Most luxury hotels offer a ‘turndown’ service. As the name implies, this consists of removing the bed cover and cushions, turning down the sheets and quite often placing a little cotton mat on the floor beside the bed with a pair of slippers. The curtains will be drawn, the television will be turned on with the controller handily left on the bed and sometimes a little snack will be placed on the pillow.
Hotels make much of their turndown service and it does seem to be valued by some guests.
“We had a delicious chocolate on our pillow!” squealed a happy Trip Advisor reviewer recently.
The issue I have is timing. If the turndown happens when I’m not in the room, it’s fine. I’m having dinner somewhere (possibly at the hotel) and it occurs as if by magic.
The problem is, I’ve noticed turndown tends to happen at exactly the wrong time. It’s when I’m getting ready to go out. So I’m in the shower, washing my hair or in a state of undress getting changed into my glad rags. This is when it becomes intrusive and frankly, annoying.
Some hotels have hangers you can put on the outside of the door requesting privacy and others have a switch to the same effect. But if you instigate this, you could miss your turndown slot. So when you come back after dinner, you have to do everything yourself.
Hotel 1000 in Seattle has a neat way of knowing if you are in your room. They have an infrared detector that can tell if the room has been occupied during the previous half an hour. If they know you are not there, they do the turndown. Clever.
Most hotels don’t have this smart technology. So what is the answer? I think hotels should ask you about turndown when you check in. It must be relatively simple to give you a half hour slot and ask whether it is convenient. If you know they are coming at a certain time, you can plan around it, to a certain extent. I suppose all turndowns can’t be at 8pm, if there are several rooms to service. But there must be a way to avoid annoying guests unnecessarily. And it’s a good opportunity to say you don’t need any chocolate.
What do you think?