As New York City hotels start reopening for business with promises of enhanced cleaning protocols in the wake of COVID-19, Inside Edition put some major hotel brands to the test and found evidence that some of them hadn't changed bedding or wiped down surfaces between guests.
Inside Edition producers checked into different New York City hotel rooms and used a harmless, washable spray to apply an Inside Edition logo – only visible under UV light – to the pillows, bed sheets and bath towels. Commonly touched surfaces, including the TV remote, thermostat and desk were also marked with a special washable gel.
After marking the room, Inside Edition producers left the beds at all three locations looking like they’d been slept in and then checked out. The following day, using a new reservation with a different guest name, Inside Edition checked back into the exact same rooms to see if housekeeping had changed the linens and wiped down various surfaces.
At the Hyatt Place Times Square, producers found the logo glowing brightly on the bed sheet and pillowcase, indicating they had not been changed between guests. While the desk had been wiped down and the towel was replaced, the gel was visible when the remote control was placed under a UV light.
The results were shocking, especially considering the struggling hotel industry is trying to lure back guests on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic with promises of rigorous new cleaning protocols.
When Inside Edition showed what we found to a manager who came up to the room, she said they would “definitely look into it” and “that shouldn’t be possible at all.”
Inside Edition's Steven Fabian then asked, “But don’t you think during coronavirus times they should be going the extra mile to keep rooms clean?”
The manager replied, “Absolutely, and that’s what we’re doing.”
A Hyatt spokesperson told Inside Edition, “We are deeply concerned about the situation described, as it is not representative of Hyatt’s rigorous and enhanced cleaning protocols that have been deployed globally due to COVID-19,” and added, “We are working with the hotel’s owner to ensure the hotel is implementing proper cleaning protocols that are consistent with Hyatt’s commitment to cleanliness for the safety and well-being of our guests.”
A few blocks away at the Hampton Inn Times Square Central, Inside Edition once again found that a sheet and a pillowcase had not been changed, and the remote control and thermostat hadn’t been wiped down.
When Inside Edition alerted a manager about the situation, he said he would need to get a different manager, but no one ever came back.
In a statement to Inside Edition, a spokesperson for the independently owned and operated Hampton Inn said, “Our hotel's cleanliness is one of our highest priorities, especially during these unprecedented times. An internal investigation revealed that our housekeeping team relied on a visual inspection of the room’s cleanliness to determine which areas received attention, deviating from our protocols. This is a violation of our standards to thoroughly clean each room. Both our housekeeping team and management apologize for this mistake and we are retraining our team members to reinforce our procedures.”
The next stop was the Trump International Hotel overlooking Central Park, where the room Inside Edition booked cost nearly $600 a night.
The room came with a card that said the hotel is taking special care to make sure that the rooms are immaculate. They also provided guests with a PPE “welcome kit” with some cleaning supplies and a mask.
But when Inside Edition returned to the same room under a different name, producers found that while the sheets and bathroom towel had been changed, the pillowcase had not – the Inside Edition logo still shining. The counter area above the minibar and the remote control also had not been wiped between guests.
When a manager arrived after she was called up to the room, she saw the cameras and walked away.
In a statement to Inside Edition a spokesperson for the Trump International Hotel and Tower New York said: “Following an internal review, we have concluded that the claims made by Inside Edition are categorically false. Trump International Hotel & Tower New York is one of the premier luxury hotels anywhere in the world and has received countless accolades, including the Forbes Five-Star award for the past 13 years, for its consistently impeccable service.”