After years in the hospitality business, the stories of impolite hotel guests never cease to amaze me. Of course we all know the garden-variety offenses like smoking in a no-smoking room, stealing the complimentary robes, or sneaking in a pet are so ubiquitous that hotels have posted fees for such repetitive transgressions. Rarely does anyone get away without being charged if they dabble in these forbidden behaviors. Housekeeping, the first to notice odor, pet fur or missing items, can earn a small reward for reporting it to the front desk, where the credit card number on file is easily charged.
However, there are a plethora of much more egregious conduct that keep hotel staff members shaking their heads in disbelief but looking the other way.
A Secret Service security team was being given a hotel property tour, prior to a high-profile politician’s arrival. The manager was chagrined, when, during the tour, a guest opened the door of her room, and the hallway immediately reeked like a reggae concert. The uniformed officers all exchanged glances, which did not go unnoticed by the guest, who soon called the front desk to say that she had an emergency at home and would be checking out early.
According to staff reports, wealthy guests who frequent an upscale inn have a habit of using an immense amount of talcum powder. So much powder that one time it was a quarter-inch deep in the bathtub stopping up its drain. Powder was tracked all over the carpeting, and settled onto picture frames, carved furniture curves, and the electronics. All of this required housekeeping to spend extra time and resort to Q-Tips to clean it. The couple spent thousands of dollars at each visit. The hotel manager was reluctant to add an extra cleaning fee for fear of losing their business. Since Mr. and Mrs. Baby Powder routinely left a mere $3 tip, the housekeeping staff on learning that they had registered, would flip a coin. The loser was usually reduced to tears.
Equally thoughtless were the couple who claimed that their dog was a service animal and allowed it to swim in the hotel pool. Besides appalling the other guests staying at that time, the animal’s pet hair clogged the filter system and entire pool had to be drained.
Guests at a buffet breakfast brought their own Zip-lock bags (others have used the sanitary bags from the ladies room) to “liberate” envelopes of oatmeal, yogurts, bagels, and items from the pastry tray for future snacks.
Although the concierge at the front desk may never bat an eye during check-in, it doesn’t go unnoticed when “Mr. Smith” is with a different “Mrs. Smith”, just a few weeks after his last visit, or visa versa.
A gregarious couple who visited an oceanfront resort often, enjoyed conversations with other frequent guests while sharing wine and cheese. They met in the hotel dining area several times a year, and knew each other well enough to exchange holiday cards.
One day “Mrs. Smith” arrived with a new partner and stayed in an executive suite, a definite upgrade from her usual modest room. The bellman reported that when he delivered her moss-colored, Cloudstream wheeled tote, by Eagle Creek, to her suite, she requested turn-down service, something the old “Mr. Smith” never required.
The woman with whom “Mrs. Smith” had made acquaintance years prior, was also on the property that day and spotted her vehicle in the parking lot. She asked the front desk if “Mrs. Smith” had checked in yet. This presented a true dilemma for the receptionist who evasively replied, “we don’t have a guest registered by that name.”
The following month “Mrs. Smith” returned with the original “Mr. Smith” and they stayed in their usual room. Although no one dared mentioned the previous visit, the receptionist couldn’t resist welcoming the couple back with “It’s nice to see you two, again.”
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