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COVID-19: How to deal with cleaning hotel remotes

COVID-19: How to deal with cleaning hotel remotes

I spent last week at Mollymook down the south coast of New South Walles staying at Bannisters by the Sea, famously with Rick Stein’s only restaurant outside Britain.

It was basically the first time I had slept somewhere besides my own bed since mid-March, so I was a little anxious about how a hotel would deal with COVID-19 infection guidelines and cleaning.

a table and chairs overlooking a body of water

Physical distancing and anti-viral gel dispensers

They did the social/physical distancing thing rather well, with only two guests allowed in reception at one time, and tables appropriately distanced in the bar and restaurant, and even round the pool. There were anti-viral liquid dispensers in the foyer, and at other entrances to public spaces like the bar, although no gel or dispensers were provided in the room.

Against guidelines paper menu’s were re-used in the bar. Guest guides with plastic sleeves remained in the room, but were then strangely replaced one night with a paper summary, only to re-appear the next night. But there was one innovation I thought particularly clever and healthy . . .

Remote Controls – sanitised!

All the remote controls were housed in sealable plastic bags. Now I know this is not necessarily good for the worlds ocean environments, but I thought it was a bit of a stroke of genius for the rooms.

a remote control in a plastic bag

This innovation certainly assuaged my remote-related anxiety. It made them easy to use, and sticky finger marks could be wiped clean.

So that was the remote problem solved. Other aspects of cleanliness were not so easy.

Cleaning confidence

Our room was refreshed each day, and I didn’t really pay attention to sheet changes. Either they were left on for the duration of our 4-night stay, or maybe changed after the 2nd night. Both practices – perfectly acceptable. Just as long as this (see below) didn’t happen:

Thanks to for alerting me to this clip

On the fourth day, I realised how easy it was to lose confidence in the cleaning protocol. The rubbish bin in our room was emptied but not relined and glassware had been moved but not cleaned. Looked like attention to detail, and certainly cleaning supervision was a little lax. Those small oversights then threw the whole cleaning process into question. It only takes one customer touchpoint to fail, and the confidence shared between guest and hotel is broken. The guest/host relationship can be very fragile.

a tv on a table

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

I think placing the remote controls in plastic bags is a minor piece of genius, and one even guests could implement if they have any trailing anxiety about hotel room cleanliness.

Sorry about providing you with that rather disturbing report on hotels not changing sheets and pillowslips between guests. This knowledge will now haunt me on every future hotel stay!

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