Friday, May 23, 2008

Nasty Hotel Glasses - A True Story

If you watched the expose on dirty hotel glasses that was on the news a few months back, you'll understand my wary attitude towards all things hotel-oriented. Even in 4 star hotels nowadays, we take extra precautions. Hubbs and I wear slippers instead of going barefeet on the carpet. We do not use the glass drinkware in the rooms, and we never sleep on the coverlets or the large decorative pillows that adorn our bed.

However, until about 10 minutes ago, I figured that we were just being overly cautious, and there was in fact nothing to worry about.

I stand corrected.

Last night, while Hubbs was watching a Blue Jays game with his conference-goers, I had ordered up room service, including a bottle of Mike's Hard Cranberry, which came up from the hotel restaurant with a wine glass. Knowing that the restaurant glasses go through an industrial washer, I felt safe in using the wine glass for my booze.

This early afternoon (1:00 p.m.) when I finally left my room, I had left said glass on the desk in the room for the housekeeping staff to take away with them when they cleaned the room.

Imagine my alarm, then, when I returned to the room a mere 2.5 hours later to find the same wine glass, back in my room, with a "Clean" cover over it. I found it hard to believe that the hotel had actually run this wine glass down to the industrial dishwasher in their kitchen or basement, and brought the same glass back up to my room. The more plausible explanation? The housekeeper washed and rinsed my wine glass from last night using soap and lukewarm water from the tap. The latter possibility would not have actually yielded an officially "clean" glass, but one that was probably infested with microorganisms from the sink and the cleaning supplies used by the chambermaid.

I called down to the front desk immediately, hoping that they could provide a more acceptable explanation than my own, which is hardly acceptable at all.

The reception girl forwarded me to her manager, who then explained to me that drinking glasses are only washed in the industrial-strength washers upon check out, or up to 3x/week on certain "wash" days. Housekeepers allegedly keep a bottle of dish detergent on their cart, and they will clean the glasses in the room using the tap water from the bathroom sink and the dish detergent during the other days of the week, particularly if the people in the room are staying there for longer than one night. The manager further explained to me that they also provide wrapped paper cups for those guests who do not wish to use the glassware due to the expose on the news.


I don't know about you, but GROSS!!!!! I can hardly believe that the other drinking glasses in my room are clean now that I know they only go down to be truly "cleaned" a few times a week, at best. How can I possibly know that the glasses in the room were actually replaced with clean ones when I checked in, given the ease with which a housekeeper could simply wash and rinse those same glasses in my sink? How can I know that the wine glass was cleaned with sufficiently hot water and soap so as to remove germs, and what certainty do I have that the glass wasn't cross-contaminated by the bacteria on the hands of the housekeeper who had likely just finished cleaning my toilet or changing my sheets (presuming these were changed at all)?

I can't know, and I have no certainty of any of this. As a result, I refuse to use any glassware from hotel rooms from here on. I'd much rather buy my own glasses or bring my own paper cups. The risk of contracting e.coli or some other nasty germs is a gamble I refuse to wager.

Oh - and this hotel is not some budget hotel either. It is a 4-star property that belongs to a well-known N. American chain. If you wish to find out which hotel I am talking about, just leave me an email addy in the comments and I'll let you know.

I am so disgusted.


Nathan said...

Same thing happened to me at a 5-star hotel in Portugal last week. : )

Hurene said...

Eww...and they are probably wearing the same rubber gloves to wash the toilet and the glasses!

Have you seen the show where they brought a black light into a hotel room and it showed all these gross stains on the comforter/sheets?

tejanamama said...

a) she didn't waste tap water. she washed it IN the toilet water while doing the toilet...saves time and money.

b) DRINK alcoholic beverages from the nice clean bottles they come in! Saves time and energy :)

Sorry about this. sounds like something i've never considered or worried about. I wash all cups before using them in the hotels tho. I trust the tap. The beds do gross me out sometimes tho.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Nathan - sorry you had to go through the nastiness too!

Hurene - you are assuming they even wore gloves. I'm not sure if they did or not. I didn't see the black light video but I'm afraid to. Ignorance is bliss? :S That said, I never sleep on the covers and I sniff test the pillow cases to smell if it has been washed.

Tejanamama - I normally *do* drink out of the bottle. The nice room service lady brought the wine glass, though, and it was shiny clean (not even a fingerprint) so I decided to live on the edge and go for it. And yes, the beds sometimes really gross me out. Luckily none have been super unbearable...yet.