I've been working in the room-service department of a five-star hotel for six months.
Actually, it's a five-red-star hotel: The red part is a special distinction awarded by AA Hotel Services (an organization specific to the UK, which is where this hotel is located) that means we go above and beyond normal five-star hotel requirements.
Basically, it's the fanciest kind of hotel you can possibly stay at.
Yes, we cater to well-known celebrities and high-profile guests. But the beauty of our service is that all guests are treated equally as nicely — whether we like you or not.
Saying that, your hotel experience will be much more enjoyable if we do like you. So here are some important do's and don'ts for your next stay, from the girl who brings you breakfast and restocks your mini bar.
DON'T: Order room service when you're not fully (or even mostly) dressed.
Delivering breakfast to people who are half-dressed (or worse) is not really how I like to start my day. Apparently, lots of guests seem to be too hungry in the morning to abide by simple rules of common decency. Please, just put some clothes on before opening your door to room service.
DO: Make small talk with us when we bring up your meal.
Even though we're required to follow a particular script when we come up to your room, we do still like to engage in a little small talk.
Comment on the weather, ask how our day is going, or tell us about your stay so far. This is a great way for us to assess how happy our guests are.
DON'T: Use anything from the mini bar if you don't have to.
Although I'm sure my managers feel otherwise, I don't like it when guests take items from their mini bars.
The mini bars in each room of our hotel contain over 20 different kinds of snacks and drinks, and I'm in charge of restocking them — meaning that I have to review a master list in every single one of our 144 rooms every day to figure out if anything's missing.
Then, I have to bring the items to each room via a very badly designed, top-heavy cart, or, if it's not on the cart, I have to run across the entire hotel to get it from the supply closet. This whole process can take over three hours.
Since my idea of fun isn't exactly running (what feels like) a hundred miles to replace that one water bottle you felt like drinking, I would love it if you all just brought your own refreshments.
DO: Tell us if there is anything we can improve.
Some people are overly critical, but others are afraid to speak up if they aren't satisfied. As long as you tell us nicely, we really do want to hear if there's something we can do to make your stay more pleasant.
Tell us in person when we visit your room, leave a note, or talk to the front desk — these are the most efficient ways to make sure a wrong gets righted.
DON'T: Ask for anything (too) outrageous.
Since we're a five-red-star hotel, we have to try our best to comply with any and all of your requests. We've orchestrated wedding proposals, served champagne on the beach, and hosted lavish surprise parties. Those things are doable for us, but scheduling a charter flight to Guam tomorrow is not.
DO: Say hello to us in the hallways.
It may seem obvious, but we hotel staff are real people too. Without our uniforms on, we're no different than the other guests. Some of us even stay in the hotel sometimes. (We get a fabulous employee discount on rooms.)
So please, just treat us with respect — it makes the work environment so much more enjoyable.
DON'T: Get mad at us for visiting your room.
We have a strict protocol to follow, which involves visiting rooms several times a day to collect room-service items and restock the mini bar. If you don't want to be interrupted, use your “Do Not Disturb” sign. We are not allowed to enter a room or even knock on the door when that sign is hanging, so you're guaranteed peace and quiet.
DO: Put in your room service orders as far in advance as possible
The worst thing for us is getting a last-minute call and scrambling around the hotel to get all of the dishes you requested. We don't just have an endless supply of breakfast food cooking — chefs work in shifts, and it's really hard to get a breakfast together if the breakfast chef has already left.
Someone once called in a full three-course breakfast at 12:05, just after breakfast had closed at 12. Being a five-red-star hotel, though, of course we had to try our best — which meant a bunch of cursing chefs and a lot of unnecessary stress for us room-service people.
So just try to let us know about your order in advance, and we'll be sure to bring it to your room on time.
DON'T: Ask us about the celebrities in the hotel.
We're not allowed to tell you who they are, what room they're staying in, or if they're even in the hotel at all. Because of super-strict confidentiality codes, we may not even know who's in the hotel at any given time.
DO: Tell us about yourselves.
We work at five-star hotels because we love to delight our guests in fun and creative ways. If you tell us a bit about yourselves when you check in, or in passing throughout your stay, we can play to your likes and dislikes and make sure you have the best experience possible.
If you say that you like the flowers in our garden, we'll bring you up a bouquet. If your kids don't like waffles, we'll come up with a cool breakfast alternative.
It's those little things that can make a great hotel stay truly amazing.
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