Written by Dotty Winters


What Not To Do In A Hotel

From sleeping in a cagoule to setting fire to bedcovers because of pubes, seasoned hotel frequenter Dotty Winters offers her guide to a happy – or at least relatively trauma-free – overnight stay.

hotel cleaning lady

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

As part of my job I’ve spent a lot of time staying in hotels, and not always in a good way. Over the years I’ve developed some vital hotel survival skills, and I thought I’d share my Dos and Don’ts, just in case you are doing hotels wrong.

Do bring disposable latex gloves (can be substituted with two complimentary shower caps) and use them to remove any cushions or decorative bedcovers in the room. These are woven from germs, sperm and pubes. If you are in a smoke-free hotel, bury them at the back of a cupboard or leave them on a balcony. If you aren’t, burn them with fire.

Don’t lick anything.

Do knock on the adjacent doors and meet your neighbours. Everyone loves a mannerly hotel guest.

Don’t use the Do Not Disturb sign. No one knows what these are for, but all hotel staff will ignore them. If you really wish not to be disturbed, bring a pre-recorded mp3 of loud sex or pooing noises.

“If you are staying somewhere that folds the towels into little animals always re-do the towel origami as a cock and balls.”

Do consider investing in an ‘introduction to forensics’ correspondence course from Groupon. Use your new skills to play CSI: Premier Inn. Create a Tumblr of your best finds. Mine include: what I thought was a tarantula but was actually a congealed collection of used false lashes; a bloody handprint on the inside of a wardrobe door; skid marks on a bathmat (all of these first three were in the same hotel); a baby rat and a business card for a spiritualist/exorcist (stay scary, Glasgow). Warning: if you buy one of those magic blue lights that show up body fluids, DO NOT take it to a hotel. Before you know it you’ll see the appeal of camping.

Don’t get too excited if you are fortunate enough to stay in a hotel with a pillow menu. This is just a list of firmness options for pillows, not teeny tiny snacks for your bedding.

Do make the most of not having to clean the bathroom by dyeing your hair bright red while you are there. If this accidentally makes it look like you’ve done a massacre, Don’t wander the streets of a strange city alone at night trying to buy bleach. If anything, the combination of a strong smell of bleach and still-visible red stains will look more suspicious.

Don’t sleep in pyjamas. The fire alarm will go off, and no amount of firemen will cheer you up when you are spending the freezing early hours standing on the streets of Hull in your Hello Kitty PJs. Sleep fully clothed, preferably including boots and cagoule.

Do make your own amusement. If you are staying somewhere that folds the towels into little animals always re-do the towel origami as a cock and balls and leave it somewhere visible.

Do consider cooking in your hotel room. If you are skint, or just bored of eating out (WHO ARE YOU??), you can rustle up a surprising range of meals with only the aid of your in-room coffee maker or kettle:

• Easy: instant noodles, instant soup, Angel Delight
• Moderate: Smash with cocktail sausages, risotto (ready in 8-10 hours)
• Advanced (requires a coffee maker with a pot-warmer base): pancakes, omelette, nachos. Crumble (use complimentary ginger snaps for topping). These will take hours to cook, but there’s feck all on that telly anyway.

Finally, Do always check your bed very thoroughly for a chocolate on the pillow. Often there won’t be one, but don’t risk it. Arriving for a business meeting with a melted chocolate smear across the side of your face is not a good look. Apparently.

Happy travels one and all. I’m off to dig out my tent.


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Written by Dotty Winters

Nascent stand-up, fan of fancy words, purveyor of occasional wrongness, haphazard but enthusiastic parent, science-fan, apprentice-feminist.