18 Things Hotels Don’t Want You To Know

#1. Hotel television remotes may contain as much harmful bacteria as a toilet

At the end of the day, it is the little things that tend to get hotel visitors sick, say longtime visitors to various hotel and motel chains. In fact, there are numerous studies that point to television remotes as a “clear and present danger” for guests because these devices harbor germs not usually sorted out by the hotel’s cleaning staff. At the same time, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently showcased best practices for people staying in hotels.

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The AMA experts noted that it is “common sense” to consider a room’s cleanliness; while the TV remote is viewed as a sort of “ticking time bomb” awaiting to go off because it probably has not been fully cleaned in days, weeks or months.

#2. Research your hotel before checking-in, say longtime guests

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There is hard data featured online at top hotel websites that guests can avoid paying special fees, including cancellation costs, if you do simple things such as opting for a future reservation date. In addition, the so-called special numbers to call for the “best rates” at select hotels is usually a scam. For instance, the best advice from top hotel chains is to simply call their customer service direct for great rates. The view is “middle-men” can add additional costs to the hotel rate reservation. Meanwhile, the common sense approach to checking out what a hotel has to offer can save guests a lot of hassles when it comes to expectations.

For example, a hotel guest commented online about not knowing her room faced a busy city street; while another guest “assumed” the hotel pool was operational and not “seasonal” as she learned at check-in.

#3. Hotel room cleanliness can no longer be assumed by guests

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The standards that most hotel chains adhere to are different in various cities, and regions of the country. For instance, not all hotels have a perfect record when it comes to room cleanliness. It is a wise hotel guest who asks to see and inspect the room before check-in. However, not all guests are this bullish. Thus, the best advice for those looking at hotel rooms today is to literally “look” and inspect the room before check-in.

While the goal is to inspect a hotel room for overall cleanliness, there are other decisions related to a “clean room” that guests need to look closely at before they commit to staying at a hotel chain. For example, a regular traveler says “a hotel bathroom” or the lobby can “reveal” if a hotel is actually up to cleanliness standards.

#4. Germ-ridden hotel exercise rooms and pools can ruin a vacation

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While most hotel guest’s focus their “is it clean?” energy on this question, they may forget other areas of the complex that they may use as much as their room. For instance, there are many seasoned travelers who spend lots of time in the hotel gym or swimming pool areas. In turn, they may not realize these “public” spots are considered to be some of the most germ-ridden areas of the hotel. In turn, the reality of hotel management today includes the view that a gym or swimming pool may not have enough usage to warrant an employee on station for cleaning purposes. In fact, there are very few hotels in operation today that have a 24/7 clean-up crew on standby to sort out the usual mess found in a gym or swimming pool.

The best advice from those who frequent hotels is to “watch out in the gym and pool.”

#5. Always keep “proof” of the hotel rates you’ve been quoted

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There is nothing as discouraging as starting a vacation at a nice hotel only to realize the room rates you expected are a lot more. In fact, there is growing unrest with many hotel guests who say they received a nice low rate on a national hotel chain reservation line only to learn at check-in that the rates quoted do not apply for this particular date? This is vexing for the guest because he or she is expecting a “discounted rate.” In turn, the best advice is to ask for the hotel manager to sort out the room rate you noted online or were quoted at the time you gave your credit card number on the phone to hold the room.

The wise guest demands the cheapest rate as “originally quoted” by the hotel’s public information.

#6. Hotels are usually not as clean as one’s home: Take precautions, say guests

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While the idea that most hotel chains are infested with germs is scary to consider; the fact of the matter is most hotels are kept tidy and clean because it’s the owner’s bread and butter. Still, there are many hotels that are infested with dangerous health issues involving unclean beds, sinks and baths that may harbor germs and bugs of all sorts.

The best advice from longtime hotel guests commenting online is to beware when touching such things as light switches, TV sets, toilets and other areas of the room that may not have been fully cleaned as needed. The view from the hotel industry is there are always areas in a room that may be the “least cleaned,” and thus harboring harmful bacteria.

#7. Staying physically and mentally safe in a hotel today

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There are many hotel-insiders who claim a lot goes on behind the scenes in a modern hotel chain complex that guests never hear about. In turn, the view for guests is a real “need to know” about the environment one is living in for a day, a few days or even a week or more. The hotel secret that one may unearth is a guest getting hurt or even dying in a room nearby.

It is vital to not turn a blind-eye when it comes to dangerous stairways, a window screen or balcony that is not safe and secure or other hazards that could put a hotel guest into harm’s way.

#8. Hotel glasses are not safe for all sorts of reasons

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There is a somewhat overly cautious point of view from some hotel guests to not use hotel room glasses; including those covered bathroom cups for lots of common sense reasons. For instance, there are many hotel staff and maids that have gone record stating they “never clean the glasses.” Instead, the glasses in many hotels rooms are simply “wiped clean,” and not removed for proper cleaning as required by health regulations. In addition, there are room maids who reveal using the same cleaning cloth they use to wipe counter tops for cleaning glasses in a room.

The best advice is to ask for plastic cups for safety reasons; while many regular hotel guests only drink bottled water or actually wash the room glasses themselves.

#9. Hotel room rates change at different times of the day

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There is a lot of myth and understanding about room rate charges based on a set time of the day, explained a longtime hotel manager commenting online. The manager went on to explain how most rooms are actually more expensive in the early part of a day because of such things as competition. The idea is to quickly fill up a hotel complex with paying guests. However, things tend to change around 6 or 7 pm, adds the manger because “we now want your business even more than we did before noon.” The result is better rates across the board when a guest checks-in later in the day with or without a reservation. Moreover, a leading hotel chain released some once secret data online recently that revealed how “no-show reservations” means a vacancy has been created in the hotel that needs to be filled.

In turn, a guest can secure this room later in the day for a much lower rate because hotel management has a mandate to keep the building full-up when possible.

#10. Enjoy all the room’s perks, including toiletries

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At a time when hotel rooms are costing lots and lots of money, it makes good sense for guests to enjoy all they are paying for; including “free” toiletries and other perks. For instance, the view from most hotel chains is a guest is “expected” to enjoy and even take home some of the toiletries, free coffee and other freebies that come with the room. Still, there are guests who avoid taking anything that is not clearly labeled as “free.” The best advice is to simply enjoy the room and all that comes with it.

In addition, there is a view from some longtime travelers that hotel guests can even request additional toiletries with no problem from the room cleaning staff or the front desk clerks. When in doubt, the best advice for hotel room guests is to ask.

#11. The customer is always right when it comes to clean sheets and linens

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While a hotel guest would assume their beds will feature clean sheets and linens, this is not always the case when a bed is not used by a previous guest. In turn, someone checking into a room may go to bed thinking the sheets are fully clean when, in fact, the previous guest may have used the sheets and the bedding. The best advice is to “always” check to see if the linens and bedding are clean and “bed bug free.” There is even a new online bed bug registry that reports hotels and motels that have known bed bud issues.

In fact, there are many regular hotel guests who comment online about always “requesting clean sheets” before they accept a room. While this may sound strange, they say it is always “better safe than sorry” when it comes to a close encounter with bed bugs.

#12. The guest can cancel a hotel room reservation and “not” pay a fee

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There are many travelers today who may have a sudden change of plans that includes a last minute hotel room cancellation. While there is a commonly held view that most hotels and chains require a 24-hour notice before refunding a credit card deposit or hold on a room, that view is changing in the wake of heated competition in today’s hotel industry. In turn, the new mode of thinking is all about promoting true customer service with the hotel management mindset being to “try and move the reservation” instead of hitting a new guest with a bill for nothing.

Still, this policy is not followed by some smaller hotels and hotel chains that still demand at least a full day’s notice or they will charge the guest for the un-used room that day.

#13. Hotel room coffee machines are a clear and present danger

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When a guest check’s into a common hotel room today, there is the usual coffee machine in the room for an early morning brew. While this is a nice perk that is common in most hotels today, there is a health warning about these coffee machines hot being as clean and safe as one would expect. In fact, there was a well-publicized survey of hotel chains recently that revealed many hotel room coffee makers had not been properly cleaned in weeks and even months. This health issue is linked to these machines accumulating dangerous build ups of toxins and bacteria.

There are other hotel secrets that reveal room clean-up crews using powerful cleaning agents to make these coffee pots appear to be clean; while the fact is the machines become more toxic to guests unaware that cleaning agent residue may still exist within the pot.

#14. Do not assume the hotel staff knows best about local things

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There has always been this old school “concierge” view about hotels. The view states that the hotel concierge or other staff is the best sources for various recommendations about good local restaurants, cafes and bars. The hotel staff is also queried by guests about where to shop or where to visit in a city or town. While this may sound like a common sense approach to unearthing good data about the city one is visiting, there is now concern that hotel concierge and other staff are “marketing” when sharing their recommendations for this or that place to visit or eat at.

The concerns also center on hotel staff sending guests to known tourist traps for kick-backs, or staff saying a place is safe when it is not. The best advice from seasoned travelers is to do one’s own research online before arriving at the destination.

#15. Hotel security is not sufficient for today’s many threats

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While any hotel guest should feel safe in the lobby, their room or other parts of a hotel complex, the sad reality of living in a time of global terrorism is no place is really safe outside one’s home. In fact, there is a lot of negative press about many top hotels lacking true security when it comes to protecting their guests. For instance, a recent stalking case revealed how a stalker was able to get the room next to the woman he was going after illegally. The stalker stated in court that “most hotel security today is lacking,” and hence he was able to photograph this woman through the key-hole of his adjacent hotel room.

The best advice is to never “assume” the hotel security is as tight and secure as you may think.

#16. Room location is everything in this day and age, say longtime hotel guests

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There are many people who prefer the ground floor when staying at a hotel because they don’t enjoy walking upstairs or taking an elevator. Still, the view from longtime hotel experts is the best room in any hotel is the top floor or even a good high corner room. The expert went on to share online about hotel design, and how the top floor rooms usually have higher ceilings and much better views of the city one is visiting.

In turn, a nice upstairs corner room in a hotel or hotel complex is usually reserved for RIPs because of much better views and even less noise as compared to other rooms in the complex.

#17. Beware the allure of the hotel room mini-bar or pay major costs

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The hotel has a mini bar in rooms for good reason. It is a massive earner for management given the fact that a wee bottle of vodka or other booze can set back guests big bucks if many bottles of vodka, beer or wine are consumed. In turn, the best advice is to forget the mini bar unless there is a clear price list posted someone in the room. At the same time, there is a “trick” of opening a mini bar bottle of vodka or other expensive drinks with water and re-seal it so the room inspector will not notice the “empty” bottle.

The best advice for those who decide to make a mini bar purchase is to always check the wee little bottles in the refrigerator for signs of tampering.

#18. Hotel rooms may be available but the front desk clerk keeps it secret

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There is nothing more vexing for a hotel guest than to discover a room reservation is lost or non-existent for whatever reasons. In turn, the troubled guest asks if there are “any other rooms available for tonight?” The common reply is “sorry,” but we are sold out. Still, there is a knowledge shared in today’s tourism and hospitality industry that states most leading hotels always “keep rooms in reserve” for a whole host of good reasons.

With this knowledge that the hotel probably has a room that is free for tonight can be a great advantage to a weary traveler who is disappointed upon arrival that there are not rooms to be had.