FlyerTalk member and community director SanDiego1K brought her concerns about the cleanliness of glasses in hotel rooms to the Hyatt Gold Passport forum, wondering if Hyatt Corporation has a policy similar to Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
“All glassware — including glass coffee carafes and cups — are to be washed in a dishwasher and, once cleaned, never again touched by ungloved hands with the understanding that the gloves being used will have never been used previously for any other purpose”, according to FlyerTalk member Starwood Lurker, who is also known as William Sanders, the Online Guest Feedback Coordinator and one of the official company representatives of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide on FlyerTalk.
Does SanDiego1K suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, as intimated by fellow FlyerTalk members — or does she have just cause to be concerned? Is there any validity to her trepidation about using glassware at hotel properties? What about FlyerTalk member Jim Davis Sr, who also brought up the issue of the cleanliness of glassware at hotel properties?
To answer those questions, we need to go back in time several years to November of 2007.
I do not typically watch television, but I was at home in the Atlanta area watching the local news on WAGA-TV Fox 5 when reporter Dana Fowle — then of the investigative team — appeared live to present for the first time a now-legendary undercover hidden-camera exposé on the cleanliness of glassware in hotel rooms. The links posted in various places on FlyerTalk — such as this one — are no longer good, but I found the original report at an Internet web site called snotr:
I hope that you do not find any snotr in your drinking glasses — but that may be the least of your problems in certain hotel rooms as indicated in the video report, unfortunately.
As you may have noted in the report, one hotel property as a result replaced the glasses in its hotel rooms with plastic cups which were individually wrapped. Should you be concerned about their cleanliness as well?
If the plastic cups are manufactured similarly to how the plastic cups used by flight attendants of Delta Air Lines aboard aircraft are manufactured, I can personally vouch by emphatically resounding a no — you need not be concerned about cleanliness at all. A company in Tennessee which manufactures those plastic cups was a customer of mine, and I was taken on a tour of their plant. I can assure you that the first human hands to touch each of those sterilized plastic cups are the flight attendants once they rip open the protective plastic wrapper containing the plastic cups — and the machinery used to create those plastic cups are clean, as well as the facility itself in which the machinery is located.
Similarly, it would therefore stand to reason that you are the first person to touch a plastic cup in a hotel room once you remove it from its protective plastic wrapper — although sometimes the wrappers have a few small holes in the covering. Although it is a long shot, I suppose that it is possible that water can splash from the sink and through one of those little holes, depending on the proximity of the plastic cups to the sink — but I highly doubt it.
I personally do not believe that it is necessary to drink from a glass as opposed to drinking from a plastic cup from a cleanliness point of view. Then again, there are FlyerTalk members who insist on drinking from glasses in the premium class cabin of an airplane instead of plastic cups back when airlines were attempting to save money — but can you be assured that the glassware aboard aircraft is clean enough from which to drink?
In fact, the water served aboard an airplane may not be safe to drink if it is not bottled water.
Why do fancier hotels insist on using glassware instead of plastic cups in hotel rooms? Is it because the customers insist on it? Would it not be easier, less expensive and more sanitary to use disposable plastic cups which could be recycled? Surely there must be a way to improve the appearance of plastic cups in higher-end hotel properties.
So what is a person to do?
Well, what I do is if I am at a hotel where the rooms are supplied with plastic cups which are individually wrapped, I take one or two of those cups and store it into my bag to carry around with me for future use. If I find myself in a hotel room containing glassware whose cleanliness is questionable, I will use the plastic cup instead — although I do not remember the last time I actually used glassware in a hotel room, come to think of it.
I can tell you that long before that undercover investigation aired, I never used a glass which simply sat upside-down on the counter or table with no protective material between the glass and the surface on which it sat. Who knew what awaited on the rim of that glass?
Not that it was a guarantee of any sort that the glass was clean, but I only used glasses that passed the intense scrutiny of my spotlessness check.
Obsessive? Perhaps — but as I wrote here, I have not suffered from a cold, fever or other illness in several years. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
By the way, you may have noticed the remote control in the investigative video report and thought to yourself about the germs and bacteria that are probably lurking on that device as well as in coffee carafes — but that is another discussion for another time…