Canadian Hotel Rooms Test High For Bacteria, Investigation Shows

Oh, Canada. You’ve got national healthcare and spectacular scenery, but your hotel rooms … those need work.

According to a recent CBC Marketplace investigation conducted by a microbiologist, six diverse chain hotels ranging from budget to high-end had, “high levels of contamination creating potentially hazardous conditions for guests.”

Marketplace apparently surveyed thousands of “high-touch” spots in 54 rooms, using a “an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) measuring device that determines microbial contamination on surfaces.”

The filthiest items likely won’t come as a surprise to frequent travelers: bed comforters, bathroom faucets, and remote controls took top honors for bacterial counts. Microbiologist Keith Warriner of Guelph University, who conducted the investigation, warns that hotel bacteria is a greater health risk to guests, because the germs come from literally thousands of different bodies. In the case of bedding, we’re exposed to those nasties for a longer period of time.

If money is tight, you’ll be happy to know that ubiquitous cheapie Super 8 had some of the cleanest bathrooms, while luxury hotels often had poor results. The big picture is that just because a room looks clean, doesn’t mean it is. Blame overworked (and likely underpaid) hotel staff, who often don’t have adequate time to deep-clean all of the required rooms on their shifts.

Here’s a tip: Bring your own pillowcase, fold down the comforter, and make friends with a bottle of Purell when staying in a hotel or motel. Otherwise, just look at it as an immune system-building holiday.

[Photo credit: flickr user adrigu]

UK’s Queen renting out apartments for Olympics

Finding a place to stay for the Olympics is a challenge. Booking a room can be complicated as many entire hotels have been snapped up by the International Olympic Committee or are working on an exclusive-use deal with them.

It looks like the “We” of the growing Collaborative Age movement is taking over for the “Me” of the Industrial Age more all the time though.

Today, Queen Elizabeth II approved renting out her apartments at St. James’s Palace during the 2012 Olympic Games. A nice step in the right direction.

$47,500 a night will get holders of “royal warrants“(long-standing ties to the Royal Family) will get a nice London flat.

Don’t want to pay $47,500? Not even sure what “royal warrants” are?

Our friends at Airbnb have you covered with over 2,000 listings in the Greater London area. The Airbnb London collection features spacious homes, apartments and floatels (houseboats) throughout the city that will be a welcome retreat for those visiting London to cheer on their favorite athletes and partake in the Olympic festivities.

Mobiata introduces HotelPal 2.0 for the iPad

has long been on our “must carry” list of mobile applications – Instead of browsing individual hotel chain sites, or navigating non-mobile web sites, you can find, research and book rooms from right inside the app.

Until now, HotelPal was only available for Android and the iPhone/iPod Touch. Of course, you could use it on the iPad, but it wasn’t “made for” the iPad – until today.

In HotelPal 2.0, the app has become iPad native, which means gorgeous map based price searches, a new page-turning interface for hotel navigation and the ability to view side-by-side hotel listings.

And just like the previous version, HotelPal 2.0 is still free of charge. You’ll find download links for the various versions at


Top ten reasons Gadling readers would change hotel rooms

Though we try to be flexible, sometimes, there’s something so wrong with a hotel room that you just can’t stay. You may remember our article on A seasoned traveler’s top ten hotel peeves, as well as An even more seasoned traveler’s top ten hotel peeves. Those things are all irritating, but sometimes, there are issues with a room you couldn’t even have anticipated.

We wanted to know what would make you change rooms, so we asked our fans on Facebook their thoughts. The most common answer? Cigarette smoke. Read below to see the other reasons people change hotel rooms — and maybe you won’t feel quite so bad next time you have to.

Top ten reasons Gadling readers would change hotel rooms

1. “Cigarette smoke.” — Cherie, Jackie, Jennifer, Martha, Mark, Bill and Jessica

2. “Excessive noise and foot traffic if I’m right next to the elevator.” — Jennifer

3. “A mess, construction, broken furniture, smell, wrong bed configuration, noisy neighbors.” — Karen

4. “Bathroom plumbing issues, TV doesn’t work.” — Carol

5. “Broken air-conditioner.” — Mark

6. “Anything living in the room besides humans — gross.” — Tara

7. “Dead hooker under the bed is always a no go.” — Anita

8. “Dirty/stained sheets, bad odors.” — Rebecca

9. “I‘ve heard a MILLION excuses like color, lighting, proximity to bar/restaurant/ice/etc, superstitious, religious, proximity to other guests (or far away from them), don’t like odd/even numbers (floor or room), etc … you get the picture.” — Despina

10. “The only time I have requested a new room was because the cups in the bathroom were dirty (lipstick stains), the bedcovers had some suspicious stains on them, and the desk was covered in food stains. Sadly, I have stayed in budget hotels that were much better, and this was a Hilton.” — Carrie

Marc had a particularly harrowing experience: “Walked into a hotel room ‘freshly cleaned’ and there were pubic hairs in the sheets, soap tray and likely other places. We got a new room, at a hotel down the street.”


Got more reasons to switch rooms? Want to join in the conversation? Visit Gadling on Facebook.

[Photo by Annie Scott.]

OpenWays turns your mobile phone into a hotel room key

The future of the hotel room key is slowly evolving – RFID (radio frequency identification) cards are making their way to some properties, but the real future of the hotel room door may involve your mobile phone. French company OpenWays has developed a technology that unlocks your hotel room door using “crypto acoustics”.

The system can be added to almost any existing electronic hotel lock, and by combining their lock with a software application on your phone, you’ll be able to bypass the front desk, and unlock your door with your phone. According to OpenWays, the application generates a unique sound pattern each time you use it, which also means people can’t record the tones and use them to gain access to your room.

OpenWays has gone beyond “vaporware”, and is actually ready for a real trial at two InterContinental properties (the Holiday Inn Rosemont and the Holiday Inn Express Houston Downtown Convention Center). The mobile unlock application will be available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.

Of course, with new technology comes new ways things can go wrong – and arriving at your hotel with a dead phone battery is one new way you’ll be forced to check-in the old fashioned way. Time will tell whether this system really is the future of hotel access, or whether easier will still be better.