You Think That Bedspread Is Clean?

I was in the hotel industry for over 18 years before finally acknowledging that enough was enough. In the nearly two decades that I was immersed in the ins-and-outs of that industry, I discovered many aspects of its operation that the knowledge of which would make anyone outside of the industry cringe. Former industry colleagues of mine who read this blog may view this post as a betrayal of sorts. I would prefer to treat it as a PSA. Besides, some of the items I am about to reveal below have been included in past exposes by popular media, so it’s not like I’m sharing anything that may not have been shared before. Sadly, one post will not be sufficient to share all my findings (or it would be one very long post indeed). So, I’ll be sharing these facts with you in parts.

My first tidbit: Hotel bedspreads are not cleaned between guests.

After a long day of traveling, that hotel bed may seem like an oasis. But before you leap from the floor and allow yourself to dive into the soft fabric of the bedspread, keep in mind that someone else was in that room the night before, and G-d knows what they had done on/to/with that bedspread. Depending on hotel’s par levels and/or hotel rating, bedspreads are cleaned weekly or even monthly unless it has visible stains or some other indication (like odor or wetness) that would require it to be cleaned sooner.

For instance, a 600-room hotel at 80% average occupancy (which means 480 guest rooms are occupied nearly daily) that has heavy “transient” business (pertaining to a room turnover after only one or two nights) rarely has the capacity to be able to clean those bedspreads after each guest departure. To do so would mean that they would have to have at least a “four par” of bedspreads (one on the bed, one dirty, one clean, and one in storage) to be able to change them out daily or as frequently as every guest departure. This would mean having at least 1,900 bedspreads on hand at any given time. Plus, think about the labor, electricity, water, and chemicals (detergents) it would take to make that happen. They add up to one spendy venture. And, with profitability always being in the picture, hoteliers must keep their CPOR (cost per occupied room) at a reasonably low number.

Additionally, Housekeepers (or “Room Attendants” as they are called in the more swanky locales) are given anywhere between 16 to 18 guestrooms to process within an 8-hour period. Making those beds is hard enough–can you truly see them lugging 18 rooms worth of bedspreads around? Unlikely.

So, what do you do?

Remove that bedspread. Most newer hotels– and definitely the swankier ones– no longer provide bedspreads and have opted for the more “chic” look of a duvet. You truly don’t need it to sleep especially if the hotel room has individual climate control that you can adjust to keep yourself warm during your evening’s slumber.

However, if you must have a bedspread (due perhaps to some Linus complex), ask the staff to provide you a new or clean bedspread to replace the one that came with your room when you checked in. Expect to receive snide remarks uttered behind your back or eye-rolling on the other side of that telephone. But, at least you will have decreased your chances of having your cheeks meet the surface of a potentially dirty bedspread.

Granted, luxury hotels like the Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons might actually change their bedspreads after every guest, but I implore you to take no chances. And, while you’re at it, ask for a new, clean blanket to replace the one your bed was made with. Chances are that it wasn’t switched up from the previous guest’s use either.

There you have it. More to follow soon. 😉


8 Responses to “You Think That Bedspread Is Clean?”

  1. 1 DAVE ID July 20, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    As someone who lives in hotels I can attest to that. Just take a look at the shower head when you walk in you can always tell how well maintained a hotel is by the shower head. I’ve seen shower heads I was afraid to touch, granted the shower walls were still covered in pubic hair also and my firm has me stay in expensive swanky hotels.

    But I invoke dirty glasses and the next day I come in and everything in that room just freaking shines.

    Keep in mind people, and sorry Jon, but your are the honored guests and the staff are there to serve, be nice but get everything you can out of them. Yer the boss.

    I still have a free suite waiting for me in San Antonio at a 800$ a night hotel because I complained until I got what was coming to me 🙂

    The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

  2. 2 jonsquared July 20, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    @ DAVE – ITA on the shower heads being one of the first indications of the level of cleanliness of a hotel room. You’re right about the ‘squeaky wheel’ getting the oil.

  3. 3 princess1236 July 21, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Bedspreads are old news. Jon what’s the real dirt?

  4. 4 jonsquared July 21, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Shh, princess. Let’s not spoil the surprise for everyone else. 😉

  5. 5 kjpdel July 22, 2008 at 11:20 am

    have a look at this Facebook group, you should enjoy some of the remarks and it might bring back some memories too!

  6. 6 jonsquared July 22, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    @ kjpdel – Thanks! I’ve joined the group. 🙂

  7. 7 curlywurlygurly July 23, 2008 at 4:31 am

    gee, thanks for posting that AFTER i got home from my vacation! lol. actually, my first order of business in any hotel is to strip the bed down to the sheet. no duvets, no bedspreads, no fuzzy blankets for me! i put towels over the pillowcases too. i’m AFRAID of cooties. i know i can’t avoid them all, but maybe i’ll dodge a few. 🙂

  8. 8 jonsquared July 23, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    @ curly- one can never be too careful

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