As more and more people travel these days, it is no wonder that the hotel industry is now a $2.1 billion business. With all of this money, one would expect that a hotel would keep its housekeeping department adequately staffed and trained. But you might want to think again, as the average hotel maid cleans from 10 to 14 rooms each day (and usually for very little pay). Do you really think that gives them enough time to clean each of those rooms to an impeccable degree?
You’re about to read some first-hand accounts and confessions about how clean hotels really are, as well as some travel tips and memorable tales from housekeepers describing the strange things they sometimes deal with on the job. Be prepared — this information ranges from the good to the bad to the downright disturbing.
Here are some facts you might want to consider the next time you stay in a hotel. Or you might want to forget about them, depending on how squeamish you are!
You May Want to Think Twice About Sleeping In A Hotel Bed
Whenever you glance at a bed in a hotel, you see the cleanest of sheets and comforters. They appear to be so clean that they appear to have a certain sparkle. Oh, wait. That’s not a sparkle, but something else. That sparkle could very well be a stain.
With so many rooms, housekeepers do not have time to wash every single bed linen after each guest. Washing and drying sheets and blankets is a time-consuming task. According to DailyMail, one maid confessed that stains are blotted out or patted down until the stain is barely visible. The maid also said the linens are hardly ever changed.
If You Have Bed Bugs, Then It’s Your Fault
No one wants any extra guests sleeping in bed with them during a hotel stay. There’s one type of uninvited guest that gets on more than just your nerves, though. We’re talking about those nasty little critters known as bed bugs.
These little insects may have cute-sounding names, but they are a major problem to hotels when infestations happen. Bed bugs can cause some unsightly marks on guests’ skin because they suck a person’s blood while they are sleeping. Some housekeepers went to redditand reported that the insects come from guests, rather than from the hotel staff. This happens because bedbugs are usually found in suitcases and they travel from suitcases to beds once they’re in a hotel room. Once an infestation happens, it can be really hard to treat.
This Bathroom Is Occupied
It’s standard for housekeeping to clean a guest’s rooms and bathrooms during their stay at a hotel. Most people assume that the facilities they’re paying for will be relatively private. Guests certainly would not expect for a stranger from housekeeping to use their suite’s toilet while they are cleaning the bathroom area.
But human nature takes over for housekeepers just like it does for the rest ous. That means that when it is time to go, it is time to go. Housekeeping does not have the time to go to designated staff bathrooms every time the urge strikes. And when they’re in a guest’s room, that bathroom is both easily accessible and quicker to get to. The good news: housekeepers are such professionals that they will make sure everything is nice and tidy when they’re done. Guests could never tell that they were even in there.
Makes For A Strange Lost-And-Found Box
People leave some really, really weird stuff behind when they check out of a hotel room. You name it, and someone has probably left it behind for hotel staff to discover. One of the most common things that housekeepers find in vacated rooms are sex toys. It makes sense – after all, a lot of folks who stay in hotels are there to have affairs, and who wants to bring the evidence back home with them?
Greyhoundpaws shared this tale on reddit: “I had a summer job cleaning hotel rooms. One day a coworker told me she walked into her first room that day and the first thing she saw, neatly arranged on the desk, were 3 [toys], a note saying ‘please wash :)’ and a 20 crown note (about $2). She didn’t.”
Hey, What Are You Doing Wearing My Clothes?
People who stay at high-end hotels usually have comfortable incomes, sometimes ranging into the seven-figure category. These individuals tend to dress well, and might be surprised to find out that certain hotel employees might have the inclination to do a little clothes “shopping” while cleaning their rooms.
When guests are out and about, some housekeepers have been known to slip on an expensive article of clothing or two. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try on clothing by the world’s top designers. In one extreme case, a guest who stayed at a posh Miami hotel claims to have had several items her pricey wardrobe ($35,000 worth of clothing and jewelry) stolen by the butler whose services she’d paid the hotel for!
The Bathtub Chronicles
You’ll never want to bathe in a hotel tub again after this. It sounds like nearly every housekeeper out there has made some kind of disgusting discovery in the bathtubs of the rooms they clean. One redditor in Nevada said “I found all kinds of weird stuff but the thing that takes the cake was the entire toenail of someone’s big toe. Found it in the bathtub. I almost vomited.” Other reported discoveries include things from dead bodies to vegetables.
To make matters even worse, a study conducted by the Journal of Microbiology found that “the highest levels of contamination were in the housekeepers’ cleaning implements, including sponges and mops—those very same ones that are used to clean bathroom tubs, sinks, and floors.” This information doesn’t exactly make us want to get into a hotel bath anytime soon.
You Might Never Want To Stay In A Hotel Again
In an interview with Rooster, one hotel maid shared some of the most disturbing things she’s encountered on the job. This one was the worst of the bunch. “Poop. Lots and lots of poop everywhere. In the bathroom, on the toilet, on the bathroom floor, on the carpet, the bed, the walls. I have no idea how or why,” she said.
Disturbingly, this particular type of mess is one that is not as rare as you might think. People, remember to tip your hotel maids! They (well, most of them) work very hard for their money.
Their Jobs Can Be Incredibly Dangerous
You might think the biggest danger facing a hotel housekeeper might be inhaling cleaning fumes or encountering soiled linens. But it turns out that many of them have dealt with some really scary situations while on the job.
A Redditor who goes by “allthecatsplease” shared a story about working as a maid in a vacation cottage when she was only 16 years old. She wrote that she “knocked and called loudly before I walked in. He sat there with a big creepy grin on his face. [I] fumbled my way out the door, turned the color of beetroot while saying sorry repeatedly. Then ran out of the house with the other girl who was working with me.” Who knows what could have happened if she hadn’t been so quick-thinking?
How Do Housekeepers View Their Guests?
Chambermaids see a wide variety of people on a daily basis. Some guests go to hotels and believe that they can leave a room as messy as they want because it is not their own living quarters, just a place to visit where someone else will clean up.
Maids find that some guests are messy or rude, while other guests are very clean and polite. Some guests leave their rooms pristine, as if no one stayed there at all, and others leave rooms like a tornado had touched down. Guess which type of guest hotel employees prefer?
You might be sharing a bed with an unexpected visitor…
Sleeping On The Job Is Part Of The Job
Hotel rooms might be occupied more often than you think. Returning to what was revealed earlier, the housekeepers use guests’ toilets and occasionally try on their clothing. But that’s not all — sometimes housekeepers look at hotel beds as a nice place to take a nap.
Maids have been known to sleep in guests’ beds and beds in unoccupied rooms, especially when a suite is very large and takes a long time to tidy up. One maid confessed online to snoozing in a bed in a large VIP room. Hotel staff is obviously not supposed to do these type of things, but it happens pretty frequently.
Nightmares For Days
Redditor NovelistResearcher relayed a story about a family member’s experience as a hotel employee. S/he wrote: “My brother is a janitor for Holiday Inn and was once called to fix something in a guest’s room while they were out. He opened the door and found what appeared to be three newborn children in the bed. Turns out the old couple liked Reborn dolls so much they took them on holiday and had added “breathing” mechanisms to them so the chests would rise and fall like a real baby…”
If you’ve ever seen Reborn dolls, you know that they’re pretty terrifying. This weird discovery must have scared the daylights out of the employee!
You Can Help Your Housekeeper Get A Pay Increase
A wise woman once said that people do not work just to work… people work in order to make a living. Housekeepers who work in hotels do not make very much, as the average income per year is only between $10,000 to $20,000. This is not very much according to today’s pay standards, but there is an incentive for housekeepers who keep rooms clean.
Many people may not know this, but guests can help hotel maids get a raise by keeping their own rooms clean. This makes it easier on the maids and they also end up getting a financial benefit from a guest who is tidy (less time spent cleaning). Maids definitely appreciate guests like this, and have even been known to argue over which rooms they get to clean.
You Don’t Have To Be Human To Stay Here
Yes, housekeepers see just about every situation imaginable. Daytona Beach, Florida used to be one of the hottest spring break destinations around. From the 1960s through the 1980s, college students flocked to the coastal town to drown out their school-related anxiety with massive amounts of alcohol. Nowadays, Daytona Beach isn’t quite the spring break hotspot but is still a popular vacation destination for humans and felines alike. Felines?
You heard that right. Redditor el_malamor wrote in that the hotel they worked in had a hazmat team rush to the premises after a fire was reported in one of the rooms. S/he wrote, “We’re all expecting some wild and crazy Florida man meth-head action or something. But instead of speed, they started charging through the smoke and bringing out tons and tons of cats. Just tons of them.” No word on the condition of the kitties, but it probably wasn’t good.
Cross My Heart And Hope To Lie
Individuals who work at hotels are supposed to provide the most pleasant experience possible for their guests. They want these guests to come back, and building a relationship with them can improve the chances of a guest returning. Although a guest may have a bad experience at a particular hotel or have a problem with some of the employees, the hotel staff has to keep up the illusion that all is well.
Here are some of the fibs told be hotel employees to unhappy guests. Staff might tell their guest that all of the rooms in a hotel are the same (if said guest is unhappy with the size or condition of their room). The hotel staff must also apologize even if the guest is the one in the wrong. Housekeeping staff and other hotel workers must deeply apologize and express a hope that their guest returns again soon.
Dry Your Hands On Your Shirt!
There are multiple reports online about linens, including bathroom towels, not being cleaned properly. A housekeeper at a posh Orlando resort confessed in a trivago.com exposé, “I personally have never done anything but I heard of someone who was so angry about a rude comment made to them that they cleaned the bathroom floor with a towel and left it for the guest as their new towel.”
And Beechmont Hotels Corporation employee Michael Forrest Jones made this upsetting remark to the Daily Mail. “‘You know where you almost always find a hand towel in any recently-vacated hotel room that was occupied by a guy? On the floor… next to the bed.” Yecch.
What Is Up With The Three Knocks?
There are certain rules and regulations that hotel housekeepers adhere to. We have seen that housekeepers are on a pressed schedule and they are in a hurry to clean rooms as quickly as possible. We also know that many guests keep those “do not disturb” signs on their door, although they may have already vacated the premises. So how do maids get into these rooms?
Hotel housekeepers have the “three knock rule in place for this very reason. This is so a guest has ample time to gather their belongings and hit the road when it is time to check out. Knocking three times also ensures that housekeepers do not barge in unexpectedly.
Coming next: the tragic side of working at a hotel
Such A Sad Part Of The Job
Many hotels have seen their fair share of tragedies – people die in their rooms all the time. Often, it’s the housekeeping staff who makes the gruesome discoveries when a guest passes away on premises.
A redditor called _Belmount_ had a tragic tale to tell about their workplace. “[O]ne day a maid found a woman who committed suicide. She checked in so her family would not be forced to find the body. It was the middle of the day and the hotel was mostly clear of people. Nobody heard the gun shot and we have concrete floors that stopped the bullet from traveling out of the room…. The maid soon quit afterwards.” I don’t think anyone could blame her.
Next, how maids feel about tips…
A Little Extra Cash Is Always Nice
Nothing makes the housekeeping staff happier than receiving some extra tips to take home in addition to their meager paychecks. One employee at a five-star resort in Orlando told trivago.com, “it is a huge struggle and more so if you have a family. It is almost impossible, similar to what you would earn at a fast-food restaurant. That’s why tipping is important for us.”
One way that housekeepers supplement their income is through the generosity of their guests. Being a housekeeper at a hotel can be a hard job, and every bit of money that they take in can help. Those bed pat-downs and quick cleanups are well worth the effort if they’re rewarded with tips from generous guests.
What happens when you complain about a housekeeper?
What If The Shoe Was On The Other Foot?
Stress can cause even the most docile of people to change their moods and behaviors. Chambermaids sometimes have a hard time putting on a professional happy face because of this. In fact, some housekeepers have been known to blow their stack at times. This doesn’t benefit them at all!
We already saw that some guests give housekeepers a hard time. But a bad attitude on the part of the maid will usually result in missed tips. And even worse, a housekeeper could even be docked working hours for being grumpy to guests… no matter how out of line the guests’ behavior has been.
Maids Deal With Ridiculous Requests
All hotels have guidelines which require them to take the requests of their guess. These requests must be legal and this is the norm for every major chain of hotels. Needless to say, most hotel housekeepers have heard some pretty stupid requests.
A little humor can go a long way for some employees, but since these maids are pressed for time, silly or frivolous requests are looked down upon. One hotel maid received a request to make it stop raining when a guest saw that it was raining outside. This is just one example of the asinine requests that housekeepers deal with daily.
Now that you know the truth about maids and housekeepers at hotels, are you excited for your next hotel stay?