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Bug At Ritz-Carlton Alarms Hotel Worker

NYTimes.com
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A room for a midweek night starts at $695 and can soar up to $4,500 for a suite, but this particular hotel on Central Park South may have a problem commonly, if unfairly, associated with more low-rent lodging - bedbugs. And it may also have a bigger issue - grumbling workers.

A worker at the hotel, the Ritz-Carlton New York, said that a guest in Room 1005 reported to the front desk on Sunday that she had discovered a bedbug in her room. The guest then checked out, but not before producing a specimen of the bug, a wingless six-legged bloodsucker.

The worker, Rosanna Polanco, a room attendant, said she was asked on Monday to service the room next to 1005 but was not told about the bedbugs. She found out only when she encountered a worker from Ecolab Inc., a company that supplies cleaning products and pest elimination services.

"He was the one who told me: 'Be careful. There's a lot of bedbugs in there,' " Ms. Polanco said, referring to Room 1005. "Management didn't tell me. I found out myself."

As is usual in cases involving bedbugs in hotels, guests in adjacent rooms and those above and below were moved to other rooms or upgraded to suites. And on Wednesday, workers were given training and shown a video on signs of bedbug infestation, like blood on sheets.

Although bedbugs are sometimes associated with fleabag hotels, they can thrive anywhere and are easily transported. There have been reports of bedbugs in office buildings like the Empire State, movie theaters and stores like Abercrombie & Fitch.

Ms. Polanco said she was worried about her family - in case she had unknowingly picked up a bedbug on her clothing and carried it home. "I haven't checked my house," she said. "I don't know how to inspect my house."

The hotel has offered to send professionals to her home to check for any infestation, though Ms. Polanco said no one had come as yet.

Scott Geraghty, the hotel's general manager, confirmed that a bedbug had been found in the room. "Bedbugs are inevitable," he said. "They're brought in by guests and come in on luggage or things of that nature." He said the problem had been remediated.

John Turchiano, a spokesman for the New York Hotel Trades Council, which represents about 30,000 hotel workers, said on Wednesday: "I'm told the hotel apologized for the delay in notifying the members. I can also tell you there was bedbug training this morning and afternoon for management and staff."



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