Your Five-Star Hotel Might Not Be As Clean As You Think

See recent posts by Alisha Prakash

There’s an old adage that says you get what you pay for. That is, the more you shell out, the higher the quality you can expect. In the case of hotels, it should technically mean more money equals less likelihood of being subject to stained sheets, bed bugs, and filthy bathrooms. But does that really ring true? Do star ratings and price play a role in the sanitation and security of a hotel? Amerisleep, an eco-friendly mattress company, set out to find out. After analyzing inspection reports of more than 3,400 Florida hotels, motels, and inns, they came out on the other side with some head-turning results. 

For starters, five-star hotels had more than three times as many violations on bedding and linens as four-star properties. Even more alarming, five-star lodgings had more violations than one-star hotels. 

But don’t panic just yet — although stars may not be commensurate with the cleanliness of hotel sheets, price is still a good indicator of what guests can expect. Hotels under $99 per night had almost twice as many violations as any other group, and properties that cost $500 or more per night had more than six times fewer violations than the value category. Interestingly, hotels priced between $300-$499 had nearly twice as many violations as those priced $200-299. And stars do not equate to ratings — namely, as TripAdvisor ratings went up, violation numbers generally went down.

Violations extended beyond hygiene, too. For example, the top violation at five-star hotels was a failure to post telephone surcharges, while garbage issues were the main issue at three- and four-star hotels and one- and two-star properties showed signs of slacking on building repairs. 

One tip: You might want to rethink that room service order at your five-star hotel — nearly one in three violations among five-star hotels were related to unsanitary kitchenware. And if that’s not enough to make you cringe, one- and two-star properties proved to have problems surrounding vermin control and housekeeping.

Perhaps the biggest shock of all, however, were the results on fire safety. Five-star properties had 0.13 violations per inspection for smoke detectors or fire alarm systems and 0.12 for smoke detectors for the hearing impaired. By comparison, four-star hotels had 0.10 violations on smoke detectors for the hearing impaired and three-star hotels came in with 0.12 fire hazards. It’s worth noting that top-rated properties were less likely to have issues with fire extinguishers. Still, no star range was without its fire hazards and smoke detector issues. Five-star hotels showed more fire alarm and smoke detector issues than their three- and four-star counterparts.

It’s a good thing we at Oyster make it our mission to provide travelers with honest hotel reviews and photos to minimize such ugly vacation surprises. After all, you wouldn’t want to wind up at your relatives’ house, would you? 

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