When you book a hotel stay, you expect the room to be comfy, luxurious and, of course, clean.
But Rip Off Britain: Holidays, on BBC One, has discovered that levels of cleanliness in UK hotels vary wildly, and the most expensive rooms aren’t necessarily the cleanest.
The programme professionally assessed hotel rooms from across the spectrum, from five-star hotels to budget, costing between £35 and £140 a night.
Medical microbiologist, Dr. Margarita Gomez-Escalada, from Leeds Beckett University, teamed up with Rip Off Britain: Holidays to test for cleanliness and hygiene standards.
The team took swabs from the light switch, bathroom door handle, desk, remote control, a glass, and the bedspread from each room, and Dr. Gomez-Escalada then tested the results in the lab.
Here’s what they discovered:
Five-star room: Dirtiest sampled
The light switch, remote control and bedspread had so much bacteria on them, Dr Gomez-Escalda was unable to count them in the lab. The bathroom door handle also had high levels of bacteria.
Dr Margarita Gomez-Escalada said: “As you leave the toilet, the handle is the area everybody has touched, everybody's flushed.
Everybody has hopefully washed their hands and touched the taps, but not everybody’s hand washing technique is robust and therefore the chances of contamination at the five-star hotel handle are high.”
Three-star: Shocking levels of bacteria
High levels of bacteria were found on the bedspread and on the remote control. The light switch had so many bacteria colonies on it that, in the lab, they developed a layer of foam on the petri dish.
Four-star: Some bacteria levels “potentially dangerous”
Apart from the bathroom door handle, all the other areas tested had high levels of bacteria. It was worst on the glass tumbler, which had levels of bacteria that was “off the scale”.
Dr Gomez-Escalada says: “The high levels of bacteria on the glass is concerning, because you’re potentially ingesting the bacteria and that could make you sick. For at-risk groups; the very old, the very young, those with low immunity coming into contact with this level of bacteria could be potentially dangerous.”
Budget hotel: Good cleanliness levels
The light switch, the door handle in the bathroom, the glass in the bathroom all had a low level of bacteria, which show that they’ve been cleaned well. There was some more on the desk and the bed cover, and the highest level was the remote control, but overall the low levels of bacteria found indicated good levels of cleanliness.
Two star: Best for cleanliness
On the door handle and the light switch, there was no bacteria, and just low levels in the other items tested. Whilst bacteria were found in slightly more significant levels on the bedspread overall, it was a positive result according to the experts with evidence of an effective cleansing regime and therefore minimum risks.
Rip Off Britain: Holidays presenter Gloria Hunniford says: “Consumers agree that hotel room cleanliness is non-negotiable, regardless of room price. Our investigation shows that the higher-end rooms we tested are far dirtier than the budget rooms, and should make consumers think twice about what you get for your money. There could be more germs lurking in the hotel rooms that look spotless than you think.”
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