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

Aug. 11, 2021
8 min read
Hilton Clean Stay
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Hotel housekeeping was among the many travel experiences disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hotels trotted out detailed sanitization protocols and changed rules on how often rooms would be cleaned. Hilton even announced it would now only offer housekeeping if guests request it.

I recently returned from a weeklong trip that had me in New York City for a work meeting and Paris for a flight review of low-cost carrier French Bee. During my travels, I had different housekeeping experiences with two Hyatt hotels.

When I stayed at the Hotel 50 Bowery in New York City, my room was cleaned every day during my four-day stay, which surprised me. But at the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile, the check-in clerk explained that they only cleaned rooms every four days, but they would bring fresh towels and empty the trash every other day.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Related: Hilton teams up with Lysol and Mayo Clinic to promise clean hotels

The surprise for me was that I actually didn't mind the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile's approach. When I'm at home, I don't make my bed every day (I know, but it's my choice) and I certainly don't change the sheets and towels every day. The trash cans get emptied when they're full. If this is good enough for me at home, why should it be different when I stay in a hotel?

But others might not want what I want, which then made me wonder how others felt about hotel housekeeping practices in general. So I posted in the TPG Women Facebook group and asked what they preferred: A full cleaning every day, no cleaning at all, cleaning when you ask or just new towels and trash emptied? Here's what they said. (Note: Comments were lightly edited for context.)

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Full service

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Carolyn Bravo Diaz: I prefer the full service. Part of staying in a hotel is having that VIP experience.

Related: 5 things hotel CEOs told us about the future of travel

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Depends on the situation

Jenn AL: I had the full range of experience during my last trip with three hotels. The Courtyard by Marriott only supplied new towels upon request, which was a bit frustrating, as I was traveling with my two kids and they only had two towels in a room I booked for three people.

The Fairfield Inn would knock and offer fresh towels but would not come into the room. So if you were out, you didn't get fresh towels. The third, the JW Marriott, had standard service. I would be fine with trash collection and towel replacement only; I don’t need the full clean. But it was nice after a long trip to walk into my JW Marriott room and have everything cleaned and refreshed. They received a bigger tip for sure.

Gabriela Casablanca: It depends on how long I stay and where. For up to three days, I’m fine without housekeeping. If it’s a beach vacation, for example, then daily because of all the sand you drag in the room.

A room at the Four Seasons New Orleans. (Image courtesy of the hotel)

Amanda M. Gosselin: It depends on the hotel and the purpose of my trip. If it’s work: I generally have to travel with a lot of expensive gear, so I prefer to not have housekeeping. If it’s for fun and I’m staying at a Four Seasons or equivalent, then yes, I expect housekeeping daily. If it’s for fun and I’m staying at a Courtyard Marriott or equivalent, I don’t expect it daily.

Ann Marie Carey: It depends. If it's just me, then I want a cleaning every day because why not? If it's my kid and finance, then no, because my finance is afraid of them stealing and seeing our room a mess!

Karen Smith Ratcliffe: We’ve traveled many times during COVID-19 and I have to say I’m a fan of housekeeping coming in either when asked or one or two times during a stay. We usually stay in Hilton properties in the U.S. and they have all said if you need housekeeping, ask. If not, just ask for towels at the front desk. I kind of liked that no one would be entering our room during our stay.

(Photo by Colleen Michaels/Shutterstock)

Early on, I took spray Lysol on every trip and sprayed everything when we stayed at a new hotel. Now, I’m not that diligent, but still take the Lysol just in case. We relaxed a little after being totally vaccinated. We just got back from Costa Rica and the resort’s housekeeping wanted to come in daily and I found I didn’t want them to. I told them we were good and needed nothing, but they kept wanting to come in. I think they were worried about their tip. So we left the same amount at the end of our stay that we would have had they come daily.

Don't clean my room every day

(Photo by ND700/Shutterstock)

Cindy Ballard: I want the room price to reflect the hotel's savings by not cleaning my room every day! We should not let the standards be lowered without something being in it for the customer!

Do towels and trash

Teri Miller Dyer: I don't stay in super ritzy hotels. Three stars are usually my go-to because I have five kids and they have three beds -- think Holiday Inn and Comfort Suites. I adore the Paris approach [because] it feels less intrusive.

Katie Tobak: Towels are the important part to me! I like the idea of full housekeeping on request but can see how that would be challenging to plan ahead for staffing purposes.

Towels on a rail at the W hotel at Leicester Square in London. (Photo by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sarah Aheron: If towels and sheets are washed daily, it’s terrible for the environment.

Alison Parker: I admit it is so wasteful, but I do luxuriate in the fresh daily towels. I don't care as much about the bed. I certainly don't need fresh sheets every day, but when they used to give that option, I took it. Although I haven't traveled yet post-COVID, I probably would be happy just to have towels dropped off and the trash emptied.

Don't clean my room

Brie Mattox: I prefer no housekeeping and have since before the pandemic unless I'm staying for more than five days. I’ve always asked for additional towels as needed and if it is okay to place trash bags outside my door for pick up. It has never been an issue.

Shannon Miller: I think full housekeeping is a waste of time and resources. I prefer to be left alone and will ask if I need something.

Related: Hotels — and the ick factor — in the time of coronavirus

Jennifer Bennett: The only thing I ever get is clean towels. I prefer to be left alone and not have my things moved around. The Do Not Disturb sign goes on the door my entire stay. I'm a pretty neat person and find the full daily cleaning to be a waste of resources.

Karen Eastburn: I prefer no housekeeping.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Fawnn Briggeman: Pre-pandemic, I always left my Do Not Disturb sign on my door. I prefer no one in my room. Just give me fresh towels when I need please!

Related: Why you might not get housekeeping service during your next hotel stay

Bottom line

As you can see, opinions varied across all the cleaning options. There was even a section that allowed for options depending on the situation.

Even as travel surges despite a spike in the Delta variant of COVID-19, the question still remains how many of these hotel housekeeping changes are temporary or permanent. Hilton has already announced that it will only offer housekeeping on request, while Marriott is hinting that it will make a similar move.

A simple answer to that question is even more difficult because while major hotel brands push out their cleaning initiatives, individual properties may have their own ideas on what housekeeping looks like. The best thing travelers can do is call their hotel in advance and ask about their housekeeping policies, then communicate what you want when it comes to cleaning your room.

Related: How the pandemic has altered — or eliminated — hotel amenities we once took for granted

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.