Interview: How Clean Is Your Hotel Room?

I had the opportunity to sit down with the former Director of Housekeeping for one of the five largest hotels in Orlando with more than 2,000 rooms and suites.  I wanted to ask, are all the rumors true? Are the rooms clean? Are bedspreads as dirty as we think? Do the housekeepers go through our stuff?  Here’s what I learned:


Q: First, off, thank you for the interview. I’d like to ask, what’s the best part of being a Director of Housekeeping for such a massive hotel?

A: Working for a well-known chain hotel means building and maintaining an exceptional image and reputation.  If the rooms aren’t clean, the reputation goes downhill. I know that I get to impact that every day by ensuring that a team maintains a clean hotel.

Q: There’s lots of rumors and tell-alls out there right now. Let’s talk about some of the rumors. How dirty are the bedspreads?

A: Many hotels only clean the bedspreads one time a quarter. They’re very expensive to clean, so it’s done infrequently.  I personally remove the bedspread. However, many hotels are turning to duvet covers which can be cleaned much more frequently and cheaply.  You can feel pretty sure your duvet cover is clean if you don’t see stains, hairs, etc…

Q: I read in a book recently that housekeepers cut corners by using Windex to clean the cups in the bathrooms. Is that true?

A: I suppose there maybe some housekeeper(s) out there who cut corners and break rules, but most well run hotels have supervisors and managers who check each room. Trust me; we’d know if they used Windex on cups. A good hotel would never that that occur and if it did, the person would be dismissed.

Q: What corners do housekeepers cut?

A: Honestly, not many  because they’re bonuses based on the number of rooms cleaned in a shift and docked if they skip any items on their checklist.  Some may try to skip vacuuming if the floor looks clean. They’ll try to cut corners sometimes, but it’s not so frequent as you would think.

Q: Do housekeepers look through our things?

A: No, they don’t have time to.  Every housekeeper has a specific number of rooms they have to clean in a shift. If they don’t finish the rooms in the shift they’re docked.  The more rooms they get done in the shift, they more money they make. They don’t have time to waste going through your things.  Now, I’m sure it’s happened before, but it’s not the rule.

Hotel Room copy

Q: What is the strangest thing you’ve ever found in a room?

A: You name, we’ve seen it. Use your imagination, we’ve probably found it!

Q: What is the one tip you would give a hotel guest?

A: Check for bed bugs! It’s a huge problem all over. If you pull up the corner of the sheets and see anything that shouldn’t be there, call housekeeping right away.

Q: What’s the standard on tipping housekeepers?

A: There’s no standard. It’s very much appreciated because housekeepers aren’t paid very well in many places.  When housekeepers are unionized, they may make a slightly better wage, but it’s still a very low paying job. I would suggest tipping $1-2 a day.  But you should leave a note saying this is for the housekeeper. Some hotels have policies that they can’t keep money found in the room if there’s no note.

Q: Do you have a favorite hotel?

A: Yes, whichever one is sending me my paycheck.

Thank you very much for your interview and sharing this information. It’s always great to learn about hotel practices!

1 Comment on "Interview: How Clean Is Your Hotel Room?"

  1. Great piece…thanks for confirming what I thought. Beg Bug inspection is now #1 on my room arrival list…it used to the the shower!

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