So I've been absent lately because I've picked up some extra hours at work, but in a new department. Normally I work two days a week as a front desk agent but I needed more hours and they're pretty rigid on the shifts that one can work so I looked at the other departments in the hotel for opportunities and thankfully housekeeping was looking for another warm body that could clean. Now I spend three afternoons a week cleaning up after people and I'mma telling you that people are disgusting!
I've also been thinking that hotel owners are crazy for some of their choices. For example why on this green earth would one choose white linen? Really people! Humans are a leaky species and it's not all clear fluids! White sheets make it very difficult to hide stains that, thanks to some of the leaky fluids the human body can produce, cannot be hidden. The white also fades with time and sometimes became hues of white and grey making it impossible to match up sheets and pillowcases to make it look like those professionally designed photos that one sees on the hotels website. Also duvet covers should be used at all times, not this triple-sheet business!! It's a pain in the arse to triple sheet a bed and causes a great deal of strain on my lower back! Fitted sheets and a duvet cover solve that problem.
Housekeepers are probably the lease recognized of all hotel staff, as well as the least tipped, yet they probably do the hardest work. Once upon a time I took housekeepers for granted and could never understand some of the complaints I would receive. Seriously, how hard is it to clean a room? Well, let me tell you, it's fucking hard! Allow me to demonstrate an average room to be cleaned.
1. Bathroom: remove all the soiled linen and garbage. Spray down the surfaces and allow to sit while you do the rest of the rooms.
2. Bed(s): remove all sheets and pillowcases, even when they still look pristine. Pull mattress forward and lay the first flat sheet. Smooth and tuck in, push the mattress back to the headboard. Lay the second flat sheet, making sure to leave plenty of linen at the top to fold over later. Lay the duvet about 6 inches below the top of the linen. Lay the top sheet to match the second flat sheet. Fold flat sheets over duvet and then fold duvet and sheets to make a pretty border. Tuck all around and make it look like a gift-wrapped bed. Then put new pillowcases on and arrange 3-5 pillow elegantly on the bed and try not to notice how white the sheets are compared to the greying pillowcases.
3. Empty garbage and remove all dirty dishes.
4. Dust and try to dust again, because dust NEVER GOES AWAY! Also don't forget to dust all the pictures, lamps, TV's and headboard.
5. Replenish with clean dishes and fresh coffee supplies (minibar is done by another person later). Also don't forget to check the fridge for leftover foods.
6. Return to the bathroom and wet/dry wipe all surfaces, toilet and tub. Make sure no streaks apparent and all water drops are removed. Replenish towels, cloths and amenities.
7. Remove all cleaning products and vacuum.
8. Quick review of the room and then you move on to the next one.
Each checked out room can take 30-40 minutes depending on the size and messiness. I had one suite take me an hour to clean because the person staying there left so much garbage and 60 water glasses spread out (think Signs and all the water glasses in Mel Gibson's house!).
Thankfully stay over rooms only take about 10-15 mins otherwise a housekeeper with 15 rooms on their list would never finish. See each room should average you about 30 minutes to clean - and if the person treats the room like a hotel room then this is manageable. If the person treats the room like a garbage dump, or their own house, then it takes significantly longer. Even a stay over can take up to 30 minutes (thanks lady who left their shit everywhere, soiled every surface and used every towel!). However these types of rooms are rare.
However housekeepers, like the valet who warms up and pulls around your car in -40 weather, should be tipped as well. They are literally cleaning up after you. Below is a tip guide for the mess you leave behind.
1. Overnighters who leave the room almost untouched - you don't have to tip but if you do $2 is fine.
2. 2-5 night stays who leave the room almost untouched - a departing tip of $10 is good, or $2 a day
3. Overnighters who use everything and leave it piled all over the room - $5
4. 2-5 night stays who use everything EVERYDAY and leave it piled all over - $20 or $4 a day.
5. Those staying longer than 5 days then a weekly tip of $10 is fine - as well as at least one day of Do Not Disturb. Kidding...sort of.
This of course is a guideline that not everyone will follow. Many believe that housekeepers are being paid to clean rooms, valets are paid to pull cars around and servers are paid to serve food/booze therefore a tip is not needed. And of course you're correct. However just as most companies offer a bonus to their employees (usually managers and executives), a nice tip is a great way to show your appreciation for the hard work that those within the hospitality industry provide you.
However, if the service is shitty than by all means keep your money to yourself. Even I don't tip bad service and I've worked this industry for the better part of my life (hospitality and customer service). Yet for our Disney trip (which I will write about soon since it's only 72 sleeps away!) I've budgeted $5 per day tip, as well as $2 extra for each day of linen change for a total of $34. This is because whomever cleans up after us will be cleaning up after two women and two girls. We'll need extra towels!!!
Also - as a teetotaler I was not aware of this but if you leave unopened booze behind this is a GREAT tip for a housekeeper!! Also if you're a housekeeper you never steal the booze of another housekeeper - this is cause for having your eyes gouged out, apparently.