Tag: Hotel HousekeepingView All Tags
It's one of those subjects we just can't seem to get enough of--hotel housekeeping. We love to hear stories about your experiences with the staff, good or bad. But even better, we adore it when the maids themselves dish the literal dirt on what they've seen with their own eyes.
We happened to check out this story called "Sh*t the Hotel Maid Says" and we thought it was high time we interviewed someone in the industry, because the stories we read were hilarious (a spider monkey hiding in the vent??).
A pal of ours (we'll call her "Maid Marian") did a housekeeper stint at a boutique hotel that happens to be on the PGA Tour circuit. It's not a big chain, so she requested anonymity.
Here's her lowdown on the best and worst things she saw, and tips on how to be a great guest.
Hyatt got a pat on the back and an extra scoop of ice cream in November when it was named the top place to work for LGBT equality, but now the hotel chain is back in the doghouse and bearing the brunt of a boycott that, according to a release put out by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), has cost Hyatt more than $27 million in business.
Those numbers obviously are subjective and unable to be confirmed at this time, but it's very well possible considering the boycott has been active since last summer. At that time, union leaders of Hyatt's employees called for a global boycott in response to what they deemed to be "various unfair labor practices." More than 5,000 organizations have backed the effort and information/resources have been aggregated on its website, hyatthurts.org.
Last week, the NCLR, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) joined in, citing "widespread evidence of harmful working conditions for hotel housekeepers, who are predominantly women of color, including Latinas."
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After 40 years at the Fontainebleau, we bet Willie knocks twice, even three times!
So we had a moment yesterday. OK, it was a bit of a meltdown, if you want to get technical. We were at wits end wondering why we were seemingly targeted for housekeepers worldwide who would bust in our hotel rooms after just one knock. We whined at the injustice of it all, and asked the universe what was the official protocol on such things.
Well, the universe (aka a poster named "Wunderkind") took the time to gently school us on the ins and outs of Hotel Housekeeping 101 and we thought it only fitting we share that education with you fine folks.
Read on for Wunderkind's explanation (edited for lengthy/clarity) and what you should do to avoid hotel invasions, and the reason you may get one anyway (hint: they think you might be dead, dude).
Watcha gonna do when they come for you...at the break of dawn?
Let's just call this "Tell Us Why You're Mad Tuesday" rant, m'kay?
This is dedicated to all the hotel housekeepers who bust in our rooms after just one knock. They never hear our panicked "Hold On!" as we race to the door. It's always too late. Yes, sometimes we realize we've forgotten to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on, but honestly, isn't that more of a back-up than an out-and-out mechanism to waylay intrusions?
We usually don't expect a knock on the door at 9 a.m. when most of these disturbances seem to occur. Isn't check-out at 11 a.m., lady? And what's with the universal one-knock rule? One tap and you're opening the door, not giving us a second to get ourselves decent. And it seems we're always indecent (when the room invasion occurs).
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We've long known that hotel rooms, even the most expensive ones, can't always be completely germ, stain or hole-free but a new report from ABC News's "Medical Unit" has us thisclose to buying our own personal germ zapping blacklight wand.
Researchers from the University of Houston swabbed 19 hotel room hideouts, from door handles to headboards, and found the fecal bacterium E. coli hiding on 81 percent of the surfaces, including the remote control, the telephone and the bedside lamp.
We've long avoided touching the remote control by either placing a shower cap over it or wiping it down (and thanks to the Lodgenet iPhone app we can avoid the remote entirely) but we never thought about the telephone, where we make our room service calls, or the bedside lamp. Gag.
As it turns out, the folks responsible for flinging the poo are not just the guests who stayed in the room before you but also the housekeepers. Apparently, bacteria was found on the mops and sponges they use to clean the hotel rooms. Oh dear lord.
So what's a traveler to do? Well, you could avoid hotels completely but that's no fun. Here are HotelChatter's Tips for a Cleaner Hotel Stay:
Update 7/5/11, 8:51pm: The housekeeper as now sued the NY Post for libel for printing stories that she was a prostitute.
In a stunning turn of events late last week, it was revealed that the housekeeper at the Sofitel New York who was allegedly assaulted by IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was not such an innocent victim after all.
The NY Post is claiming that investigators discovered that she had been turning tricks at the hotel with other guests, which lends more credence to DSK's defense that the sex was consensual. She even reportedly resumed her "special trade" at a Brooklyn hotel where the Manhattan District Attorney's office had housed her while the investigation into DSK was carried out.
But not only does the housekeeper seem to have a unsavory past entertaining men for money, she's also a documented liar from her application for asylum from her native Guinea where she claimed she was gang-raped by soldiers to the number of children she has and most crucially for the DSK case, she lied about what she did immediately after the attack. (Initially, she said she called a supervisor. But later, she confessed to cleaning another suite first.)
Now, with charges against DSK expected to be dropped this week--since the case is "not sustainable"--housekeepers everywhere have officially been cheated.
Tipping the housekeeper. We all want to do it regularly, we really do. Each hotel stay we glance guiltily at the nightstand before we head out for the day, telling ourselves, "Do not forget to put a tip down for the housekeeper when you get back," but sometimes, you know, we just forget.
However, this nifty turndown card seen at Ritz-Carlton at LA Live in Los Angeles helped us to remember. Place on the nightstand, the card also came with two chocolates, a cute quotation and a helpful weather outlook. And we especially liked how it listed our housekeeper's name, Tracy.
Of course, Tracy may have been the one who did the turndown service for that night and there probably was a different housekeeper who cleans the room during the day but it's still a good reminder to pay respect to the people who lift the heavy mattresses, replace the towels, organize our belongings and place those seven giant pillows on the bed.
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You would think that Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be a lesson for all pervy politicians with hotel-hopping habits but no, it seems not to have registered with at least one man of power.
Egyptian businessman Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar, the former chairman of Egypt's Bank of Alexandria, was arrested on Sunday for locking a housekeeper at the ritzy Pierre Hotel in his $900 a night suite and sexually assaulting her. From NBC New York:
Law enforcement officials tell NBC New York that when the maid arrived at room 1027 with three boxes of tissues, Omar answered the door wearing a "silk-type" garment and asked her to place them on a table near the bed.
According to law enforcement officials, Omar then grabbed the maid in a bear hug and began to kiss and fondle her, grabbing her breasts and rubbing against her.
She resisted and said "I'm not here for this," officials said. He then locked the door to prevent her from leaving, before asking for her phone number, according to officials. When she gave him a number, police said, he let her out of the room.
Cleaning out the housekeeping closet.
Not only do housekeepers have to pick up clothes, make and remake the bed, gather up all the wet towels, replace the toiletries and vacuum the rugs but they also have to deal with the sexual desires and habits of guests--some which can be awkwardly funny, some embarrassing or disgusting and occasionally, some that are dangerous.
Yes, housekeepers have seen it all. Which is why we're asking all the housekeepers out there to tell us some of their funniest, dirtiest, grossest, awkwardest, craziest and even scariest stories on the job. Several housekeepers chimed in on our Tip the Housekeeper Thread the other year, so we know you're reading and we know you got some stories.
At the very least, you can consider it a group therapy session. And at best, you will teach the rest of us how to be better hotel guests.
HOUSEKEEPERS UNITE! Help us shed more light on what you deal with day in and day out by sharing your job experiences in comments below!
As the fallout from the alleged sexual assault of a housekeeper by Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Sofitel New York continues, a silver lining seems to have emerged--folks are starting to pay closer attention to the plight of housekeepers. And it's not just about the strenuous routines making and remaking hotel beds.
In this New York Times op-ed from a housekeeping manager, Jacob Tomsky writes that housekeepers are routinely subjected to sexual harassment from guests, typically ones who can't keep their clothes on aka creepy flashers.
Tomsky also points out that everyday housekeepers are dealing with the unknown. That's because they never know what's behind door 1, 2, 3 or 14 as their room assignments don't say who is in what room, just that it's needs to be cleaned. So what housekeepers find when they open the door can often be scary (ok and a little bit funny.) Tomsky writes:
Hotel Crime / Sofitel Hotels / Dominique Strauss-Kahn / Hotel Housekeeping / Political Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
It looks like all the money in the world can't save you from being a sexual deviant. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund, was arrested last night after allegedly committing a heinous sex attack on a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York.
The NY Post reports:
The trouble began at around 1 p.m. yesterday when a 32-year-old housekeeper entered Strauss-Kahn's $3,000-a-night suite at the luxury Sofitel on West 44th Street -- apparently unaware he was still inside.
The married Strauss-Kahn was in the bathroom, and emerged naked, chased her down a hallway and pulled her into a bedroom, where "he jumps her," a source said.
"She pulled away from him and he dragged her down a hallway into the bathroom where he engaged in a criminal sexual act, according to her account to detectives," Browne said. "He tried to lock her into the hotel room."
The Palihouse Holloway in West Hollywood
Everyone knows a hotel bed can make or break your stay. No one wants a rough, hard bed after a long day of travel and we certainly don't want a bed that looks as if it's been slept in before we got there. But we have to remember that the reason a hotel bed looks so pristine is all thanks to the hotel housekeepers who tirelessly make and remake these beds all day long.
So it's no surprise that housekeepers are coming down with injuries from all this bed-making. And in California, they want to do something about it.
State Bill 432 wants all hotels in California to swap out their flat bottom bed sheets and replace them with fitted ones. This will save the housekeepers from having to lift the heavy mattresses when making the beds and thus cut down on injuries.
This sounds fair and good and we actually think fitted bottom sheets stay on better than the flat ones, but if the bill passes, hotels are going to be the ones paying for it. The California Hotel and Lodging Association estimates that it could cost as much $30 million and $50 million.