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Hotel News / Tipping / Hotel Housekeeping / Marriott Hotels / Maria Shriver / The Envelope Please / → All Tags
When we spied a tip envelope for the housekeeping staff in our guest room at The Ace Hotel Los Angeles, we thought it was a genius idea. The envelope served as a both a gentle reminder to tip and as a designated spot to put the tip, saving us the trouble of worrying about where to tuck a couple of dollars so that the housekeeper would see it.
Now, it looks like Marriott International thinks tip envelopes are genius as well.
The hotel company has partnered up with Maria Shriver and her "A Woman's Nation" organization to put envelopes in 160,000 Marriott hotel rooms, across all brands from Ritz-Carlton to JW Marriott and Residence Inn. The envelope will list the name of the housekeeper along with this little note:
"Our caring room attendants enjoyed making your stay warm and comfortable. Please feel free to leave a gratuity to express your appreciation for their efforts."
We're behind this initiative 100 percent but we do realize it may cause some more anxiety amongst guests who aren't used to tipping the housekeeper, especially if they don't have any extra cash on them. While Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says it's customary to tip $1 to $5 a night, we say anything you can hand over during your stay will be appreciated. Most housekeepers are only paid minimum wage and most of the time, they don't receive tips. (Hence this campaign.)
Of course, that leads to another argument that Marriott and other hotel companies should pay housekeepers more per hour, instead of relying on tips from guests but sadly, that won't change any time soon. (Our contributor, Will McGough, actually thinks the envelopes are tasteless and tacky because of that reason.) In the meantime, we expect tip envelopes to be found in more and more hotels, not just Marriott ones.
What do you think about tip envelopes--helpful or annoying? Sound off in comments below!
[Photo: Marriott Hotels]
Although the property itself doesn't go much beyond your standard city accommodations despite its name, Berlin's Lux 11 Hotel in Mitte had a reverse housekeeping policy that perked our interest, one that had us wondering if it might be an industry solution to payroll and environmental concerns: Instead of regular daily housekeeping that comes unless you ask them not to, room cleaning only takes place if you ask for it.
The hotel spells out this policy on the back of the door as well as upon check-in, letting guests know that if they want housekeeping service, they have to hang a tag on the door prior to noon. In its note, Lux 11 explains that its method prevents against the problem of being annoyed by maids in the morning.
Luxury Hotels / Hotel Services / Hotel Housekeeping / Cannes Hotels / InterContinental Hotels / Cannes Film Festival Hotels / → All Tags
We've longed loved the little touches at old world luxury hotels, from a zen turndown service to a careful room service presentation. Now the InterContinental Carlton Cannes has brought to our attention a service we thought didn't even exist anymore. They are calling it The Bookmark Fairy.
If a hotel housekeeper notices book or a magazine left open without a bookmark or with a dog-eared page, they will slip one of the hotel's signature bookmarks inside where the guest left off reading.
A hotel rep tells us it's a little-known but "incredibly well-received perk." And as the hotel readies for the Cannes Film Festival which kicks off tomorrow, we're sure the Bookmark Fairy will be making the rounds.
Rates at the InterContinental Carlton Cannes start at around 285 Euros, after the festival is over of course.
[Photo: InterContinental Carlton Cannes]
A new bed at the Pullman Paris Eiffel Tower
A hotel bed has to be many things--clean, comfortable, plush, spacious and clean. Yes, we purposely mentioned "clean" twice.
However, so often the bed that fulfills every hotel guests' fantasy (satin sheets not included) is a huge pain for housekeepers to make, over and over, several times a day.
But the pillow top Pullman Bed found at Pullman Hotels does its best to keep both the guest and the housekeeper happy. We learned there's a secret lever under the bed which housekeepers can pump up and down so that they can make the bed without having to bend too far over and without straining their back. Then they can send the bed back down to its regular height once they've finished.
Imagine that? Two backs saved with just one lever. Now, if only the lever could guarantee us a good night's sleep.
The neon sign outside the Rochester Hotel in Durango, Colo. was definitely an interesting first impression, and even moreso of an eyebrow raiser when we saw it again upon checkout.
The Rochester was built in 1892 and is one of the oldest hotels in Durango. Once a 33-room boarding house, the current owners remodeled it into 15 king and double queen rooms. The original antiques and woodwork are still found in the hallways and rooms, but the hotel has adopted a Western movie theme based on films that were shot in the area. Think framed movie posters, film histories, and photographs in the hallways.
Despite the images that movie posters and out-of-place neon signs bring to mind, the hotel was incredibly genuine, feeling more like a B&B than anything else. It essentially was at the end of the day, with a free made-to-order breakfast included in the rate, and a little housekeeping trick that did a really good job of making us feel like we were a guest at someone's house rather than customers at a hotel: After it was made up, they left the doors of all the unoccupied rooms open.
Hmmm... this was definitely a new one for us. This weekend, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in San Clemente, California, while attending a wedding on the adjacent golf course, and when we entered our room, we found this note waiting for us, pressed on the headboard.
As snotty as it sounds, our first thought was whether the hotel wanted a cookie for this typically routine service. We also wondered if sticky notes are now the new way to communicate in our technologically advanced world.
But alas, the note is actually just a marketing opportunity by Hampton Inn. (We've seen another hotel use sticky notes before as a marketing gimmick too.)
A few years ago, the brand rolled out these printed sticky notes to assure guests that the sheets on the bed are clean. Which makes sense since our #1 fear is usually that the duvet cover hasn't been washed and contains god-knows-what kind of stains.
But while we definitely appreciate clean linens, we're not sure we need a note, much less a sticky note on the headboard, to remind us. This isn't Office Space, it's a hotel room.
What do you think? Should Hampton Inn use sticky notes on the headboard to remind guests about the clean linens? Or is there another way to do this? Sound off in comments below!
HotelChatter is no stranger to bed-making tutorials. We've had the folks at Ritz-Carlton demonstrate how to make a bed; we've had the team at DoubleTree share their special bed-making tips and we've had the staff at the Trump New York enlighten us with a tip on keeping duvet covers wrinkle-free. But never have we been told to make a bed like this before.
To be honest, we're not so sure we got all the bed-making tips down, we were too distracted by watching the employees sing and dance and throw pillows in the air. Maybe the fourth or fifth time watching it, we'll actually remember the tips.
Considering a hotel bed for your home? Check out what hotel brands have their beds for sale HERE.
[Video: Kimpton Hotels]
When it comes to tipping the maid, there is always a bit of confusion about where to put the tip. Do you leave it on the nightstand or the desk? Or perhaps you leave it on the dresser or the minibar?
At the just-opened Ace Hotel Los Angeles, there is no confusion about where your dollar bills go. On the desk atop the stationary is a little yellow envelope with the words "MAID TIP stamped in red. And there you go.
While we doubt luxury hotels would ever consider adopting this sort of hint for guests (it's probably considered too "vulgar"), we do think it could work at lots of other boutiquey hotels. But if this becomes a hotel standard, then we best remember to bring dollar bills with us. We'll feel pretty sheepish leaving that envelope empty. Wonder if they take credit cards?
Check out more of what's inside the rooms at Ace Hotel Los Angeles in the gallery below!
We love Jennifer Lawrence. She's beautiful and she's talented but she's also funny and real. Girl totally speaks her mind, PR handlers be damned. Her post-Oscar win Q&A last year, where she admitted to taking a shot before the show and being a klutz in a fancy dress, won our hearts immediately. (Check out some of her other "real" moments here.)
So when she appeared on Conan O'Brien the other night she was just being her typical self, talking about how a hotel housekeeper found her stash of butt plugs once. NBD.
J-Law swears the butt plugs were a joke and she tried to shove them under the bed, but the housekeeper pulled them out and put them on display on the bedside table.
Funnily enough, the convo started when Conan asked her what she would be doing if she wasn't an actress and she said, "Hotel Maid" because she because "I love beds and bathroom and spraying and going through everybody's stuff," she said. Hmm…does she also like being forced to clean an entire hotel room in about 14 minutes? If so, then it might be the job for her! Here Jennifer, allow us to give you a quick tutorial on how to make a hotel bed, Ritz-Carlton style.
When we checked into the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Springs the other weekend, we were tickled to see the Aromatherapy Associates line of toiletries in the bathrooms. Mouthwash included!
Last year, we had heard that JW hotels would be rolling out these upscale toiletries but now they are officially in place at every JW Marriott. Designed for business travelers to fight off skin dehydration after long flights and fatigue due to changing time zones, the line is made with all-natural ingredients and has a scent that appeals to both men and women.
During our stay we realized we forgot to pack our face wash, which nearly gave us a panic attack but the Aromatherapy Associates soap worked amazingly well, without overly drying our skin. (Of course, this being the desert, we slathered on moisturizer followed by sunscreen so our skin didn't have much time to feel dry.) And we loved the fragrant shampoo and conditioner. Even better, our hair was smooth and soft after blowdrying it too.
Shockingly, we forgot to grab our toiletries before we checked-out but if this happens to you, don't fret. You can buy the entire toiletry line on the Shop Marriott site.
We recently had a whole week of hotel bed stories which detailed everything on the average life of a hotel mattress to making a bed, Ritz-Carlton style. In that story, we mentioned it took housekeepers about seven minutes to properly fix the bed to the luxury hotel's strict standards.
Well, imagine our surprise when we received word that seven minutes is TOO LONG to make up a hotel bed. Who would scoff at the Ritz-Carlton in such a way? None other than the Executive Housekeeping department at California's Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.
Apparently they can put their money where their mouth is, having won the Bed Making competition at the Monterey County Hospitality Association's Annual Employee Appreciation Day for two years in a row (2012/3). This is the local hospitality sector's version of the World Cup!
How fast did it take their staff to make a bed? 36 SECONDS!
At first, we were awed, and then we frowned a bit. What did that bed look like? Where there corners cut? We corresponded with John Gill, Executive Housekeeper at the property on what it took to win this competition. He gave us the detes.
All this week, we'll be talking about Hotel Beds--where to buy 'em, how to make 'em, how to trust 'em (see story below!) and what to do when the bed isn't enough to send you to Sleepyland. Got a hotel bed question or comment? Send it to us! We're not sure about you, but we like to know a little bit about the different beds in which we sleep. At the end of the day, hotels are simply community beds, a concept that brings up a few questions: How often is the mattress replaced? Or worse... what about those spills and stains? We caught up with Philip Ridgway, Director of Housekeeping at the Four Seasons San Francisco, to get some answers. Here are 6 things to know about the life of a hotel mattress:
1. All the mattresses in the Four Seasons San Fran are the same, and they are made specifically for the brand. They are usually ordered on a large-scale by the corporate office and delivered directly to the individual hotel. They typically try to replace the whole hotel at once about every ten years, unless there’s an incident where one has to be switched out.
2. Speaking of incidents, don’t worry about spilling that glass of wine. Just don’t set the room on fire. Four Seasons will only charge in the case of gross negligence, like if you had a huge party and literally (not figuratively) set the sheets on fire. They won’t charge you for a small spill or if your kid wets the bed. Those things happen. The best thing to do is just be honest and let housekeeping know.