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Why I don’t need daily housekeeping — and maybe you don’t either

Aug. 02, 2022
6 min read
Housekeeping staff cleans hotel room
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Sustainability isn’t the only reason I decline daily housekeeping.

The pandemic changed housekeeping at some hotels forever, with certain properties now offering, at best, daily service on request. At worst, some hotels no longer have housekeeping at all.

And I don’t think that's a bad thing.

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Sustainability

Sure, having fresh sheets and towels each day is an opulent way to enjoy a vacation. But for me, it’s really unnecessary. As much as I enjoy the feeling of slipping into fresh sheets after a long day, I’m lucky if I change my bedsheets at home every week (sorry, Mom).

Nowadays, you'll almost always see a notecard in your hotel bathroom with information regarding the washing of your towels.

The message is usually that the hotel is taking sustainability seriously. If you don’t require fresh towels daily, keep them on the racks or folded up on shelves. If you want the towels replaced, throw them into the bath or shower.

The reality is that unless you’re rock climbing or cliff diving into a swamp, your towel probably won’t get very dirty every day.

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

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I won’t preach about how often you should wash your towels and sheets (at home or while traveling), other than to say if you don’t change your sheets this often at home, do you really need it done at a hotel?

(Last year, Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta posed a similar question, asking, “When you’re at home, do you change your sheets every day? Do you wash your towels every day? … No.”)

There is significant water and labor required for daily washing and replacing of towels and sheets. You’re paying for something you might not really need, or even want.

(Photo by Marco Geber/Getty Images)

A cynic might say those bathroom notecards are just the hotel trying to reduce its costs. However, if the property doesn’t launder its linens on site, your once-used towel might get driven out to a commercial laundry to be washed, tumble-dried, packed up in plastic wrap and driven back to the property to be used again.

That’s an awful lot of water, fuel, electricity and plastic for a towel that was barely used.

Related: Hilton hotels will now only offer housekeeping by request

Logistics

My biggest frustration with daily housekeeping when I’m on vacation is that I feel like I have to plan my day around their visit.

To start with, if I want to sleep in (after perhaps from one too many Mai Tais at the hotel bar the previous evening), I need to remember to hang a "do not disturb" sign on the door before heading to bed to avoid a potential early knock on the door from a staff member ready to clean my room.

I count myself lucky I've never been in a situation where the staff entered my room while I was still asleep.

Once awake, if I want daily housekeeping, I need to organize for this to happen when I'm not in the room. I don’t feel comfortable lazing on the couch with a good book as someone cleans around me. Even in the most palatial suite upgrade, I feel like I'm always in their way.

A lazy buffet breakfast will likely take at one hour at most, and housekeeping will rarely be in and out during that brief window of time.

Even if I see a housekeeping cart on my floor, I wouldn't ask them to service my room at the exact time of my choosing. After all, they have their schedule and routine and I’m not going to mess with that.

Related: 9 things you can do to help housekeeping when you checkout

Even after flipping the sign on the door over to "please clean my room," housekeeping may come by in the next eight minutes, or the next eight hours, or not at all that day.

(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

If they pass your room and the "do not disturb" sign is up, you may miss your chance for the entire day. I’ve spent hours lazing by the pool to give the housekeeping staff as much time as possible to get into my room, only to return sweaty, dehydrated and ready to shower before dinner to find the room has not been touched and those carts are nowhere to be seen.

By the time the sun sets, I can’t be bothered chasing after housekeeping as it would require another period outside the room. If I know the hotel I'm in doesn't offer daily housekeeping, I don’t need to worry about when they can enter my room each day when I'm not in it.

Related: Marriott’s new CEO sat down with TPG to talk Bonvoy benefits, housekeeping and more

Bottom line

If I’m staying for six or more nights, I would request a mid-stay housekeeping refresh if it was not automatically offered. I’d even pay more for it.

I do tend to accumulate some rubbish in those tiny bins next to the desk and toilet, and it’s hygienic to have these emptied from time to time.

I usually go through all of the provided coffee pods in my room within a few days too. However, more can easily be sourced with a quick call to reception, or a friendly chat with any member of the housekeeping staff elsewhere on the floor.

Changing bedsheets every day has always seemed like a bizarre concept to me, even before sustainability was an increasingly important issue for the hotel industry. If I don’t do it at home, I don’t need it when I travel.

I’m not a slob, but the logistics and wastage of daily housekeeping weren’t necessary for me before the pandemic, and they still aren't now. Maybe they aren't for you, either.

Interested in sustainable travel? Read these articles:

Featured image by Featured image by Nastaic / Gettys
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.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023