Pieces of Advice for Hotel Guests from an Ex Housekeeper
Oh god, the filth! The horror!
It’s come to be expected, really. Hotel blankets are teeming with bodily fluids. So are the floors and walls. We’ve seen the less than shocking exposes. At this point, the reporters should turn the black lights on each other. Anything shows up, well that would be news worth watching.
“That’s funny Martha, your dress was clean before lunch and say, isn’t your husband out of town on a business trip?”
But it’s always just the same neon splotches of blood, urine, etcetera on the bedspread.
I’ve worked at a downtown Quality Suites (believe me, Quality was a misnomer) and another unnamed hotel, even more popular than the QS, but one that wisely had me sign a confidentiality agreement.
And the Quality Suites? No confidentiality there. Not so much as a background check. Both things I’m sure they meant to get around to, but couldn’t find the time. Not that I have a criminal past to hide, just a rather big mouth when given any type of forum.
1. Always check the room for bed bugs.
They sound cuter than they are, and if you bring them home with you, it will be an exterminating nightmare. Housekeepers have entire staff meetings dedicated to the silent discovery and treatment of the bed bug; it’s a huge liability for hotels, as we’ve become quite the litigious society.
Lift the sheet and examine the mattress and box spring, particularly the seams and corners where they like to hide. Check the headboard as well, especially if it is attached to the wall. If you see what could be a smattering of spilled pepper, get your money back and check into a different hotel. The problem may not be confined to a single room. Or deal with the hassle and sue for all you can.
2. Never, under any circumstances, use the coffee maker provided in the room.
I had a special pen I kept on my cart. I never touched it past the cap. See, this was my condom pen. I would use this pen to peel condoms from the fronts of television sets, the walls, tubs, and yes, from inside the coffee pots. I lifted so many used condoms from those pots, I couldn’t brew coffee at home without suffering flashbacks. My routine was: peel off condom, spritz with yellow cleaner, rinse with hot water, repeat if sticky.
And to the guy who eventually stole that pen off my cart, I honestly hope you don’t have an oral fixation.
3. Examine the sheets/towels before use.
The thirty-minutes-per-suite quota is occasionally unrealistic. But it’s finish on time or risk being let go. So if the housekeepers were running behind, they would just pray there weren’t any dirty briefs down by the foot of the bed, and pull the old sheets taut, dusting off the visible hairs, some of which were short and curly. The sad fact is, if you’ve spent a lot of time in hotels, you’ve probably slept in the equivalent of a stranger’s boxer shorts.
As for the towels, chances are good they’d been in the room for a while. Hotels are constantly running low on supplies, especially towels. I’ve witnessed cleaning rags get “promoted” to face cloths.
4. Don’t use the glasses and mugs. At the very least, rinse them in scalding water.
At both the hotels I’ve worked at, the dishwasher was always broken. And I mean always. In fact, at the unnamed hotel, I’d never even been privy to seeing the damn thing. So the rushed housekeepers simply rinse the glassware in the bathroom sink and use a toxic, pink porcelain cleaner for those stubborn juice/coffee/lipstick stains.
The cardboard “caps” on those mugs and glasses mean nothing as far as cleanliness is concerned. I watched a housekeeper use her breath to fog up a glass and then wipe it clean on her shirt. She slapped a cap on it and moved on to the next room.
I have never experienced a dirty Marriott, thankfully. Not a dirty tub, not a dirty bed or floor or cup/glass or towel or shower curtain. Not a dirty sink or tub or toilet or coffee pot. Nada. At least not to the naked eye. No bed bugs either. After reading this, I don't know if I should consider myself lucky or not. Cleanliness is always an expectation, and I do look for it to be sure.
At least one of the things described in the article above is/are truly disgusting and quite honestly, difficult to believe, but perhaps I need consider whether or not I have placed myself in a bubble of naivety that I need to step out of? I always use the in-room coffee pot, and I have never gotten sick (I rarely get sick anyway, who knows why not...) Maybe I should start keeping a travel sized dishwashing liquid and a dish rag in my luggage.
Once late last year, I opened the closet to hang some clothes, and resting on top of the ironing board that was hanging up in the closet was a black - thong. I guess housekeeping must've missed it. I just threw it in the trash and found a housekeeping cart and borrowed disinfectant spray and sprayed the closet and moved on. The rest of the room and all of it's contents and features looked quite clean to me. I chalked it up to an honest mistake. (Maybe I should've questioned it. Wierd place for a thong.)
I've stayed at Marriott properties around the world and can honestly say that I've never experienced anything like what Californian describes. There have been episodes where I've noticed things that aren't up to what I consider Marriott standards but they are always dealt with quickly (either by myself or housekeeping). Because of my travels to less "industrialised" countries I generally carry a pack of sani wipes with me just to be sure.
well I have to admit that I have stayed in a Marriott that was not "clean". The China Hotel, Marriott in Guangzhou was a very filthy place when first taken over by Marriott. The carpets were so dirty if you walked across it only once with socks on they had to be thrown in the trash as they would not come clean. The walls had "spots" all over them and this is all of the rooms I stayed in which was probably about 10 different ones before Marriott did overhaul on the property. Saying that, I will say that after the renovation took place, I had no other issues with the rooms. I believe Marriott took the property over and did not renovate for about 4 or 5 years. Don't quote me on that...it was back in the 90's or very early 2000's. I have not stayed at the hotel for the last two years as we have moved to the Shangri-La since it is across the street from the Canton Fair we go to, but last I stayed at it, they had renovated even once more to all new bathrooms and flat screen t v's.
I think Marriott would have been better served if they had taken over the hotel and renovated before putting their name on it to keep their standards up, but at least they did fix the situation and it is now a very nice hotel.
Well, I must say that in relation to the number of nights spent in a hotel, the 'dirty' ones amount to a very insignificant number. However, when we encounter one, we do remember it.
Stayed at a Courtyard in Cranston, RI about a year and a half ago for a wedding and my wife pulled down the bed covers at about midnight when we had returned to the property. The 'bed cover' had obviously been just pulled up over the wrinkled, crumpled sheets and there was 'trash' that had been left on the bed by the previously departing guest. What made it worse was that those on duty (and the management later) didn't really care. We had to change rooms 'in our jammies' because they had nobody who wanted to clean the room. A 'worker bee' came up to give us our new room key, but didn't offer any help with the room change.
At a Residence Inn in Long Beach I once found the dressers filled with clothing someone had left behind. Wierd.
That's pretty sorry (the bed). You should've at least got some points for that one, and not just 200-500.
I can see how someone in housekeeping on occasion may feel rushed or distracted. The thing about that unfortunately is that, like in the case of a left behind item of clothing, the entire room may have been cleaned thoroughly, but forgetting that one thing, like the clothes in the drawer (which means they didn't check/wipe the drawers), can make you unnecessarily feel uncertain about other things.
At my last CY stay two weeks ago, everything about the room was perfect, except that when I entered the room for the first time (at about midnight), all of the drawers in all of the furniture were open and the slider was open. Other than that, everything spotlessly clean, stocked and perfect. Ya, wierd.
Eeewwww! I'm glad (in a weird sort of way) that you have shared this with us, californian. I'd have nightmares about coffee pots if I were in your situation! One of the reasons I love Marriott is that everything looks clean and well taken care of. I've had unclean rooms and beaten up suites at other brands and that's why I don't patronize their properties anymore. I recently stayed at a FFI and some of the bathroom wallpaper was peeling off. It didn't kill me to look at it, but I did mention it upon checkout so that they could take care of the problem before the next guest. And I'm sure they will. But that room was clean. And just yesterday I got back from a MVC and the whole place was immaculate (including the pool which never seems to measure up to my critical eye). But I do travel with antibacterial wipes like canucktrvlr -- just in case. And nuhusker, you need to stop borrowing other people's underwear!
I've never encountered Californian's experience luckily. However, I do take precautions. I always travel with a small size can of Lysol linenfresh spray. On airlines it must be packed in checked baggage. If I only have a carryon, I buy one at the nearest CVS on the way to the hotel. Then EVERYTHING gets sprayed:
Headboard, Pillows, Linens
Knobs, Door Handles, Telephones, Remote Controls, a/c heat controls
Handles and knobs on toilet, sink, tub/shower. fridge
Insides of drawers, if using &. seat cushions
Etc, etc., & so forth
The whole process takes a total of maybe 2 minutes. I do a quick check of matress seams and before I use the coffee maker, run 2-3 sets of hot water through.
I know it must sound compulsive, but it makes me feel better, so..........................
btw, I also carry sani wipes onto planes and wipe down the armrests, tray table, & a/c vent. Have had my seatmate look at me like I'm nuts, but then ask if I have another for him to use!
This is a great idea. A friend of mine does the same. Another friend is paranoid that she will bring bed bugs home. She bought plastic zipper bags for everything in her suitcase and never puts it on the floor. I guess it is a nightmare to get rid of them. I read on Tripadvisor about some CY that had them in some rooms.
Hey Californian, you just hit the surface! As a loyal Marriott staying guest I have to add that cleanliness, as of late, depends on the property! Until recently my family and I would only stay Marriott unless we found ourselves in an area where there was not one member of the Marriott brand to be found. WE ARE OVER THAT! Some of these things flying under the Marriott banner need to be audited by those in Maryland and shut down if they do not, cannot, or refuse to adhere to what used to be a standard the traveling public could trust.
1. Bed Bug(hush, hush ya will never know unless another guest tells ya they had an experience) and so many of these housing keeping staffers have NO CLUE how to deal with an infestation or how to not spread/contain an infestation.
2. Bugs(Roaches)/Fleas ( those properties that allow dogs)
3. Spiders/Silverfish or whatever those damp loving bugs are.
4. Nasty Carpets/floors(yes floors, that could be mopped)
5. Questionable Linens(folks that mattress pad, dust ruffle, bed sash, comforter, blanket, pillow liner may have not been laundered between guest) They will wash the fitted sheet and top sheet and since Marriott left bed spreads in the past the topper ay get washed, but anything else on that bed may be hit or miss.
6. Left behind food, etc. under beds or in areas that those cleaning think you will not look.
7. Look behind the nightstand and other furniture.
8. Sofa in the room, pull that thing away from the wall and/or look under it. Pull the pillow cushions off.
9. Have cabinets, run a clean towel on the insides of the cabinets, hopefully when you look at the towel it is clean.
10. How about that bathroom cleaning? What sponges,rags, or brush are they using? Same one they have just used in every other room?
As I posted, cleanliness in these times depends on the property, even with Marriott.
I have faithfully checked for bed bugs for well over a year now. Bed bugs, to me, are the most serious condition to be considered in 'unclean' rooms because one can carry the critters home and have a most serious infestation. I/we roll our suitcases into the bathroom where there is no carpet while we examine the room. We pull the corners of the bed linens up and examine the mattress seams and boxsprings, behind the bed, etc. I carry a flashlight, magnifying glass, and even tape in case I do find a culprit or two (and/or their excrement) I can catch it on the tape to show to management if necessary. So far, no horrifying discoveries! Also, I carry a bed bug insecticide to spray our luggage before arrival and upon departure...just to be extra careful.
I have used disinfecting cloths for around 10 years, wiping down everything: door handles, light switches, remote controls, phones, countertops, drawers, etc. Then I usually don't have housekeeping service my room through the rest of my stay except to get clean linen and trash dumped when I'm there to monitor.
I have been very lucky at all the Marriott properties I've stayed. Clean and bed bug free (so far)!!