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Allan Wu Once Checked Into A Hotel In China & Found Used Condom On The Bed

Allan Wu is currently hosting the Mediacorp travelogue series, Cool Hotels
Allan Wu Once Checked Into A Hotel In China & Found Used Condom On The Bed

When 8days.sg spoke to Allan Wu, he’d just returned from a trip in Italy. It was a business trip. Actually, it was a holiday. Come to think of it, it was a little bit of both.

Allan, 50, had just spent a week at Terme di Saturni in Tuscany, a luxury hotel and thermal resort with spa and golf club.  Terme di Saturni is one of several posh hotels Allan and co-hosts Alberto Gei and Charlyn Lin got to check out on featured on the Mediacorp travelogue series. On the show, the celebs learn more about the amazing five-star lodgings as guests and members of the hotel staff.

It’s been 20 years since he was in the Tuscan countryside to shoot a commercial for diamond company De Beers, Allan tells us over Zoom. “It’s nice to return to that region and appreciate it from another vantage point.”

“[The show is] not just about me going there to enjoy, it’s more about me assimilating and being part of the culture of the hotel, understanding the different facets of every department,” says Allan.

“Being part of the staff, getting involved in its operations, from housekeeping to administration to helping out with the pool. I have a finer appreciation of how these hotels work. It’s great to see that side, I won’t say the underbelly but to see the operations side, like where the staff works and rests, was [an eye-opening experience]”

Here, the Amazing Race Asia host reflects on his time shooting Cool Hotels and that one time when he checked into a hotel and discovered a really nasty welcome gift he didn’t see coming, so to speak. 

8 DAYS: After knowing what the hotel staff does behind the scene, are you now more inclined to tip the staff?

ALLAN WU: Totally, totally. You become more appreciative of the work they do because it’s not always easy. You definitely want to be a more gracious and polite customer. When I was working there, there were times we encountered difficult guests. It just makes you feel like as someone on the staff of these posh, high-end hotels, you want to provide a good service but also hope that the guests appreciate it and they aren’t being too unreasonable with their demands. [After spending time with the staff], you realise, Okay, I want to appreciate them for putting in the effort, so be nice and kind to the staff.

You spent one week at each location. Did you have time to work out at their gyms?

When I am on these shows, honestly, there is no time for gym — I don’t usually do any exercise at all. We are filming the whole time. After breakfast, we just start filming. There may be one episode where I was in the gym. I don’t really highlight myself in the gym — it’s definitely not a focal point for them at all. On top of that, after filming all day, I am pretty tired too.  

Of all the hotels you checked out on the show, which ones would you return for R&R?

They are all great! But I really love Norway’s Snow Hotel (out Oct 5). I got to do dog-sledding, look at the Aurora Borealis, eat a lot of reindeer meet, and do some king crab fishing — just the whole winter feel was wonderful. I also enjoyed going to Switzerland (to Oct 26), the land of lakes —there are over 7,000 there! There’s a lake right by Hotel des Horlogers. I got to do a lot of outdoor activities like mountain biking and swimming.

Hands-on experience: Allan learns a thing or two about housekeeping at the Lake House in Australia.

Are there any specific hotels or locations on your wish list should there be a Season 2 of Cool Hotels?

One would be Atlantis, the huge opulent hotel in Dubai. Another location I would like to visit is Peru. I have been there before for another show, but I didn’t get the chance to go to Machu Picchu; I was too busy shooting something else in the Andes. And then maybe, Argentina might be cool. I would love to see the icebergs from there from the southern tip of Argentina.

Given what you’ve picked up from the show, do you have what it takes to run a B&B or a boutique hotel?

Definitely, definitely. I won’t say it’s a dream of mine but I have friends who aspire to do that. I wouldn’t say it’s not difficult — it’s definitely difficult. To do a good one that’s well-oiled and successful isn’t easy. Because you got to keep on reinventing, innovating, and coming up with new things to set yourself from the rest of the competition. And there is a lot of competition. But I think it’s something I can do quite well because I am quite organised now and I definitely have more experience. Looking forward to one day having that opportunity. It might not be right now but I would definitely give it a shot one day.

In the first episode — at Lake House in Australia — one manager referenced Amazing Race when you showed up for work. It got me thinking: What kind of hotels did you stay in while working on that show?

I have stayed in so many hotels. A lot of times I stayed at not very nice hotels. I’d been to love hotels — heart-shaped beds, with barely any room around, mirrors on the ceiling. There were hotels where the air conditioning didn’t work or when I was in a cold country, the heater didn’t work properly. I had stayed in hotels where there was no hot water. Other times, there were people next door getting it on, getting busy having sex.

On the lookout: Allan at the Tree House hotel in Sweden.

What’s your worst hotel experience?

I have one in particular that stands out. I had done three versions of The Amazing Race franchise and I was doing one in China called The Amazing Race: China Rush. It was basically the last episode and we’d just shot the finale in Chengdu. We were in a hotel doing a huge wrap party, but I wasn’t feeling well — I had diarrhoea — so I went up to my room and go lay down on my bed. I opened up my sheets and there was a used condom in there. Wow, the maid must have forgotten to [remove it]! I was too tired, too sick. I picked up the condom, threw it away, and went to bed.  

Watch the first episode of Cool Hotels here:

Cool Hotels drops new episodes every Wednesday on meWATCH and Channel U, 9pm

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