[Quinn Dombrowski from Berkeley, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Hotels Doing Away With This One Amenity Many Can’t Do Without

If you are planning to go on vacation and stay in a hotel, you might be using the same towel for a few days and that messy bed will likely not be made when you get back to the room after a day out.

Automatic housekeeping at many hotels may be a thing of the past. Voice of America reported that “industry insiders say the move away from daily cleaning, which gained traction during the pandemic, is driven by customer preferences. But others say it has more to do with profit and has allowed hotels to cut the number of housekeepers at a time when many of the mostly immigrant women who take those jobs are still reeling from lost work during coronavirus shutdowns.

Many housekeepers still employed say their hours have been cut and they are being asked to do far more work in that time.

While some hotels started experimenting with less frequent cleaning in the name of sustainability, it became far more widespread early in the pandemic, when to promote social distancing and other safety protocols, many hotels switched to offering room cleaning only if a guest requested, and sometimes only after staying a certain number of days. Guests were instructed to leave trash outside their door and call the front desk for clean towels.”

The New York Times writes that, like printed menus and working at the office five days a week, hotels cleaning your room everyday may become a thing of the past. 

“Guests staying at midlevel hotels run by Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Walt Disney World Resorts or other major brands are finding that if they want complimentary daily housekeeping, they need to request it — or clean their own room.

‘Cleaning surfaces and changing bedsheets during shorter stays is now quite rare,’ said Scott Keyes, the founder of Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), a website detailing airfare deals. ‘Oftentimes, it’s only offered during longer stays.’

Marriott, which operates 30 hotel brands and more than 8,000 properties in 139 countries and territories, trumpeted the new normal during an investor call in February. It said that it was creating a tier system for housekeeping, in which those who paid more could expect a higher level of service. Its highest-end properties (like the Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis brands, where rooms run upward of $550 a night) would continue to provide free daily cleanings. At the next level (Sheraton, Le Méridien) guests would get a free “daily tidy.” Guests at what it calls its “select-service” brands (Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft and Moxy, among others) would get their rooms cleaned every other day.

At Hilton’s brands, such as Conrad, DoubleTree and Embassy Suites, the housekeeping schedules vary, but the majority in the United States now offer opt-in service, meaning guests need to contact the front desk if they want a complimentary room cleaning. “Recognizing some guests may have varying levels of comfort with someone entering their rooms after they have checked in, Hilton offers them the choice and control to request the housekeeping services they desire,” said Kent Landers, a Hilton spokesman.”

Last year, CBS offered tips for making sure you get housekeeping in your hotel room: 

RESEARCH BEFORE BOOKING: Hotels typically post cleaning procedures online. Look for pages on individual hotel websites labeled something like “amenities,” or “COVID-19 safety.” If the cleaning calendar is not up to par, consider booking elsewhere.

BOOK HIGH-END HOTELS: Most high-end hotels are notably absent from this trend. Some Hilton brands, including Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, LXR Hotels & Resorts and Conrad Hotels & Resorts, still offer daily housekeeping. Most Four Seasons offer twice-daily housekeeping.

But that’s not always true. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa — frequently deemed Walt Disney World’s most opulent resort — offers housekeeping only every other day, like all Disney resorts. Nightly rates range from $757 to $4,428, according to theme park data site TouringPlans.com.

REQUEST SERVICE: Of course, booking high-end hotels might be an unrealistically expensive solution. But here’s another trick that can work at even budget hotels: Ask nicely.

Be polite, and staff might take pity on your mess. After all, they don’t want stinky odors of days-old seafood takeout emitting from your room either. And the beach sand you tracked in could easily spread if not promptly vacuumed anyway.”

They also recommend asking at check-in, even though many hotels now require you to ask every day. 

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