A checkout question.
January 8, 2007 9:00 AM   Subscribe

What typically happens when your stuff is in a U.S. motel or hotel past checkout time?

No specific situation; I've just always wondered "what if". Assume you got a room for the night, slept there, went out in the morning leaving your stuff in the room, and decided to stay out all day.

Do the maids unknowingly assume it's just a multi-night stay and clean around the belongings? Or do they know you needed to be out of there already and work with the front desk to figure out what to do? And if the hotel is booked solid the next night, do they move your junk out AND charge you for an extra night that you're not going to use?

Just curious.
posted by rolypolyman to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
One anecdote: a hotel accidentally double-booked a room I was in (this was in Florida, about 10 years ago). I went up to my room to discover that my key didn't work. However, all of my stuff was still in the room - the "new" guests hadn't checked in yet, but the maids had already cleaned the room for the day.
posted by muddgirl at 9:25 AM on January 8, 2007

It depends. As long as the hotel is not booked the next night or has specific need of the room, they'll be happy to leave things as is and charge you for another night. And you won't get the regular maid service that you would have gotten if you'd informed the desk that you wanted to stay an extra night.

If you come back before the first shift leaves, the housekeepers might be able to clean the room in time for a late arrival. In that case, the hotel would probably still charge you for a full night's stay, even though they may be able to re-rent the room. Large hotels that have more nighttime staff would also make an attempt to clean for a late check-in even if you didn't check-out until later at night.

Also, a lot of hotels overbook and expect no-shows every night. They have procedures in place for sending guests elsewhere, and would probably rather go that route than go through the hassle of packing up your room.

I do have one clear memory of a hotel "clearing out" a room for a late check-out. It was a weekly rental of a timeshare condo, and the guests thought they had an extra day. Because the incoming guest "owned" that specific unit, housekeeping had to clean things out and store them for the day. I would expect other hotels may do something similiar if someone overstayed in a suite or special cabin.
posted by saffry at 9:28 AM on January 8, 2007

Just anecdotal, but I had a friend in this situation who travels light leave a cruddy old duffel bag with a t shirt or two in a room and the maids threw it out, assuming he had checked out. He was pissed.
posted by poxuppit at 9:36 AM on January 8, 2007

The maids almost never throw things out. Housekeeping has the lost and found in a hotel, and while they suck at actually remembering where they put your things sometimes, they will generally have them.

If the hotel is fully booked, they'll most likely take your stuff out, and put it at the front desk. If not, they'll leave your stuff in the room, call your room a bunch of times, and come knock on your door a bunch of times to find out if you plan on checking out. Then they'll charge you for another night.

If you plan on need the time, call the front desk and ask for a late checkout, which 99.9% of the time they'll grant you. If not, the front desk/bellman will always hold your belongings for you until you are ready to actually leave.
posted by stovenator at 9:48 AM on January 8, 2007

A screwed up booking through Expedia back in its early days led to a hotel thinking I'd be checking out a day earlier than I had asked for.

That night my key didn't work, so I had to go down to the desk. When I finally got in, all my stuff was still as I'd left it in the room.
posted by Opposite George at 9:50 AM on January 8, 2007

Why not just check out and leave your luggage with reception, to be collected later in the day? I do this all the time.
posted by goo at 10:23 AM on January 8, 2007

I work at a hotel in Aspen and this happens at least a couple times a week. It isn't a big deal as long as there is no one coming into the room, we just charge for another night and call it good, then allow people to have the room for the night if they want. Right now, we are almost fully booked, and as a result we have to pack bags for people and put them in storage in order to have the room ready when the new guests show up. People are usually very upset about this...

The funny thing is that some people are upset when they can't check in at 10 in the morning and also upset when they can't check out at 5 at night. Obviously both wouldn't work out.

There is no confusion with the maids about when people are actually leaving if there are bags in the room. We print up reports about who should be leaving and call them if anything changes.

Also, we don't double charge for a room. If someone is coming in and able to pay and stay in the room we don't charge whoever moved out no matter what time they left.
posted by unreasonable at 11:15 AM on January 8, 2007

As a former Front Desk Clerk, I believe Saffry has it exactly correct. In three years of working the desk at a fine hotel, I cannot recall a single instance of us removing belongings from a room in a guest's absence, without warning.

You can also arrange with the desk to have your bags removed to storage, or moved to another room, if you need to overstay your original reservation and your original room is unavailable.

As long as your form of payment is good, the hotel will work with you to keep you in-house. We HAVE removed nonpaying guests, but the guest was always aware that this was taking place.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 11:16 AM on January 8, 2007

not the same situation, but on par with Hotel scheduling screw ups:

Las Vegas, 1998, the old Desert Inn. I'm lounging on the bed in my boxers watching TV, 2nd of 3 day stay. I hear the door lock engage, and a couple walk in the room with bags in tow. I tell them they have the wrong room. The unacceptably snooty front desk clerk (I say unacceptably because the Desert Inn was in flux at this time, it was no longer the elite hotel from the Rat Pack days, but still hung on to it's 4 star rating) called me about 5 minutes later demanding I come down immediately. I told her someone screwed up, this is my room, and that I could not visit the front desk, I was busy. She would not relent. Had I not been young and naive, I would have told her to go to hell and asked for her manager and demanded something for the tone and inconvenience. Instead I got dressed and went down, put up with her insinuations that I booked incorrectly,and then showed her my check-in folio that indicated I did in fact have a 3 day stay, then I excused myself.
posted by tdischino at 3:18 PM on January 8, 2007

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