Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Tue January 19 2016

Why Luxury Hotels Aren't Always the Cleanest

Hotel & Resort | Patrick Clarke | January 19, 2016

Why Luxury Hotels Aren't Always the Cleanest

While it's no secret that some hotels are cleaner than others, guests would be surprised to know that three-star hotels are often times cleaner than their four- and five-star counterparts, according to a hotel hygiene study conducted by Travelmath.

Travelmath's crew took 36 different samples from nine different hotels, specifically examining the rooms' bathroom counters, remotes, desks and phones. 

"Overall, according to the surfaces we tested, the average hotel room appears to be dirtier than a typical home, an airplane, and even a school," Travelmatch concluded.

Based on Travelmath's measurement of colony-forming units (CFUs) per square inch, three-star hotels outperformed four- and five-star properties in three out of the four categories.

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"That was definitely kind of a surprise for us, because the five-star hotels are known for those extra amenities, the extra service, the extra luxury," Travelmath outreach manager Cristina Lachowyn told Yahoo. "So one would assume that the extra money you’re spending for those extra stars would also go into housekeeping."

While four- and five-star hotels boasted cleaner phones than three-star hotels, the latter were found to have significantly cleaner bathroom counters, television remotes and desks.

On average, the bathroom counters at the three-star hotels that were tested had 320,007 colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch, compared to 2,534,773 CFUs per square-inch for four-star hotels and 1,011,670 CFUs per square-inch for five-star hotels. 

When it comes to the remote control, three-star hotels have an average of 232,733 CFUs per square inch, once again beating out four-star hotels (1,400,027 CFUs per square inch) and five-star hotels (2,002,300 CFUs per square inch).

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Based on bacteria measurements taken at the desks, both three- and five-star hotels outperformed four-star hotels, posting an average of 4,687 CFUs per square-inch and 40,030 CFUs per square-inch, respectively, compared to an average of 1,800,003 CFUs per square-inch for four-star hotels.

Averaged across all star ratings, the bathroom counters (1,288,817 CFUs per square inch) were found to possess the most germs, followed by the remote control (1,211,687 CFUs per square inch), desk (604,907 CFUs per square inch) and phone (4,252 CFUs per square inch).

Although the figures can be scary, there's no reason for travelers to panic.

"There really are simple ways to avoid being negatively affected," Project Manager Emily Pierce told Yahoo. "Just practice common hygiene practices on a consistent basis." 


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