The Philadelphia Inquirer today ran a nice Q&A with Robert Allen, a veteran Marriott general manager who now runs the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. He’s a refreshingly straight-talking guy, so I enjoyed the frank Q&A.

In it, Allen gave his take on the housekeeper tip envelopes that Marriott and Maria Shriver rolled out last week in about 1,000 hotels, which sparked a lively conversation on Travel Update and in other media about the quality of housekeepers’ wages. Allen’s mother had become a hotel housekeeper after his father died, and he brushed the criticism aside.

“I love the envelope. You’ll have people that try to spin it. But that’s not the intent,” he told the Inquirer. “We pay a very fair wage for the position.”

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Allen also talked about a very real part of the hotel business, which is the unfortunate situation when a (male) employee enters a room to deliver a room-service meal while a (female) guest is naked. I personally have never heard of this happening to anyone that I know, but in this business, you can’t be surprised that this happens every now and then.

The reporter asked Allen – who’s worked for hotels for 37 years – if, when years ago he worked in room service, he ever entered a room and “encountered a naked lady.”

His reply: “Yes. That happens more frequently than you can imagine.”

Employees are trained on these situations, he told the Inquirer. They should quietly try to ignore the situation, and when entering, latch the guest-room door so it’s never truly shut, he told the Inquirer. The person should leave the item inside the door, end service and notify another hotel employee about the situation, he said.

Readers, both male and female: Well?