A Sheraton Hotel branch in Haikou in China's southern province of Hainan. (Photo/Xinhua)
A Canadian survey has found six hotel chains — including budget hotels Super 8 and luxury chains Fairmont and Sheraton — may contain dangerous levels of filth and contamination as well as "superbug" bacteria in their rooms. The results have have raised concerns in China as five of the chains open new branches across the country, reports the Chinese-language Legal Evening News.
Marketplace recently tested more than 7,000 samplings from 810 "high-touch" spots in 54 rooms at six hotel chains, including budget hotels Super 8 and Econo Lodge, mid-range hotels Best Western and Holiday Inn and the high-end Sheraton and Fairmont.
The results revealed varying levels of filth and contamination, but in every hotel was found some form of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," including C. difficile and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, which are not rare bugs.
"If these superbugs find the right target, they can be killers," microbiologist Keith Warriner, who oversaw the tests for Marketplace, was quoted by CBC News as saying.
MRSA poses a great threat to people with a weakened immune system, and can be contracted through cuts or other open wounds. The bacteria kills over 15,000 Americans each year.
The microbiologist used an ultraviolet flashlight and an adenosine triphosphate meter to measure microbial contamination, revealing the filthiest items were bed comforters, bathroom faucets and remote controls.
Five of the surveyed chains have operations in China. Super 8 runs more than 100 hotels in the country, with 69 in Beijing alone. There are two Sheraton hotels in Beijing. Fairmont owns three sites in Shanghai, Beijing, and Kunshan in Jiangsu province, respectively. Best Western has three clubs in Beijing for members only, while Holiday Inn has 60 locations in China, 14 in Beijing.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, of which Sheraton is a subsidiary, told the Legal Evening News in Beijing on Tuesday that the group did not accept the results, saying the survey adopted a different set of standards. However, Sheraton in Canada had retrained their staff and stepped up supervision, the group added.
The other four hotel chains in China have not responded to the report.