Skift Take

Hidden-camera videos of housekeepers acting badly at Chinese luxury hotels pop up from time to time. But a new video that's gone viral on social media shows workers using the same sponges to clean cups and sinks. Brands need to take more active precautions.

Luxury Chinese hotels run by Hilton, Marriott and several other chains apologized for unhygienic practices after a video went viral on the Internet showing housekeeping staff using the same sponges to clean cups and sinks, and wiping down bathroom surfaces with guest towels.

The statements came after an 11-minute video was posted on Weibo, a popular social networking site, claiming to show hidden-camera footage of cleaning staff at hotels operated by Shangri-La Asia Ltd., Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and others. The video has gotten 29 million views and elicited tens of thousands of comments and shares.

Hidden-camera videos of housekeeping staff behaving badly at Chinese luxury hotels surface fairly often on social media. Worker shortages and low pay make it hard for hotels to pressure employees to follow the rules, as they can just quit and find jobs elsewhere.

“If 5-star hotels are this bad, what are the 3-star hotels like?” asked Sam Zhao, an analyst at marketing firm Kantar Worldpanel in Beijing.

Bulgari Hotel Shanghai, which is run by Marriott International Inc., apologized in a statement posted Thursday on Weibo, saying it will investigate and take appropriate action. A similar apology came from The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which said it would strengthen room-check rules, and work with government to respond.

The video, which was posted Nov. 14, shows a housekeeper at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Shanghai using a single sponge to clean cups and the sink. The housekeeper then takes the same sponge and cleans the toilet, according to text shown in the video. The hotel chain apologized in a statement posted to Weibo.

At the Bulgari Hotel in Shanghai, a worker is shown reusing a plastic-cup cover fished out of a garbage bin.

china luxury hotels housekeeping horrors Weibo

A still from the video posted on Weibo. Source: Weibo

A worker at a Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Shanghai uses a gel that the video describes as shampoo to clean cups.

A statement issued Thursday by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said “all levels of cultural and tourism authorities should draw inferences and give high priority to the supervision of tourism service quality.”


(Adds analyst’s comment in the fourth paragraph.)

–With assistance from Jason Clenfield.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.


This article was written by Bloomberg News from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

Subscribe to Skift Pro

Subscribe to Skift Pro to get unlimited access to stories like these ($30/month)

Subscribe Now

Tags: china, housekeepers, new luxury, ritz-carlton, social media, waldorf astoria, weibo

Photo credit: Above is a view from the rooftop of Bulgari Shanghai, one of the hotels that have apologized in the aftermath of a hidden camera video posted on social media platform Weibo. Inset image: A still from the video of housekeeping horrors at luxury hotels posted on social media platform Weibo. Weibo/Bloomberg

Up Next

Loading next stories