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How Clean Is Your Hotel?

Best Western is on the attack against mystery stains and microorganisms. Its army: a battalion of housekeepers supplied with black lights and sterilization wands.

The hotel chain has kicked off a new cleanliness program called “I Care Clean.” The program requires housekeeping staff to use ultra violet (UV) black lights and UV sterilization wands to clean hotel rooms. Best Western will also introduce easy-to-clean seamless remote controls that will be disinfected before each stay, and disposable wraps to fit over towels and pillows after they’ve been cleaned (they’re recyclable).

I Care Clean was initiated in response to data gathered by research firms that showed a lack of consumer confidence in the cleanliness of mid-scale hotels.

In a press release from the hotel, Senior Vice President of Brand Management and Member Services Ron Pohl issued this statement: “Through our consumer research, we found that no one hotel chain in the midscale category was recognized by consumers as being cleaner than others. This intrigued us, as we saw a real opportunity to lead the industry with advanced cleaning practices and recognized products.”

Every traveler has undoubtedly heard the urban legend of the festering, bacteria-blanketed remote control. Travel journalist Peter Greenburg told Oprah that the remote is the “dirtiest thing in your hotel room.” (His evidence—”think about how many people have used the remote control before you and whether anyone has ever thought to clean it”—has holes, but I’m nevertheless inclined to agree.) There’s even an app that allows you to control your hotel-room TV using your smartphone in lieu of the remote. 

Bedspreads are notoriously filthy, too. A Best Western representative told us that any bedspreads will be washed if bacteria is detected on them via the black lights. No longer will travelers need to fling off the stiff bedspread using the tip a foot or an oblivious spouse’s toothbrush.

By arming housekeepers with black lights and sterilizations wand, is Best Western being a little too fastidious? Or is the hotel on the right track? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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