looking forward to a busy Lunar New Year travel season in February and hope for a boost from Chinese travelers.

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Hotels & Accommodation