Hotels are being left in a ‘stomach churning’ state, Which? investigations reveals

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found.

In many cases, hotels with dirty bedrooms were carrying VisitEngland’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ logo, which is supposed to certify that premises are Covid-secure. 

Inspectors from Which? visited the UK’s best and worst-rated hotels chains to find out how regularly rooms are being cleaned between guests amid the pandemic.

Using germ simulation powder and swab tests, they detected ‘stomach-churningly’ poor hygiene at Britannia’s Folkestone and Brighton properties. 

Traces of bacteria found in faeces were even found on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton. 

The Which? team also discovered ‘inadequate cleaning’ at the luxury Sofitel London St James, a five-star hotel in the heart of the capital, pointing to low levels of enterococci – the bacteria found in faeces – on a toilet seat.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, told MailOnline that poor standards of cleanliness were ‘unacceptable during normal times, but during a global pandemic it could be downright dangerous’. 

Britannia, which has been polled as the country’s worst hotel chain by Which? readers for eight years in a row, said it ‘accepts there is more to do’, while the Sofitel London St James said it was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the results.

The researchers said a 'decent cleaning fluid' should have removed all traces of the powder and fluid, but it was still found on the TV remote, door handle, plug socket, kettle, coffee mugs, taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flushing mechanism

The researchers said a ‘decent cleaning fluid’ should have removed all traces of the powder and fluid, but it was still found on the TV remote, door handle, plug socket, kettle, coffee mugs, taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flushing mechanism

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found

In the bathroom, the bathroom taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flush also turned red. Fortunately, towels and bedsheets had been changed

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found

The team booked the same room at the Grand Burstin hotel in Folkestone for two nights in a row, spraying towels and bedsheets with hazmat UV fluid before checkout to discover how thoroughly rooms were cleaned between guests

Traces of bacteria found in faeces were even found on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton

Traces of bacteria found in faeces were even found on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton

The team also discovered 'inadequate cleaning' at the luxury Sofitel London St James, a five-star hotel, pointing to low levels of enterococci - the bacteria found in faeces - on a toilet seat

The team also discovered ‘inadequate cleaning’ at the luxury Sofitel London St James, a five-star hotel, pointing to low levels of enterococci – the bacteria found in faeces – on a toilet seat

The team booked the same room at the Grand Burstin hotel in Folkestone for two nights in a row, spraying towels and bedsheets with hazmat UV fluid before checkout to discover how thoroughly rooms were cleaned between guests. 

When inspectors checked back in, many items lit up under our UV light – including a TV remote control, door handle, plug socket, kettle and coffee mugs.

In the bathroom, the bathroom taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flush also turned red. Fortunately, towels and bedsheets had been changed.

The researchers said a ‘decent cleaning fluid’ should have removed all traces of the powder and fluid, but it was still found on the TV remote, door handle, plug socket, kettle, coffee mugs, taps, soap dispenser, toilet brush and flushing mechanism. 

‘It suggests these areas have seen a cursory dab with a cloth at best. Some were spotlessly clean, while others were stomach-churningly filthy in places,’ they said. 

Inspectors said on arrival it appeared that the Folkestone hotel is taking public health seriously, with hand sanitiser stations at the entrance and plexiglass in the lobby.

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found

Popular hotels including those in the Britannia chain are being left in a filthy state with blood, faeces and hair left in rooms, an undercover investigation has found

Both washable substances are invisible to the naked eye, but glow red under an ultraviolet light. The results revealed traces of enterococci on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle

Both washable substances are invisible to the naked eye, but glow red under an ultraviolet light. The results revealed traces of enterococci on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle

Inspectors said on arrival it appeared that the Folkestone hotel is taking public health seriously, with hand sanitiser stations at the entrance and plexiglass in the lobby

Inspectors said on arrival it appeared that the Folkestone hotel is taking public health seriously, with hand sanitiser stations at the entrance and plexiglass in the lobby

A card inside bedrooms even promises: ‘You can be confident that your bedroom has been thoroughly sanitised ready for your stay’.

At the Royal Albion Hotel, the inspectors found more signs of sloppy cleaning, including a suspicious yellow stain and short hair on the toilet seat. 

The team used a swabbing kit to collect samples from eight high-contact areas in the room, sending them for lab tests. 

They also sprinkled germ simulation powder, which is used for NHS demos, on common touch areas, including light switches and door handles. 

Both washable substances are invisible to the naked eye, but glow red under an ultraviolet light. The results revealed traces of enterococci, an indication of faecal contamination, on the toilet seat and bathroom door handle. 

The bacteria, found in the intestinal tract, can cause urine and abdominal infections. Low levels of staphylococcus were also found on the TV remote, bathroom door handle and toilet seat. 

According to Which?, the hygiene standard was ‘only marginally better’ at the Sofitel London St James, which had unsatisfactory swab results. 

The inspectors also sprinkled germ simulation powder, which is used for NHS demos, on common touch areas, including light switches and door handles

The inspectors also sprinkled germ simulation powder, which is used for NHS demos, on common touch areas, including light switches and door handles

Britannia, which has been polled as the country's worst hotel chain by Which? readers for eight years in a row, said it 'accepts there is more to do'

Britannia, which has been polled as the country’s worst hotel chain by Which? readers for eight years in a row, said it ‘accepts there is more to do’

Meanwhile, they praised accommodation offered by the pub chain Greene King, whose White Horse Hotel in East Sussex had ‘spotless’ hygiene results, it said. 

Britannia has VisitEngland’s ‘Good to Go’ logo displayed on its website, granted in recognition that the hotel chain ‘has confirmed that they have followed government and industry Covid-19 guidelines, ensuring processes are in place to maintain cleanliness and aid social/ physical distancing’.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, told MailOnline: ‘During a global pandemic it could be downright dangerous. 

‘Hotels we inspected boasted a long list of enhanced measures promising to protect visitors from the virus and give them confidence to book, but this means nothing if rooms aren’t being cleaned properly,’ he said. 

‘Schemes like ‘We’re Good to Go’, designed to reassure guests that accommodation providers are following coronavirus safety procedures, should be a useful guide when booking. Instead, all hotels need to do to earn a badge is tick a few boxes, which is simply not good enough.’ 

In a statement, Britannia said: ‘We are totally committed to providing a safe environment for visitors. We have so far spent around £2million on Covid-19 precautions, but we accept there is more to do.’ 

A spokesman for Sofitel London St James said that they were ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the results, adding: ‘While we believe this to be an isolated issue, we have undertaken a thorough review of the hotel’s cleaning protocols.’

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