Hotel Employees Dish Industry Dirt In Reddit Discussion

Reddit, the popular social news website, has been hosting a lively discussion amongst (alleged) current and former hotel employees across the globe, in which they serve up tantalizing tales of misdeeds, mishaps, scams and shocking industry policies.

Note that there is no verification if any of these anecdotes are real, but they still make for some mighty entertaining reading. If there’s any truth to even half of these stories, just bear them in mind next time you’re tempted to treat a hotel employee like crap. And remember, never sit on the bedspreads.

Some of our picks are below. And yes, they most definitely have the potential to be offensive to some readers. You’ve been warned.

“Check the seals on the things in the minibar. I once had a guest who had drunk the whiskey and then peed in the bottle, closed it, and put it back.”

“Use a towel or sheet on the chairs or sofa, a LOT of people sit on them naked. It’s nasty but there is often a brown streak on the desk chair that no one think about.”

“Your breakfast food is likely always been handled in an unsanitary manner during set up. (typically desk clerk in lower end hotels).”

“During my training, I once found an obvious [semen] crust on the coverlet. I told the woman I was working with that it needed to be cleaned and she responded ‘Just wipe it with a damp cloth until you can’t see it any more,’ like it was no big deal.

“Bedbugs often travel around on luggage. Most guests don’t seem to notice that. Guests who stay at higher-end hotels often spend more time traveling, and thus have a higher chance of taking bedbugs from hotel to hotel.”

“I’ve worked as a chambermaid and the job itself I don’t mind (although I’ve seen some disgusting things) but you have a time limit for each room. I hated leaving a room not fully cleaned but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. I tried explaining this to the manager there and he basically said if I needed X amount of time on a room I had two options: work through my break to spend longer on each room, or be replaced by someone else. So I stopped bothering to check under the beds or mattresses and only cleaned what you could see. I didn’t stay there very long…”

“As an ex-housekeeper we used to wash the glasses in the bathroom sink and dry them with a clean pillow case. If they looked unused they wouldn’t get washed.”

“Currently a night auditor for a large hotel chain. Recently a lady had a miscarriage in one of our bath tubs. She didn’t say anything and left us to find it on our own.”

“The front desk will NOT call you at an ungodly late hour, if our “computer crashes” and ask for your credit card information. We will not give you a 50% discount for your cooperation, and no, I would not be calling you if “there is a line at the front desk, so giving me the information over the phone will be quicker.”

“I’ve seen a couple deaths, an alcoholic coma, attempted suicide and a dead maintenance man.”

“The guests shouldn’t be the ones scared in a hotel room (at least not in the hotel where I work). We have to hold our breath every time we enter a room that needs thorough cleaning. You can’t believe the shit we have to deal with sometimes. Most guests are friendly and thankful, but some people truly are animals.”

“There’s a pet fee at our hotel. There’s also a ‘dogs and cats only’ policy. During rodeo season a man actually tried to smuggle his horse into his room because he thought it would get lonely outside. The horse clearly did not want to come inside, given the amount of noise it was making. We also do not charge by the hour. We do not set the prices, some suit on the East Coast does. If you need help, please ask as the staff actually might know something. Do not hit on the staff, we will not sleep with you. Do not try to convince the staff to marry your grandson, even if he is a doctor, we will not. We cannot control the weather/road conditions, so don’t bitch at us like we can do anything about a blizzard.

“There is a fine line between haggling and being an asshole. Pro tip for hagglers, do not try to haggle a lower rate in front of other guests. If I agree to give you a lower rate in front of 10 other people, I’m going to have to give 10 more discounts. Pick your moment and negotiate when nobody else is around.”

“Don’t book your hotel room online! The reservations are a pain in the ass to deal with. They were almost always impossible to cancel/refund. They also charge MORE than the actual rate and pay us LESS. (You pay $80 online, we charge $70, we get $50.) I always found it really frustrating that we could be booking the rooms ourselves and making an extra $20 while saving you $10-plus.”

“Just one more piece of advice…be nice to people. If you have a valid complaint bring it to our attention and give us the opportunity to recover. Don’t keep it inside and then blast us on the surveys for something we could’ve fixed. In that same regard don’t come down to the front desk screaming and demanding free nights. The is a compensation matrix that 99% of hotels use, so just because you found one stray hair on your carpet does not mean you will get a free night. However we are more inclined to give a shit if you aren’t a complete asshat.”

[Photo credits: maid, Flickr user Saptarshi Biswas; toilet, Flickr user Ugg Boy; cowboy, Flickr user chefranden]

NYC hotel housekeepers earn big raises, panic buttons

According to a story in Wednesday’s New York Times, New York City’s largest union representing hotel workers has reached a long term contract with major hotel operators in the city which will give housekeepers and other employees big raises and will provide panic buttons for some hotel staff. Officials said that housekeepers, room service waiters and minibar attendants will receive electronic devices that will allow them to call for help.

Sources quoted in the story refused to confirm if the measure was in response to the Stauss-Khan affair of 2011, in which a housekeeper accused the then director of the IMF of sexual assault. The deal will also give hotel housekeepers and other workers health and pension benefits and raises of 29% over the life of the new seven year contract.

Union spokesperson John Turchiano provided the following details to Gadling regarding pay increases for hotel employees at most of New York’s largest hotels. The first figure represents current pay and the second represents what their pay will be by the end of the new 7 year contract.

Front desk representatives: $46,644-$60,208
Electricians- $49,140- $63,440
Bellpersons- $24,187- $31,231
Housekeepers- $46,337-$59,823

Turchiano said that “tipped” workers like bellpersons made less because it is assumed that they will receive tips. Housekeepers, however, aren’t considered “tipped” workers. According to The New York Times, per capita income in New York City was $52,375 as of 2009. Would this increased pay impact how you tip a NYC hotel housekeeper?


Hotel Madness: Vote for your biggest hotel pet peeves

We launched our Hotel Madness tournament on Monday and the entire first round is now live. If you don’t know what Hotel Madness is or you just need a refresher, check out our introductory post. First round voting is open until 11:59pm EDT this Sunday, March 20. Be sure to vote in each and every match-up listed below. Simply choose the hotel pet peeves that bother you the most. The winners will advance to the second round, which you’ll be able to vote on next week.

Make your voices heard. Vote, leave comments and let us know what you hate most about hotels.

First round voting ends at 11:59EDT on Sunday, March 20.

Follow along with the Hotel Madness tournament here.

Hotel Madness: Resort fees vs. Early housekeeping visits

Continuing the first round of the Hotel Madness tournament, #4 seed Resort fees takes on #13 seed Early housekeeping visits. Resort fees are a strong contender because they take money out of our wallets and – unlike parking fees – we have no idea what we’re paying for. Popular in Las Vegas, resort fees are a mystery and wreak havoc on our travel budgets. Meanwhile, sleeping in should be one of the luxurious of leisure travel. Why, then, are we constantly woken up by the housekeeping staff while we’re still sleeping off last night’s trip to the midnight buffet?

Read up on both of this strong Hotel Madness peeves below and then vote for the one that you want to see advance to the next round.

(4) Resort Fees
It’s check-in time! You’ve paid $200 for your room. That, of course, doesn’t include all applicable taxes. Taxes are inevitable, as they say, so you don’t mind those too much. It’s all part of life on the road. So, you paid the room rate and taxes. You’re good to go, right? Well, not so fast. There’s a $15 per night Resort Fee on top of all that. What does that Resort Fee cover? Your guess is as good as ours. You have to pay separately for your meals, movies, minibar, parking and just about everything else. Best to just curse under your breath, sign the check-in agreement and sulk off to your room.

(13) Early Housekeeping Visits
You’ve barely been asleep long enough to mess up your sheets and housekeeping is knocking on the door to freshen up the towels and awkwardly fold your laundry. No one needs the bed made at 8:42am. Yes, you could have put the “Do not disturb” sign on the door, but you didn’t expect housekeeping to show up while it was still dark outside. You wake up early enough when you’re at home. You should be allowed to sleep in a bit and not have to answer the door in your underpants telling housekeeping to come back later.

Which of these nuisances is the bigger annoyance? Vote now!


More Hotel Madness action:
#1 No free Wi-Fi vs. #16 Annoying hotel TV channel
#2 Bad front desk service vs. #15 Everything about TV remotes
#3 Expensive parking vs. #14 Tightly tucked-in sheets
#5 No airport shuttle vs. #12 One-ply toilet paper
#6 No free breakfast vs. #11 Expensive minibars
#7 Bad water pressure vs. #10 Small towels
#8 Room not ready on time vs. #9 Early checkout times

First round voting ends at 11:59EDT on Sunday, March 20.

Follow along with the Hotel Madness tournament here.

Hotel booking tips: 5 things you need to know before reserving group rates

While in Los Angeles for my brother’s wedding, I was looking forward to staying at the Westlake Village Inn. But unfortunately, things went downhill even before we could check in.

Though the wedding itself was held off-site at a country club, a block of rooms were reserved at a discounted rate. With the group rate, I decided to treat myself to a suite with a king-size bed and gas fireplace (a little out of place in sunny L.A. but charming nonetheless).

But as I learned, hotels that cater to weddings and other special events can sometimes be under-staffed, leading guests who are not part of the event to fall through the cracks.

Here are 5 things you should know before reserving a group rate, which isn’t necessarily the best deal.

1. Your room might not be ready at check-in. Plan accordingly.

My family arrived promptly at check-in, which was at 3 p.m. The wedding rehearsal started at 5 p.m. at an off-site location. My family disbanded to shower and change, but my room wasn’t ready. So I left my cell phone number with the front desk so someone could notify me as soon as it was. I killed some time at one of the hotel bars, but an hour later, it was clear that the front desk wasn’t going to call.

While walking back to the lobby, I called the front desk, was put on hold, and then informed that my room was ready. By then I was already standing outside the lobby. But somehow during the few minutes when I hung up the phone and appeared again at the front desk, I was then told that my room still wasn’t ready. Sloppy service, but not a big deal, right?

After sorting out the confusion, I asked the front-desk manager what caused the delay. She told me that the hotel was fully booked the previous night and that “housekeeping just didn’t make it.” Hmm. You’d think that a hotel that caters to large wedding parties would anticipate the demand and be prepared with all hands on deck.

2. Group rates may equal inadequate service.

Under any other circumstances, these are minor inconveniences at best, but when you’re trying to get ready for a special event, you really do need the hotel to fulfill its end of the bargain. Or you may need to lower your standards.

After receiving my room key, I asked what the hotel typically offered guests whose rooms were not ready by check-in. Rather than apologizing for not having the room ready, the front-desk manager asked rather snottily: “What do you want? A bottle of wine or something?”

After I responded that I would accept anything that the hotel typically offers, she handed me one drink coupon even though there were two people staying in the room. I accepted the voucher, but didn’t end up redeeming it because we had already wasted an hour at the bar.

By the time I brought my luggage to the room, it was 4:15 p.m. — no time to shower. I threw on a dress, changed my shoes, and left the hotel annoyed but more concerned about not being late.

3. Housekeeping may not have time to clean your room.

The next day, I went for a morning swim and out for lunch. I returned to my room around 2 p.m. only to find that housekeeping hadn’t arrived yet. After two phone calls to the front desk to request more towels so I could actually shower before the ceremony, a hotel employee knocked on my door — 30 minutes later. By then, I’d already gone into the hallway to find someone who could give me towels. In those 30 minutes, it would’ve been faster for me to fetch spare towels from the pool — or to drive to the nearby mall and buy myself a new set.

After contacting Westlake Village Inn’s general manager after my underwhelming stay, I was told that a reasonable time to expect fresh towels was 15 minutes after the initial request. During any other visit, the slow service would’ve been mildly irritating. In my case, the sloppy service was interfering with my plans. I needed to drive to the wedding site by 4 p.m. Had I waited for housekeeping to arrive, I would’ve been late. Want fresh towels? You might have to get them yourself.

4. If you’re looking for great service, call ahead and ask if any large groups, conventions, or special events are scheduled during your hotel stay.

If you’re on a tight schedule, you may need to factor in some buffer time — or pick another hotel that can accommodate your schedule.

During my stays on a Friday and Saturday night, there were three on-site weddings each day. That’s a lot. It turns out that the Westlake Village Inn hosts about 200 weddings per year. I can see why the hotel is so popular; the grounds are lovely.

But as a guest who wasn’t part of the on-site wedding festivities, my simple requests sunk to the bottom of the heap. Is it really too much to expect that my room is ready by the stated check-in time or that I have clean towels in the room?

5. Don’t assume the group rate is the best deal.

If I’d known in advance just how under-staffed the Westlake Village Inn was going to be, I would’ve booked the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, where my brother had also reserved a block of rooms.

Or maybe I should’ve listened to my sister: She went to Priceline and successfully bid on a $62 room at the simple but pleasant Renaissance hotel about a 5-minute drive away — that’s about one-third of the price that I paid for my hotel, and with much better service, too.