Most hotels you can find in the world today have a no smoking policy for their rooms. This is because it is quite arduous to remove the smell of smoke totally from a room, and any non smoker who is assigned the room later on would most likely detect the smell of smoke lingering, long after the smoker had vacated.

It should be noted that most hotels charge a fine of $200 or more when it has been proven that you have smoked in their rooms, thus violating their rules. To avoid repeatedly paying this fine, you need to find out how hotels know you have smoked in their rooms, even when you thought you took the right precautions.

What is The Evidence of Smoking?

Quite a lot of us have come across smokers who usually boast of how they smoke in hotel rooms and get away with it, while the others are no so lucky and get handed a fine. In fact, some people have claimed that they masked their smoke tracks so perfectly yet they were shocked that they were still found out. The fact remains that there are a few ways the hotel management use to find out you have smoked in your hotel room. Some of them include;

4 Ways Hotels Know You Smoked in the Room

  1. The smell

The most obvious way hotel management knows you have smoked in your room is the stink, which is the smell of the cigarette smoke left behind. Smokers themselves have a very poor sense of smell when it comes to tobacco products, and don’t realize how incredibly pungent it is to everyone else.

Know this, if you stand at the window, with it opened, holding the cigarette out the window and blowing out the window, you can still be busted for smoking in the room. Once you blow out, unless the breeze is going directly in the opposite direction of where you stand, the smoke will get embedded in the drapes, at the very least. And if the wind is blowing the wrong way, forcing the smoke back into the room, we can smell it in the hallway.

If you are not at the window and just lighting up in the room without trying to cover it up, the smell will get embedded in the carpet, drapes, furniture, bed linen, and even the walls. So, when a hotel charges a smoker over $200 as a penalty, it really is used to place the room out of order for a day to deep clean it (drapes, carpet, walls, etc.).

2. The Trash Receptacle

Some guests think that room attendants do not look in the trash receptacle where they drop the ashes and even try covering it up. Wrong. Room attendants take pride in cleaning their rooms, especially when they get assigned the same rooms day after day. One thing you need to know is that many room attendants hate the smell of cigarette and will refuse to clean a heavily stinky room.

Some “smart” guests will place a wet towel at the bottom crack/opening of the main door to prevent the smoke from exiting into the hallway. That may be effective, as long as the window is open and the wind is not blowing back in or sideways (think of the drapes).

3. Complaints From Other Guests

Yes, other guests can smell it when you smoke, and they usually do not hesitate to report it to the management. Non-smokers cannot stand the stench. Not only will they smell it as they walk past your room; if your window is open and your neighbor’s window is open, where might the smoke end up going? That’s right, right into your neighbor’s room.

4. Smoke Detectors

While you may not need to worry about the smoke detector if you are smoking a few sticks of cigarette, but if the room is filled with thick cigarette smoke, it can potentially set off the smoke detector. The smoke has to be thick enough, and consistent enough, to engage the alarm.

So, unless one is directly in front or beneath the detector, it most likely will not go off. If you set off the alarm, the fire department will come. They will impose a charge on the hotel for every “false alarm” visit caused by smoke. The hotel will pay this charge, and often double or even triple the amount as a fine to the guest for breaking the rules, keeping the difference for itself.

The hotels probably have carbon monoxide detectors or something that will pick it up immediately and relay it to the front desk, and they probably have them directly near the window/vent in the bathroom etc to catch you.

The Process of Verification Of A Smoking Offense

When a room attendant detects smoke, he or she reports to the supervisor to confirm. The supervisor enters the room, and if he or she agrees with the room attendant, then a housekeeping manager is called to verify. If the housekeeping manager agrees, then the front office manager, rooms division manager, or GM, is called to verify (in that order).

If that person agrees, the front office manager charges the guest (even if they have checked out already) and logs it, in case the guest calls back in a few weeks to dispute the charge. The reason for this above process is that many smokers will call later to dispute the late charge, and the hotel needs to be 99% confident that there was smoking in the room.

The guest will be told about the above process so they understand that the hotel management serious and completely convinced someone smoked in the said room. Know that you are not getting your $200 back unless you can present some compelling evidence that proves you are a non-smoker, and of course just saying you are a non-smoker is not evidence.

But in all, the only sure way to prove a smoking offence is to use CCTV evidence. This is only possible if the camera is installed in a public area of the hotel such as the restaurant. It is unlikely that a CCTV will be allowed in the private guest area of the hotel. Lacking this CCTV evidence, the hotel can demonstrate that someone did smoke but not who did it.

Even if you did smoke in my private room and was challenged, you could always say that another smoker entered the room or that you opened the window and there was a smoker outside. In short, it is very difficult for the hotel staff to prove without CCTV evidence that a particular person smoked in their room.

What Happens When It Has Been Discovered That You Smoked In Your Hotel Room

Guests who smoke in their hotel room, even if they try to be sneaky by smoking in the bathroom with the bath fan/vent on, don’t realize the expense it takes to remove the odor. If it’s barely noticeable, running ozone generators in the room may eliminate enough to where the next guests won’t detect the odor.

If the room reeks of smoke, then it’s stripping the room, replacing lamp shades, washing down walls and ceilings, shampooing carpet and furniture upholstery, dry cleaning drapery, basically a top-to-bottom scrub down, which often results in the loss of room revenue while the room is being deodorized.

This is a very huge stress on the part of the hotel, that is why they are usually strict with their no-smoking rules. Once you are found guilty of smoking on your room, you will be made to pay a $200 or more fine, depending on the hotel, and this money would be used to take care of the cleaning.

Ajaero Tony Martins