Housekeepers at luxurious hotels charging up to £370 a night have been caught washing guests’ tea cups with a toilet brush, wiping bathroom floor with bath towels and folding duvets on the floor, an undercover investigation has revealed.
Journalists also exposed how the hotel cleaners used the same brush to scrub the toilet and bathtub, washed a bath mat in the bathtub and dipped bath towels into toilet water.
The report, released by Chinese website Pear Video, claimed these shocking and unhygienic cleaning behaviour was found in top hotels in the city of Harbin, a buzzing provincial capital in north-east China.
The investigation filmed a cleaner (above) who allegedly worked at the Kempinski Hotel Harbin
The report claimed that the worker washed a number of tea cups using a toilet brush (pictured)
Kempinski Hotel Harbin (pictured) charges up to £370 per night for one of its 352 guestrooms
All actions have been caught on camera by journalists, who posed as trainee cleaners and were recruited by the hotels. They secretly filmed their senior colleagues who were apparently showing them the ropes at work.
The seven-minute-long video report starts by showing a cleaner at five-star Kempinski Hotel Harbin washing the tea cups in a guestroom using a toilet brush.
Another male worker can be heard openly telling the reporter to ignore the sterilisation of the cups.
The cleaner then used the same toilet brush to scrub the inside of the toilet before putting it back to a plastic stand.
The worker then used a bath towel to dry the cups.
The same Kempinski hotel cleaner is caught using a bath towel to dry a tea cup during her shift
The video also shows her dipping a bath towel into the toilet before using it to clean the floor
Apparently, the worker said she wouldn’t change the bed runner because ‘it’s not dirty’
When the reporter asked the colleague if all housekeepers do the same, the cleaner hinted ‘yes’, adding ‘we just never talk about it’.
Afterwards, the worker dipped a bath towel into the toilet water before using the towel to wipe the floor.
The nightly rate at Kempinski Hotel Harbin, which has 352 guestrooms and suites, ranges from 1,132 to 3,254 yuan (£129-370).
The report claims a worker from Shangri-La hotel using the same cloth to clean cups and bins
Then the worker is caught on camera washing the cloth using the water in the toilet
Shangri-La Hotel Harbin’s rooms cost between £148 and £284 per night (an example above)
The report then focussed on Shangri-La Hotel Harbin whose 404 guestrooms charges anywhere between 1,300 and 2,500 yuan (£148 and £284).
A Shangri-La cleaner is seen cleaning tea cups, the litter bin and the toilet, in order, using the same cloth. She then washed a rubber floor mat from the bathroom in the bathtub.
The report then showed the worker scrubbing the bath tub and the toilet using the same brush. She apparently said the action was not permitted by the hotel, but she was ‘too lazy’ to follow the rule.
‘You just need to be careful when you work and not let your boss see it,’ the cleaner told the undercover reporter, unaware of their real identity.
The worker then used the same brush to clean a few tea cups. She also used bath towels to wipe the floor.
The three high-end hotels are situated in Harbin (pictured), a buzzing city in north-east China
The Shangri-La worker is seen scrubbing the bath tub and the toilet using the same brush
The video shows the Shangri-La worker using the same brush to clean a few tea cups
Lastly, the report looked into the Sheraton Harbin Xiangfang Hotel, a popular 230-room business hotel whose price tag runs from 838 yuan to 1,099 yuan (£95-125).
The Sheraton housekeeper apparently said in the footage that towels appearing unopened didn’t need to be changed. She then used the same brush to clean the sink and toilet before folding a duvet on the floor, according to the video.
The investigation has put the three high-end brands in hot water as people in China have condemned the cleaners’ unethical behaviour and the hotel’s poor management.
A worker at the Sheraton is accused of using the same brush to clean the sink and toilet
The reporter also caught her folding duvet on the floor before throwing it back to the bed
All of the three hotel brands have responded to the report and said they were working with the local authorities to investigate the claims.
Kempinski Hotels said the company sincerely regrets the reported breach of their normal standards and procedures. In a statement to MailOnline, the Geneva-based brand said it has taken additional pre-cautions to ensure their employees perform ‘according to strictest standards of hygiene’.
Shangri-La began an investigation immediately upon seeing the video, including reviewing work processes, increasing training and tightening supervision. The Hong Kong brand said in a statement to MailOnline: ‘What the video shows is unacceptable and if accurate is a severe violation of our strict hygiene standards.’
Sheraton Harbin Xiangfang Hotel apologised to the public on its social media account for failing to carry out the hygienic standard in guestrooms. The American company said they had given additional training to all the housekeepers to stress the importance of hotel policy.
Upon investigation, the government of Harbin confirmed on December 27 the authenticity of the allegations in the report.
According to a government statement, all of the three hotels have been given a fine and warning.