The 1 hotel amenity I miss the most right now during the pandemic

Aug 18, 2021

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The pandemic forced hotels to make some drastic changes to their operations. That said, given the current climate, I’ve found them to be pretty understandable.

Sure, it can be annoying to have to reserve a time slot to use the gym and it’d be nice to have room service as an option, but I’ll survive those things. Do I wish that hotels were a bit more generous with their elite breakfasts? Of course.

But there’s one cut in particular that I can’t get behind and am afraid could become permanent: free daily housekeeping.

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Why hotels should offer daily housekeeping

At the onset of the pandemic, hotels across the spectrum were quick to stop offering daily housekeeping. While this partially had to do with reducing labor costs, it was mostly to reduce contact between guests and staff, which made complete sense. In fact, guidance from both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) suggested that hotels shouldn’t clean rooms on a daily basis that are occupied by the same guest(s) for multiple days.

A lot has changed since then, however. We know a lot more about COVID-19 today and vaccines are now widely available in much of the world. Despite new concerns about the delta variant, many guests feel comfortable having housekeeping enter their rooms again and vice versa.

Related: Why time’s running out on hotel alarm clocks — and other takeaways from my breakfast conversation with Marriott’s leaders

Still, there are many hotels that won’t service your room every day — even if you ask them to. Based on my recent experiences at properties ranging from mid-tier to upscale to luxury, a number of hotels will only provide housekeeping every fourth or fifth day. Meanwhile, some will now only offer it if you’re willing to pay extra.

Unmade bed hotel room
The Aloft Miami Brickell isn’t offering daily housekeeping. (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

One of the things I look forward to most when I stay at hotels is having a perfectly made bed. There’s just something so comforting about slipping into a bed with tightly tucked sheets. And let me be clear, this has nothing to do with laziness. I can’t stand to look at an unmade bed so I’ll still make my bed every day when traveling, the same way I would when at home. However, no matter how hard I try, I simply can’t get that same crisp feel.

But it’s not just about the bed. Without daily housekeeping, you’re left to call the front desk and request amenities as needed.

I’m all for reducing waste and only providing fresh towels and toiletries upon request. However, it can get annoying having to call to individually request things like the daily bottle of water you might be entitled to as an elite member or fresh coffee and tea supplies. For instance, I recently requested new tea bags but wasn’t provided new cups or sugar. It’s the little things.

Related: Full service, no service or hybrid housekeeping: Which do TPG readers prefer?

Finally, not having daily housekeeping means not getting the trash emptied every day. Hotel room garbage cans are small and fill up quickly. If you get takeout and have any food leftover, it could start to smell. Or worse, if you’re traveling as a family, you could get stuck with a garbage can full of diapers. Some hotels advise guests to leave their trash outside their door, but that litters the hallway and is just gross.

Room service tray floor
(Photo by nazdravie/Getty Images)

Bottom line

Hotels, for the love of travel, please bring back free daily housekeeping. I think it’s totally fine if a guest wants housekeeping to be optional, but that’s what the Do Not Disturb sign is for. When a hotel chain (cough cough, Hilton) makes housekeeping by request only, guests may feel discouraged to request it, or worse, not even know it’s an option.

Rooms don’t need to go through a deep cleaning every day. However, there are legitimate reasons why a light refresh — at the least — should be available. If nothing else, when staying at hotels — specifically full-service hotels — you’re paying for an experience and daily housekeeping is part of that.

Featured photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.

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