As you pass your hotel maid in the corridor you may wonder if she or he is secretly whooping it up while you're out, eating bon bons and trying on your clothes.
The likelihood, reveals a hotel maid, is that they are working very hard, but aren't averse to taking the occasional nap or using your bathroom towel to wipe the floor if you happen to be exceptionally rude.
Hotel bookings site Trivago.co.uk published the interview with the maid, who wanted to remain anonymous, and who works at a five-star hotel in Florida.
Here's what really goes on:
How many rooms in total do you clean in a day?
It can range between 10-15 checked-out rooms and about another 10 basic cleans when a guest is still staying in the room. For a room where a guest has checked out it usually takes 45 minutes for a standard room, a suite or VIP room always takes longer. For guests that are still staying in the room, it takes about 10-15 minutes.
Is there anything that you don't clean in the rooms?
When I have time I will clean everything, but sometimes it's so busy and management still expects everything to be cleaned just as fast as a day that isn't as busy. If this is the case I usually won't vacuum and will just do a fast clean, like rinse the bath instead of scrubbing or dusting over surfaces quickly. The remote control is something I would say doesn't get a proper clean; I just go over it with the same cloth I use for the bedside table.
How often are pillows replaced? What about the bedding?
Where I work now, pillows and bedding are replaced at every check-out. However before when I used to work at a budget hotel we rarely changed them, even when there were sweat stains or marks on the pillow we would just cover it with a new case - some differences between staying in a budget hotel to a luxury hotel.
Are the glasses, cups and cutlery always cleaned after every guest?
Upon check-out, all glasses, cups and cutlery are cleaned and replaced for new ones. I wouldn't say they are cleaned well though; they are put through a big industrial dishwasher that sometimes doesn't do a great job. During a guests stay we will only change the glasses if they request it.
What do you really think about how guests behave?
There are a huge variety of guests, from those who are extremely clean and make you question whether the room is actually being used, to others, where you don't even feel comfortable going in the room because it's just such a mess. There are some that leave pizza boxes and garbage around, and underwear on the floor, making it impossible to clean the room. Some guests really expect you to clean up after them like you are their mother.
Do you find guests to be annoying at all?
I find it annoying when a guest has made too much mess to fix in the given time. To be honest though, management is more annoying. Sometimes they have high expectations but they don't give you enough time. Some of management can also be demeaning; once a manager ripped apart all of the beds I had made that morning and told me to redo them all because they weren't made to their standards.
If someone's rude to you do you seek revenge and how?
I personally have never done anything but a colleague was so angry about a rude comment made to them that they cleaned the bathroom floor with a towel and left it on the rack for the guest to use.
Do you ever get annoyed if guests don't answer the door quickly/at all?
I do get annoyed when it happens but I can never show it, because if guests complain about it you could lose your VIP roster or even some working hours. Besides, the nicer you are despite how annoying the guests are, the higher the chance of receiving a tip, especially if they are in the room and they get the chance to meet you.
Do you ever have a nap in one of the rooms?
Yes we do actually. If we are really tired and have the time, for example if we are doing a large suite and are given longer to clean it, we will have a nap in the beds. Something else we do sometimes is that we use the toilets in the guest's bathroom, but only if we are super-busy and don't have enough time to go to the staff toilets. It is something we are not supposed to do but many do it anyway.
Do you ever touch a guest's belongings?
We are told that we are not allowed to touch anything that belongs to a guest, but we are also told that we must make the bed and change the towels. So if a guest has belongings on the bed or on top of the dirty towels, sometimes you have to move them.
What is the strangest thing you ever found in a hotel room?
Once I found T-bone steaks left in the fridge that I took home for dinner, but the strangest thing I found was what I first thought was an abandoned baby lying on the bed. I took it to management and it turned out to be a robot or fake baby that made noises just like a real one. It was left from guests attending a medical or science convention or something. It scared me so much though because it seemed so real.
What are your colleagues like?
The more senior staff can sometimes make it stressful, they fight for the more expensive rooms or suites because better items are left behind for the taking if nobody claims them. They also fight to take the better trolleys, leaving myself and others with old ones that don't have the right products or supplies, meaning a lot more running around.
What is the pay like? Do you struggle to get by on your income?
Especially in the US it is a huge struggle and more so if you have a family. It is almost impossible - similar to what you would earn at a fast-food restaurant - that's why tipping is important for us.