How to Tell if You’re Staying in a Dirty Hotel Room

Aug 4, 2019

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AAA recently announced its new Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award for hotels that set the highest bar for cleanliness. This new award recognizes those properties that go beyond the standard for AAA diamond ratings. So which cities have the cleanest hotels? The list might surprise you:

  1. New York City (161 hotels)
  2. Houston, Texas (90 hotels)
  3. Washington, DC (78 hotels)
  4. Orlando, Florida (69 hotels)
  5. Charlotte, North Carolina (68 hotels)
  6. Austin, Texas (63 hotels)
  7. Nashville, Tennessee (61 hotels)
  8. San Diego, California (60 hotels)
  9. Anaheim, California (50 hotels)
  10. San Antonio, Texas (49 hotels)

If you’re not one of AAA’s professionally trained hotel inspectors, what should you be looking for when you check in to get an idea about the level of cleanliness at a property?

Related: These Are The Worst #HotelFails and Easy Ways Hotels Can Fix Them

Reneta McCarthy, a senior lecturer at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, spoke with TPG about some of the key points and tips for travelers for their next stay.

McCarthy said that while something might look clean it’s impossible to know for sure how well something was cleaned. She did say there are clues that you can look for to get an idea of how much time and effort went into getting your room ready for you though:

  • Is the room free of dust and hair?
  • Are the bathroom amenities arranged?
  • Are the bathroom amenities new?
  • Is the room organized and tidy?
  • Is the bed well made?

McCarthy points out that if your housekeeper didn’t take the time to do these simple things well, then there’s a good chance they were less than thorough with cleaning and disinfecting your room.

“Most housekeepers take their job seriously, and do a great job,” McCarthy told TPG. However, she pointed out that the latest figure she heard was that there are around one million open jobs in the hospitality industry. The sector is currently experiencing a labor shortage and with housekeepers needing to clean 10 or more rooms each day in a typical hotel, there is a chance things are going to be missed.

If you’re really worried you can use those same disinfecting wipes you have in your bag for the plane to wipe down surfaces you might be concerned about in your hotel room, like door handles or the TV remote.

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