A neat honor

One Texas destination sparkles in ranking of U.S. cities with cleanest hotels

Texas destination sparkles in ranking of cities with cleanest hotels

C. Baldwin Hotel Allen Center downtown Houston guestroom
Houston hotels pass the white-glove test.  Photo courtesy of C. Baldwin Hotel

One Texas city's hotels outshine all others when it comes to cleanliness, according to a new ranking from AAA.

In AAA’s ranking of the U.S. cities with the most hotels that pass the white-glove test, Houston lands at No. 2. In Houston, 90 hotels meet the rigid standards for the travel organization’s Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping designation. Only New York City ranks higher, with 161 hotels making a clean sweep.

With more than 80,000 guestrooms, Houston is one of the 10 largest hotel markets in the U.S.

The AAA award recognizes “inspected and approved” hotels that surpass expectations during on-site reviews that check for dirt, dust, pests, and other signs of poorly kept properties. Only Diamond-rated properties can qualify for the award.

“AAA has found that cleanliness and physical condition are consistently among the most important components travelers consider when looking for a hotel. This new designation identifies hotels with exceptional practices,” Michael Petrone, AAA’s director of inspections and Diamond ratings, says in a release.

Houston isn’t the only Texas city to show up in this year’s AAA ranking. Austin ranks sixth, with 63 spotless hotels, and San Antonio ranks 10th (49 hotels). Curiously, neither Dallas nor Fort Worth made the list.

AAA points out that some of the U.S. cities with the most hotel rooms failed to make the list. They include Las Vegas (the U.S. city with the most guestrooms), Chicago, and Orlando, Florida.

Hotels must demonstrate housekeeping excellence for two consecutive inspections and be free of complaints from AAA members to meet criteria for this award, putting them in the top 25 percent among AAA’s 27,000 “inspected and approved” hotels.

“In addition to passing AAA’s rigorous on-site inspection, the properties that have received the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to keeping their property in top condition — whether that be a small inn or bed and breakfast, a sprawling resort, or a skyscraping city hotel — at all times for our members and their guests,” Petrone says.

In a 2015 survey commissioned by the CLR brand of household cleaning products, 86 percent of consumers reported cleanliness was one of the top criteria when they’re combing through online reviews of hotels and vacation rentals. In fact, the survey found, 80 percent of travelers would rather give up internet access during a stay than put up with a dirty hotel or vacation rental (particularly a messy bathroom).

“The feeling of a perfectly clean hotel or vacation rental can provide a sense of calm and contentment; however, a dirty room can ruin a vacation experience by making it impossible to let go and relax,” Alison Gutterman, president and CEO of Jelmar LLC, whose products include the CLR brand, says in a release.

“Even when travelers are excused from cleaning duties on vacation and have permission to escape the rigors of daily chores,” Gutterman adds, “the cleanliness of our environment is clearly top of mind and of the utmost importance to travelers no matter where they’re staying, be it a vacation rental or hotel.”