If you are someone who is comfortable arriving to hotels late at night or someone who just tends to be a night owl, hotel operating hours are probably a pretty important concern of yours when traveling.
You may be wondering if hotels remain open 24 hours a day and what type of services or facilities will be available to you throughout the night.
In this article, I’ll give you a breakdown of what to expect when it comes to hotels staying open 24/7. I’ll cover the different departments and facilities that you can expect to be open and also those that will likely be closed until the sun rises.
Are hotels open 24/7?
Most hotels remain open 24 hours a day in some type of capacity. Larger, full-service hotels will usually have multiple departments available 24 hours a day such as food and beverage, housekeeping, maintenance, etc. However, at smaller and lower-end hotels, the only department of the hotel that remains serviced 24 hours a day may be the front desk.
Keep reading for more insight into the different hotel departments and facilities.
Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!
As mentioned, most hotels are usually open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Typically, for essential personell they have three different shifts broken down as follows:
- 7am to 3pm
- 3pm to 11pm
- 11pm to 7am
Some hotels may make slight adjustments to these hours so that the night shift is something like 10pm to 6am, but generally you will find hotels following this type of schedule pretty closely.
Hotel managers may fit into the work shift slots above or they may have their own schedules. For example, at some properties the hotel managers may work a traditional 9am to 5pm shift while in others they may fit into the 7am to 3pm and 3pm to 11pm slots.
Some larger hotels may even have managers that stay for the night shifts or come in for the night shift on occasion such as a couple of times a week. But at a lot of properties it’s uncommon for the property manager to be on site in the evening or night hours.
Tip: As an aside, the schedule is helpful to know because if you are ever dealing with someone at the front desk who is difficult or rude you can always check back after you suspect the shift change has happened.
Night auditor & night shifts
The night auditor who works that lat 11pm to 7am shift is a crucial role for a hotel.
This is someone who works the night shift and not only takes care of late night guest needs but also a long list of tasks like reconciling and closing out daily hotel financial activities.
They also might take care of housekeeping, maintenance, management (be the MOD), laundry, security, etc., so they need to be very well-rounded.
If it’s a small hotel this could be one person who assumes all of these duties. They may get some back-up during the evening or early night but a lot of times they are the lone wolf keeping things running through the night.
If you’ve ever approached the hotel’s front desk late at night and wondered where that person is or what they were doing, there’s a good chance they are in the office handling the financial duties or perhaps tending to some type of housekeeping need.
Of course, they could also be taking a nap back there but hopefully that’s not the case.
If it is a larger property, multiple staff members may assume separate night shift roles such as dealing with guests/customer service, handling the financial duties, etc. And as you’ll see, there will likely be staff available 24 hours a day for the other duties like maintenance, housekeeping, etc.
As stated, most hotels remain open 24 hours a day in some type of capacity. What this means is that some departments remain staffed and active throughout the night while others operate on a skeleton crew or not at all.
Here’s a look at the different departments a hotel may have and how they typically operate.
Note that ever since the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of hotels have altered or limited their hours.
Sometimes it is due to a personell shortage but other times it almost seems like an excuse to cut back. But be prepared for more limited hours for things like room service and housekeeping.
Front desk and reservations
Most hotels, even smaller hotels, will have someone working the front desk/reservations around the clock.
The actual front door to the hotel may not be unlocked 24 hours a day and you might need to buzz the front desk to let you in but there should be someone working at the front desk throughout the night.
The only time I’ve encountered a hotel with no staff member at the front desk 24 hours a day is when I’ve booked small properties like tiny boutique hotels.
In those cases, the owners made it clear at booking that nobody would be available for check in after a certain cut off time. Worth noting, none of these locations were in the US and those were about 10 years ago.
If a hotel offers a legitimate valet service, they should be available around the clock because otherwise you could forfeit access to your vehicle.
If you were to have some type of emergency that could be a major problem so it would be surprising to me for a hotel to not have the valet service available 24 hours a day.
If the valet crew is not working chances are the night auditor or person working the front desk could get you your keys or your vehicle.
In my experience, it’s rare or non-existent to have a concierge available 24 hours a day. That makes sense because they’re generally is not a lot of pressing concierge requests late at night.
At large hotels, housekeeping will usually be running 24 hours a day. But at smaller or medium-sized properties, it’s very possible that the night auditor will assume housekeeping duties at night.
Some hotels will bring in additional housekeeping help (who may or may not be fully trained) throughout the evening and they may assist with cleaning rooms and keeping the lobby clean but they often will be gone by midnight.
That’s why at some of the smaller properties, early check-in is so difficult to get because nobody is cleaning the rooms throughout the night/early morning.
For example, if someone checks out at 6am the earliest the room might be cleaned is when housekeeping arrives which could be around 9am.
Related: Should You Tip Hotel Housekeeping?
Once again, large properties often keep room service going 24 hours a day.
But your average smaller hotel will usually shut things down when the kitchen shuts down in the evening or they may extend room service hours until later in the night around 11pm or midnight. Late-night menus may be very limited to snack foods and desserts.
The maintenance or engineering team will help resolve issues like if you have a broken AC unit or faulty plumbing and will often be available around the clock at a large property.
But at night at your smaller properties these maintenance duties may fall on someone working the front desk who may or may not be able to help you.
We recently had a stay in New Hampshire where the AC was not working and the only person who could help us was a lady working the front desk. She came to our room and took a look at the AC before mentioning to us that she essentially had no idea what she was doing.
So if you are staying at a smaller property or you have a feeling that maintenance is not available, you may just want to request for the front desk/night auditor to switch your rooms in the event something is not working.
If you’re not able to switch rooms there should be a maintenance person on standby that they can call. But if no one is available you may have to pack up and head to a different hotel in which case you would be entitled to some meaningful compensation.
A lack of 24/7 maintenance or engineering is not always a bad thing, though….
If you have a small request like missing batteries from the remote control, and there is only one staff member working the night audit to help, they may be able to directly assist you and get your issue resolved quickly.
If they have to stay at the desk and run the request through engineering or maintenance and that staff is thin, you could be waiting a lot longer for simple fixes.
Security at a hotel is often looked at as a pretty cush job. The pay may not always be amazing but in terms of the duties required, it could be pretty laid-back.
You might be doing some patrols of the parking lot, keeping people out of the pool area after hours, and sometimes evicting guests but a lot of times it is low-key (especially at night).
Larger properties often have security available 24/7 but that may not be the case at smaller properties. If a smaller property does have 24/7 security, the security guard and the front desk attendant may be the only two employees present during the night.
You might also be wondering if hotels keep their facilities like gyms, pools, and lounges open 24 hours. Once again, this is the type of thing that varies by hotel but I’ll give you some insight based on my experiences and research.
A fair amount of hotels that I’ve stayed at keep the gym open 24 hours a day but it’s not uncommon to see them shut down during late hours such as from 10pm to 5am.
I’m guessing the limited hours in the gym would be in place because there may not be staff available to attend to emergencies or to (potentially wasted) people misusing the equipment/area or engaging in “non-workout” activities.
Another issue could be noise. People dropping weights or groaning loudly can be a problem for neighboring rooms.
Pools and hot tubs
It’s very rare to find a hotel pool that is open 24 hours a day, as there is obviously a big safety concern with a pool.
Someone could potentially slip and fall in the pool and during the wee hours of the night there is a low likelihood anybody else would be there. (It’s true a lot of hotels don’t have lifeguards in their pools but they still get checked periodically throughout the day.)
I don’t think a hotel would want a bunch of drunk guests jumping into a pool at 3am, either. Not only would there be the risk of someone drowning, people having fun in a pool area late at night tend to be very loud.
Limited pool hours could also be a sanitary concern because you could have some guests getting frisky in the pool when they think no one is around.
But, oddly enough, I’ve also seen hotels keep the hot tubs open late at night which in my opinion would be the more ideal location for people to get down.
Sometimes the hot tubs require reservations where they take your name/room number down so perhaps that is a deterrent to keep people from “acting up.”
It’s also possible that state law might require the pool to remain unoccupied for a specific amount of time and the ideal time for hotels would be overnight.
And finally, it costs money to keep all the facilities for pools and hot tubs going. If hardly anybody is using them at night, it’s essentially a waste of money to keep the lights, jets, etc. on.
I’ve only seen a few hotels that keep their lounge open 24 hours a day.
Typically, if the lounge is open 24/7 it will only offer basic snacks and drinks during those times. So you can probably snag some bottled water or sodas but it’s doubtful that the bar would be open all night.
Much more commonly, I see the lounge close down at around 9pm to 10pm and open up early in the morning when breakfast may be served.
If it’s a higher-end hotel the lounge may have different services offered throughout the day like lunch, tea time, happy hour, etc. In-between those times it likely goes back to the default options, which would offer the same basic options available at night.
I don’t think I have ever seen a hotel with a spa that is open 24 hours a day. Most likely, for a spa you are looking at typical morning to late afternoon hours.
The lobby area is usually open for guests 24 hours a day as that is where the front desk is located and as mentioned above the front desk is usually always open. You might get some strange looks from the night auditor if you were just lurking about the lobby at 3am, though.
For the vast majority of hotels, they are usually open 24 hours a day in at least some capacity. The bigger and more high-end the hotel, the more departments will remain open around the clock. But at smaller and medium-sized hotels there may only be one person running the show throughout the night.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC.