Hotel housekeepers share 14 tips for easy luxe touches to try at home

Sep 12, 2021

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Have you air-hugged a housekeeper in a hotel corridor this week?

Every second week of September is International Housekeepers and Environmental Services Week. And it’s a good reminder to tip a hat (because we know you already tip that cash) to the unsung heroes of the hospitality industry who get officially recognized for their hard work between Sept. 12 and 18 this year.

Every day of the year, of course, these are the people keeping your hotel room clean, safe and comfortable. (Make it easier for them when you check out by following these easy hotel room tidying tips before leaving your room.)

We checked in with hotel housekeepers at properties in New York, Florida, Mexico, Guatemala and beyond for their best bed-making advice and other five-star tips for bringing some luxe hotel touches to your home turf.

Read on for a look at what they had to share.

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Air out your pillows and duvet

Duvet on Clothesline
(Photo by Halfdark/Getty Images)

While changing the sheets on your bed at home, hang your pillow and duvet on a clothesline, if you have access to one, says Marcelo Maldonado, director of housekeeping at The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue.

“It will give them a fresh scent and feel,” he says. “You can also hang them in your house, if you don’t have access to outdoor space, and spray with your favorite calming scent.”

Just be sure to spray the scent indirectly — keeping a few inches away from the pillow and duvet — he says.

Remember to flip your mattress regularly

A mattress that gets flipped over regularly stays comfortable longer, and Maldonado says it’s a good idea to turn your mattress at least every two weeks.

“Ideally, air it for a minimum of 30 minutes before replacing the sheets,” he says. “If the weather is good, take advantage of airing it longer with the bedroom windows open.”

Upgrade your linens

Quality counts when it comes to your bed linens, and while you can cut corners on other fabrics and textiles around your home, where you bed down isn’t an area to skimp.

“Everyone wants to experience the same cozy-yet-crisp feeling of a hotel bed in the comfort of their own home,” says Praveen Khalkho, director of housekeeping for The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, who recommends splurging on a set of 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets.

“The sheets are soft and also cool down quickly for those that may be hot sleepers,” he says.

Another pro tip?

“Have two to three sets that you rotate in to optimize the longevity of your sheets,” Khalkho says.

Fluff up your feather pillows and duvet

If you love a great feather pillow and duvet, says Khalkho, keep them fresh by popping them in the dryer on the tumble dry setting on low heat for a quick two to five minutes once a month.

“This will help extract moisture and revive your pillow or duvet to its optimal fluffiness,” she says. “Just remember, low heat is important as to not damage the feathers.”

Allergic to down and feathers? You can still have a luxe look in bed

The weight and warmth of down is hard to top. But it’s possible to get a similarly luxe look for your bed if you happen to be allergic to feathers, says Javier Tamajon, director of housekeeping for The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes.

Look for a down alternative when it comes to your bed’s pillows, duvet and “feather bed.”

It’s a good substitute, he says, and still delivers the lovely, luxurious feel — and look.

Invest in a quality air purifier

Adding an air purifier to your bedroom acts as an extra step for cleansing your space, says Kedeisha Cruz, executive director of housekeeping at The Kimpton Goodland Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach.

“We rarely think about the number of allergens, dander and pet hair that circulate in our homes,” she says. “Air purifiers go a long way in keeping your room smelling crisp and filtering out irritants that may be preventing us from breathing efficiently and getting a good night’s sleep.”

Go matchy-matchy with towels and bathrobes ⠀

Matching towel sets and bathrobes immediately add a hotel-style upgrade to your bathroom, says Cruz.

“To amp them up and give them a feel of luxury, have them monogrammed with initials, words or phrase,” she suggests.

Add essential oil to a carpet shampooer to freshen a stale-smelling room

If a room smells musty or otherwise unpleasant, says Linda McNally, housekeeping manager at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel in Michigan, put a small amount of essential oil in a carpet shampooer before cleaning rugs.

“The scent will be minimal but lasting — and a little goes a long way,” she says.

Instead of hanging towels on a rack or on the back of a door, try this trick

You’ve surely seen this look in a spa or a hotel room somewhere, and it’s super easy to create at home.

“Rolling white towels in a basket is a small upgrade to help cut clutter and bring neatness into your home,” says Ruby Ozretić, director of housekeeping at The Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia.

Bring fresh flowers into your bedroom, too

Why reserve fresh flowers for only the communal spaces of your home?

A vase of flowers placed by your bedside or in your bathroom injects an instant hotel-style upgrade and an element of surprise into your space.

“Fresh-cut flowers are a dazzling way of bringing the outdoors to the indoors,” says Ozretić. “Our housekeeping staff members make it a routine to have fresh wildflowers every day in every room, placed in our local artisan’s handmade vases.”

Trying it at home couldn’t be easier.

Upgrade your shower or bath with evocative shampoos, washes and creams

toiletry bottles - shampoo - conditioner
(Photo by wakila/Getty Images)

You might be surprised how upgrading bath amenities to something that smells and feels truly amazing has the power to transport you from your usual four walls.

For the ultimate at-home retreat, says Silvia Tun, director of services at JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, indulge in “scent-stimulating body wash and creams” with aromas such as lavender and mint.

“They will help promote relaxation and stress relief and will transport those at home to a blissful escape,” she says. And don’t forget the plush Egyptian cotton white towels, either, for “snuggling up post-shower.”

Tamajon, from The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, recommends using a citrus scent in the morning to wake up and eucalyptus for a calming effect after a long day of work.

Regularly organize your bathroom vanity area

Waking up to a well-organized space is a great start to your morning routine, says Jerry Perez, director of services at The Clancy, a Marriott Autograph Collection property in San Francisco.

“Before going to bed each night, take five minutes to organize and clean your bathroom vanity area,” he says. “That way when you wake up and begin your morning routine, you develop a feeling of confidence that a well-organized space can generate.”

For an extra-plush duvet, double up on the comforters inside

(Photo courtesy of Villa Bokeh)

Who hasn’t snuggled under a heavy hotel duvet and wished they could recreate that exact level of comfort back home?

There’s any easy trick you can try to help get there in your own bedroom, says Angélica Vasquez, director of housekeeping at Villa Bokeh, a newly opened Relais & Chateau property with just seven rooms and volcano views near Antigua, Guatemala.

“Place two comforters inside one duvet cover for that extra fluff and softness,” she says.

Adding large pillows and a decorative throw can also help create a sense of place at home. Depending on what textiles you choose, says Vasquez, the decor can serve to remind you of the particular place you dream of visiting.

Get creative with how you display books in your bedroom

Hotel Bennett Premier King Guest Room
Premier king guest room at Hotel Bennett. (Photo courtesy of Hotel Bennett)

At Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina — located on the former site of the Charleston County Library and the Citadel military college — each guest room has its own mini-library.

And James Howell, the hotel’s director of housekeeping, has some creative tips for incorporating books into your own bedroom decor.

Start by displaying books that coordinate with your color palette, he says.

“You only need a few to make a significant impact, and they can be placed on a variety of surfaces, including your dresser, nightstand or a shelf.”

The look will make your room feel cozy and cohesive, Howell says, and may have an added bonus, too.

“You may even be more inclined to reach for one of the books instead of an electronic device when it’s bedtime.”

Featured photo by Jon Lovette/Getty Images.

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