Do Not Disturb: Why Is The Sign Required?


I am leaving Michigan for the Wild West in the back of another Delta flight after a hectic Thanksgiving and a lot of driving. (trip report to follow) Yesterday, I stayed at the Hyatt Place in Auburn Hills, Michigan as I try to claw my way to Diamond.

The reservation was for one night. Too full from a chicken cream chop dinner, I neglected to put the do not disturb sign on the door. At 8:30AM, housekeeping came knocking. I let out a painful groan to come back later and she closed the door.

I have multiple questions I would like to ask the reading public: First, how do new hotels not have the do not disturb electronic button next to the bed? Second, absent technology, why isn’t the sign already hanging on the door when I check in? Third, why doesn’t housekeeping know which guests are checking out? Why would someone leaving that day need his room cleaned? I guess they have no way of knowing if I checked out or not but if I was in charge of housekeeping I would attend to rooms with a one night reservation last.

Ideally, hotels should do away with the do not disturb sign in favor of a ‘clean my room’ sign. The presumption should be that the guest is asleep and wants to be left alone. If the clean my room sign is not placed on the door and it’s after check out, then the disruption is warranted. Otherwise, I see no reason to knock!

Good day.

Can’t get no sleep

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  1. Most hotels start cleaning rooms at 8am so it’s just luck of the draw on which they try to clean first. I’ve stayed in hotels where the housekeeping staff will go down the hallways at 8am sharp knocking on every door, so they can strip the beds or whatever, even if they are only going to start cleaning a couple of the rooms. It’s silly.

    Many hotels are now installing the electronic lights by the doors. Green = come clean, Red = do not disturb however……in my experience at a bunch of HIX’s using these is that the housekeeping staff has no idea what these mean. They will come clean your room even if you have it set to “do not disturb” and they won’t clean on some days when you want them to before you return for the day. Many hotels in Europe, Asia, etc. (as well as cruise ships) have the key that is required to turn the lights on. This also triggers a little light outside the room that tips off the staff that no one is in the room.

    I agree that the front desk should be able to coordinate with the staff on which rooms are vacant as the keys are handed in at the desk but there must be a bunch of people that don’t turn the keys in when leaving (I assume).

  2. Don’t forget. A lot of hotel rooms are simply used as places to “get it on” and when housekeeping enters it can really ruin the mood. Unless he/she wants to join in but they rarely happens.

  3. completely agree man. i was in a marriott on points, having already put in a request for late check out AND had the “do not disturb” thingy on the door.

    so there i was, naked, on the bed, watching movies with a bloated belly from a breakfast buffet binge. tmi? well, i’m detail oriented.

    and then there was a ~knock knock~ on the door followed instantaneously with “housekeeping!” (was i tommy boy??) and simultaneously instantaneously the door opens. i grabbed a pillow (a big one…) to cover up and everyone was shocked and she said sorry and i said sorry and we were all sorry.

    afterwards, i related the events in a letter to marriott customer service (minus the naked part). 15k points.

    also, subjunctive tense requires the counterintuitive plural form of the verb despite the singular subject :

    “but if I ~~~was~~~ in charge of housekeeping I would attend to rooms with a one night reservation last.”

    go bucs!

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