Most people feel safe when they stay at hotels because the concierge, the housekeepers, and the overall staff are hospitable and efficient. But things aren’t necessarily what they appear to be.
In fact, there are some hotel staff members who are spilling the beans on what’s really happening when guests aren’t looking that will make most people think twice before ever booking a hotel stay ever again.
It Was the Maid’s Day Off
While some housekeepers have proven to be less than stellar on this list, there are others who seem to have forgotten to do any work at all. How else would one explain a McDouble in the microwave or a chocolate chip bag in the nightstand drawer, or the controlled substances in the room?
This Hotel Sink Lived Up to Its Name
Be a little more careful the next time you use the bathroom sink to brush your teeth or wash your hands. This hotel room’s sink literally sank when it disconnected itself from the bathroom countertop.
No Such Thing as Clean Comforters
Those bed comforters might look clean, but don’t believe everything you see. According to some hotel staff, comforters rarely get one spin through the washer. So good luck!
"Those things can go months without getting washed," said a housekeeper, "and be used by HUNDREDS of people, who also forego using the sheets."
They Won’t Notify You of Mistaken Charges
Next time you get your bill, double check it for possible mistakes. It turns out that some hotels will charge things by mistake, but even if an employee catches the error, the hotel won’t fix it unless you do what this staff member suggests.
Hotels Rooms With No Views
Some travelers look forward to peeling the curtains back and discovering a beautiful view of their city. But as some hotel employees point out, there are some rooms that only offer a white wall with no fresh air or view. If you value fresh air and a nice view, make sure to double and triple check your room or you may be stuck between four walls and a ceiling.
Be Nice or Else
Here’s an incentive to being nice when calling to make a reservation for a hotel room. It turns out that if you’re not nice to the person on the other end of the line, you’ll be missing out on some serious perks.
"If you sound like a jerk on the phone, the room you were asking about will always suddenly become unavailable," claimed one employee.
Some Smoking is Allowed
Not too long ago, hotels offered a smoking and non-smoking option, but these days, smoking is not allowed anywhere. And yet, according to some staff, hotels leave ash trays around just in case guests decide to break the rules and smoke anyway.
Hotels Can Blacklist You
Another reason to be nice to the hotel staff is that some have the power to make it very difficult for you to get a room if you treat them like dirt.
According to one hotel employee, "The hotel I work at has a 'beware this guest' list, and we have a lot of neighboring hotel friends. So basically, if you trash a room or are unbelievably rude, every hospitality establishment within 30 miles will know."
Some Pools Are Filled With Gravel
Guests are often lured by the amenities some hotels offer, like a nice refreshing pool full of water. But in some instances, pools may not be open for guests or they may be even be full of gravel and not suitable for swimming.
Don’t Cover Up an Accident
When guests have accidents like getting sick and tossing their cookies somewhere, they try to hide the evidence. But according to one hotel employee, they would much rather guests be open and honest.
"[The] room stank so badly that we had to list it as out-of-order while we looked for the smell. After two weeks, we finally found an old pile of vomit hidden between a chest of drawers and the bed frame."
Some Air Vents Are Just for Show
Take a good look at the air vents in every room. Some hotels install air vent grills on the wall to give the illusion that the room has them. But in reality, the vents are installed over the tile walls.
The Mattresses Are Disgusting
Every traveler in the world will likely get goosebumps after hearing about what hotels do with their mattresses when guests have an accident on them.
"If someone pukes, pees, or poops in a bed at our hotel, the mattress isn’t replaced. The housekeepers will just spot-clean...and then one of the maintenance guys flips the mattress," claimed a hotel employee.
Hotel Gyms Are a Disappointment
When some hotels offer a gym as an incentive, ask them to prove it by getting them to send you lots of photos and videos. Otherwise, you could end up getting a single exercise machine, like this stationary bike situated next to an ice machine.
Used Pillow Cases Are Used to Dry Stuff
One would assume that housekeepers remove used pillow cases and set them aside to get washed. But as it turns out, they first use the cases for a specific cleaning task shortly after washing the hotel mugs.
"Some cleaners wash the mugs that are provided in-room in the bathroom sink, then dry them with the used pillow cases."
This Hotel Had a Toilet in the Shower
This hotel was obviously trying to save space, so they had a toilet installed inside the shower. But it must have been really difficult for couples, especially when one was sitting in the toilet while the other person was busy showering.
Some Cleaning Techniques Are Unsanitary
The common rule is that a different cleaning rag should be used for different areas of a room, but according to an anonymous source, some housekeepers use a cleaning technique that is probably a health code violation.
"I personally knew a housekeeper who used the same cleaning rag to clean both the toilets, and everywhere else in the rooms!"
Fire Sprinkler Above the Shower
At this hotel, fire safety is a priority. But some would say they took it a little too far when they installed a fire sprinkler right over the shower head. So, at least, if the room caught on fire and there was no way out, then the shower might be the safest place to be.
Some Messes Can Never Be Unseen
Some messes are so bad that they can leave housekeepers with post-traumatic stress. But for one housekeeper, the lowest point in their career was when they found some NSFW evidence in one room.
"Once went to clean a room, only to find pages torn out of a [dirty] mag and taped all over the walls, bloody sheets, and dirty messages written on the bathroom mirror in lipstick."
Cabinets Aren’t Always What They Appear to Be
Some cabinets in hotel rooms are nothing more than a lie. Oh, they might look real, but when guests open the cabinet doors, they’ll be disappointed at the sight of a white wall where empty space should be.
The Room Keys Are Nasty
As soon as you’re given a room key, do yourself a solid and pass an antiseptic wipe on it because according to a hotel employee, they’re one of the unhealthiest things you could touch at the hotel.
"I’ve had keys returned in the nastiest conditions: covered in snot, mud, unknown bodily fluids, etc...wipe them down as soon as you get them."
Some Locks Just Don’t Work
Not everyone can afford to stay in a five-star hotel, but sometimes, paying a little extra can mean the difference between a good lock and a lock that doesn’t work. Keep that in mind next time you’re looking for a low-priced hotel.
Remote Controls Are Rarely Cleaned
Housekeepers might be in charge of vacuuming rooms, making beds and cleaning toilets and bath tubs, but it seems that disinfecting remote controls is not a priority, according to one employee.
"You might wanna sanitize those next time you go to change a channel."
Some Elevators Aren’t Handicap Friendly
If you thought that handicap accessibility was a requirement for hotels, guess again. At this hotel, the elevators can barely fit two standing adults let alone someone in a wheelchair. So, call ahead to see that hotels are handicapped-friendly before booking.
Check the Nightstand
Nightstands aren’t a priority for housekeepers either. This was evident to one hotel guest who found something so disturbing in their nightstand drawer that they raced up to the reception desk to protest.
"An old man came up...and said, 'this was left from a previous guest, right next to the Holy Bible,' and placed a loaded gun on the front desk," claimed the employee.
Mold in the Coffee Maker
Sometimes it’s very important to give those hotel coffee makers a thorough inspection because some housekeepers don’t even bother to clean the inside of the machine. And when that happens, all kinds of things tend to grow inside. So, maybe consider getting coffee at Starbucks when you're on a trip.
Laundry Rooms Are Cringeworthy
According to one hotel informant, laundry rooms aren’t simply used to wash, dry and fold bed sheets and towels. They serve the kind of purpose that is so scandalous that it would make anyone’s mother gasp.
"The laundry room that's used for folding bedsheets is a GREAT place for quickies with guests," claimed one employee.
Damp Hotel Rooms Are Mushroom Breeding Grounds
This is looking a little less like a hotel room and more like a mush-room suite. There are mushrooms sprouting out from under the carpets of this cabinet. And you have to wonder how damp this room must have been to cause these things to grow.
Apologizing for the Mess Isn’t Good Enough
Accidents happen, but sometimes, apologizing for them simply isn’t good enough, at least, not as far as housekeepers are concerned. One housekeeper had this to say after a guest left a note saying “Sorry, I had an accident.”
"The 'accident' was diarrhea all over the bed, floor, and bathroom."
They Don’t Care If You Get Bed Bugs
While housekeepers appear to clean rooms all the time, they obviously miss a lot, which often leads to conditions that allow bed bugs to breed. Consequently, it’s the guests who pay the price when they end up with bed bug bites all over their bodies.
Hotel Managers Don’t Bat an Eye at Crime
Some hotel managers are well aware when criminals stay in their hotel rooms, but they don’t care as long as the person pays their hotel bill.
"The manager knew exactly what kind of stuff happened...he'd say things like, 'Oh, that's room 324. They steal IDs and Social Security numbers,' and 'That's room 409, they sell Xboxes out of their room,' and he'd say it like it was nothing," a former hotel employee revealed.
Some Hotels Have Major Plumbing Problems
Maintaining and upgrading a hotel’s plumbing network is expensive and time consuming, so hotel owners generally don’t do anything unless there’s an issue like a toilet overflowing and spewing vile all over the a guest’s bathroom.
Hotel Employees Commit Crimes, Too
In some cases, hotel managers and/or owners are completely clueless about the fact that some of their staff members are just as shady as the people who stay at the hotel.
"We recently learned that our employees have been running a drug ring right under our noses...the guy on shift sells rooms at $30 an hour for people to do drugs in, and then pockets the profits. The housekeeper cleans up the rooms after they leave, except she’s been slacking and that’s how we caught on."
Some Hotel Room Views Are a Lie
Some hotels will do anything to convince guests to book a room, even create a false illusion of a view using a poster of a city skyline. But when one guest took a closer look, they saw right through the deception.
Don’t Use a Black Light
Black lights are designed to reveal things that aren’t visible with human eyes. But once you turn one on, it reveals all kinds of nasty bodily fluid in places that housekeepers have never even bothered to spray clean.
"Never look at a hotel room with a black light. Just don't," claimed one employee.
This Shower Was a Total Shocker
Most people know that water and electricity can be a deadly combination. But this hotel room doesn’t seem to care, which might explain why they placed the electric box in this room in this same place as the shower.
Some Hotel Guests Check Out Early
It sounds like the premise of a horror movie, but according to one employee, some guests tend to die in the hotel. But that’s not really the worst thing. What’s really bad is how long it takes to discover the body and how quickly the hotel makes the room available to guests.
"Housekeeping found him, his body was taken away, the bed was changed, and someone else was checked in later that same afternoon."
Use Elevator at Your Own Risk
Next time you get in an elevator, take a look around for the safety certification on the wall. In this situation, there wasn’t one. But the hotel managers did place a guest warning telling them that they had no safety certification and that they were using the elevator at their own risk.
Don’t assume that a five-star restaurant in a hotel is perfect. According to one hotel employee, they are not, especially when it comes to their fresh vegetables, which come from the last place one would expect.
"All of the vegetables we served came from cans." Said one employee.
Some Housekeepers Are Lousy at Their Jobs
If some of the shockers on this list have proven anything it’s that some housekeepers are really lousy at their jobs. But if anyone needs more proof, then perhaps these hair extensions found under the sheets might be all the evidence required.
Hotel Kitchens Are a Health Code Violation
If a health inspector were to walk into some hotel kitchen, they would probably faint. And after they recovered, they would slap the hotel with so many sanctions that the hotel would have to shut down.
"The kitchen at the hotel I worked at was disgusting — there was a meat fridge that stank of death, and the grill was never cleaned as it 'added flavor' to the steaks. Gross!"
Heat Lamps Can Be a Fire Hazard
Some hotel rooms can be a fire hazard without guests even realizing it, like in this situation where there is a heat lamp right above the bathroom door. There was barely enough space between the two, which led to a small fire that burnt the corner of the door to a crisp.
VIP Guests Get Whatever They Want
It turns out that if a hotel guest is a VIP with lots of money, some hotels will go the extra mile and deliver some extra services straight to their hotel room.
“I work in a 5-star hotel located in central Hong Kong. Yes, we have to comply with any request if the guest is considered a VIP. Not sure if this is interesting to you guys but we do have contact with locals when call girls are needed. We simply make a phone call and girls will be delivered faster than pizza. No, I ain't s****g you,” claimed one employee.
Fitness Centers Double as Storage Rooms
Don’t assume that all hotel fitness centers are spacious and nice looking. As this photo suggests, some hotels use their fitness centers as storage rooms for their extra couches, which makes working out extremely difficult.
Check Before Drinking From the Minibar
It turns out that the gold liquid inside some whiskey bottles in the minibar may not be whiskey at all, but bodily fluid. At least, that’s what one hotel employee described.
“Check the seals on the items in the minibar. I once had a guest who drank the whiskey and then peed in the bottle, closed it, and put it back. I've also seen candy three months past the expiration date.”
Hotel Rooms Are a Bio Hazard
Some hotels are like a bio-hazard minefield. Case in point is this cup full of used needles, including a syringe that appears to have some blood on it. But the creepy thing about this is that it was discovered under someone’s mattress.
Demanding an Upgrade Won’t Make It Happen
Hotel employees aren’t required to give guests everything they want. But if you really want an upgrade, do ask nicely. Being pushy and mean will guarantee the opposite results according to one employee.
“The more a guest demands to be upgraded, the less likely we are to upgrade them.”
The Water Isn’t Always Clear
When guests stay at hotels abroad, they have no idea what the water is going to be like. Take this Moscow hotel for instance. When a guest turned the faucet on, they noticed that the water was the nastiest shade of brown as a result of rusty pipes.
Beware the Elevator Buttons
Like everything else in the hotel, be careful when touching anything. If possible, use something else to press the elevator buttons because according to one hotel employee, you’ll be glad you did.
“As soon as you check in, the magic begins. The keycard for your suite and the elevator to your room are rarely cleaned, if at all. See that crusty smudge on the button for the 5th floor? Don’t ask me where that came from.”
Hotel Towels Aren’t Always Clean
Double check those hotel towels and make sure they are as clean as they seem. It might seem excessive, but there are some circumstances where the towels are dirty like the one in this photo that has a brown hand print. Sometimes maids will fold a stain towards the wall so you don't see it when you first arrive.
Don’t Be Rude to the Staff
The hotel staff is there to make your life easier. So, it’s a good idea to be as kind as possible, because they can just as easily make your experience the worst ever, starting with your room. One hotel worker mentioned online, “When the guests are rude to me, I put them in the worst room possible.”