Hotel Staff Reveal The Saucy Secrets That Hotels DON’T Want You To Know

By: Mia Williams | Last updated: Nov 11, 2023

Hotel staff members have all the dirty details about hotels that guests could only dream of knowing… until now! Did you know that there are certain floors you should avoid staying on? How clean are the sheets in your room really?

Put Your Bags in the Bathtub

It may seem counterproductive to put your luggage with dirty wheels in the bathtub where people bath, but there’s a good reason that hotel employees recommend putting the luggage right into the tub.


That reason is bed bugs. For guests who are particularly worried about bedbugs, it’s a safe place to keep your bags clean from the unwanted visitors. One staff member recommended putting the luggage in a garbage bag before sitting them in the tub.


Thin and Rough Means Used Often

Sheets and towels are a major part of the hotel experience and they are notoriously uncomfortable. If you notice the sheets are thin or the towels are rough, chances are they’ve been used numerous times and are probably due for replacement.


Source: User:Mattes / wikicommons

Ask and You Shall Receive

Many people don’t know that hotels are often happy to provide guests with complimentary toiletries and other small items, even at night. Hotel workers suggest that a polite request for a toothbrush, deodorant, or even a rubber duck can often be fulfilled, regardless of the time of day.


Source: Anthony O'Neil / wikicommons

Your Hotel Safe May Not Be As Safe

Are you thinking about stashing your valuables in the hotel safe? You should think twice. While hotel safes provide some protection for valuable belongings, they could be more foolproof.


Source: AITFFan1 / wikicommons

There is a Dark Reality About Hotels

As tragic as it is, people happen to die in hotels more frequently than you might think. When you think about how many people come and go through these places, it makes sense that there are some people who check-in and don’t check out.

Usually, if someone does happen to pass away in one of the rooms, the hotel tries to keep it as discreet as possible. A crime team will often come in to clean and most guests wouldn’t even know it happened.


A Room Upgrade Isn't Always What You Think It Is

Have you ever heard the saying “Nothing in this world is free”. Well, hotels seem to abide by these words. This employee expressed that very little (if anything) comes for free when it comes to hotel stays.

In fact, that fancy room upgrade might not be quite the step up that you thought it was. Hotels will use larger TVs and better views to make the room seem more luxurious but typically the rooms are actually similar in size.


Beware: The Bathroom Cups Are Not Always Cleaned

Here’s some insider information that’ll have you check those neat-looking bathroom cups before use. Typically, the cleaning staff is on a strict schedule, with only minutes to clean every room.


How Fresh Is Your Complimentary Freeze-Dried Coffee?

Who doesn’t love a fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning? It’s a routine most of us stick to even when traveling. Hotels usually keep complimentary freeze-dried coffee in the room for this purpose.

Source: Edward / wikicommons


Mini Bar Bottles Need a Quick Check

Mini bars in hotel rooms are always a welcomed sight, but there’s a catch. You never know if they are freshly restocked or if those little bottles are leftovers from the previous guests’ stay.

Source: Z_dead / wikicommons


Extremely Dirty-looking Towels Change Themselves

If you’re expecting your towels changed after using them carefully, then you just might stick to that same piece for a very long time. An extremely dirty-looking towel does the trick.

Source: Toad40 / wikicommons


The Customer Care Allowance They Never Mentioned

It has been discovered that most prestigious hotels have this additional provision they make, specifically for customer care. It is a stipulated allowance for customer service emergencies.


Don't use the coffee pot!

If you opened up the coffee pot to see something like this you’d probably be pretty horrified. But even if you don’t actually see any mold, there are often hidden bacteria in these coffee pots that they keep in the hotel rooms.

Since it’s a moist and dark environment, it’s a perfect environment for mold and bacteria to grow. Yuck! You certainly don’t want that in your coffee. It’s probably better to get your coffee elsewhere.


What’s the Best Shot for Bypassing Cancellation Fee?

The trick is to extend your reservation and watch the magic happen! Sometimes, these hotels are excited to see a customer cancel their hotel reservations. This is because cancelation makes them extra money.

Source: NPS / Jonathan Shafer / wikicommons


Being Rude to Hotel Staff Might Affect You

You never can tell when your nice gestures will save you, but hotel environments are one of those times. Aside from the fact that hotel staff is paid to ensure your comfort and relaxation, remember that they’re humans and are likely to make mistakes.

Source: MercyAsiima / wikicommons


Pro Tip: Put the Towel Under the Door

It’s no secret that it can be difficult to get good sleep in a hotel room. An unfamiliar environment, different bed, and noise you’re not used to can really throw you off. But the solution is simple: put a towel under the door to help keep some of that noise outside of your room.

The towel shoved under the door will also block any unnecessary light from flooding into your room and keeping you up.


Never Mistake Those Carpets to Be Clean

One of the first things we notice in hotel rooms is the clean-looking carpets. Of course, they are always free of particles and visible dirt, but that is not a guarantee. Hotel carpets are never washed!

Source: Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication / wikicommons


Beware the Hair Dryer

Of all the germy things to avoid in a hotel room, the hair dryer might not be the first one that comes to mind. However, as it turns out, these are the culprit of tons of germs and bacteria.

It might be worth it to bring your own or just let your hair air dry. It’s not worth getting sick on your trip.


Not All Customers Are the Same

According to this hotel employee, not all guests are treated the same. He shared on Quora that almost no two guests actually pay the same amount for the same room and amenities.

People receive discounts for lots of reasons, but essentially no one is paying the “flat rate”. For instance, prices will vary GREATLY based on room availability and vacancy.


The Things You Find in Hotel Rooms

We have heard more than one horror story about the things that guests leave behind in hotel rooms, but this hotel staff member found possibly the most surprising thing you could imagine while on the job.

They opened the hotel room door to clean the room only to find themselves face to face with a real-life bear! We can only imagine the shock and horror on their faces when they found a huge bear staring back at them. Thankfully, park services managed to get the bear out of the hotel.


Bring Your Own Pillow

Naturally, the cleaning staff cleans the sheets before your stay. But, you never really know what kinds of bacteria and germs lay underneath. If a hotel employee is encouraging you to bring one, you might want to listen…

Source: Pinterest


The Secret Life of Hotel Magnetic Keys

‘Demagnetized’ because your key was kept close to your phone or other cards in your wallet is what the front desk mostly claims whenever you have keycard problems. However, your magnetic key error is most likely the receptionist’s fault.

Source: Tony Webster / wikicommons


Hotels Keep Keycard Entries

When guests are unhappy, doing a lock interrogation can help out receptionists. For instance, if a guest thinks housekeeping skipped their room and it’s still a mess, the front desk can check exactly when the maid swiped in.

Likewise, if someone disputes minibar charges by saying they weren’t in the room, reception can double-check by looking at the intervals between key card swipes. With this, trying to pull a fast one for a refund won’t work since all key card activity is automatically tracked.


What Does the Red Solo Cup Mean?

There has been lots of speculation on the internet about what the red solo cup under the toilet seat is for. Thankfully, a hotel staff member shared with us this little secret that we never knew.

Source: Twitter

Placing a red cup (or an empty roll of toilet paper if you don’t have a cup) under the toilet seat lid is a way t indicate that there is no more toilet paper left. This source had no idea what the gesture meant herself until she got some insight from a fellow hotel worker!


Mattresses Aren't Cleaned, They're Flipped

You may have encountered online rumors that hotel mattresses are never washed, only flipped over. Unfortunately, this is sometimes true. If there’s a suspicious stain or someone pees the bed, the mattress may get flipped repeatedly.

Source: Jeffrey M. Vinocur / wikicommons

It’s unlikely that a housekeeper will ever clean or replace a mattress in a couple of years, so you’re never sleeping on the safe side of the mattress. Don’t worry – if this keeps you up at night, ask for extra sheets.


Behind the Counter: Receptionists Know More Than You Think

Receptionists are more knowledgeable than you might imagine. They have access to a plethora of guests’ personal information, such as birthdate, address, credit card numbers, occupation preferences, and even allergies. How and why you may ask?

Source: Evan Bench / wikicommons


A Game Changer to Sleep Soundly at Night

Safety is the most important thing about traveling, especially for anyone traveling solo. One hotel employee recommended this simple hack using a handtowel to make it impossible for anyone to pick your lock and will allow you to rest easily on your trip.

Shove a handtowel in between the door and the latch lock. This will prevent anyone from opening up the door, even a crack, and make the lock impossible to pick. This person used a hair tie to secure the hand towel and ensure it wouldn’t slip from the door.


The Dirtiest Thing in the Hotel Room Is...

Now, we all know that hotel rooms are not the cleanest thing in the world. But, have you wondered what the least clean thing is in your hotel room? It might not be what you expect.

According to a former employee, the television remote is the most germ-infested item in the hotel room. Other employees have noted that the pillowcases are a close second. Some guests keep the remote in a plastic bag to avoid touching the physical buttons.


The Ice Bucket is For Ice

This one made our stomachs turn and we can only imagine the poor staff worker that had to come across this little surprise in the ice bucket. Not to mention, they found vomit in the bucket more than once!

People sure need to learn to clean up after themselves. After all, the ice bucket is for ice!


Don't Stay Above the 4th Floor

One hotel staff member shared a little-known secret that is darker than most. They recommend you never stay above the fourth floor if you can help it. Of course, many hotels go up to an incredibly high number of floors and the top ones might have the best view, but at what cost?

Apparently, most fire fighter ladders can only reach as high as the third or fourth floor of most hotel buildings, meaning they are the safest bet in the case of an emergency. Of course, there are stairwells and exit routes built into the floor plans of buildings, but for anyone that is a little extra nervous, floors 1-4 are your best option for safety.


You Can Use This Genius Makeshift Ice Bucket Instead

While the ice bucket may not be the most cleanly, this genius hack will serve as a perfectly fine ice bucket for your stay. More than one hotel staff member has commented that they were impressed when they first came across this little trick.

The trash might not seem like the cleanest place to keep your drinks, but it’s actually a perfectly good solution. Place a clean and unused plastic bag in the trash bin and fill that with ice. Stick your drinks or foods in there for them to stay icy cold. Voila!


Beware of the Concierge Recommendations

The hotel concierge is there to help you, provide directions, and give recommendations for restaurants or activities. They are a helpful resource when you’re traveling and aren’t familiar with the area.

However, one concierge let us in on a little secret. A lot of times, the companies they recommend are paying the hotel to send them traffic, so you might want to take them with a grain of salt.


Hotel Staff Do Not Tamper With Your Stuff

Guests worry about their belongings being tampered with, but hotel staff insists it’s a baseless fear. Surveillance footage rarely shows any unusual activity, and lost items are usually found after a thorough search.


Another Reason to Steer Clear of the Coffee Pot

In addition to the mold and bacteria that are prone to grow in the hotel coffee pots, it appears there is another thing to worry about when it comes to this particular appliance.


No 13th Floor?

If you’ve ever stayed in a high rise hotel building, you may have noticed that many do not have a 13th floor. The elevator skips right from 12 to 14. You might have heard some rumors as to why this is the case.

Really, it all comes down to something called triskaidekaphobia, which is simply the fear of the number 13. This superstition became so common across the U.S. that it became commonplace to omit the 13th floor from hotel and building elevators.


Pig in the Tub

We’re sure that hotel workers have seen their fair share of strange things in hotel rooms. But no one could possibly prepare themselves to find a pig in a room, let alone the bathtub!

We aren’t sure how someone thought it would be a good idea to marinate a meal in the tub but they sure ran with it. This encounter was enough for the room inspector to quit and we don’t blame them. People are too weird!


Beddings and Curtains Aren't Crisp Clean

If you thought that the curtains and duvets at your favorite hotel get cleaned frequently, you might be mistaken. According to a housekeeper, duvets are cleaned at least monthly, and the curtains are washed once every three weeks. Duvets are rarely washed between stays; it only happens when someone pees the bed.

Source: Nieuw~commonswiki / wikicommons

Considering that the maids are on a strict schedule and some get paid for the number of rooms cleaned, it’s easy to overlook the curtains and duvets.


Stick To Whole Fruit at Hotel Breakfasts

Are you planning on enjoying the continental breakfast at your hotel? You should take a few tips from this hospitality worker who suggests avoiding certain items.

Source: Miia Ranta / wikicommons


Yes, They Overbook on Purpose

In the same way that most airlines overlook seats on the plane, hotels overlook rooms to their guests. The reason is plain and simple: It costs to have empty rooms. Hotel managers are actually encouraged to overbook to 110% capacity.

This is to account for the fact that some people will likely cancel or simply not show up. In the case of a no-show, the hotel is on the hook for a daily no-show rate of 10%. In order to avoid this at all costs, they overbook. But this also means that guests might be awfully mad if they show up to their room to find it was double booked!


If You Forgot Your Phone Charger, Don't Worry

Most of us have probably forgotten our phone charger on vacation and it’s always a pain to have to go buy a new one. Interestingly, many hotels actually have you covered!

If you happen to forget your charger try asking the hotel desk if they have a spare. The worst thing they can say is no!


"No Vacancy" Doesn't Mean "No Rooms"

Contrary to popular belief, when you see a “no vacancy” sign at a hotel or the front desk manager says they have no vacancy, it doesn’t actually mean they have no rooms left!

There are actually some rooms left, even if they say there are no vacant rooms. They keep some open in the case of something breaking in another room. So, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can give you a room but it is still worth asking!


Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

A neatly made bed does not necessarily mean there aren’t dirty sheets underneath or bugs lurking around in the corners. Unfortunately, a survey from 2018 revealed that there are actually MORE cases of bed bug infestations in recent years as compared to 15 years before.


Don't Leave the Tip on the Table

Housekeepers work hard cleaning up after us, but they’re not paid nearly enough for their tough physical work. So why not leave them a tip? According to housekeepers, the best place to leave the tip is under the pillow so that only they can find it.


Close Your Windows!

When you leave the hotel room, we highly recommend that you keep your windows closed, especially if you live in a hot and humid area. This poor hotel staff member had the displeasure of walking into a horrifying scene.

Imaging the sound of the crunch of dead bugs under their feet makes our stomachs turn. Let’s all play it safe and keep the windows closed when we leave our hotel rooms.


A Receptionist May Just Have Made Your Breakfast

It’s common for hotel staff to have extra duties, like receptionists preparing breakfast in the morning. Nonetheless, this can be a problem, as they may not be trained in proper food handling and hygiene. We could be taking a risk by eating food prepared by someone without kitchen experience.


Booking Sites Earn Huge

Many of us are used to booking our hotel rooms via booking sites, and many receptionists confirmed many sites are scams. In addition, the famous sites take a huge commission of about 20%- 25% making it a struggle for the smaller hotels to make a substantial profit.

As such, it’s advised that one directly calls the hotel to reserve their room, or better yet, use the hotel’s website to make a reservation. Booking directly helps the hotel, and you’ll get some perks as a guest.


Save Some Bucks by Booking Directly

Hotel receptionists often suggest that booking rooms online are overrated. Online booking sites can limit flexibility and refunds, even if the hotel wants to help. Plus, these sites often charge extra and take a commission from the hotel.

Source: U.S. National Archives / wikicommons


Get Rewarded for Your Loyalty

Hotel receptionists say rewards programs are a must for frequent travelers staying ten nights or more per year. These programs are usually free and offer percent-based discounts on everything, including the bar and massages. Plus, members get priority service if anything goes wrong.


Hotels Have Different Rating Readings

It’s no secret that reviews matter to businesses in the hospitality industry, whether it’s a hotel, restaurant, or bar. Hotel managers typically strive for perfect ten ratings; anything below an eight is seen as a failure. A single point can make a difference for a business, and hotel staff hopes guests will be fair when reviewing each department.

Source: Richard Murphy / wikicommons

It’s unfair to give poor housekeeping ratings because breakfast was terrible or the Wi-Fi was slow. Reviews are taken seriously, so try to be fair and give credit where it’s due.


The Surprising Impact of Your Hotel Reviews

Hotel management takes reviews seriously because they can make or damage a hotel’s reputation. Reviews of employees mentioned are closely examined and might even result in disciplinary action.

Source: Tony Webster / wikicommons


You Can Make Their Tasks Easier for Them

Being a maid is tough work, with an endless to-do list and a ticking clock to finish everything before check-in. Once the beds are made and fresh towels are left out, the laundry pile grows, especially at large hotels.

Source: Kyle Hasegawa / wikicommons