17 Horrifying Myths About Hotel Rooms That Are 100 Percent True
Your suite is hiding some shocking secrets.
There are quite a few myths about hotels: housekeeping doesn't really clean or rooms are never truly sold out. But the question remains. What is fact and what is fiction? To answer that, we've done the digging and found the truth behind the tales—and it's not all pretty. (Hint: Avoid the TV remote at all costs. Trust us.) From creepy crawly bugs to horror movie-style hidden cameras, here are the shocking secrets about what could be hiding behind your hotel doors. And for more dirty details, These Are the Germiest Spots in a Hotel Room.
The coffee maker has never been washed.
Coffee makers boil water and are therefore always clean, right? Wrong. Germ specialist Kelly Reynolds told the Huffington Post that because coffee makers are a moist environment, they are prone to high numbers of mold and bacteria. When housekeeping cleans your room, it would take far too long to thoroughly sanitize each coffee pot, so you can bet that they're skipping it. Some may not even be checking to see if it's been emptied, forcing many disgruntled travelers to post some pretty gnarly photos on TripAdvisor.
The mini bar secretly charges you.
Of all the items in your hotel room, the mini bar is the one you should be most afraid of. Not only are the prices high enough to make your skin crawl, but some hotels have even been found to use sensors programmed to detect any time a snack is removed. In 2014, a representative of DoubleTree told the Journal Sentinel that, "Our mini bar and snack tray are sensory activated so if a guest happens to pick up an item for a few seconds, they can erroneously be charged for something they didn't eat."
The remote is the dirtiest object in the room.
Of all the gross things in your hotel room, the remote is by far the filthiest and most forgotten. Citing a study on contamination levels in hotel rooms, Reuters reported in 2012 that remote controls are the dirtiest item. After all, when's the last time you washed your hands because you were about to use the remote? And, when's the last time you gave your own home remote a good wipe down? It's easy to see why this germ-infested item is so often overlooked.
Someone could hack the lock to your suite.
Another fault of a digital key card over an analog metal key is that they can be hacked. In 2017, Wired exposed a thief who exploited a vulnerability in the design of a specific kind of hotel room lock. Stories like these are all the more reason to use the chain lock on your door and keep your valuables tucked away in the hotel safe.
The sheets are not as clean as you think.
It depends on the price-point of the hotel, but certainly not every resort is cleaning the sheets each time a guest leaves. According to TravelTruth.com, many maids are trained to "eyeball" the beds, only changing them when it seems necessary. In fact, most hotels use white sheets because it is easier to spot stains. (EW!) If your hotel's sheets are anything but white, this might be a sign they are trying to hide something.
There could be a hidden camera.
It's rare, but recently there have been more reports about people finding hidden cameras while staying at a hotel. When you check in, keep an eye out for unusually placed objects and think about what someone hiding a camera would most likely want to capture. The camera will need an unobstructed view, so you can do a quick scan of the bathroom and sleeping area to see if anything is out of place. If there is a hidden camera, it likely wouldn't have been placed there by the hotel, but by a perpetrator who tapped your room. Wondering if you can get your hotel room for free? Check out The Best Way to Get Your Hotel Room Comped.
The room will never look as good as it did online.
It's a well-known industry trick that hotels use wide angle shots to make their rooms and pools appear bigger than they are, but not everyone knows just how much artificial lighting goes into making a hotel room look so perfect. Photographers will sometimes replace all the lights in the hotel to make the room look better than it ever will look again. It's likely that even that amazing view outside the window was photoshopped in.
The tap water may not be safe to drink.
Pro tip: You should always brush your teeth with bottled water. You may have heard this if you've ever traveled to a country with notoriously unsafe drinking water, but it's a good rule to follow wherever you go. If you're in a new city, there may be bacteria in the water your body won't be used to. It's also possible a hotel's water supply could be contaminated, as it was in 2018 at one four-star hotel on the Dead Sea that has since been shut down. Regardless of how much money you're paying, you can never be sure where your hotel is getting its water from or what's in it, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
If walls could talk, every suite would have a story.
Hotel rooms are ripe for misadventure, and anyone who's worked at a hotel probably has a treasure trove of wild stories. For example, one hotel guest in Vancouver left his window opens and returned to his room to find about 40 seagulls ripping into his suitcase, which was full of pepperoni. Hotel employees are constantly reporting hundreds of crazy guest stories from finding remnants of satanic rituals, bathroom floors covered in mayonnaise, and even a dead fish hidden in a lamp.
The shower could give you foot fungus.
Sure, housekeeping might give the bathroom floor a good wipe down, but that doesn't mean they're being disinfected. In 2017, Inside Edition investigated a New York City hotel's cleaning regimen by leaving traces of their stay in the shape of their logo in the bathroom. When they returned to the room after checking out, the logo was still detectable by UV light on the toilet seat and in the bathtub. This is a classic example why you should wear flip flops in the shower.
The couch has cooties.
With eating, sleeping, and everything in between, a lot of stuff goes down on the couch. Which is why it's so terrifyingly gross how rarely they undergo the deep cleaning they definitely need. If you think this is no big deal because you rarely clean your own couch, remember that you have some idea of what happens at home. In a hotel room, there's no way to be sure what that couch has seen. And for more inside scoop, check out the 20 Secrets Hotel Employee Won't Tell You.
The bed could be crawling with bugs.
Even a luxury five-star hotel with world-class housekeeping can't save you from bed bugs, which can cling to clothing and could have been brought in by a previous guest. Hotels are not obligated to run thorough checks for bed bugs and most housekeepers aren't looking for them either. You should always check yourself by pulling off the sheets and thoroughly looking for small black dots or dark red stains.
The carpets are not vacuumed very often.
If dirty carpets give you the shivers, you shouldn't walk around a cheap hotel room barefoot. While high-end hotels vacuum and clean up stains daily, the same can't be said for lower-grade hotels. Like bedsheets, dark carpeting in a hotel is usually a sign that they're trying to cover up dirty spots—especially if it's a "pet-friendly" hotel.
Laundry costs a fortune.
The only thing more ridiculous than mini bar prices are the laundry prices. Most hotels outsource their laundry services, which is why you end up paying way more. Even if they do use their own equipment to wash and dry your clothes, they're not running a laundry business and can charge you whatever they feel like. Save yourself some money by buying a travel-size pack of detergent and washing your essentials the old-fashioned way. Or you could find a local laundromat.
Someone else could have a key to your room.
Electronic key cards are the norm in hotels these days and a godsend for travelers who are prone to losing their hotel keys. However, they're not fool-proof. Hotels make mistakes and with electric keys, if your room is accidentally double booked, you might have strangers walking in on you. The worst part is that they'll actually think you're the perpetrator, and you'll both have to go back to the front desk to straighten it all out.
Housekeeping might steal your stuff.
It doesn't happen often, but it happens. Most housekeepers are smart enough to realize that if a laptop or camera goes missing, it will be reported. Smaller items like cash or jewelry are more likely to go unnoticed for a long period of time, so be sure you keep these items tucked away in the hotel safe or take them with you.
Someone may have died in your room.
Unfortunately, hotels can sometimes be the scene of a crime or a sad death. Suicide researcher Steven Sack calls hotels and motels "lethal locations," which means that they're a place to go where no one will be around to intervene. If it happens, most hotels will order a deep cleaning of the room and may even rip out the carpet and throw away the furniture.
Now that you probably want to avoid hotel rooms forever, check out 10 Cool Campers That Beat a Hotel Room Any Day.