How do they do it?
October 2, 2014 10:31 AM   Subscribe

What are some best practices that hotels use (housekeeping/food service etc) that I can use for my apartment living?

As I travel more and more for work, I've started noticing that some of the higher end hotels are just plain fun to live in.

From lush towels to beds that make you feel like you are floating on a cloud, to super standardized methods of how beds are made, I just feel pampered.

How do I make my aprtment feel a lot more posh and generally luxurious. Ideas for checklists, luxury products, tips and tricks from the hospitality industry are welcome.
posted by rippersid to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 94 users marked this as a favorite
Hire a cleaning person to come every two weeks. Even if you are a tidy person in general, there's nothing like having someone else dust your shelves and wash your baseboards and windows to make your home feel like perfection.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 10:38 AM on October 2, 2014 [12 favorites]

You can actually buy sheets and towels from the hotels, such as Marriott's here.
posted by Melismata at 10:38 AM on October 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

This is fairly obvious but one practice that I picked up from food service and carried over to my own kitchen/house is the idea of stations. I have a coffee station with keurig, sugar bowl, k-cups, spoon, and mugs. I have a litterbox station with plastic baggies, a seperate dustpan and brush, and litter deoderizer. Having all task-related items within easy reach makes things much more pleasant, and I'm way more likely to clean the litterbox than if I have to hunt for grocery bags.
posted by pintapicasso at 10:50 AM on October 2, 2014 [11 favorites]

Strangely heavy bedspreads.
posted by serena15221 at 11:02 AM on October 2, 2014 [15 favorites]

Floor to ceiling windows in bedroom. That hotel smell.
posted by serena15221 at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

A lot of hotels have scent piped into at least the common areas, so making sure your scents are aligned (not something for the bathroom that smells remarkably different than the kitchen, for instance) and are more "background" notes than heavy scents.
posted by xingcat at 11:05 AM on October 2, 2014

Make your bed every day and tuck the sheets in tight.

Get a really fluffy goose down duvet and put a bright white cover on it, made of a crisp cotton fabric. Wash it often so it always smells nice and fresh.

Buy some perfumed shower products. Right now I am on a kick with L'Occitane almond shower oil. It makes your skin feel like newborn baby and the scent is heavenly without being too girly.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

Also, this is kind of random but if you have ever stayed at a Westin you may notice they all have a similar scent. Bulgari's red tea perfume line is a pretty close match to the Westin smell - see if you can get some to spritz in the air, or if you can find the scented body lotion that's also nice.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:09 AM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

You can replicate the awesome drying power of hotel bath accoutrements with standard-issue 100% cotton towels. Wash them on the hottest water setting with a smaller amount of standard detergent than you'd think, lots of bleach, and no fabric softener, then tumble dry on the highest heat setting. All praise be to this previously.

Here's a video that will show you how to make the bed and clean the bathroom like they do at the Four Seasons Hotel in Paris, with a walk-through by the Assistant Housekeeper there: Professional Bed Making and Cleaning Tips. Here's another video explaining how they make beds at Kimpton Hotels -- if you ever find yourself in Alexandria, VA, the Kimpton hotel there gives bed-making lessons.

And here's a list of luxurious hotel toiletries, along with the specific hotels where you can find them. Molton Brown, Gilchrist & Soames, Aveda, and L'Occitane are some perennial favorites.
posted by divined by radio at 11:19 AM on October 2, 2014 [46 favorites]

Oh definitely get a featherbed. It's like a pillow that goes over your whole mattress and it sort of envelops your whole body when you lay in the bed. Also, big white fluffy bathrobe with white slippers.
posted by RingerChopChop at 11:21 AM on October 2, 2014

Massively declutter. For me that's one of the luxuries of hotel stays.
posted by JenMarie at 11:27 AM on October 2, 2014 [35 favorites]

Make your bed every day and tuck the sheets in tight.

The guy I'm dating works at a hotel and does this (he does not work in housekeeping, but still). It is a DELIGHT. It's not like the Seinfeld thing at all. Especially on a night when he's not staying over and I have the ship shape bed all to my lonesome.

Also, I change out the sheets about weekly.
posted by sweetkid at 11:36 AM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is random, but clean your house from the top of the room down. My understanding is that it's common in the hospitality industry, and it insures you don't miss anything while cleaning semi-randomly around the room.
posted by cnc at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2014 [6 favorites]

My brother has been working at high-end hotels for many years. I've stayed at several of them, and I also love the nice-hotel accoutrements.

I send my sheets out to be washed and pressed. It costs $12 for two queen sheets and two pillowcases so I use the ironed sheets once a month and the wrinkly home-laundered sheets in between. Because I like crisp-feeling sheets, I use LL Bean Supima Percale. The thread count is 280, but hotel sheets are usually not of a particularly high thread count. With high-quality cotton, you get a smooth feel even when the threads aren't super-thin.

The towels at good hotels are fairly heavy and have plenty of loops, but the loops aren't tightly-packed. A lot of "luxury" towels in stores are dense and velvety, and only the tips of the fibers touch your skin; they don't absorb as well. I've heard that 1888 Mills towels are excellent. Recently, I bought some Christy's towels, and they're very hotel-worthy.

You wouldn't want to use fresh towels every time, but if your towels can dry completely between uses they'll stay fresher and feel nicer. Make sure you have enough towel-rod space so towels get plenty of air circulation.

You can buy a wall-mounted hairdryer to use in your home. It would need to be hard-wired, probably by an electrician. sells several types of hotel pillows. I really like their 50-50 down and feather pillows. I got a code for a 15% discount when I emailed them first to find out if they had any deals or sales coming up.
posted by wryly at 1:34 PM on October 2, 2014 [5 favorites]

A couple of weeks ago, I browsed some high-end home listings for similar reasons. I figured that people with loads of money to spend making their homes beautiful would probably hire someone who knew how to do it properly. I took my time, looking carefully at each photo and trying to pin down what it was that made things really "work", (really look inviting and luxurious). Here's what I noticed.

The photographer stood in the kinds of places that the owners and guests were likely to stand, and it looked like the designer had done the same thing. Instead of just designing rooms or spaces, they had designed points of view. The best example of this I saw was in the kitchen.

You entered the kitchen from the living room and entryway. The first photo showed upper and lower cabinets and an island in honey-colored wood. The style was casual (in contrast to the formal living room, entryway and a grand staircase). The furniture in the family room was plush and obviously expensive, but looked as if it were meant to be used and enjoyed.

The first photo showed a view from the kitchen entryway: cabinets, island, windows, etc. In the next photo, the photographer had turned around and photographed the kitchen entrance itself. To the right of the entrance was a dividing wall with upper and lower cabinets in much darker wood than those in the kitchen. They seemed cleaner and a bit more formal. Though they didn't match the kitchen, they did work with the dark-wood and wrought-iron elements in the living room beyond. Someone standing at the island (as a guest would probably do at an informal party) would naturally look around as people entered the home. When they did that, they'd see a cohesive scene including the dark-wood cabinetry and the visible parts of the entryway and living room.

In an apartment, where so many spaces flow together, this might be used to great advantage.

The next time you enter your apartment, do it more slowly. Take a moment to really notice what's in your field of vision when you walk in, including what you can see of other rooms. Does it flow? Are there things you commonly keep in the front entrance that don't cause you to anticipate relaxation and pampering? (For me, these would be any recycling that needs to be taken out, shoes that aren't worn in the house but don't have a home in the shoe rack, etc.). Basically, remove anything that looks like it belongs on a task list rather than in a spa brochure.

Now look at what you can see in the rooms beyond your entryway. Could you swap out a couple of toss pillows or some artwork to make things flow together better? Maybe there's room for a lighting upgrade? Or a rug?

(Rugs really do tie a room together. :) )

tl;dr: Walk through your place and stand in the spots you commonly stand, look for anything that interrupts the "flow" of the scene, and correct those elements.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:43 PM on October 2, 2014 [13 favorites]

My sister who lives by herself and has worked in hospitality interiors for over a decade keeps her place looking pretty hotel-like. What stands out to me is flowers in the bathroom and kitchen where the rest of us keep our products or small appliances. Also, all-white bedding with, like, four or six pillows neatly placed on the bed. Also, towels in the bathroom folded on the towel rail.

And thoughtfully-designed lighting from multiple sources, rarely overhead.
posted by Dragonness at 2:36 PM on October 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Block out curtains and pelmets.
posted by jacanj at 6:19 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Smell goes along way. Get some tea or citrus scented candles or you can get an oil diffuser that gives off a good scent.
posted by cwarmy at 7:54 AM on October 3, 2014

Basically, remove anything that looks like it belongs on a task list rather than in a spa brochure.

This is brilliant; I've never thought of it that way before. It will help me a lot!
posted by jgirl at 9:03 AM on October 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

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