It’s been a long day of driving or flying by the time you get to your hotel or Airbnb and all you want to do is kick off your shoes and settle in. Wait! Before you do that, you should make sure this room meets your standards and doesn’t need another pass from housekeeping.
Taking a moment to walk around your room, checking the crevices and corners that are easy to miss but tell a story of thoroughness is an important part of checking into any place you’re staying. Should you discover anything unsightly, most hotels will move you to a cleaner room right away in an effort to correct their mistake and ensure your stay is a pleasant one.
Check the Bed Sheets, Pillows, and Blankets
The first thing you should do is check to ensure your bed is fresh and clean. Pull back the bedspread to the foot of the bed and fold it over itself. Most hotels only spot clean these or machine wash them sparingly, so you should avoid interacting with them as much as you can, even going as far as folding it and storing it in the dresser or closet. Pull back the sheets and check for any stains, hair, or nails; these are clear indications that the sheets were not changed between guests and your linens are not clean
Check down either side of the bed, between both the wall and the nightstand. These are tough spots to squeeze in a vacuum but should still be regularly cleaned. If these spots are clean, you know you have a thorough crew.
Check the Bathroom
Before you have your toiletries spread around the sink, look through that there isn’t any hair, mold or mildew, or nail clippings scattered around. Everything in a bathroom is designed to be incredibly easy to clean and the first place anyone thinks of being “dirty”, which makes any dirt or grime trivial to clean up and a dirty bathroom not a good sign. The drinking glasses by the sink are easy to forget about but simple enough to scrub and clean with a hand towel and hand soap, just to ensure that these weren’t unused by the last guest and skipped over by housekeeping.
You should have plenty of spare towels, toilet paper, and complimentary soaps but you can call the front desk if you need more than what’s provided. Depending on the hotel, some will have inexpensive toiletries you can ask for like a toothbrush or single-use toothpaste packets, while others will have a small shop with these items for sale.
Check the Floors and Under Furniture
Every part of a hotel room has been analyzed and designed for optimal use, including regular cleaning. Most will not have space under the beds and instead be built onto a platform to prevent dust buildup and items going missing under them. Carpets should be stain-free and cleaned between guests, but just as you are walking around in your shoes from the outside world, so have other guests. Pack some hotel room slippers or socks and wear these around the room until you go to bed or put on your regular shoes to venture out.
Check for Dusty Corners and Crevices
Dusting doesn’t need to happen between every guest, so unless it’s part of a consistent schedule, it’s easy for hotels to miss sport. Make sure that there is no dust on the furniture or in the corners of the room. The TV and the windowsills are two places that are often overlooked but easy to spot with a keen eye. Inspect closet and dresser drawers before unpacking clothes from your suitcase.
Make Sure Everything Works, Then Wipe It Down
The final step isn’t so much about cleanliness, as it is about room amenities. Go through your room and make sure everything works, like the TV remote, lights, alarm clock, phone, heater/air conditioning unit, and door locks. Anything you intend to use should be checked before you desperately need them, like the iron and ironing board usually in the hotel room closet.
Once you’ve ensured they all work, it doesn’t hurt to pull out some sanitizing wipes and wipe off the electronics and light switches. Study after study has shown the hotel remotes are often the dirtiest thing in the room, even more than the toilet; a quick wipe can help put your mind at ease, but if you’re really squeamish, have a Ziploc bag packed to be used just for the remote.
Before you book your trip, check out reviews online left by other guests. Remember that people are more likely to review if they have a bad experience and less likely to leave one for a positive experience. Judging the frequency or severity of negative reviews is a better metric than whether or not they have any. Changing hotel rooms before you’ve booked is a lot easier than changing rooms after discovering a mess. Your hotel room is your home away from home and should make you feel comfortable relaxing there, and with these tips included on your checklist your next vacation will go off without a hitch.