Dirty Secrets: Hotel Staff Reveal the Most Shocking Things They’ve Witnessed on the Job

Most travelers check in to hotels, enjoy their trips, tidy up a bit before checking out, and go on with their lives, completely oblivious to the secret horrors sometimes unfolding in rooms near theirs. 

Hotel Horror Stories

Group of professional smiling hotell workers.
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Hotel workers are privy to these secrets. Though most guests are great, some represent the very worst of humanity, leaving awful “surprises” for the low-wage cleaning crews or creating a scene that workers will remember for the rest of their lives. 

While scrolling through the popular R/askreddit community, I found a thread asking the hotel workers of Reddit to share their wildest stories. 

You may lose faith in humanity after reading the worst of them. 

The Needle Room

creepy abandoned hotel room.
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One former hotel worker quit after their manager asked them to clean a room full of uncovered, used syringes. 

They shared that they worked in a decent hotel as the night auditor. “One night, the police came in and went directly to a room around 2 am,” the user said. “They escorted a prostitute out and asked to speak to the manager.”

The user said that the manager spoke with them after the conversation with the police and asked them to clean the room in question. 

“I never made beds or did any of that, so I wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted. I went to the room, and there was trash everywhere. There were uncapped syringes, used packages that had contained drugs, and general filth everywhere. I called the manager back to tell her that I wasn’t touching anything because of the uncapped syringes. They were literally all over the place, and I wasn’t going to pick up piles of clothes or move blankets.”

Unfortunately, the manager wouldn’t take no for an answer, threatening to fire them if they didn’t clean the room. 

“I said fine, you have a half an hour to get here because I am leaving.”

The manager came, and the user quit. 

Reddit supported the decision, saying what the manager asked violated safety provisions. 

Inability to Use the Toilet

A modern clean looking bathroom.
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A user who used to work as a hotel cleaner shared a horror story of human excrement. While cleaning a room, they discovered piles of human waste under towels and in the bathtub. 

The toilet was suspiciously clean and looked unused. The user quit that day. 

Unfortunately, this horrendous problem seems all too common. More than one Redditor shared similar stories, making us wonder how so many people missed crucial potty training. 

Violent Threats

Angry man yelling and pointing his finger towards the camera
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Sometimes the horror stories turn life-threatening. One user shared that a man came into the hotel parking lot with a weapon, threatening violence. 

Thankfully, cops rushed to the scene, and after a tense standoff, they arrested the culprit, and nobody was hurt. 

The user shared the reason behind the threats: The man got mad because a woman backed out of a promised intimate encounter. 

Mysterious Crash Leads to New Employee

A cat sits on a bedroom end table next to a desk lamp.
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A Redditor hanging out with their motel-owner friend during the night shift shared an unusual tale of awful behavior that became a boon for the motel. 

While at the hotel one night, the owner received a call from a guest reporting a loud crash in a neighboring room, which was supposed to be vacant. They went to check it out and discovered a cat the previous guest had abandoned. 

The poor cat was alone in the room for three days. The previous owner was already on the other side of the country and refused to return for her. 

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. The hotel owner adopted the cat, who roams the grounds catching mice and making friends with travelers. She even has a picture on the wall as an official “employee.”

Pet regret is real, but please don’t abandon them in hotel rooms.

Kitchen Brawl

chefs arguing in a kitchen.
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Many mid-scale and high-end hotels often have kitchens that offer room service and a tasty respite for guests after a long day of traveling. Guests are usually oblivious to the drama behind the scenes, but hotel workers get a front-row seat to the show. 

One user shared a theatrical event: an all-out brawl between a cook and an attendant. 

“It just kept escalating to a pull-apart brawl when a kitchen knife got involved. The pair crashed through the swinging door and was rolling on the carpet when the regional manager just happened to be walking in,” the user shared. 

The cops came, arresting both participants, who also lost their jobs over the row. 

Family Drama

older woman yelling at an upset younger woman
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Weird stuff happens at work conferences, but when someone invites their family to tag along while expected to also enjoy some fun time with a lover, things get really crazy. 

One user shared the craziest tale of all. “One night (about 10:30 pm), a guy walks down from his room to the bellhop desk in nothing but tightly whities, a bed sheet wrapped around his body from head to toe, and blood dripping from his face,” they said. 

“He informed security that he and his boyfriend got into a fight. So, two security officers (one a supervisor) went to the room to question the other boyfriend, while another security officer waited with the bloodied boyfriend behind the bellhop desk for an ambulance to arrive.”

As it turned out, the men were colleagues, but one was married. The married man brought his wife and children to the conference but gave the boyfriend a key to his room so they could have some fun while the family was away. 

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as planned, as the boyfriend decided to get drunk and pass out in the bed in full view of the wife and kids as they entered the room. The husband fought the boyfriend, who ran down to security bruised and bloody and proceeded to fight the security guard upon hearing more about the wife and kids. 

The Sleepwalker

man in pajamas with his arms out sleepwalking under the moonlight.
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Some people mean to cause havoc, and others do it intentionally. One user shared a story of a worried wife who came to the front desk searching for her husband, who was known to sleepwalk on occasion. 

“She tells me, “I can’t find my husband. He’s not in the room, and all his clothes are still there. He’s a sleepwalker, and Im worried that he has wandered into another room,” the user shared. 

The Redditor offered to check the cameras, and the wife insisted on tagging along. The tv room was co-located with the linen closet, so the pair headed in that direction. 

“I got the door open and the lights on,” they said, receiving a hilarious surprise. “There was her naked husband sleeping spread across our bundled duvet covers, with one open half covering him.”

The Magician

Creepy looking man wearing sunglasses on a red background.
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Hotels host conferences of all sorts. They usually don’t ask questions about the entertainment or patrons as long as everyone behaves. 

Unfortunately, some groups bring in weird guests that even they don’t like, as was the case when one company thought hiring a magician would be fun. 

“They got some guy who looked a lot like the Tim Burton version of Willy Wonka: long hair, a little effeminate, velvet suit, and very awkward,” the user shared. The magician did some parlor tricks, but then it got weird. 

“He claimed to have learned Sanskrit chanting or something from the wisdom of Himalayan monks, and to show his skill, he preferred young ladies in the audience. The people who hired him were immediately alarmed in the direction this was going.”

Fortunately, the show wasn’t as bad as it could have been, with the magician only doing the usual silly chicken tricks. But the problems didn’t stop there. 

After the show, he hung around, visiting other events the hotel hosted, including a costume party for a young girl’s coalition. The magician got creepy, flirting with the teenage girls and making them uncomfortable. 

The party who hired him refused to engage, saying they were done with him, so the hotel had to step in. They asked him to leave, but he refused. “he had a toddler-level meltdown at the front desk. Like threw himself to the floor, wailing in a high pitched voice that he was being discriminated and his rights were being violated,” shared the user. 

After a session of hide & seek where he was caught violating the girls’ privacy and a chase through the parking lot, “The cops hauled him into a squad car, while he wailed in tongues, saying he had cursed them all in accordance with his Himalayan street knowledge. Then they took him away, and no one knows what happened to him.”

Under Cover Trouble

Two young detectives looking out from their vehicle.
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Imagine being in your early 20s, working a menial job as an overnight duty manager at a hotel chain, when undercover cops ask you to help with a sting operation. 

That’s precisely what happened to one user, who shared that the cops didn’t know exactly which room their perp was staying in and kept asking him to do more and more to get them the info. 

“GM won’t answer phone. AGMs won’t answer theirs either. Too young to know how to say no to this kind of authority figure,” said the user, describing the situation. 

First, he allowed the cops to wander the halls looking for evidence of illegal activity. When that didn’t work, they checked the security footage. No dice. 

Upon seeing their man in the lobby, the police asked the user to “get his attention to “say he won a drawing or something for a free hotel stay and get his room number.” I’m not doing that,” said the Redditor. 

Luck was on the officer’s side that night. “An hour later, perp walks up to me and explains he lost his wallet. Awesome! “What’s your name so I can verify the ID in the wallet it gets turned in? And what’s your room number? I’ll give you a call with any information.”

They handed the information to the police, who immediately planned a SWAT operation. 

The Redditor then shared their next actions.  “Assemble the staff and review active shooter protocols. Stay on site until SWAT arrives at 1 am. Lead the SWAT raid up to the floor through the service elevator.

“No knock explosive round to the door. Smoke everywhere – the hotel chain has open-air atriums with rooms lining it. Fire alarms going off. Children and mothers sobbing.”

The police caught their man, but the hotel lost a ton of business. 

Spiritual Cleansings

An imaginary haunted house - a huge mansion with a giant full moon behind to represent one of the creepiest fall activities to enjoy
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Some historic hotels have ghastly reputations. Ghosts roam the halls, offering visitors a paranormal thrill with their stay. 

Most places embrace their otherworldly guests, sharing stories of the hauntings and offering space for ghost tours to gather, hoping to glimpse a spectral show. 

One Reddit user shared that working in a haunted hotel isn’t as glamorous or spooky as it may seem. “The housekeeping staff had various rooms and hallways they wouldn’t go into because of all the ghosts,” they said, adding that the department head regularly scheduled a priest to come in and bless the haunted zones.

Visit a Real Haunted Hotel

The Stanley Hotel Estes Park CO.
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For a real-life encounter, consider staying at one of America’s most haunted hotels

Morbid Travel Destinations

Women dressed in Vampire cosplay to represent horror conventions. Photo Credit: Pchelintseva Natalya via Shutterstock.com.

Some folks can’t get enough of the macabre. Here are the morbid travel destinations that see the most travelers. 

Enjoy Fictional Horror Instead

Woman making a scared face wearing horror cosplay like a painted skull from Dia de Muertos. Photo Credit: Dia De Los Muertos via Shutterstock.com.

Celebrate the horror genre by checking out the best horror conventions across the US.  

Are Witches Real?

group of modern witches to represent celebrating the Night of Hecate (Hecate's Night)
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From medicine woman to legendary monster – discover the truth about witches and witchcraft throughout history. 

Meet the Women of Norse Mythology

Close view of the Gefion Fountain near Langelinie Street. The bronze scultpture depicts Gefjon, one of the Norse Goddesses.
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Beautiful, Powerful, intelligent, and Divne, these women showcase the best attributes of womanhood. 

Discover them here: The Norse Goddesses You’ll Want To Worship

Hotel Horror Part of the Job

Man shrugging as if to say "oh well"
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Something about staying at a hotel makes even the most likable people act out when a hotel stay gives them the freedom to behave in ways they never would at home. 

Hotel workers in this Reddit thread have seen it all, from awful hygiene to all-out brawls and dangerous criminals. However, don’t let the stories deter you from an overnight adventure. Most nights at most hotels are drama free unless you purposely booked a haunted room.