Chinese regulator probes luxury hotel chains over poor hygiene after undercover expose

Deluxe hotels apologized after a secret video report went viral. (Supplied)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Chinese regulator probes luxury hotel chains over poor hygiene after undercover expose

BEIJING: China’s tourism regulator has launched an investigation into poor hygiene at a string of five-star hotels, including global chains such as the Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La, after an undercover expose went viral and prompted a public outcry.

The undercover video report, posted by an Internet celebrity named Huazong on Wednesday, showed cleaning staff at various luxury hotels using a single cloth to clean toilets as well as water cups and basins.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said it had asked authorities in five provinces to investigate the issue, which has already prompted a flurry of apologies from big-name hotel chains.

The 12-minute video features international chains such as the Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc-owned Conrad Beijing and Waldorf Astoria, as well as Marriott International Inc’s Sheraton and Le Royal Meridien.

Huazong, who has 322,000 followers on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, said he recorded the videos during stays at deluxe hotels over the past few years. He said that it was common for staff to use dirty towels to clean cups.

His revelations drew wide attention and caused a nationwide public outcry. Hotels including the Park Hyatt in Beijing, the Shangri-La in Fuzhou, and the Four Seasons in Shanghai issued apologies and vowed to improve service quality.

The Mandarin Oriental hotel in the commercial hub of Shanghai vowed “it would not tolerate the inappropriate cleaning behavior in guest rooms shown in the video.”

The Shangri-La said it was taking steps to guarantee hygiene standards. The Four Seasons in Shanghai said it would improve internal training.

The expose also led to heated discussion online as some argued the cleaning staff were not getting paid much for working in some of the most expensive hotels in the world.

“Luckily I cannot afford to stay in any of these hotels,” one man said in an online post responding to the video. 


Contractor appointed for $1.4bn Jubail Island project in Abu Dhabi

Updated 1 min 41 sec ago
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Contractor appointed for $1.4bn Jubail Island project in Abu Dhabi

  • Project will be open to foreign property investors
  • Gulf Contractors Company to carry out enabling works

LONDON: A contractor has been appointed to carry out initial works for a $1.4 billion island development in Abu Dhabi.

Gulf Contractors Company won the enabling works contract for the Jubail Island project in the UAE capital, the company behind the development said.

The works under the contract are scheduled for completion in January 2020, according to the Jubail Island Investment Company (JIIC), the UAE state news agency WAM reported.

Enabling works generally involve major earthworks and grading of a site, ahead of the installation of infrastructure such as roads, utilities, and other facilities. 

Over 2.5 million cubic meters of material will be excavated and placed to create the formation level for over 40 kilometers of roadways and more than 800 residential properties as part of the contracted works, according to WAM.

The giant Jubail Island project will span six “investment zone villages” and will be home to between 5,000 and 6,000 residents, according to the developer. 

The project, which has 13 kilometers of waterfront and is being built on a natural island in Abu Dhabi emirate, is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“Offering housing, commercial, leisure and freehold investment opportunities particularly for Emiratis and expatriates is a central planning element for Jubail Island,” said Mounir Haidar, managing director of JIIC.

“Today’s announcement confirms the timely delivery of the newly launched project in conformity with leading construction and environmental standards.”

Abu Dhabi in April amended its real estate laws, lifting restrictions on foreigners owning freehold properties in certain free zones in the emirate.