Recently, I decided to take a mid-week trip to Lisbon. I was already in Portugal, so there was no need to look at flights or travel insurance. I mainly just needed a place to stay.
When booking a hotel, my main focus is normally price. This time, however, I was more interested in cleanliness. Specially, I was interested in finding a hotel or Airbnb that had been awarded Turismo de Portugal’s Clean & Safe seal of approval.
The program, which is unique to Portugal, is a hygiene certificate that shows that a company has undertaken the organisation’s hygiene training which is designed to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The program has been extremely well-promoted across Portugal, and I assumed just about every hotel and business in the tourism industry would have taken the training. I also assumed it would be very easy to find a hotel with the Clean & Safe certificate.
Unfortunately, it isn’t.
You can’t simply go on Booking.com or Airbnb.com and search for Clean & Safe hotels. There isn’t a filter on either site, and Booking.com doesn’t actually let hotel owners update their own descriptions. All hotels and accommodation owners can really do is update their photos to include the seal of approval on there.
Airbnb gives owners accommodation owners a lot more flexibility, but without being able to filter the results you really have to look at each profile individually to see if they’ve updated their profile. Or, look at the photos.
Surprisingly, probably less than 20% of accommodation owners on either Airbnb or Booking.com had made any indication that they had received the Clean & Safe seal of approval. This is surprisingly as it’s likely that far more establishments than this have undertaken the training.
Turismo de Portugal have actually produced a Clean & Safe website that lists every hotel, restaurant, golf course, and other tourist amenity that have a Clean & Safe logo. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly given they were able to put it together so quickly) this isn’t as advanced as a normal accommodation website meaning you can’t search for available hotels, check its rating, reviews, or whether it has a swimming pool. All you can do is lookup and see if a hotel has taken the certificate.
Basically, that’s how you find a Clean & Safe hotel in Portugal. First, search on Booking.com or maybe on Airbnb and find somewhere with availability, paying attention to those that have taken the time to put the Clean & Safe logo on their profile pic. If you find one you like: perfect!
If it doesn’t have the logo, you’ll need to look up the name on the Clean & Safe website to see if they’re registered there. If you can’t find it on the Clean & Safe website, go back to Booking and find somewhere else.
It’s not as straight-forward as most of us would like, but it’s a small price to pay for finding hygienic accommodation that you can feel comfortable staying in.