We usually think of a hotel as being cleaner, safer, and more comfortable than our own home. After all, they have an entire housekeeping crew.
However, this is far from true. Most hotels try to keep their rooms clean, but they don’t always succeed.
The housekeeping staff is not above taking shortcuts.
The truth is, hotels may not entirely sanitize their bathrooms, but merely rub down the toilet and sink with a wet cloth. A quick vacuum might remove the pretzels from the carpet, but not the hair under the pillows.
Check for these things and ensure that your room is livable. After all, you are a paying customer and are entitled to a habitable room with all the promised facilities.
Top Things to Check in a Hotel Room
1. Look for Bedbugs
These tiny critters can make your life miserable. Bedbugs are small, brown insects that reside in the nooks and crannies of soft materials such as mattresses and sofas.
They come out when the room is dark, and leave behind itching and angry, red welts.
Draw back the comforters and inspect the mattress for signs of droppings. These are small pin-sized stains. Go over the seams of the furniture too.
If you find signs of bedbugs, ask for a new room. There is no possible way that a room with bedbugs can be made habitable overnight.
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2. Check for Stable Wi-Fi Connection
Wi-Fi is the most common workaround when you are trying to avoid data roaming.
Check the strength of the Wi-Fi and network speed. Watch YouTube and set the video to the highest available resolution, preferably 4K. If your phone can flawlessly display the clip, then all is well, and you have access to at least a 3 Mbps connection.
If the playback stutters, ask the staff to check the connection.
This is a free perk, and you need to be sure that the speed is not being throttled down.
3. How Safe Is the Safe?
If your room has a safe, check if it is sturdy enough. A good safe is made of steel, and embedded into the wall.
Sometimes though, for convenience, a safe can be placed in the cabinet.
If you are going to secure any valuables, call ahead and ask if the safe is manufactured by a reputed brand like Honeywell or Tiger King.
It is going to house your passport or jewelry, so it needs to be secure.
There must be no signs of scratches, as these indicate earlier attempts at breaking in using a screwdriver. The hinges must be flush to the door and invisible from outside.
If in doubt, choose to deposit your valuables in the manager’s office.
4. Check the Hot Water
Turn on the faucet and let it flow for a minute. The supply should be consistent, and there shouldn’t be the acrid smell of chlorine.
The bathroom should be spotless, and there should be no grime between the tiles. The shower curtain and floormat must also be dry and clean.
If there are any rust marks or questionable stains, ask for another room. It’s best to ask the room service to clean the toilet once after you check in to be sure that it is indeed clean.
5. Check the Amenities
Check the bar and its contents carefully. It is not only supposed to hold alcohol, but also soda and bottled water. You are going to be charged for what is missing since that is what you must have consumed.
If a couple of bottles are not where they are supposed to be, you may have to pay. It makes sense to check the bar and refrigerator so that you don’t get overcharged when you check out.
The hotel must provide you with basic toiletries such as shampoo, soap, and conditioner.
The TV remote has to be in perfect working condition. Remember, if any of these fail to work when you exit the hotel, you might be asked to pay.
How to Check for Hidden Cameras
The use of digital cameras has become ubiquitous. Technology has made cameras small and high-performance.
How to find out if there are any in your room? Let’s discuss.
1. Inspect power outlets
A hidden camera needs a steady power supply to work. The camera usually has a built-in Wi-Fi transmitter that allows it to send the signal to a device located elsewhere in the hotel.
If you find a suspicious power adapter plugged into an outlet, find out why it is there.
2. Check probable locations
There are very few places one can hide a camera:
- Smoke alarm
You can likely rule out smoke alarms. Only professional investigators, such as law enforcement, would hide a camera so far up.
Manually check the clock and lamp. There should be no suspicious cavity or lens.
The mirror is harder to check. Place your palm on the mirror. Your reflection should have a gap. If there is no gap, that might house a camera.
3. Use a flashlight
Turn off all of the lights and use a flashlight. If it shines on something, that is a dead giveaway for all cameras.
4. Make a phone call
Make a phone call. If there is Wi-Fi, it might cause a faint disturbance in the call. A buzzing sound usually indicates that there is a transmitter nearby.
5. Sweep with a spy cam detector
You can buy a detector wand for as little as $50 on Amazon. They are small and reliable. These devices can detect hidden cameras, bugs, GPS tracking devices, and more.
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Don’t Be Shy
Customers are sometimes shy about pointing out holes in service.
The housekeeping staff of almost any hotel, no matter how expensive, can wear a harried look. One feels some embarrassment about bothering them late at night about a grimy shower curtain.
As one who is paying for a service, you must demand what was promised without being rude.
If you cancel a booking since someone close to you has fallen ill, they are not going to refund the sizable advance. If that indeed is ever the case, and you need to cancel your trip, a travel insurance plan can shield you from hefty financial loss.
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