Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The mattress inspection.

My family and friends have learned to sit on their luggage until I’ve approved of what I believe to be the most important aspect of a hotel room ... the mattress. I don’t sleep on stains at home and am not prepared to sleep on somebody else's history. Humor me. The next time you check into a hotel, check the mattress. Not the mattress pad. The actual mattress. More often than not, you'll find a stain. Unfortunately, the number of stars a hotel has makes little difference.

Treat the inspection like an episode of CSI. Start by adding the name of the city you're in after CSI. As in CSI Istanbul. CSI Vladivostok. CSI Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is where I encountered the largest bloodstain ever. Think severed artery. The front desk responded with a new room and an embarrassed, “Oh. Our housekeeping staff is normally excellent. I don’t know how they could have missed that.” Hmmmm? Have any of your housekeepers not shown up for work recently?

The following morning I saw a man and his son exit our rejected room. I doubt they bothered to check the mattress and I doubt the hotel replaced it. Flipped it? Likely. Read my "Six hurricanes and a mattress." post. The good news is, crimson stains are not as common as the yellow varietals.

If I find a stain, I ask for a new mattress. Sometimes I just ask for a new mattress because I'm the Hygiene Hunter. If there are no new mattresses available I will ask for a new room with an acceptable mattress. This process can take hours and incredible patience. And, it can ruin the first day of your trip. If the situation can't be resolved, I will switch hotels.

I also check mattress pads, pillows and duvets (always after the mattress inspection). These items are easier to replace. In my opinion, a mattress pad isn't a good enough barrier between me and a stained mattress. I will reject a stained mattress pad. Ditto for pillows and duvets.

Here's some common sense advice. If Aunt Flow is visiting, wear appropriate protection. If you’re traveling with a bed wetter, or are into golden showers, ask for a waterproof mattress protector. Or stay home. If you have to kill someone read my "If you have to kill someone." post.

A number of houskeeping directors have told me hotels tend to bring out the worst in people. Surely, they aren't referring to me?


  1. Eva, here's my routine:i have my own sheets, pillow cases, towels, own slippers...spray aromatherapy mix to repel bugs/dust mites..wash out the tub & glass cups...wiping off the door knobs,headboard...sounds crazy doesn't it??...don't laugh, i really do this whole production....then there's my friend with her black light & hd held vaccum (i'm not there yet!)

    I laughed out LOUD when i read about you drying off the sheets with the dryer after the chocolate chip incident:D.....i did the same thing when i got some chocolate bits on the bed cover & pillow case at a posh husband thought i was losing it!

    Guess, i'm not the only one paranoid!!!

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