SOME of Scotland’s top luxury five-star hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian and The Scotsman hotel, have failed basic hygiene inspections, an investigation by consumer group Which? has revealed.
A study into the results of food hygiene inquiries carried out by inspectors working to Food Standards Agency (FSA) guidelines found the two hotels were among 200 Scotland-wide told they needed to make improvements to meet national standards.
More than 550 hotels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland also needed to improve their standards.
Published in the latest issue of Which? Travel, the report singled out the Caledonian, which underwent a £24 million refurbishment four years ago.
“You’d think that you wouldn’t need to worry about kitchen cleanliness if you were paying a hefty whack for four- or five-star hotels,” the report said. “But among the accommodations needing to improve their food hygiene practices are some luxurious establishments – including three popular hotels in Edinburgh and London.
“Spend £290 a night, and you might expect something special.
“But the five-star Caledonian Waldorf Astoria in Edinburgh was given the lowest rating at its last inspection. And its swish neighbour, The Scotsman, fared equally badly, despite room rates of £175 a night.”
The report said more than 2,000 hotels in Scotland had passed – “but that leaves far too many not doing enough to ensure their meals are safe to eat”.
Branches of the Doubletree by Hilton chain in Edinburgh and Dundee required some improvement, the report revealed, while the Mercure in Inverness also failed to pass. Motel One on Edinburgh’s Princes Street also needed improvement.
Which? Travel editor Jill Starley-Grainger, said: “Some of Edinburgh’s world-renowned hotels have struggled to come up to the hygiene standards expected of their four- and five-star status. It is vital that they can put to bed some of the concerns of the FSA inspectors.”
The Scottish system offers just two options to inspectors – “Pass” and “Requires improvement” – while the rankings in England and Wales grade businesses on a scale of one to five. Firms are responsible for obeying hygiene rules, with local authorities enforcing compliance.
In Scotland, unlike Wales and Northern Ireland, restaurants do not have to display their most recent food hygiene rating. A spokesperson for the Caledonian Waldorf Astoria said: “Our new culinary team has implemented stringent measures to ensure this situation does not recur. We welcome the environmental health officer’s reinspection.”
A Hilton Worldwide spokesperson said: “Each hotel acted immediately to address the environmental health officers’ concerns. The DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre was recently awarded a pass by the Food Standards Agency.”
Motel One said it had implemented the suggested changes.
The Scotsman Hotel did not return calls for comment.
A spokesman for VisitScotland said: “We know the Scottish tourism industry takes hygiene very seriously and are confident that the establishments given a ‘fail’ rating will be taking swift steps to resolve any issues.”
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