From drugs and escorts to trashed rooms and private chefs (not to mention massive illusions of grandeur), there are a lot of things that go on at luxury hotels that neither guests nor staff want you to know about.
Enter: the following Reddit thread. Taking to the r/AskReddit community, Reddit user u/catstevenseagal asked: “People who work at 5 Star Hotels: what type of shit goes on that management doesn’t want people to know?”. The thread was commented on 13.6k times and saw many stories anonymously shared by 5 star hotel workers.
“Obviously, drugs and escorts are a classic,” one Reddit user, who claimed to know a luxury hotel worker, wrote. “He showed me 20 phone numbers of drug dealers in his phone to be able to get whatever drugs to the customers (he never buys though, only gets people in contact).”
“And for harder tasks, he goes through professional concierges who charge A LOT.”
“You want a new Prada dress at 2AM 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. Have a good night madam.”
Another wrote: “My husband worked at several luxury hotels and residences” and said it wasn’t just about the state the rooms were left in that surprised him, but it was the behavior of the ultra rich.
“I’m not talking businessmen and doctors. I’m talking Saudi Princes and Heirs to Dynasty families. The level of comfort and technology these people have come to expect is things we cannot imagine.”
The same user continued, sharing statements her husband had overheard while working like: “What do you mean there isn’t there access to intercoms next to the bathroom for when I need services while going potty?” and “The television inside the shower is only a 40 inch and there is no gold in this room. I need a better suite.”
Oh and the ever-present: “I’m gonna need you to go out, buy me better bedding, remake my bed, and then do it again tomorrow because I won’t sleep on the same bedding twice.”
Another epic tale shared in the thread is as follows: “I spent 10 years in the boutique and 5 star hotel world. Got stories for days. But here is my favorite that sums up hospitality (former anyways).”
“Our concierge was Les Clefs D’or, had all the connections, this dude could get you into the French Laundry same day. He 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. But he sold the story like no other. At the end of the day, it worked.”
It doesn’t end there. A number of years ago, Arik Kislin, co-owner of the Gansevoort Hotel Group, told Insider a few more of the secrets that luxury hotel management doesn’t want you to know (or think about). First of all, he said that tipping really does change how you are treated: “The more you treat the staff well and compensate them for the services they are providing, the better they will accommodate you.”
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He also said that celebrities sometimes get to stay for free (infuriating, but true) and that some hotels document your behavior in the hotel common areas, and your interactions with staff.
As Insider reports: Kislin said that hotels do this to remember what their guests like and don’t like.
“When people make weird or special requests, we always make a note of them so the next time they stay with us, we are fully prepared for anything they might need. Our guests are our number one priority and we want them to feel at home with every stay.”
Insider adds: “On the other hand, if you behave in an unfavorable way — like causing a scene over a small grievance — that may be recorded, too.”
Another Reddit thread, this time dedicated to the wildest things hotel workers had found in rooms after guests had left, showed that guests often leave behind some mind boggling things – from “a literal crack pipe in the freezer” to “a gun underneath a mattress” to “live crickets all over the room.”
There’s more. A Quora thread from 2017, which asked “What are things about 5-star hotels that they do not want you to know?”, revealed even more about the world of luxury which hotels don’t want you to know (mainly about how important it is to maintain guests’ privacy if you want them to keep coming back).
A man called Bruce Claver, whose profile indicates that he has 20+ years of luxury hotel management, wrote a lengthly screed, illustrating the lengths luxury hotels go to in order to ensure the privacy of their guests.
He wrote: “Five-star hotels do not want you to know anything concerning anybody famous or otherwise, currently staying in the hotel or who has ever stayed at the hotel, no matter how ‘juicy’ the story or facts are. In fact, the employees themselves are required at many upscale hotels to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to employment agreement to not disclose anything about anybody and that includes after employment has beend.”
He continued: “Employees will rarely speak to each other about what they learn because they risk immediate termination if management finds out staff have loose lips. While they do speak to their immediate co-workers because many times it is necessary to ensure everyone is on the same page in order to maintain service standards, they will not share detailed information with other departments unless there is a need-to-know circumstance in order to maintain that service consistency.”
His story then got a little more detailed: “If the public really knew what these celebrities were up to, it would not only be a PR nightmare for the celebrity, but the hotel as well because it would highlight the lax security celebrities and affluent guests depend upon. Anybody in this group is a target of the media and the media reaches millions of people.”
“An affluent married person (a judge, Senator, movie star, musician, business owner, etc.) having an affair in a hotel room is risking millions and millions of dollars in addition to his/her reputation, family reputation, and business. Divorces at this level are legendary and always played out on the front pages of the tabloids. But it is not just shady activity that is protected, it is safety as well.”
“For example, if Taylor Swift was staying at the hotel and someone came up to the front desk and asked, ‘Is Taylor Swift staying here? I’m pretty sure I just saw her!’ The standard answer would be (after looking in the computer), ‘I’m sorry, I do not have a guest registered under that name’ which would be the truth since famous people never stay under their real name and we allow people to be registered under an alias or as an NRG, non-registered guest, so their name does not pop up on the computer screen if the front desk agent types it in.”
He then illustrated his point with an example: “Here is what happened when a celebrity was outed after he stayed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in the early 1990’s. This celebrity, who was married at the time and is still active on TV today, had a mega-suite, ordered room service, made phone calls to escort services, and partied with ‘dancers’ in his suite. Some idiot in room service decided to make some money and sold the information to the National Enquirer who then published the story along with details including the name of the suite and the tower where the suite was located.”
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“His picture wound up on the front page of the tabloid along with a detailed story inside. At the time, we pulled up his folio and called the phone numbers he had called from his room (this was pre-cell phones) and sure enough, they were ‘adult’ oriented. The story appeared to be true and someone breached the guest’s security. There was an investigation and we were all questioned at the front desk but the culprit was believed to be someone in Room Service.”
He then shared another tale, this time of a woman calling up the hotel and explaining that she’d had a one-night stand with a man ten months prior (in the hotel) and knew his room number and what country he was from but not his name (and didn’t have his contact information). She then asked the hotel for his home phone number so she could tell him he was now a father. He said the hotel denied her request, such was the hotel’s emphasis on privacy.
He finished with the following: “All the five-star hotels compete to have celebrities and affluent guests stay with them, and considering they have the financial means to choose any hotel they want to, trust with one’s security/privacy and impeccable service go hand -in-hand to maintain a healthy and long-lasting relationship.”
“Therefore, it is the secrets and names of guests that five-star hotels do not want you to know. Oh…and even the best-maintained hotel kitchens have some roaches. That too.”