15 Things Even We Didn’t Know About Las Vegas Hotel Housekeeping

Housekeeping is an often-overlooked but critical part of any Las Vegas hotel visit. We asked an industry insider about these unsung employees, and learned some truly fascinating things about the folks who clean up after us during our Sin City escapades.

Here, then are 15 things even we didn’t know about housekeeping at Las Vegas hotels.

1. A Las Vegas hotel housekeeper cleans an average of just 16 rooms in a typical eight-hour shift. For comparison purposes: MGM Grand has 5,124 rooms.

2. Housekeepers are called “Guest Room Attendants” or GRAs for short.

Hotel facial tissues

Bonus fact: Housekeepers know your tissues need to be swapped out by the color of the tissues. When they turn color, the box is low.

3. Most Las Vegas casinos pay housekeepers $15-17 an hour.

4. Although their meals are free (in EDRs, or employee dining rooms), most housekeepers don’t eat during their shift for fear of not meeting their daily quota of “turned” rooms.

5. Our industry expert says hotel guests don’t tip like they used to, but most housekeepers get anywhere from $20-100 in gratuities during a typical shift. It’s estimated only about 40 percent of hotel guests leave a tip for housekeepers.

6. In time share hotels, housekeepers aren’t unionized and are paid a “piece rate,” a set rate for each room according to the room size.

7. Housekeeping is typically the largest and most costly department at a hotel.

Hotel courtesy fold

Housekeepers (sorry, GRAs) call this a “courtesy fold.”

8. Major hotels have 24-hour housekeeping and rooms are cleaned non-stop to accommodate late check-outs and early morning check-ins.

9. While housekeepers do general cleaning tasks, there are “bio teams” that specialize in vomit, blood and other bodily fluids. Bio teams are specially trained, but things like suicides and people who die by natural causes are done by outside vendors. It happens more often than you think.

10. Sex toys and porn are often left behind in rooms. Most hotels have “Lost and Found” policies, and found items are held for 30 days. If the items aren’t claimed, they go to the finder, unless it’s a sensitive item like cell phones or laptops. It’s estimated about 2% of hotel rooms have lost items in them.

Las Vegas sex aids

Toys for adults. Use your imagination.

11. When cash is left in a room, anything under $100-200 goes to the housekeeper who finds it. Anything more than that goes to a special fund. Cash found in public areas or the casino goes to the hotel.

12. Recreational marijuana became legal in Las Vegas on Jan. 1, 2017. This has led to a headache for housekeepers and hotels. Getting the odor of weed out of Las Vegas hotel rooms has become a huge challenge. It takes a lot of time, sprays and ionizers, and in Las Vegas, time is money.

Las Vegas weed

Bro, take your hippie lettuce outside. And, no, we did not know “hippie lettuce” is slang for marijuana until three minutes ago.

13. Housekeepers know lots and lots of secrets. One of the more intriguing is that there are celebrities who visit Las Vegas frequently and are known for their tastes in, well, the scatalogical. Our expert says these celebrities tend to be generous tippers because of the mess they create.

14. Housekeeping room assignments are doled out by seniority, and some of the prime sections can have the same housekeeper for decades. If a housekeeper encounters a “Do Not Disturb” sign, she (they’re mostly female) has to keep coming back to the room until it’s cleaned. About seven percent of a hotel’s rooms aren’t cleaned on a given day because of “refusals” or “Do not disturb” signs. Housekeepers must hit their quota, and being re-assigned another room can be an ordeal. So, if you’ve ever thought, “Let’s give them a break, no service today,” you’re actually making life harder on the housekeeper, not easier.

15. Motorized housekeeping carts weigh about 500 pounds.

These tidbits about housekeeping helped give us a new appreciation for the hard-working folks who do this physically demanding job. Take time to thank the housekeeping staff at your Las Vegas hotel, and tips—two or three bucks each day works—are always welcome.

60 thoughts on “15 Things Even We Didn’t Know About Las Vegas Hotel Housekeeping

  1. Tommy Vercetti

    ok so let’s see….resort fee,parking and don’t forget to tip the housekeeping staff. Wich of course won’t get much now because of the resort fee and paid parking. And this is why I’m showing Vegas my best middle finger and stopped going there since 2014. Soon the system is gonna crumble on it’s own greed,can’t wait to see it happen..

    Reply
    1. FYMYAWF

      If you’re going to take out your frustration about the resort and other fees on the housekeeping staff, maybe you should consider doing them and us a favor and don’t go to Vegas. Newsflash, Vegas is expensive…deal with it or just stay away, it’ll make yourself and all of us a lot happier.

      Reply
      1. Coop

        Is it safe to assume your under 30 years old? Vegas was not always so expensive. But since you younglings wont gamble they have to fleece us in any way they can. Come on MiIllenials we are counting on you. Oh boy we are screwed…

        Reply
        1. FYMYAWF

          I’m 48 and am old enough to realize:
          A) the “good old days” of no resort fees are over, whining and pining for them won’t bring them back, and
          B) Millennials don’t owe you or any of us anything.

          If you truly think you are being “fleeced” in Vegas why are you on this board or going to Vegas at all? There are plenty of vacation spots in the world that would be happy to take your condescending old codger money, resort fee-free.

          Reply
          1. Coop

            Please no offense but a few red flags tell me your a millennial.
            1> Your avatar.
            2> Good ole days in quotes?
            2> Millennial’s don’t owe us? LOL They sure do. Ask a vet.
            3> Once your parents stop paying your bills your gonna need the tax money so the Gov can pay them for you
            4> Your not complaining about resort fee’s or parking fee’s. cause you don’t pay them. Or anything probably. LOL
            5> Don’t go to Vegas? Cra Cra! (proper use of Cra Cra???)
            6> Always worried about your happiness and your feelings.
            Really surprised you mentioned “all of us” when speaking about happiness. Maybe their is a chance your not a millennial.
            Where did you look up codger?
            You did use the word Newsflash. Nice. You may be on the verge of Millennial.
            My intent is not to offend. But if your are offended your a millennial. And I am sorry. LOL

          2. Manybar Goatfish

            If I were a betting man, I’d put my entire bank that FYMYAWF is 48 like he says he is. You’re just making up stuff, pal.

          3. FYMYAWF

            Wow.

            I’ll let your own reply stand for itself, I don’t think I need to pile on.

            Sorry Scott that your friend Coop here decided to turn this comments thread into a sequel to “Grumpy Old Men”.

          4. Manybar Goatfish

            If Scott would post stuff in more rapid succession, moving on would be a matter of keeping up. The way it is now, keeping up is going backwards. That’s why people make up things. Trying to stay current is like the moon walk dance.

          5. Coop

            7> tattle tale. LMAO
            “Scott please stop this mean man! Mommy help!!!”.(yelled from the basaement)…LMAO
            I love all of you. Just having fun. You know…Vegas and all that. Sorry if I offended you.

      2. Mike L

        I wouldn’t say he’s taking his frustrations out on housekeepers, but all of these expenses definitely add up. If a consumer feels they’re being duped, I’d say they are less likely to tip. After all, that’s what the resort fee is, a giant dupe.

        Reply
  2. Martin Veneroso

    Item fourteen raises a follow-up question in my mind: what *can* a guest do to make a GRA’s life a little easier? Personally, I try to leave no trash in the waste baskets, as I tend to carry my waste out for disposal in a common area (frequently in the elevator lobby). I keep my used towels together, not scattered to the four winds. Generally, I try not to be a messy person (and I apologize for those years of full ashtrays I left behind along with ashes scattered here and there, but I’ve finally kicked that filthy addiction).

    I’d be very interested to hear from GRAs what they like to see when they open the door to a guest room.

    Reply
  3. DuLac55

    I always tip $5 per night (with a quick “Thank you” on the notepad) in any hotel room in the US. I am a bit surprised to learn that they take 30 min for each room. That makes the $5 even more worth it. Granted I make that tip just in the hopes that the GRA doesn’t do anything bad to my stuff, but maybe I am naive. Generally, I find either a little note back thanking me or extra shampoo or something. At a minimum it’s peace of mind, at best it makes the GRA want to do a little better job. Either way, it’s worth it. If 75% of people gave $5 the GRA would make an extra $60 per day.

    I would love to hear about more of the secrets they know. That could be an entire article.

    Reply
    1. Currently GRA

      What GRA like to see is a neat room, not too messy and tip. But I prefer a messy room over a Don’t Disturb sign, because Don’t disturb sign make me feel rejected. Because the guests are interacting with bellperson, front desk, server, sometimes tip those workers, and are complicating housekeepers work without knowing it. When the room is not cleaned daily, it is harder to be cleaned when checked out. And we don’t have that extra time for a longer vacuum, longer dusting etc… The worst that could happen is to have all your room messy. A neat room helps you save time to clean a messy room. But all people are different. I don’t expect all people to neat. That is 75% impossible. Some people will be naturally messy. Some will be messy based of their current situation ( depression, under substance influence, or depends on how many people are in the room, if they drink, smoke weeds or not, or partying.)
      Never think that a housekeeper can do bad thing to your belongings. They are workers like other workers. They have family, and bill to pay, they have responsibility. They need their job. People with bad intention are different, they don’t need to be housekeeper to do bad thing to you.
      They are great people. Their perception of life or current situation (foreign mothers who have to contribute to household income and don’t have enough time to learn english and go to school), or people who recently migrated from another state, us territories (like Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Samoa) or other countries who were directed to housekeeping by workforce office. They are under pressure to get hired so they can live on their own, be independent. I Hope my answer will help

      Reply
  4. Manybar Goatfish

    I’m always impressed by the gracious face of the GRA’s and by their fabulous work. If I had it to do over again, much of the thousands I’ve lost to the casinos would go to the GRA’s instead. (I’m generous that way.) Seriously, though, how hard is it to leave a ten or twenty for the housekeeper after handing over a fat wad of hundreds to the casino the same day?

    Reply
  5. Jonesy55

    I always tip them. They do a great job. At least at the hotel I always stay at. And I always strike up a short conversation in the hallway. Pays to be nice.

    Reply
    1. Alex

      I can’t speak to what happens in Vegas, but I spent many years working in hotels. I’d never heard of any Housekeeper skipping breaks or meal periods. In fact, that wouldn’t be allowed. If the Union found out hotels were encouraging that practice, all hell would break loose.

      (For the record, I worked in Minneapolis and Orlando…including several years at Walt Disney World.)

      Reply
    2. Currently GRA

      Some housekeepers (mostly seniors take their lunch), it depends. Some skip it and tell their supervisor that they took lunch, or if they go to lunch, only eat for 10mns, because you will never be able to meet your quota. The number of rooms that they expect you to clean is crazy. I am always frustrated to see that other employees have time to enjoy their lunch and got paid higher than us housekeepers while we work harder then them, it is unfair. I applied for guest room attendant because I know I have more chance to get hired as housekeeper than front desk, cocktail server etc… not that I am not qualified for those positions (I have BA degree and am stereo-typically attractive). housekeepers are not really well perceived socially and it is hard, it is why the majority of housekeepers population is composed by foreigners. So I will be working as guest room attendant in Vegas for 2 year (very max) in a luxury casino resort (because pay is better than retail, or other industries, there are not enough jobs for graduated people in Vegas) and try to grow in the company. Since I don’t have any friend in HR, if I cannot grow. Bye casino resort even Bye Nevada.
      The rare tip in the room is what make my day or keep me as housekeeper.

      Reply
  6. Mike L

    So if they’re paid an average of let’s say $17/hr and they are doing 2 rooms per hour, that accounts for $8.50 (call it $10.00 after benefits) of my resort fee. Where is the other $25.00 going? Steve Wynn’s manicurists…?

    Reply
        1. nostresshere

          Now that you mention that the $25/$35 is for the resort fee, it is clear what the dollars are that you mentioned. The resort fee is for other items and not housekeeping. I agree that the resort fee sucks, but this thread is about housekeeping which is not part of the resort fee.

          Reply
          1. Manybar Goatfish

            Right, but let’s conflate tipping the housekeeper with resort fees and use that to justify not tipping the housekeeper. Money in the bank, baby!

          2. razmaspaz

            Ha, the resort fee isn’t FOR anything other than fleecing guests. Hotels had wifi, pools, fitness centers, and fax machines long before they had resort fees.

          3. Rocky Sullivan

            The “resort fee” is a marketing gimmick to help the hotel with online price comparisons. Nothing more. It should be outlawed.

          4. Manybar Goatfish

            It should be outlawed by which function of government? Consumer protections ain’t all that important these days, in case you haven’t noticed.

          5. Rocky Sullivan

            I said “should be” not “will be.” However if more enlightened people ever do take the seat of power if would fall under the Federal Trade Commission. Don’t hold you breath since Obama never lifted a finger to address the issue and no Republican would even consider it.

          6. wysiwyg100

            Maybe thousands of years from now some enlightened people will show up and rule over the world.

      1. Manybar Goatfish

        It’s not hard at all. Every statement Mike L makes is clear and understood by Mike L. That’s all that matters.

        Reply
        1. Mike L

          Kind of a jackass thing to say. I was merely making a point (based on data in the post) about what portion of the resort fee goes to pay housekeepers, typically the biggest expense in a hotel (also in the post).

          Reply
          1. Manybar Goatfish

            I’m sorry for committing such an infraction that my comment was deleted. I am sorry, Scott. And I am sorry, Mike L. My bad.

  7. Mako10

    12.) Dont most hotels charge you $300 if youre caught smoking pot in your room?

    13.) We’re gonna need some names. i see a nice side business – new website with gossip from anonymous vegas employees. heck, if all these employees knew about steve wynn years ago, imagine what else they know!!!

    Reply
  8. Bouldersteve

    Interesting housekeeping info. #14..I always thought I was doing them a favor by declining service..I guess not.I hope #11 is true but i have my doubts

    Reply
    1. Currently GRA

      Don’t Disturb sign or refusing service makes the job more difficult, because they will give you rooms in different floors, you have to travel in the building with heavy carts or you may have to go early home if there is no more room to give to you. So you are losing money, and no tip to compensate those lost hours. And you cannot say that you clean the room, you must report that they refuse service. All those money that supposed to pay housekeepers stay in the wealthy casino owners pocket. And if there is no Don’t disturb sign, they will hire more housekeepers. More people will work, and unemployment will go down a little bit. Less people will depend on welfare.

      Reply
  9. Manybar Goatfish

    I’m going to throw out a wild guess and say that Trump’s “all tip’s go to the house, and the house will appropriate the tips as the house sees fit” idea will apply to hotel housekeepers as well as restaurant wait staff? In other words, straight into Trump’s pocket. If the size of Trump’s pockets correspond to the size of his ass, he’ll need to steal a lot of tips to fill those babies.

    Reply
      1. CarpenterDan

        From what I hear, Trump hates Unions, telling me he doesn’t give a shit about paying a living wage to his employees..
        Employees work hard in these casinos, the least they could do is pay a decent living wage..
        Bedides, the casinos are msking “mega bucks profits” off the backs of their hardworking employees..

        Reply
  10. William Wingo

    At one place in Laughlin, guests staying three days or less are encouraged to decline housekeeping service, and rewarded with a gaming matchplay coupon. I was surprised to see this in Laughlin, but it fits right in with Vegas’ “bottom-line-above-all” outlook. It will hit the Strip sooner or later.

    Reply
  11. Wolfdog

    Tip anything that moves.

    Seriously, though, I remember many years ago, I stayed solo just one night each, at two hotels in Reno. In late, out early. Never saw a maid.
    When I got home, I had charges for the cheap plastic tray under the coffeemaker, at one, and a bed scarf at the other. I guess I should’ve tipped.
    Fortunately, I called my host at each, and had the false charges removed.

    Reply
  12. CarpenterDan

    #1.. Actually, GRAs have to clean 16-17 rooms per day, discounting breaks and lunch (which some skip to meet their quota in an 8-hour shift) that means they clean a whole room in 20-26 minutes..
    AND NOW, some hotels are giving the guest a $10 discount NOT to have their rooms cleaned!!! Can you imagine the poor GRA who has to clean those rooms where the guest has a week, or more, of garbage all over the rdoom, from it NOT getting cleaned on a daily basis.. Those super messy rooms take a lot longer to clean..
    Terrible business practice for casinos to put that on their “already overworked GRAs.. Give ’em break, try to keep your rooms cleaner please..

    Reply
  13. wysiwyg100

    I stayed at Bally’s for 7 days after the Super Bowl. I was offered a $60 food credit to skip the housekeeping. Done and done, but there are pros and cons, of course.

    1. Favorite thing was not having to tidy up the room every morning, lock up the luggage, etc. Also saved $5/day on the tip.

    2. Daily service does seem like overkill. Seriously, dusting and vacuuming every day? I think a “bathroom only” cleaning would make sense, maybe every other day.

    3. I was alone and I’m not a slob, so I left the room in good shape at the end. But imagine four partiers in a room for a week with no housekeeping.

    4. You need to preserve the towels and bring extra soap and tp, but it’s more than paid for by saving on the daily tips.

    Reply

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