New Zealand hotel service standards 

For the past 6 months, we’ve stayed in a variety of accommodation and have discovered that price is no indicator of housekeeping standards.  One of the dirtiest we stayed in was a 5-star hotel in central Auckland. It was a beautiful junior suite, marred by dusty surfaces and a carpet desperate for a vacuum. But what astounded me was the disgusting state of the toilet! Yes, I have a photo and no, in the interests of good taste, I won’t publish it.


Should we always blame the housekeeping staff for such neglect? Maybe not. The cleanest hotel we stayed in was the Hilton in Taupo where staff were expected to clean a one-bedroomed suite in 45 mins. I take my hat off to them for their superb efforts.


Here’s a few housekeeping issues that we’ve experienced along our travels:


Hotel service failings we came across

Light switches and door handles:

It only takes a few seconds to run a cloth over the light switch panels, yet time and time again, I’ve observed finger prints. The same goes for the area around the handles of doors.  It’s so easy to get this right!


Basin Taps and toilet fittings:

Is it really sufficient to merely wipe around these fixtures? Every now and then a soft bristled brush should be used to brush around these fittings. Soap and other unmentionables take very little time to build up over time.



Why have a beautiful décor feature like an ornate mirror, covered in fly-spots and fingerprints? Once again, it’s so easy to get this right.



It is a great pleasure for me to arrive at an accommodation after a day’s travelling and relax on a comfortable bed or sofa with a glossy magazine. I have no interest in reading about the latest décor for the summer of 2001.



For the love of all things sacred, why do some people still insist on painting the interiors of their accommodation in boring shades of grey? Show a bit of imagination guys!


Window Cleaning:

If you’re going to provide beautiful views through large floor to ceiling windows, keep them clean.


Thickness of interior walls:

Thought I’d save the best for last! It’s horrible to hear the guest next-door peeing, coughing or having an animated Skype conversation. Why do hotels skimp on the thickness of their interior walls? Does it really hit the budget that much to provide quality building materials?


(To be fair, most of the above mentioned ‘negatives’ have been experienced in the more corporately owned accommodations. Our best experiences (and we’ve written about these) have been in owner/managed boutique accommodations. This is where the care and attention to detail seems to be ever present.)


How to get a service problem sorted!

It’s quite simple really. If we travellers have a complaint, all we need to do is to have an open and honest chat with management at location. Don’t wait until you can anonymously vent your spleen on tripadvisor. Give them a chance to put the problem right and to revise their systems. Happy guests = happy management.

Happy travelling

4 responses to “Meeting service standards – New Zealand accommodation”

  1. Jane Smith says:

    Hello guys, completely agree with your comments – I think we have all experienced one or all of the above, often at the bigger chain-owned establishments. Just as I don’t want to hear them, I am certain my guest/neighbours don’t want to hear me. It’s enough to give you stage fright. And, yes, the decent thing to do is speak to someone there and air your comment in a discreet and polite way in the interest of improving their service – I am sure they appreciate that rather than a social-media-rant. JXXX

    • GuestNZ says:

      Glad to hear your comments Jane. Sometimes management are unaware of a problem and it everyone deserves a chance to get it right. There were a few other gripes I had in mind for this blog but think I’ll leave toilet brushes for another day.

  2. Anne says:

    Thanks Michael,

    maybe the Hotels could have a check list and a rotation program of what needs cleaning every day, every week and so on. We did this successfully in Bhutan, all the manager needs to do is check. 🙂

    • GuestNZ says:

      Yes Anne, I think it’s putting good systems in place and a tick box arrangement each day. implementing a rotational system makes perfect sense, especially with window cleaning wish can be a large task if they’re all done at once. I think one of the challenges hotels and motels is also the high turnover of staff. A well managed accommodation will sort out a few of these issues.

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