Everyone knows a bit about hotels. You know you don't want to see what you'd see with a black light. You know William Shatner will hook you up. You know that sometimes you get free upgrades, and it's never exactly clear why.
Hotel employees and people in the travel industry answered a thread on Quora to provide insights the average traveler wouldn't have about hotels. Here are a few tips to make you a more savvy, or more frightened traveler.
Many blankets are never washed
"We only washed the outer blankets once a season. There were two sets of outer blankets, one for winter and one for summer. Sometimes they were just washed when we took them off for the season and put them away and didn’t rewash them when we got them back out again the following year. Sometimes we did wash them like one time in between. This kind of grossed me out because they would end up on the floor a lot and just generally you know they had to be getting dirty." - Hannah M. (B&B)
"The only time they wash the comforters are when someone pees on them. It can be YEARS between washings. Sometimes the housekeepers don’t change the sheets and REALLY WON’T change the pillow cases. The head of housekeeping would often mark them with pencil marks to ensure that they’ve been changed. The first thing you should do is have your sheets changed the minute you reach your room." - Anonymous
Throw pillows are filthy
"Why are throw pillows called 'throw pillows'? Because you throw them. Off the bed. Onto the floor. And they aren't washed in between guests. But they are put back on the bed. On your pillow." - Tirena S.
What happens when people wet the bed?
"When someone urinates on a bed, sometimes the mattress is just left standing to vent out and dry overnight, and then put back upside down." - Peter M. (Housekeeping)
So many places never get cleaned
"Dresser drawers are not on the maid's cleaning list, so if a traveler threw dirty underwear in a drawer all week you will be contaminating your clothing by using any drawers without cleaning/disinfecting them first. I carry purse sized Lysol on car trips or break out bleach wipes from a zip bag after air travel." - Peri C.
"The drinking glasses in the rooms are not cleaned with any cleaning products. Its just rinsed with water and dried with a towel. Housekeeping staff want to clean as much rooms as they can, so the faster you do it, the better. No time to thoroughly wash these things. Only the shower, bathtub, sink and toilet is cleaned with cleaning products." - Anonymous (Housekeeping)
"If you are staying at a hotel the day after Valentine's day, disinfect EVERYTHING. 15th Feb is one of the worst days to be cleaning hotel rooms." -Leanne C. (Housekeeping)
Online reservations may get worse rooms
"For many of the hotels I book for my clients, I have been told by resort managers that they assign the lesser quality rooms (the ones with the worst view, the worst location) to guests who book with online search engines (like Travelocity and Orbitz) while saving the best rooms for clients who book with travel agents. The reason is that hotel managers consider online search engines guests to be ones that will book any resort as long as it is cheap while guests of travel agents are more loyal travelers that will come back time and again to the agent and the resort. Plus, travel agents send a lot of business to resorts where their clients are made happy and search engines don't." - Katherine S. (Travel Agent)
Nice people get freebies
"If the hotel charges for Internet or something, just politely ask for it for free if you don't want to pay. Their main priority is keeping the guests happy and likely to return to the hotel so they'll happily take the hit for the Internet if it means you'll make more reservations." - Justin C. (Hotel Manager)
Don't trust the concierge
"If you want the scoop on the best bars, restaurants and attractions then skip the concierge and ask the front desk or valets or bellmen. Many times the concierge gets kickbacks from certain establishments to tell people to go there even though it may or may not be the best and most authentic." - Justin C. (Hotel Manager)
"I handled the reservations for 3 restaurants near Times Sq[uare] and the concierges send tons of people to our [restaurants] as recommendations when they ask, "What's a good place to eat?" In return, the restaurant pays the concierge $7-10 for each person they bring. This system is followed by many restaurants that I know of." - Nat G. (Host)
If you lose it, we won't call
"One of our hard and fast rules was that we never called a guest if they left an item in their room and it was found after they checked out. We documented and held items (usually phone chargers, clothing, sunglasses...occasionally a camera or jewelry) but unless the guest called us looking for their item, it stayed in the lost and found. The reason was that we knew nothing about the private lives of the people who stayed with us and we never knew when Mrs. Smith was going to answer the phone and tell us that Mr. Smith wasn't at a quaint Vermont inn last weekend, he was at a dentist convention in Toledo. Whoops." - Tammy G. (Innkeeper)
Lots of people die in hotel rooms
"Overdoses were the most common (yes, employees made this list). Not far behind were suicides... The real kicker in all of these situations is that they NEVER made the news." - Marco S. (Las Vegas Hotel)