Confessions Of A… Hotelier (Part 1)
Depravity, theft, vandalism and sex; a hotelier writes about the dark underbelly of the Malaysian hospitality industry.
I can’t tell you my real name. I won’t tell you my background. It wouldn’t make a difference anyway – who you are and where you come from don’t really matter when you walk through those doors, whether as a guest or, in my case, an employee. The only thing that matters is whether you can afford it.
I’ve spent over a decade of my life in the hospitality line and I would be lying if I said it hasn’t changed me.
A combination of light pockets and a near-empty bank account led me to my first hotel. Since then, I’ve moved four times but have seen more of the same.
The name over the front door and the number of stars may change, but deep down, almost every hotel in the city is the same thing – a place where people come to live out their alternate lives and satisfy their secret indulgences. And they do that with the help of people like me.
I can’t give you details about my position, but I can say that when a situation turns for the worst, I’m the cleaner. Think of me as Olivia Pope, from Scandal.
My phonebook is filled with almost a thousand names, and sandwiched in between friends, family, colleagues, suppliers and media members are pimps, pushers and prostitutes. They blend in with the rest and aren’t easily identifiable.
You have probably passed them in the lobby, walked by them in the nightclub and maybe even stood next to them in the elevator, but you wouldn’t have known, unless you had asked for them.
We open the door to your fantasies: women, men, pornography. Ox tongue, grasshoppers, chocolate fountains. Honour guards, mini parades, kiddie pools.
Whatever you can think of, we deliver – as long as you can pay for it.
Maybe I should have that stamped on my name card.
The Clean Up
While I have no doubt that sex sells (and there’s plenty of sex for me to tell you about) there is one story that always comes to mind when I think of the weirdest guests that I have encountered.
I have handled thieves who stuff televisions into their suitcases; cheats who are caught on camera putting hair in their food trying to get a free meal; and even actual con artists who have ‘spent’ tens of thousands of dollars in our restaurants before being arrested on premises for credit card fraud.
But this guest and our experience with him is the only time I ever gave up something I love, for months.
It was my day off, so I was especially annoyed when I received a call from the hotel about a situation they couldn’t handle. I referred them to a number of other people who could but they insisted I would want to see it with my own eyes.
An hour later I arrived at the hotel and was informed that housekeeping were the first ones to discover the situation. They reported it and sent it up the chain, around it, backwards, forwards and in a loop so that everyone in the hotel knew about it; everyone but me.
They led me up to the room, withholding information about the situation, irritatingly building up the suspense. We went up the elevator, down the hall, unlocked the door and walked into the room.
It was perfect. Pristine. The bed was made, the pillows were arranged, the glasses organised, and the TV was still there; not a hair out of place, so I was confused.
“What’s the problem?” I asked the housekeeper who reported it. “Everything looks fine.”
She smiled devilishly and pointed up.
The white ceiling that was a generic feature in almost all of our rooms was no longer white. A layer of brownish goop – in the state between solid and liquid – covered almost the entire ceiling. I was surprised, confused, horrified and disgusted.
“Is that shit?” I asked her.
“It’s chocolate,” she answered calmly.
“Are you sure? How do you know?”
“I found a few bottles in the toilet.”
I was beyond relieved. Yes, I still had to deal with a ceiling covered in the kind of chocolate sauce you buy in squeeze bottles, but at least it wasn’t the other stuff, although it looked very much like it.
The investigation that followed still contained some holes. While we knew where the guest had bought the bottles from, we couldn’t find out how he managed to spread the sauce so evenly across the ceiling without a ladder. We also couldn’t figure out how he managed to keep the rest of the room spotless despite using up eight bottles. And finally, we never answered the most nagging question: WHY?
What we did learn was that this wasn’t The Chocolatier’s first display. Checking up with hotels across the world we found five other locations where he had completely covered different pieces of furniture in chocolate sauce, leaving everything else spotless – an obvious modus operandi.
The most important revelation however came in a simple line in a report from another hotel: “Guest will cover cost of clean up.”
The hotel’s problem was solved. We hired an outside cleaning crew, and billed everything to The Chocolatier.
My trauma was less easy to solve. I couldn’t stand the sight of chocolate for months after that.
The Kiddie Pool
And now we come to the part you’re here for: Sex!
I should start off by stating that I do not have sex with guests, and know of none of my colleagues who do. Although we do sometimes get solicited, particularly the female employees, it is not encouraged.
But what happens more often is a guest will request, quite simply (and shamelessly) through the concierge for a “girl” or a “man” and we relay said request to the people who can fulfil them.
Regardless of its legality, it is the reality of the business. There are even unspoken rules; for example, a hotel can’t have more than ten ‘Night Angels’ on premises, at one time. So yes, it happens.
These requests often come from foreign guests, mostly male, but there are locals and females who have their needs satisfied under our roof.
I once encountered a local heiress who had requested a very specific kind of man: Asian, 6-foot, well-built, olive-skinned and blonde-haired. I laughed off her request, but she insisted on her criteria. So I called my ‘consultant’ and relayed the request. Within ten minutes he sent me photographs of three men for the heiress to choose from. She couldn’t decide on one, so she took all three. They arrived within an hour and left after four.
But that request was nothing compared to the one with the kiddie pool...
Continue reading Part 2 of the Hotelier's confessions...