I stay in a lot of hotels. For better or worse it's the way I roll these days and while some are better than others - they all fundamentally work the same way. So, let's look at some of the tips and tricks to help make sure you have an awesome experience on your next trip.
Wrapped Plastic Cups vs Glasses
This is disappointing but the reality is that if you have glassware in your room it probably hasn't seen an actual dishwasher in a LONG time. Typically it will have been rinsed with a sanitizing rag or dunked in a bucket of cleaning detergent but that's far from the same thing. On the other hand, while less "classy" those plastic wrapped cups are typically going to be more clean than the glasses. It's up to you though - chances are you aren't going to have a problem but those aren't odds I generally like to play.
Hotels somewhat expect that guests will frequently forget to pack toiletries such as a toothbrush, razor, or comb so they either stock cheap replacements for housekeeping to provide upon request or they have overpriced amenities available similar to how a minibar works. Either way, I think it's a MUCH better idea to bring your own toothbrush and especially to bring your Schick® Xtreme 3® razor. Even better is what I generally do - keep spares in your backpack since you never know when you might need it. A good shave is just one of those indisposable comforts that will make your day so much more enjoyable.
Tips for Your Maid
I might be an ogre here but I really don't think you should tip housekeeping unless they do something extraordinary for you. Regardless though, that decision is up to you. However, make sure to put it in the marked envelope that some hotels are providing, clearly mark it as being for them, or even leave it with the clerk at checkout and if they did something great make sure to mention it then too. Hotels definitely listen to comments, but if you leave a $20 bill on the desk by itself they are going to treat it like a lost item and your housekeeper may never actually see the money.
Watch out for Bed Bugs!!!
This is still a problem in some hotels though the situation is better than it was a few years ago when there was all sorts of hysteria in the New York hotel scene. However, it's still a problem and probably always will be since these guys are tough to completely get rid of.
While I will never be able to rid a room of bed bugs, what I do is check the corners of the bed for markings that there has been something there. This includes looking for black dots and red marks. If you see something it doesn't necessarily mean something is up but you should probably investigate further. You might even want to check the Bed Bug Registry before choosing a hotel as well.
Bonus Tip: Expensive Isn't Necessarily Better ...
Here's one last tip! Just like with your razors, more expensive isn't always better. It's about comfort and style; those are the indisposable things that really matter in life. Think about it, unless you are going to be staying at the hotel as your destination, you really don't need to go fancy and who cares about those features you're never going to use if the bed isn't fabulous.
It's more about your style and how you like to travel that's most important. For instance, a more expensive hotel might have fancier sheets and amenities but I've stayed at expensive hotels in rooms that certainly had seen better days and I've stayed at budget hotels where the room was impeccable. Make sure you pack what you need and save your money by exploring the local area through the beer selection at the bar down the street instead.