A member of hotel staff was seen using a toilet brush to clean two teacups. Photo: Weibo
A member of hotel staff was seen using a toilet brush to clean two teacups. Photo: Weibo

Three five-star hotels in Harbin in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province have been probed by the city’s Tourism Bureau after reports of poor hygiene.

On December 26, a video titled “The Secrets of Five-star Hotels” went viral on the Internet in China after an undercover reporter exposed problems in the Kempinski Hotel Harbin, Shangri-la Hotel Harbin and Sheraton Harbin Xiangfang Hotel.

In the video, a cleaning-staff member in the Kempinski Hotel used a toilet brush to clean two teacups and immediately used the same tool to brush a toilet.

The staffer also use customers’ bathing towels and toilet water to clean cups, the floor, tubs and toilets.

The staffer told the undercover reporter, who infiltrated the hotels in the guise of a trainee, that cleaners had to tidy up 12 rooms a day and could get an extra 12 yuan (US$1.80) for cleaning an additional room. She said she sometimes ignored the hotel’s hygiene requirements so as to save time.

Staff in the other two hotels were also witnessed using customers’ bathing towels to clean toilets and wastebaskets. Staff also failed to change the towels and bedsheets for a new customer if they seemed unused.

After the video, taken in November, went viral on the Internet, the Harbin Tourism Bureau sent officials to investigate the three hotels and confirmed the hygiene lapses, Beijing Youth Daily reported.

According to local regulations, hotels are required to ensure the hygiene standards of their rooms and replace all towels and bedsheets for every new customer.

YouTube video

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