These Are The Craziest Things Workers Have Ever Seen At Five-Star Hotels
Hotels are supposed to be places where you can leave your worries behind. You can swim in the pool, eat delicious food you didn’t have to cook yourself and sink into clean sheets without having to worry about doing laundry the next day. Still, no matter how luxurious an image a hotel has, there are more than a few dirty secrets that have been swept under the bed. Courtesy of Reddit, here are the worst things hotel workers have even seen on the job.
1. Secret recipe
Our concierge was Les Clefs D’or. He had all the connections, this dude could get you into the French Laundry the same day. He would often greet guests with sangria and sprigs of mint from his garden. Sometimes he even had lemon slices from his tree too! He loved to tell guests all about his garden and they ate it up.
Yeah…. unfortunately, that’s all bulls**t. Mint, lemon, and any other garnish was bought from the local grocery store. The sangria was the cheapest boxed stuff we could find. The guy just sold the story like no other, and it worked.
2. Puppy on the run
The best thing I saw while working at a hotel was the huge hotel dog escaping his pen. He made straight for the high-end restaurant and went hog wild, jumping on a few tables and scarfing $100 steaks like they were M&Ms.
I and another guy saw it, we worked during the ski day and cleaned up into the evening so it was just him and me finishing up in our department when the dog escaped. We both saw he was going to get out of his cage and we could have stopped it but we just wanted to watch the world burn. It was my greatest day of work there by far.
3. Cleaning transparency
Never trust any glass in hotel rooms. Housekeepers are stretched so thin that they will clean the glasses with the same rags they clean the bathroom with, after all their goal is to make the room look clean… not be clean.
I worked as a housekeeper in a five diamond hotel for years and there was a period of over a year that went by where we didn’t get a single clean glass delivery. We didn’t have dishwashers in the room, so management was complicit. This was in a five-diamond, one of the top resorts in the world. Never trust glass in hotel rooms.
4. Free parking
At a certain Beverly Hills hotel, where I valeted for a short amount of time, many stars’ cars were just left there. The celebrities just come and get them whenever. There was also a code name for Justin Bieber since he visited so often.
Bieber picked the nickname himself, and his G-Wagon and a Bentley were kept down there free of charge. Usher also left his bike at the hotel a few years back and just never collected it.
5. Elevator smackdown
One hotel I worked at hosted a Christmas party for an investment firm and two guys started jockeying for the affections of a female coworker. They all wound up on an elevator together and the two guys started fighting, the elevator went into safety lockdown, we had to call the PD and the FD.
One guy left the premises in a squad car, one guy left in an ambulance, and we had to give the woman some clothes from lost & found because her dress was covered in blood. Not only that, but the elevator was out of service for six hours to clean it up. There’s always a ton of back of house drama at every hotel too, especially among the executives and the junior managers. Affairs, backstabbing, a little light fraud. You know, the usual.
6. Do not disturb
I found while working in one of the higher-end hotels in my city that the really famous people don’t want attention at all. They don’t want room service, or staff hanging around. Even the welcoming group of the general manager and friends is a bit much, they’d rather you just go away and let them be alone. 9/10 times you would hear video games or a movie from their room. They just want their alone time.
It’s the D-list celebs who know damn well they’re not all that, and they demand attention from the staff anyway. They likely do it to prove to themselves that they are important, to soothe their egos.
7. Topping up the bill
I worked at a five-star hotel in England as a bartender, hosting events and stuff. One thing that was common was my manager would just add extra drinks onto the bill at large events to make more money.
For example, if a big wedding ordered 50 bottles of champagne, they’d only give them 30 and would keep 20 back. If they ran out of the 30 bottles, they’d then have to buy more. I reported this to Senior management and they just laughed saying it’s normal. I actually got told off for not taking part in this.
8. Acting like a rock star
One day I came into work and there was a big scramble on the upper floors, where the penthouse area was. It seemed like this known millionaire and repeat customer of ours had a little too much c*ke and was destroying his room. He was actually throwing furniture out the balcony, ripping everything out of the fridge, and he even tried to throw a mattress off the balcony.
It was a big deal at the time but they kept it hush hush with no police involved. A guy that’s paying 9k-13k a night is not going to be arrested. When the team finally got into the room, there was c***ine all over the tables, bottles everywhere, and a couple of high-class call girls that were completely inconsolable. The next day the room was cleaned up and sold to Jennifer Lopez.
9. Sleepover at work
There was once a natural disaster that required staff to stay on-site with a whole floor reserved for themselves. Bathtubs were filled with ice and booze and managers were found wandering the back halls in their undies.
Not only that, but the Michelin star chef and the general manager were caught on camera cheating on their partners in a stairwell on the same night.
10. Employee benefits
I previously worked in room service at a historic downtown hotel in a metropolitan city. During my time there, the general manager announced his retirement and the corporate overlords sent in an interim general manager from out of state. Since he didn’t own a home in the state, they allowed him and his wife to stay in the hotel temporarily, under the impression that he would shortly take over the role and purchase a home.
His wife was either retired or left her work for his opportunity, so she spent a lot of time in the hotel – mainly the bar. She would run up a large bill and stumble to bed several nights a week. On more than one occasion she was found by staff outside of their room butt naked and once topless headed toward the lobby. It became such a problem and embarrassment for the general manager that they moved into a house earlier than planned.
11. Stationary secret codes
I used to work at the front desk of my hotel most of the time. We more or less create the first impression and it’s the one place everyone goes, from guests and scammers to robbers. If we were threatened or received a call of someone threatening us or the hotel, for example, we had to subtlely let our coworkers know.
The signal for “help” at the front desk was dropping a stapler. For food and beverage, when harassed by a guest and in need of help, the go-to was dropping something like a glass or making noise by loudly apologising. The idea is to draw attention from other guests and employees so the behaviour will stop. It was considered rude and unprofessional to just tell a guest to stop harassing you for some reason.
12. Shifting stories
We went on lockdown once because a man walked into the lobby with a shotgun. There were also two loud bangs in the motorcade around the same time. We were sealed up tight for about 45 minutes and we had people escape into our area in hysterics before the doors to the lobby were locked, but I never saw the person with the gun. One woman, in particular, was hyperventilating because he pointed the gun straight at her before walking away.
Anyhow, we were told that we’d be fired if we talked to the media. By the time I finished counting my drawer the news was saying that an attempted bank robbery had spilt over into our motorcade before they drove away. By the time I got home that story was gone from everywhere but a single news outlet who issued a correction stating that a car had backfired in the motorcade. We weren’t allowed to discuss it. It was kept as quiet as in-house celebrity gossip.
13. Minor fires
People often come back to the hotel, microwave things for too long or throw things on a stovetop and then fall asleep. Where I worked, there were probably three to four fires a week, usually between the hours of 7pm to 10pm.
The rooms in hotels are generally fireproof, as are the doors, so if people just open the exterior window but not the hallway door, it’ll air out fine and we won’t have to evacuate the building.
14. The later the better
Checking in late at night sometimes means free upgrades or discounted upgrade rates. Where I worked, we would try to sell every last suite at night for almost 80% off, just so they wouldn’t stay empty.
Sometimes if we were oversold on rooms, the very late arrivals who showed up at midnight would get a free suite upgrade simply because we had no other choice. Of course, this strategy would also backfire if the hotel was sold out. There’s also a risk of getting downgraded if you’re a very late arrival.
15. Front desk snooping
There’s always a Sherlock Holmes-level investigation going on at the front desk, trying to figure out which one of the staff is stealing tips from everyone else. I’d set out marked $20s in one of the rooms, catch the baddie red-handed, and then promptly fire the thief.
Every time though, just two weeks later I’d have to play Scotland Yard again because someone new was stealing tips! It was an endless cycle that taught me a lot about human nature. There were no real bad guys, just people with motive and opportunity.
16. Don’t touch the remote
Your hotel room is much dirtier than you think, as almost every hotel is understaffed, and so corners inevitably end up getting cut. Chances are, your blanket hasn’t been changed in weeks, or maybe a certain part of the desk hasn’t been wiped down in a while. Sometimes things like remotes or phones don’t get wiped down.
It takes a lot of use for something to be noticeably dirty and if a housekeeper is overworked, it’s very easy for something to slip their mind. A lot of the time, they just don’t have enough time to clean every room as deeply as you might like to think. If you’re at a five-star hotel, your room has definitely been cleaned, but sometimes it’s best to just play it safe.
17. Mountains out of molehills
I worked at a five-star hotel for a while. A prince showed up once in the middle of the night, and he wanted to party at the top of the mountain. We got the gondola running, got staff up to the bar and restaurants at the top, and gave him white-glove service the whole way through.
This all happened at the very last minute and on a whim of an ultra-rich person. I still have no clue how they got it all done so fast.
18. Office party gone bad
One year during the Christmas office party season, I was working the bar for a big company of builders, when I saw a barmaid run screaming out of another Christmas party. I asked what happened and she sobbed and refused to go back to serve that group. The manager asked if I would swap, I entered the room and it was pretty wild. I nipped back out and said to the manager: “I am going to lock the doors to contain them, If I give the word that I am running out of booze get me more ASAP and don’t leave me hanging”.
The group held the least politically correct “awards ceremony” I had ever seen and I saw things I never expected to see at a work’s party including sex acts and drinking games involving sex acts. They pretty much drank the hotel dry and I was given a massive tip. The following year the same group booked and specifically requested that I ran the bar.
19. Watch your luggage
The valet will take your premium sports car on a hot lap of the city if it’s nice. As a general rule, the staff don’t deal with problems, we just throw free s**t at screaming guests until they shut up, thus reinforcing the bad behaviour in them permanently.
With that said, it’s not always bed bugs that are causing your itchiness, you’ve just had a reaction to the industrial detergent used to wash the sheets. Bed bugs are pr**ks though. Torch your luggage if it is actually them.
20. Charge their card
Once, when I did my routine check-up around the hotel late at night I registered that someone was in the bar, which was supposed to be closed that late. Apparently, some guys broke the lock of the fridge with the expensive champagne and popped some bottles. The cheapest bottle was like 150€. I approached them and asked what the f**k they were doing, but the guys were intimidatingly HUGE and one of them had his shirt open so that his prison tattoos were on display.
It was some real mobster s**t, like the kinds of tattoos showing orthodox churches where every steeple is some code for a major crime he did. There were a lot of steeples. I noped the f**k out and figured out their room, counted the empty bottles next morning and billed it on their credit card. Was smth like 20-30k€ in total.
21. Seven times champagne
I worked in room service. If someone buys a bottle of booze and doesn’t open it, the policy is to bring it back to the kitchen to put into inventory to be resold.
A coworker shared that the record, as far as they knew, there was one bottle of champagne that was re-sold 7 times before it was drank.
22. Avoid the bucket
Do NOT use the ice bucket without a bag inside, and avoid the coffee pot too. People use the buckets as puke buckets or as dog water bowls, and housekeeping is not cleaning them often enough… or sometimes at all.
After seeing a flight attendant use the coffee maker to clean/steam her pantyhose that had blood all over them by filling the pot up with the hot water and putting the hosiery in it, I will not use them because they rarely get cleaned.
23. The morning after clean-up
Rich people are nasty as hell. I worked in a “five diamond” hotel for a summer as a “houseman”. I basically went to rooms, picked up the linen and trash, and brought fresh linen and supplies for the cleaning ladies.
Things I have found include: half-smoked cigars in a no smoking room, underwear with human fluids, half-eaten pizzas in the light fixtures, more fluids in the mirror, used condoms in random places, half-drunk 1-litre bottles of booze, an entire suite that went unclaimed all summer, various sex toys. You name it, I probably have found it.
24. Crash the wedding… or the car
One time one of our main elevators plummeted from the fifth floor to the lobby and broke a guy’s leg. There was also a ghost on the fifth floor: during the Depression-era there was a rooftop garden you could access from the fifth floor and it became a popular spot to jump from.
The night security guys all had crazy stories about the ghost-filled hallway. Lots of stories of things like the valets scratching people’s Lambos or the drivers wrecking the hotel town cars. The staff loved to crash galas and weddings held in the hotel after their shift ended. Lots more awesome memories too.
25. Flood the whole floor
The signs that warn you not to hang clothes on those water sprinkler heads are completely f**king serious. Those things put out some insane water pressure and the lines have to drain before they stop.
This one time a family broke one and flooded five whole rooms that had to be ripped out down to the concrete. I often wonder how much drama it would have been if they weren’t on the ground floor.
26. Home away from home
We don’t want you to know that the people who stayed in the room before you were f**king nasty. Housekeeping gets the brunt of the grossness, I’ve seen them carry out bags of used sex toys, peel used condoms off of every surface, and scrub s**t – actual human s**t – off places there’s no reason for human s**t to be.
the worst I ever saw was the couple that wanted a home birth but not at home. We had to deal with that hazmat situation. We f**ked them as hard as we could with penalties and fees on their way out of the door though.
27. Extra for eye candy
Staying at the 4 Season Maui some time ago, I was struck by how amazingly buff and handsome the car valets were, every single one of them could have been a Chippendale.
They were just flat out gorgeous young men. I was in my 30s, but I noticed most of the clientele were much older, very well-heeled couples. The husbands would go off to play golf all day . . . and soon it dawned on me just whom the valets were really there to entertain.
28. Ancient dog dirt
A customer once called down because they had found a dog s**t in the corner of their room. It was late and there was no housekeeping until morning so I just switched their rooms. I went up to check it out and indeed there was a dog s**t behind the chair in the corner but weirdly there was no smell.
I went to scrape it into a dustpan and it just kind of deflated/disintegrated because it had been there for SO long. It was basically dust. I have never comfortably slept in a hotel since my early twenties.
29. Out of the frying pan, into the fire
The kitchen staff is always underpaid and overworked. I worked 60 hours a week for minimum wage and I was one of the lucky ones as I was on the ‘new contracts’. The people on the old contracts had a fixed wage with no overtime which meant they ended up working up to 80 hour weeks and got paid for 40 at a rate just above minimum wage. I would get paid more than them most weeks.
Most hotels pride themselves on new management styles and a friendly atmosphere but all that flies out the window once you step into the kitchen. When I was leaving my boss tried to guilt-trip me into staying by pointing out that he allowed me to have a month off earlier that year – I was written off by a doctor and was in the hospital for most of that month not to mention I was forced to use my holiday days even though it was a medical issue.
30. Lying to the boss
Once a bunch of people got stuck in an elevator and it just so happened that the president of the company was stuck in there too. He called the security and they said “oh sir we’re getting them out right now” and he replied:
“No, you’re not I’m in the elevator with the 17 people and nobody is getting us out we don’t hear anyone helping us.” Needless to say they were there in about two seconds and got us all out … it pays to have the CEO stuck with you lol.
31. Guest gossip
This is probably not exclusive to five-star hotels, but every staff member gossips with each other about guests. We all have favorite guests who everybody loves, and guests that we all hate, and those who we are warned about by colleagues well in advance.
Whatever you’re up to in secret, a lot of the time staff is aware of what’s going on. Cheaters especially are incredibly easy to pick up on. And if you’re in the ‘hated guest’ category, there’s a good chance that staff have googled your name to stalk you online.
32. Mood lighting
The reason the in-house restaurant has the lights down low isn’t for mood, it’s because they are hoping it’s too dark to see that your wine glass is smudged.
I once almost got a write up for emptying a rack of wine glasses into the dish pit because they were all disgusting. I don’t want to name names, but it’s a chain where steak starts at $100 and go from there.
33. Snitch on the scratches
I worked at a very fancy hotel as a valet, the management was nice but stern when it had to be. When I started there we had one big rule for valet: “if you damage any of the cars tell us and you won’t get fired”. I thought they were just trying to trick us into confessing.
Lo and behold about eight months down the line had my first ding, I freaked out and called them up on the walkie and they get up there, and me being who I am apologizing profusely. My manager was actually fine with it and I wasn’t fired which I was seriously surprised.
34. Chipped a tooth
We had a local college professor, using a fake name, identified by past students amongst the staff, spend two nights with a C-list p**nstar. The p**nstar got too drunk and knocked out her tooth on a beer bottle in the bar.
She proceeded to go into a fit of rage and trashed the lobby bathroom. I’m talking every mirror broken and chipped marble walls and countertops. The professor had to quietly pay for the damage and checked out soon after. Thousands of dollars he paid, no further questions asked and paid that day. I assume his wife never found out.
35. Marriage negotiation
My first job was as a bell boy at a five-star hotel in South East Asia. One day my boss asked me to be a translator for a guest and his “friend”. I was 20 yrs old at that time and didn’t know much about the world. I entered the room and saw a man and woman sitting across from each other, and the man told me to explain to her the benefits she’ll be getting when they get married.
The girl who didn’t know a lick of English was just saying yes to all his offers. At first, I thought it was romantic they were getting married but it was weird realizing later. That’s when my boss explained to me that the girl was a bride for sale. I did feel some danger in the man’s voice and yet we were trained not to get involved in the guests’ business or affairs.
36. Where are the bathrooms?
Most people you see at high profile hotel events don’t actually know where the toilets are or where anything non-staff related is, as they are generally minimum wage sort of “rental workers” from an agency. It’s far less expensive to go the agency route than hiring workers and having to pay them even if there is no work for them.
These people are generally not well briefed. So when you ask someone where the toilet is and they point you to the wrong direction, have mercy on them. They have probably needed to pee for like two hours but they don’t know where the toilet is either.
37. Bad behaviour on the job
Most of the more “important” employees at my hotel were c***ed up literally all shift, for most of their shifts. I’m talking people working 12+ hours, then sleeping at the job, then coming back 3-4 hours later to work some more. They always smelled like s**t btw.
Also: everyone f**ked. Literally. Management, low level employees. Everyone worked so much they didn’t have time to meet people and go out to date. They kind of just slept with people at the job or even sometimes the guests.
38. Heartbreak hotel
There were lots of people having affairs. We had an incident where a man was meeting his mistress and his wife showed up at reception. She was in tears knowing what was going on and because of data protection we couldn’t tell her that they were there.
I left the hotel shortly after that. as seeing someone’s life fall apart in front of you is heartbreaking. I hope she’s seen better days since then.
39. Who squeaked?
I have a couple of stories. One was the mouse in the guest bedroom, the guest was room upgraded but nothing was done about the mouse and I was told to forget about it.
There was also a scale leakage problem whenever there was rain. It caused build-up of black mould in-between the walls and ventilation. Guests were NOT moved from the rooms neighbouring these walls and the problem was not fixed until a guest threatened to report it.
40. Unavailable extras
The Wyatt House that I worked at had a list of items and amenities listed on a piece of paper such as Beats headphone, yoga equipment, dumbbells, an intricate list of board games (by name), hair straighteners, hair curlers, video game systems, satellite radios, it went on and on.
We did not have a single one of the items on the list when I worked there, and I don’t think we ever did. There were countless times that people would come up asking for these things (especially the Beats headphones) and of course we would have to lie and say “well someone is already using that item.”
41. Cutting corners
I worked at a high end ski resort. They expanded their business to include all sorts of conventions and functions in the off season. They hired people that were cheap to hire, and they used materials that were inexpensive and common place anywhere they could. I was sort of shocked whilst setting up for events at the sad and lacking equipment.
There were polyester tablecloths and steel serving matters, many of which were dented or didn’t match. The butter they used was average Sysco brand butter normally used for cooking. I mean not everything has to be cutting edge, but it just seemed miserly and cheap to me at a certain point.
42. Free amenities
Former Bartender here from a five-star resort. The amount of s**t guests steal was the biggest shock, and the fact that for some reason the stealing wasn’t a good enough reason to install cameras and actual locks.
We would also have bottles of liquor stolen frequently after we would close down and no way of knowing who took the stuff.
43. Bacon or olives?
The food at the hotel where I worked was a buffet, and the options were super weird. We got a tray of bacon as the meat option one time, and baked tinned potatoes as the side pretty often. Then the vegetarian options would be something even weirder, like hot olives.
The hotel was also dirty – the pool had stuff growing in it because no one at a ski resort owns a pool cleaner. So they just turned the heating off to kill the algae/moss. In the snow. It was a cold-*ss pool and the kids hated it.
44. Where’s the helipad?
A guy once threw a temper tantrum because management told him he couldn’t land his helicopter on the back deck of the hotel.
We once had a big billionaire’s cronies dine with us, and they made us put up barriers around their table so no one could see them. They also told us we couldn’t “speak unless spoken to”, and we were given instructions by the assistant of their assistant… not directly.
45. Raiding the minibar
Years ago I worked at a swanky hotel in a big city in the South. The owner of a local bar got his dancers a set of suites for the weekend so they could be close to the bar, as it was All-Star Weekend.
They were good guests but the owner’s credit card was declined after the ladies ran up the liquor and room service bill to over $20,000 plus the suites for the weekend. That was a fun phone call.
46. Extra info
We gather and share guest preferences as a team and save the information for years. Anyone will be fired without question if this information is shared outside the resort. My friends know I can’t ever say names when talking about my day at work.
We have profiles on what you like to eat and drink, what kind of pillows you prefer, whether or not there is a pattern of you getting upset and demanding free stuff, the names of your dogs, your kid’s birthdays and ages… It’s only done so we can make you feel remembered when you come back. I’ve been in the high-end resort industry for over a decade working many roles and this information is protected and only used for the guest experience!
47. Musical chairs
I’ve had the most demanding list from celebs. In one case, I had to completely re-arrange the furniture of rooms and two whole floors, she demanded we keep three SUVs onsite for her use at all times, we had to buy specific foods for her dietary concerns, and we were instructed: “if you see my son and he offers you a high five, you are to give him a proper handshake as he needs to learn better manners.”
In the end, she never even stayed or stepped foot in the hotel because she preferred her tour bus in the alley. Can’t blame her on that those things are gorgeous. Never used the SUVs either. Her team acted like primadonnas, treated us like s**t, and never tipped.
48. Not so safe
Management wouldn’t want guests to know just how unsafe their in-room safes really are, as well as how mischievous their employees can be. Locked safes are easily accessible for particular departments to access given the circumstances.
The last high-end hotel I worked security for had their safes mounted onto the minibar using Velcro …. Velcro. We had an incident where two in-room safes went missing, one of which had supposed items in upwards of $100k inside when they were removed from the room.
49. Homemade… kind of
I worked as a chef at a five-star hotel with a rosette restaurant in York, England for a very short while. They put me on sandwiches and room service to start out, which I was fine with until someone ordered a pizza.
My naive a*s asked the chef where the pizza dough was, and he told me to check the freezer. I thought they’d maybe premade and par-baked the bases, I was wrong. They had Chicago Town mozzarella pizzas stacked to the ceiling. I was instructed to scrape the cheese off, put the toppings on then sprinkle the cheese back over before cooking so “it looks homemade”. I quit.
50. Sleeping on secrets
One guest stuffed four pillowcases full of other people’s mail (not other guests but neighbourhood addresses). And yep, the credit card he paid with turned out to be stolen.
Second similar situation: there was a family with dad, mom and their nine kids all just living the high life on stolen credit cards to us. They charged back whatever they could to the room whenever they could.
51. Never say no
Anything the clients want, the clients get. They are told never to say no, the worst thing the staff will ever say is: “I don’t think this is really appropriate”. For harder tasks, the hotel will go through professional concierges who charge A LOT for their services.
You want a new Prada dress at 2AM for the party you are about to attend? Sure thing, let’s wake a few people up, charge triple the price and split the extra money between everyone involved. Have a good night madam. You want tickets for the Wimbledon final that takes place tomorrow? You have £20k to pay for a last-minute ticket? Then enjoy the game, sir.
52. Skip the fountain
Never ever ever use a chocolate fountain at a hotel! Imagine this scenario: It’s an expensive a*s Sunday brunch. Little Timmy just double-fisted strawberries directly into that chocolate, bit into both strawberries then triple dipped into the chocolate again! Some old rich lady just sneezed on it, somebody else just dropped their snack into it. This is all made even worse by the fact that the chocolate gets strained and saved for the next week’s brunch. Chocolate is waaay too expensive to throw away.
Chocolate also does this thing where it’ll seize if it has the wrong moisture content, which normally happens because people are dipping fruit into the fountain, and the juices are going into the chocolate. So whenever the chocolate gets so thick that it won’t run through the machine, they add canola oil until it’s smooth again.
53. We know who you are
We don’t bat an eye at prostitution or whatever else goes on in the rooms as long as it doesn’t affect other guests. Half the women who come to the bar are working girls looking for a sale. The only thing that the hotel industry ever really reports is human trafficking because there are telltale signs and if something doesn’t add up we always report it to local authorities.
I don’t know about all five-star hotels but I’m sure this happens at most of them: front desk/reservation staff will basically stalk you online if you’re a notable VIP. Your picture will be shared internally to ensure everyone recognizes you, just so you feel special when you arrive and everyone already knows who you are.
54. Double standards
I worked as security for a five-star hotel and housekeeping called us all the time about drugs they found in the rooms. The first thing we’d ask for is the room number and we’d look up the name of the guest. If it was a VIP or someone important to us we’d tell them to leave it there and “we’d take care of it.”
If the guest was someone we didn’t know and not important to us then we’d go up there and take it out of the room, then threaten to evict the guest from their stay if they did it again.
55. Do you have this in gold?
My husband worked at several luxury hotels and besides how absolutely disgusting everything inside the rooms actually was… I was most shocked by the behaviour of the ultra-rich.
They would say things like: “What do you mean there isn’t access to intercoms next to the bathroom. What about when I need services while going potty?”, “The television inside the shower is only 40 inches and there is no gold in this room I need a better suite” or “I’m gonna need you to go out, buy me better bedding, remake my bed, and then do it again tomorrow because I won’t sleep on the same bedding twice”.
56. Don’t flush!
For a period of time, I did maintenance at some hotels, working as pure grunt labour the whole time. The main thing I learned is that people will flush anything down a toilet.
Towels, sheets, giant sh**s that no human could have possibly created themselves, pillows, paper, food, bottles, and just about everything else would go down the toilet.
57. Asking questions
As part of our training as bellman, we were taught to ask open-ended questions to the children to make sure they weren’t being used for trafficking. My dad works in security in the same hotel I work at, so he often gives me a heads up if a guest with a child is already under suspicion regarding their behaviour at the front desk. It rarely happens but hotels are a hotspot for traffickers, so we have to be careful.
We use lines of questioning to try to get the child to speak in general, as many traffickers take in children that don’t speak English. Otherwise, questions about the family’s stay get directed at the child instead of the guardian. We say things like: “What adventures are you guys up to here in Chicago?” or”Is your DAD here on business?”. We crouch and ask if they would like to help the bellman work, as most kids love the experience, but it gives them a chance to ask for help away from the adult.
58. Working for free
Hotels constantly delay paying the interns. Not every staff member you see is a full time, experienced worker, a good number of them are interns who haven’t even graduated yet. They are made to take on several roles from being a janitor, housekeeper and receptionist to sometimes even assistant chef if the hotel is short-handed.
The interns work until 12 am with few breaks in the name of “experience” and the least that the management could do is pay them on time. Unfortunately no, the allowance is barely 200$ a month and is constantly delayed, with some interns graduating without seeing a single payment.
59. Order the specials
As soon as you walk into a hotel, ask tons of questions about every aspect of it. Always order a speciality cocktail from the menu when you eat dinner or lunch, and use every power outlet you can find at the hotel.
The hotel staff will immediately flag you as a Forbes shopper or reviewer, and everyone in the hotel will soon know your name and what you look like. It’s a great way to ensure attentive service.
60. A visit from management
I worked at a boutique hotel on a beach as the Food and Beverage director. My policy was that after the second round of room service, the third round of drinks is delivered by a member of management. We want to eyeball the situation just to be safe and aware of what state the guests are in, but 99% of the time it’s just that a group from multiple rooms has congregated in one room.
The 1% situation is a single person or couple drinking very heavily. I went up to one room once and when they opened the door I could immediately smell the sh*t, vomit and wine. I told them I was the manager and did a room inspection. Just as I thought there was sh*t, vomit and wine everywhere. This couple were out of their minds drunk and high, so we got them out of the hotel and had to refund them. It took about four hours to get them out.
61. Catching z’s
Maids very rarely change the sheets on the bed, when they do change the sheets they often nap in the just-made bed. They then make up the time by doing a s**t job in every other room, normally by just vacuuming the bed and tucking in the old sheets nicely.
The solution is to always ask for a spare set of sheets, and put those on top of the sheets that are already there, so you don’t have to touch the gross old ones.
62. Where are you going?
At the hotel I work at, a girl from housekeeping once found a giant sh*t in the stairs that lead from the lobby to the rooms on the first floor. After some investigation, we found out that a guest took a sh*t whilst sleepwalking.
You could see him on the CCTV coming out of his room in just underwear, then squatting in the stairs, doing his thing, then pulling his underwear up again. He had to pay a fee and give some extra cash to the girl who had to clean it.
63. Just another brick in the wall
I used to work in a well-known themed hotel that had something to do with building blocks. Part of our training included working for a day in a number of different roles, in order to understand how they worked. I suppose it was so they could farm our minimum wage selves off to other departments if they were short, despite those roles not being the jobs we applied for.
Honestly, the staff there are treated like interchangeable blocks themselves. I was only there for one season before moving onto greener pastures so hopefully, their practices have changed… but I doubt it.
64. Check the spreadsheets
At the hotel I worked at, we kept a running list of the stupid sh*t guests did. It went in our reports and got emailed to every department head/manager after a shift switch. There was also an excel sheet on the front desk computers, so we could look back and see if a returning guest did the same stupid sh*t the last time they stayed with us.
So you should know that yelling at front desk workers to give you free things only results in you getting put on a list, and being made fun of for the rest of time in the “Stupid Sh*t Guest’s Have Done” spreadsheet.
65. A bit on the side
I worked in a resort in the Maldives, and all I have to say is that there were lots of infidelities. Managers slept with their employees whilst their wives were back on their home islands taking care of their families. Infidelity was even a promoted aspect of working at a resort, we were told that our significant others “wouldn’t find out” and that we needed to “have fun”.
As an 18-year-old back then, being encouraged to cheat on my girlfriend by fellow employees and the “cool” managers was quite an eye-opening experience.
66. Who’s hacking?
We would never tell you that it’s very easy to commit fraud using hotel reward programs. Several major hotel chains have had huge security issues and if someone is able to log in to your hotel account they can book rooms with your reward points.
Since the hotel front desk doesn’t always verify that you are who you say you are with photo ID, half of the time that scammers do this they get away with it.
67. Keeping your cool
I used to work as a bartender for the shrewdest a**hole I’ve ever met. He would bring in international kids as servers and charge them $50 a day to live on the premises; nobody working there ever got time and a half, he’d just switch to paying you under the table instead. The assistant manager guessed our taxes. The point is, he wasn’t afraid of breaking the law in the slightest.
However, one day I broke a glass in the general vicinity of the ice machine and he immediately whipped around and started questioning me, “How close was it? Are you sure the lid was closed? Are you absolutely sure nothing got in the ice?” The lid was closed, but we were ready to close the entire bar just to clean out the ice machine, and this was coming from someone who wanted the cooks to charge themselves if they made food to eat after their shift. You do not f**k with glass in people’s food, just one incident can shut down an entire restaurant.
68. The stars don’t matter
The manager at a top-class London hotel told me that the hotel grading system, in general, is “utter nonsense”. The problem is that the list of criteria to reach each of the star ratings is little more than a tick sheet, albeit with around 500 factors to consider. For example, one criterion for being considered five-star is fresh flowers being present in guest rooms.
However, there’s obviously a huge difference between a big ornate display of orchids and a bunch of daffodils. The presence of either would technically tick the box and in theory, you could fulfil all the required five-star criteria yet be hugely inferior to the hotel next door that offers all the same things but at a much higher quality and standard.
69. Chaos in the kitchen
My wife did some agency work at a very posh five-star hotel in a city we lived in once. She said the head chef fancied himself as a Gordon Ramsey type and loved to shout and scream in the kitchen.
She once watched him launch a pot at an agency worker who proceeded to down tools, remove his apron and knock the head chef clean out during the middle of service. She said the agency chef left the building but smoked a cigarette outside his car before driving away. It was apparently very cool, but I don’t know how they finished service.
70. Getting backed up
No matter how luxurious and opulent the hotel is, it is probably falling to bits behind the scenes. I worked at one hotel that had over 200 rooms and the main sewerage pipe had cracked under the kitchen. It was concreted in so it would have meant ripping up the whole kitchen in the middle of peak tourist season to fix it.
The owner refused to authorise the repairs so every time the hotel was at capacity just before the evening meal when a lot of the guests were getting ready the whole kitchen used to flood up to about half an inch with p**s and little nuggets of s**t. This went on for 3 months until the end of the season. The owner even had to pay the restaurant manager not to grass them up because he came through the in / out doors slipped and landed in it and broke his shoulder blade.
71. Stale bubbles
I once did social media management and influencer management for a high-class hotel. You know the super-duper expensive +£20K a night suite with a jacuzzi bath? It rarely gets cleaned as people rarely book the room it’s in.
I’ve had influencers let us know that the bath jets sputtered out stagnant water with miscellaneous bits in, since it hasn’t been run or flushed out for weeks.
72. Betting on a no show
The hotel has likely sold more rooms than they actually have in an attempt to profit off of no shows. This backfires often but they always have good rates with nearby hotels to “walk” the guests to who arrive to find out that their room is no longer available, so the loss to the hotel is minimal.
If you have ever been “walked” before they likely told you that they ended up with an out of order room, a plumbing or electrical issue, and while possible it’s pretty unlikely, they were probably just banking on you not showing up.
73. X-rated pizza
One time the manager of the restaurant ordered one of our pizzas. The staff were all good friends with him, so they decided to draw a sex scene on the pizza out of toppings that was really really graphic.
Unfortunately, it turned out that some random guy ordered with the same name and asked for the same kind of pizza. So the staff accidentally sent the innapropriate pizza to the random guy instead of the staff manager. It was honestly a s**t show. The entire staff got let go considering it was a high end restaurant that had only been open for a few weeks. It was hilarious.
74. Stealthy riches
I worked at an extremely high-end five-star hotel in Beverly Hills for three years. I found out that the people with the most wealth and influence aren’t instantly recognizable. I worked at a hotel that routinely had major celebrities, and they were often pretty easy to spot.
However, we also had members of royal families and billionaires stay often as well. The billionaires and royalty you wouldn’t know were there unless you actually knew what they looked like, or noticed the high number of undercover security/ bodyguards that suddenly popped up.
75. Under the influence
I’m a valet at what is probably the most expensive hotel in Virginia. One thing that surprised me is the vast amount of drunk driving that goes on. People pull up with plastic cups left behind in their car that reek of liquor, not to mention a bunch of empty Whiteclaws floating around the inside of the car.
People will slur their words to you whilst getting out of the car that they just drove up. The more expensive the car the more likely you are to find this, it seems to me.
76. Bathing with lobsters
I worked in a five star outside of Washington DC. A client rented the Presidential Suite for three weeks. He ordered live lobsters to bathe with, tipped a $1000 to whoever serviced his room- the bell staff, room service, valet, etc- everyone got $1000. He didn’t like the stereo his room came with so he sent a room service worker to buy two new ones. He handed her a $10k budget for the purpose.
When she returned he gifted her the old stereo. Needless to say the staff loved him, he was eccentric but super nice, and management loved him because he booked the most expensive room for three weeks.
77. Water on tap
The chilled “bottled” water that is left for guests in the ice bucket is actually just from each room’s bathroom tap. Also, the tea/coffee cups don’t ever get taken away to be washed properly.
Each housekeeper is given two rags: one that is used to wash the dirty cups in the bathroom sink with hand soap, and one to dry each cup with before placing them back in the rooms. The rags stay at work, but in everyone’s lockers, so essentially they are never cleaned either.
78. Lost in the concrete
Everything backstage looks like s**t, with no exceptions. No matter how fancy and opulent the main restaurant is and whether all the rooms have their own mansion-style en-suite, the staff walk through a concrete jungle.
I once came off of a 16 hour shift and found a man and his son wandering around the staff corridors some four floors down from where he had supposedly booked. The boy had followed a staff member because, and I quote, “he wanted to see what all the ugly parts were”. He definitely did.
79. Eating well
I’ve worked in five stars before in the kitchen, and I can assure you the food and the kitchen was amazing. The buffet leftovers were given to staff normally, the chefs ate before serving and after the buffet, and we drank because the Front of House were normally the people who kept the kitchen sane.
We often drank alcohol and we also had some hardcore s**t going on behind the scenes, but nonetheless, our customer service always had to be excellent.
80. Respect your teachers
One golden rule is that the staff value their hospitality teachers more than celebrities. I won’t say where, but my mum was a college lecturer for soft skills and hotel management. Most of her students went on to join amazing hotels, and my family always seems to run into at least two or three of her students at every hotel we visit.
We get extra desert, room upgrades, etc. And I have seen celebrities who get treated to fewer upgrades. My mum was a great teacher who never made any student feel little or dumb, so that’s a big reason students recognize her and treat her well.
81. Don’t check your glasses
Kitchens are not as clean as they claim to be. The dishwasher doesn’t wash that well, so we often just wiped away the lipstick from cups and glasses. Also, if a piece of food fell to the floor, the instruction was to put it back on the plate. We also had to tell all the newbies to never eat fish after it had gone cold, as usually it would make you sick.
The mineral water they charged so much for was tap water that we were instructed to put in the bottles, and then pour into jars so nobody realized they were being scammed. Also, if a customer asked for diet coke or something sugarless, we just served you the normal stuff.
82. The apple that fell from the tree
I’ve had one experience working at a hotel that really stood out to me. One was a request from a well known international celebrity, who requested vegan food which has fallen from a tree naturally.
It was an extreme version of a raw-food vegan, but they would only eat bruised and battered fruits that had fallen off a tree. We to contact farms out of the city to try and get hold of some for them, and it was very entertaining.
83. Shirtless in the lobby
My mother used to work for numerous five-star hotels in London, and told me that they used to get the Chippendales Dancers to come in and stay with them for tours a lot.
The surprising thing is that the whole cast would walk around the lobby naked. All the time. This wasn’t even a secret, both the staff and guests knew to expect it after a while.
84. Check the mirrors
Your waiters spy on you. Not in a creepy way, but we aren’t supposed to walk around and check on you, so we have to find other ways to figure out if you need us. We stay near the walls and look around using mirrors that are strategically placed in the dining room. So we know when your water is empty and to fill it before you ask or know when you’re almost done with your appetizer so we can work on your entree. We stare at you without looking like we’re staring.
We also have hand signals. Like if a guest is talking to us too much or for too long, any other passing waiter who sees our hand signal behind our backs will interrupt politely and say we have something to do, so the waiter in the conversation doesn’t seem rude.
85. Tipping in drinks
I worked at a few five resorts a couple of years back in Arizona. Sometimes the clients would give us special gifts as tips including alcohol. We drank it in the shipping area behind the crates where the cameras don’t point, which is also where we got up to a bunch of other mischiefs.
We definitely all party together behind the scenes, people use their business trips as vacation and want to have a good time, and the staff want to have a good time too.
86. Whose garnish is it anyway?
I worked for a reputable five-star hotel for a year, I have seen blatant re-use of the vegetable garnish that goes out to the guests because it’s just “too hard” to make fresh garnish on the kitchen floor.
Oh, and I don’t think we ever washed our dinnerware and silverware. It was just dipped in soapy water and sprayed down with a garden hose.
87. No fee, no room
The hotel resort I work at charges a service fee or tourist fee, which legally is supposed to be removed if the customers asks for it to be. However, many hotels will refuse to remove this charge and will instead kick you out and refuse you a room if you complain.
I work at one of the restaurants on location and I’ve had several customers come in complaining that they lost their room because they refused to pay this charge.
88. Ice cream in bed
I was once working as a trainee at a five-star hotel. During night shifts when there was no work in housekeeping to do, we used to get in a room, get some food from the kitchen and ice cream tubs.
We would sit on the bed, eat food and watch movies or TV, and then we dumped everything we couldn’t eat in the washroom. This happened two to three times during the week, and it was the best part of the job.
89. Snakes in the grass
You would be surprised by the number of lawsuits we get from guests due to their own negligence leading to injuries. There’s also the resort not informing guests of the local wildlife then guests or pets getting injured.
We once had a guy get bit by a copperhead that crawled into his car, leading to him requiring medical treatment. There was no ambulance, we just took him to the closest hospital about 30 minutes away in one of the company Lexus’. The guy was one of the top ten richest men in the world and he then sued the resort, who eventually settled. Copperheads were always around since one section of the hotel was built on a copperhead den.
90. Change the curtains
The smoking fee is a joke. You pay $1000 to smoke in your room, and all we do is put a cheap $100 ozone generator in the room for a day or two after you leave. If it still smells we might change out the curtains, but that’s it. The rooms always still smell weird, they just don’t smell like smoke anymore.
Also, behind the scenes everything is disgusting. Your room garbage? Sometimes it sits by a service elevator for weeks because the maid wanted to go home and forgot about it. When I first started at a hotel someone left a half-eaten plate of food on a cart for a whole month. It turned black then green then to a pile of dust.
91. Match season
Junior high and high school hockey teams are some of the biggest sources of revenue for hotels. However, these groups are also the most expensive guests to host. The teams themselves are disruptive all night long, and they are destructive of hotel property like you wouldn’t believe.
We spend more on repairs after hockey season than during any other point in the year. As bad as that sounds though, the parents are actually worse. They can’t wait to dump the kids off at the end of the day, and they don’t care where they are or what they’re doing. The parents will drink literally all night too, even after the bar closes.
92. Take it outside
Once a lady called the hotel to see if her husband is there with his girlfriend. The front desk can’t confirm who is staying, all they can do is call the room. So the wife drove up from Phoenix and wandered around the hotel parking lot wearing way too few clothes for the winter.
She found her husband’s car, started messing with it, and then the husband came out to protect his car. His girlfriend came too, and there was a big fistfight in the parking lot. We had to call the police to remove them.
93. Where lost things go
I can tell you exactly where are your missing belongings end up. It’s not that the maids steal them, despite the rumours. People leave them on the bed somewhere where the maids can’t see them and they get gathered up with the laundry and sent to places like the one I worked at.
We got phone chargers, jewelry, clothing, sometimes phones as well, all sent in with the laundry. We gathered all the items up and handed them to our boss at the end of our shift, so if the hotel called, we would have the things and could send them back to the owners. This also answers the mystery of where tv remotes go.
94. Anything for a price
In the grand old hotels, the concierge is basically a non-violent mafia. We were employed by the hotel obviously, but all our money was made on the side in cash, off the books and not even known to the hotel.
So when you ask the concierge to book you a tour or a hire a car, we pay the driver for you from our cash for a fair price and the price we quote to you is just whatever we think we can get away with.
95. Tip your housekeepers
All hotels treat the housekeepers like trash and pay them peanuts. I worked for the top hotel in my city and cleaned 18 rooms a day: I was punished if I clocked out one minute late and I oftentimes had to work through lunch to get all my work done. On top of this, I was paid minimum wage and people didn’t tip often.
Most guests gave room service huge tips but housekeeping got nothing. So you tip the person who walks your food to your door but not the person who cleaned your toilet? Now when I stay at hotels I leave handwritten thank you letters and huge tips for housekeeping, because I know how hard they work.
96. Out of touch
The workers are all laughing at guests behind their back, mostly about how ridiculous and out of touch the majority of the rich guests are. It’s a fun game to pinpoint the guests who were born into or married money and have no real-world skills outside of presenting themselves as wealthy.
We can also tell who has had money forever, who married into money or got it later in their life, and whether someone is normal rich or mega-rich, just from the way they act.
97. Yesterday’s cheese
It’s probably obvious, but yesterday’s dinner is today’s morning buffet. We normally just recook things in a couple of day-old sauces. A lot of products are reused several days in a row, like yoghurts or certain cheese plates.
These products sit in the kitchen out of their packaging for days, and it’s really gross. Usually the most fresh meal in the morning is scrambled eggs, as you can really tell if it isn’t fresh.
98. Your exact specifications
We had an entire team of people dedicated to calling guests that were staying more than three nights, just to get their personal preferences. You want an entire bowl of *just* red M&Ms on the coffee table when you arrive? Done.
You want Voss water and Voss water only, chilled to precisely 38 degrees? Done. You want the room temperature set at 73 degrees and turn down service at 8:02 pm each night? You got it.
99. Feeding the cats
What you see at the front of house is where no expense is spared, but the back of house where you don’t go is always terrible. There are chefs who think they are too good to keep a kitchen clean, staff accommodation which is cramped and falling apart, and that’s not all.
Goods and materials like bed linens are stored in shi**ty old sheds. I worked previously at a site where chefs would bring out the leftover steaks and salmon to feed the feral cats, and what the cats didn’t eat fed the rats!
100. One thing at a time
When I worked as a housekeeper, we’d have days where we’d be told to focus on cleaning certain things in each of the rooms, such as the stains on the irons or vacuuming under the beds. One day it was kettles and I found a cigarette inside one and had no idea how long it had been in there. Management gave us 23 minutes to finish a room no matter how disgusting it was or how many beds it had, so chances were high that the floor hadn’t been vacuumed unless it was specifically a vacuuming day.
Also, we used to have to wipe down the bathroom sink then fill that up with water to clean all the glasses in the rooms which was just gross. Lastly, those nice white sheets are guaranteed to have had blood on them many times, especially if it was old people staying in the room. Older people just seem to open old cuts very easily and leave blood spots all over the sheets.