So, Reddit user u/catstevenseagal posted in r/AskReddit: "People who work at 5-star hotels: What type of shit goes on that management doesn’t want people to know?" Here are some of the wildest, weirdest, and sadly, most disturbing answers.
1. "We don’t want you to know that the people who stayed in the room before you were fucking nasty. Housekeeping gets the brunt of it."
"I've seen them carry out bags of used sex toys, peel used condoms off of every surface, and scrub shit — actual human shit — off places there’s no reason for human shit to be. The worst, though, was the couple who wanted a home birth but not, you know, at home (because gross). We had to deal with that hazmat situation. Hit them as hard as we could with penalties and fees, though."
2. "Corporate functions like conventions, parties, etc. where there's an open bar almost always lead to something fucked up happening."
"One hotel I worked at hosted a Christmas party for an investment firm and two guys started jockeying for the affections of a female coworker. They all wound up on an elevator together and the guys started fighting, the elevator went in to safety lockdown, we had to call the police and the fire department. One guy went in a squad car, one guy went in an ambulance, and we had to give the woman some clothes from lost and found because her dress was covered in blood. The elevator was out of service for six hours to clean it up. There's always a ton of back of house drama, too. Especially among the execs and the junior managers. Affairs, backstabbing, a little light fraud. You know, the usual."
3. "Men will say hello to staff with their mistress on their arm on Thursday night and their wife on Friday night."
4. "Once, a famous teen celebrity left a room full of needles and various drug paraphernalia behind for housekeeping to clean up."
5. "The largest checkout bill I’ve ever seen was roughly $2 million for a guest who rented out an entire floor of suites for three weeks. They promptly paid via wire transfer."
6. "A lot of lonely people go on vacation to end their life in hotels. Happens a lot, but is never mentioned on the news."
7. "I had to procure $100K cash for a guest whose wife wanted to shop on Rodeo Drive the next morning — the local bank didn’t even have that much. I had to get an armored car from the central Los Angeles bank branch to deliver."
8. "The staff isn't nearly as impressed by famous or rich people as some of them seemed to think we should be."
"We had rich and famous guests all the time, and it was usually the ones nowhere near the top of the ladder who tried to be the most imperious and expected the most attention. We'd provide polite, professional service for all our guests and try to be helpful and accommodating, but being a C-list actor or whatever isn't going to get you a table in a full restaurant, or an upgrade to the already-occupied fancier suites."
9. "As part of our training as bellmen, we are to ask open-ended questions to the children to make sure they aren't being used for sex trafficking when bringing in luggage to 'Dad and daughter' types."
"My dad works in security in the same hotel, so he often gives me a heads up if the guest with the child is already under suspicion regarding their behavior at the front desk for check-in. It rarely happens, but hotels are the breeding grounds for sex traffickers."
10. "Dead people. In some places, there's a reasonable chance somebody has died in your bed."
"Obviously it varies with the type of hotel and its clientele, but at some places you get deaths weekly (not that the hotel is unsafe, but it's mostly unfit old people overexerting themselves). At one place I worked at, maybe 40% of the beds had had someone die in it."
11. "Bed bugs happen in every hotel. You might be paying $5K a night, but your luggage was in the hold with everyone else's. If there's only one or two bugs and none in the adjacent rooms, then you brought them in."
"There are lots of jacuzzi and swimming pool deaths — usually the result of too much alcohol."
12. "Guests expose themselves to female staff frequently — especially housekeepers and room service."
13. "Never trust glass in rooms. Guest room attendants are stretched so thin on time that they will clean the glasses with the same rags that they use to clean the bathroom."
"I worked as a GRA in a 5-star hotel for years, and there was over a year-long period that went by where we didn’t get a clean glass delivery. We didn’t have dishwashers in the room, so management was complicit. This was in one of the top resorts in the world."
14. "I used to work events at hotels, and one time, we had a guest break their wine glass inside a water refill barrel. I left work for two weeks to go on vacation, and when I came back, all the glass was still piled inside the water refill barrel. People must have been drinking out of it because there were events booked while I was gone."
15. "We don’t bat an eye at sex work or whatever goes on in the rooms as long as it doesn’t affect other guests. Half the women that come to the bar are working girls looking for a sale."
"The only thing that the hotel industry ever really reports is human trafficking. There are tell tale signs and if something doesn’t add up, we do report it to local authorities."
17. "Sex workers were always super nice to everyone. One regular sex worker would rent out a room for a day once a month, and make $30-40K that day from clients. Celebrities, business guys, you name it."
19. "I've worked with a few celebrities and athletes in the past, and the ones I worked with always used fake names."
"Their room was actually reserved and paid for by their assistants, so their name never showed on paperwork. However, since they were listed as staying in the room, their name was added to the card, and that's where the fake name comes in. One guy, the late author Tom Clancy, always used the name of his lead character, Jack Ryan, when getting a room."
21. "Our concierge would often greet guests with sangria and sprigs of mint from 'his garden.' Sometimes he had lemon slices from his tree too! He loved to tell guests all about 'his garden,' and they ate it up."
"Yeah, that's all bullshit. Mint, lemon, and any other garnish we got from the local grocery store. The sangria? Cheapest boxed stuff we could find. He sold the story like no other though, and at the end of the day, it worked."
22. "NEVER, EVER, EVER — I REPEAT!!! — USE A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN FROM A HOTEL OR BANQUET HALL!!!"
"Picture this: It’s an expensive Sunday brunch. Well, little Timmy just double-fisted strawberries directly into that chocolate, bit into both strawberries, and then triple dipped into the chocolate AGAIN! And some old rich lady just sneezed on it. And somebody else just dropped their snack into it. The best part? That chocolate gets strained and saved for the next week's brunch. Chocolate is waaay too expensive to throw away.
Chocolate also does this thing where it’ll seize if it has the wrong moisture content (from people dipping fruit and the juices going into the chocolate) so it’ll get so thick it won’t run through the machine. Wanna know how they fix that? They add canola oil until it’s smooth again."
23. "One time, this kinda known millionaire had a little too much coke and god knows what else and was destroying the room. He was actually throwing furniture out the balcony, ripped everything out of the fridge, and might have even thrown a mattress out the balcony."
"It was a big deal at the time, but they kept it hush with no police involved — a guy that’s paying $9k-13k a night is not going to be arrested. When the team finally got into the room, there was cocaine all over the tables, bottles everywhere, and a couple of high-class call girls that were in true fear. The next day, they booked the same room to Jennifer Lopez."
24. "Luxury hotels are randomly 'inspected' frequently, and there is a very specific checklist of things that the hotel/restaurants must do/offer in order to keep their rating."
"We always had to be suspicious of any single diners because they could possibly be inspectors. Basically, you could be a regular Joe Schmo, but if you're dining alone, you are going to get the 5-star treatment."
25. "One of the restaurants I worked at in a 5-star hotel would frequently be closed for private events. There was usually a contract written beforehand stating the group must spend a minimum amount of money."
"We got automatic gratuity on whatever that minimum was, but the goal was to go over so we would make more money. The people at the events usually didn’t know these details — they weren’t the ones paying — and towards the end of the night, if they hadn’t reached the minimum, we would have to start pouring the most expensive wine and liquors to meet the goal. People still tipped cash on the open bars, so it was easy to walk away with $500 a night in tips after those parties. It was the easiest money I ever made."
26. "Hockey players are the nicest athletes by a wide margin. Royalty is great, or more likely, awful. A-list celebrities want to be left alone or treated as just another person. Politicians are bigger assholes when they’re with their families. Saw lots of sex, drugs, underaged drinking, escorts — the usual."
27. "A friend of mine works for a small luxurious hotel in London and he told me the concierge system there is absolutely absurd. Money buys everything."
"For extreme requests, he goes through professional concierges who charge A LOT. You want a new Prada dress at 2 a.m. for the party you are about to attend? Sure thing. Let's wake a few people up, charge triple the price, and split the benefit between people involved. You want tickets for the Wimbledon final that takes place tomorrow? You have $20K? Enjoy the game!"
28. "Checking in late at night sometimes means free upgrades or discounted upgrade rates. We would try to sell every last suite at night for almost 80% off."
"We just wanted something so they don’t go unoccupied. Sometimes if we were over-sold on rooms, the late late arrivals (midnight) would get a free suite upgrade because we had no choice. Of course, this could also backfire if the hotel is sold out. You may get downgraded for being a late late arrival."
29. "Corporate intern events where the kids would get plied with alcohol were infuriating. We had one company annually bring 80 interns as part of a site visit tour, and it was a nightmare."
"I was sure someone would die every year. One year there were three hospitalizations though, and one of the boys sent the hospital bill to the hotel. (We were not involved or liable in his medical issue. The audacity.)
We weren't held responsible because he and all of his intern colleagues trashed everything. We had to prepare the lobby before by removing sculptures and porcelain plant pots. One year, we started always removing a kind of sharp-cornered bookcase because too many drunk interns had hurt themselves on it. There were bodily fluids everywhere and linens destroyed beyond continued use. Plumbing broke daily. There was always smoking damage in some rooms."
30. "I worked in security and housekeeping called us all the time for drugs they’d find in a room. The first thing we’d ask for is the room number and we’d look up the name of the guest. If it was a VIP or someone important to us, we’d tell them to leave it there and 'we’d take care of it.'"
"If the guest was someone we didn’t know and they weren't important to us, we’d go up there and take it out of the room, then threaten to evict them from their stay if they did it again. Diamond members almost always got a pass. If someone booked through a third party like Expedia, they didn't get a pass. Basically, you could have cocaine in your room if you spent enough money."
31. And lastly: "I worked in valet at a certain Beverly Hills hotel, and many stars' cars were just left there."
"They'd come and get them whenever. There was also a code name for Justin Bieber, who visited often, but I can’t remember it. He picked it himself. His G-Wagon and Bentley were just kept down there free of charge. Usher also left his bike there a few years back and just never collected it."
Have you ever worked at a 5-star hotel and have your own secrets and stories? If so, please share them in the comments below!
Answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.