One of the drawbacks of staying in a hotel is wondering what went on in the room he night before you settled in between the unfamiliar sheets. When you do finally crawl into a hotel bed, it’s the only time the lingering smell of bleach in laundry is comforting.
While you might fear the usual culprits like bed bugs and leftovers from amorous couples, the Houston Police Department is adding a new worry for staying in Houston’s hotels. HPD has been tracking the hotels where it made the most prostitution arrests between Jan. 1, 2012, and July 7, 2017. The results have been surprising.
Of the top 20 hotels for prostitution in Houston, about half were owned by major corporations, including Hilton Hotels, Marriot International, and Intercontinental Hotels Group. Many of these hotels are some of Houston’s highest rated hotels.
The most popular hotel for prostitution based on the number of busts is the Hyatt Regency located at 1200 Louisiana Street, which saw 136 arrests. JW Marriot at 5150 Westheimer Road came in a distant second with 83 arrests.
Hilton Houston Galleria at 6780 Southwest Freeway saw 61 arrests, placing third, while Crown Plaza Houston garnered 54 arrests at its hotel at 2712 Southwest Freeway. Four Points by Sheraton at 2828 Southwest Freeway rounded out the top five, with 51 arrests.
While the results may make these hotels seem scandalous, the hotels dismiss the high arrests as part of the trade-off of working closely with police to prevent crimes.
The Hyatt’s managing director, Tom Netting, told the Houston Chronicle, “The Hyatt Regency Houston supports and cooperates with HPD in their proactive activities and when able, provides rooms for undercover sting activity and training. All known prostitution arrests at the Hyatt Regency Houston are from answering requests from Houston law enforcement.”
High-end hotels also have more arrests because the police do stings in these hotels, purposely seeking out arrests. “Additionally, these locations are preferred by the girls to attract higher paying clientele and it’s a safer environment for them to conduct their illicit activity,” HPD explained. “There are arrests that are made at other lower end hotels and motels, but more commonly, the arrests occur on the surrounding streets as opposed to the hotel locations.”