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A classic ploy of Heroes and Villains alike for getting close to their opponents is to pose as hotel room service. Naturally, this works best if their target actually ordered some; people tend to get suspicious otherwise (though surprisingly not always, in Medialand).

They may be delivering poison, a bug, or a bomb; launching a sneak attack; passing equipment or information to an inside man; freeing a hostage; or just performing reconnaissance.

Other kinds of delivery services may be substituted for hotel room service, depending on where they're staying and other circumstances. Apparently, half of all high-class call girls are actually assassins.

Also see Deadly Delivery, Sickbed Slaying, Ransacked Room, Janitor Impersonation Infiltration, Inn of No Return.

Examples of Room Disservice include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Bubblegum Crisis episode "Double Vision" did this three times. One was Nene, pretending to be a drinks stewardess to watch a boomer designer; then Linna posing as the laundry girl; and finally Reika/Vision who impersonated a call girl in order to poison him so that she and her allies could ambush the ambulance later to kidnap him.
  • A random post-credits sequence in School Rumble (not quite The Tag in that it had absolutely nothing to do with the episode) had Akira foil just such a plan. The whole thing is rendered in a faux-3-D art style.
  • This trope is used once in Gunslinger Girl, where some of the girls dress as room maids of a high-class hotel in order to kill a mark staying there. It works fine, until one of them bumps into actual employee, leading to a Shoot the Dog moment. This is quite odd, considering that the girls look far too young to work in such an environment in the first place.
  • In Fatal Fury 2: The New Battle, Joe Higashi uses this approach to try and ambush Krauser, who has beat the living hell out of Terry Bogard and left him a psychological wreck. Krauser of course recognizes him. "The hotel thinks of everything. Why, they have even provided an assassin with room service."


  • Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd attempted to deliver some Room Disservice to James Bond on a cruise liner in Diamonds Are Forever. (They failed.)
    • At the very end of From Russia with Love, Rosa Klebb's last gambit to kill Bond and steal the McGuffin is to disguise herself as a hotel maid. (She fails.)
    • This scene was parodied in Austin Powers. Fails when Oddjob-parody Random Task's shoe-throwing is shown to be a completely ineffective means of fighting.
  • Rather incompetently carried out by Rocco in The Boondock Saints: someone else got there first, he hid his gun in the most obvious place on the cart, he brought a six-shot .38 revolver because his bosses didn't tell him there were nine guys (though you'd think he'd be smart enough to bring extra ammunition), and he didn't even bother to tie his hair back to make himself look respectably like a room service attendant. Not to mention, his name tag says Jaffar, and Rocco doesn't look remotely Middle Eastern.
    • It's made pretty clear that Roc ain't the brightest bulb on the tree, but I do remember him saying that his bosses told him there were only two targets.
  • The film Point of No Return (aka The Assassin) has a sequence where the protagonist is required to pose as a room service waitress and deliver a trolley with a bomb planted on it to a hotel room.
  • In Kill Bill vol. 2, a flower delivery woman comes to The Bride's hotel room. When The Bride goes to open the door, the florist shoots through the door, revealing herself to be an enemy assassin.
  • In Grosse Pointe Blank Grocer refers to a couple of female assassins as "Queens of the hotel hit."
  • White Sands (1992). The protagonist arrives at his motel to find the room being cleaned by two maids. So he doesn't expect a thing when they later knock on his door...until he finds himself with a gun at his head, whereupon the two search him for listening devices by slicing off his clothes with knives, then they steal his briefcase full of money and leave instructions on where he's to meet the Big Bad.
  • This is how one of the hitman's assassination attempts goes in Bulworth. I know that Bulworth hired the hit man himself, but it still counts.
  • Layer Cake has a darkly amusing scene in which the protagonist has arranged a hotel room to have a sexual encounter with his love interest. Right before things "start off" he gets a knock on the door from room service, who turn out to be employees of the Magnificent Bastard of the film, who proceed to stuff him into a bag and kidnap him.
  • Done on the spur of the moment in Notting Hill to cover up an affair. The hero explains his lack of uniform by saying he'd already changed to go home, then decided to take on last call.
  • Lampshaded in Traffic when the breakfast service knocks on the door and, when prompted about who they are, respond with "The Mob." Subsequently played straight when it turns out to be a Sarcastic Confession, and the breakfast was poisoned. The real breakfast service shows up moments later, but too late.
  • In Ocean's Thirteen, this trope is employed as part of an attempt to ruin Bank's new casino. They sneak into a prestigious reviewer's room while he's out and do all sorts of nasty things to the room, placing bedbugs in the bed, dirtying things, and feeding noxious gases into the vents.
  • Commando. Matrix has just killed Sully and is searching his room when Badass villain Cooke arrives outside. Cindy answers the door with her shirt open and a coy smile, claiming she's "Room service" (implying she's an escort). Cooke is suspicious and makes her stand back from the door, but still misses Matrix hiding behind it.
  • Three Days of the Condor. The CIA analyst office where the protagonist works has its own security -- CCTV cameras, locked doors, a guard -- even the receptionist carries a gun, though it's later revealed it's for her own protection against rapists. The killers get inside by sending in a man dressed as a postman, and as the place gets regular deliveries of books this doesn't seem strange. The postman killer tries the same trick on the protagonist later on, but this time he's ready.

Live Action TV

  • Heroes did it too, when Hiro and Ando infiltrate a hotel room in order to retrieve a woman's bag.
  • Sydney Bristow has done this on at least one occasion.
  • Inversion: In an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Carl Kolchak is waiting nerve-wracked in his hotel room with a cross in one hand and a sharp oak stake in the other to jump the vampiress call-girl he's been hunting for days as she comes through the door (which has a cross drawn on its inside in lipstick!). It turns out that the pimp substituted another girl at the last minute, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Played with in an episode of NCIS where Tony and Ziva are required to go undercover as married assassins. Since they're being watched by the villains, their own agents surreptitiously drop off necessary surveillance equipment in the guise of room service.
    • In the same episode a pretty female FBI agent does the same thing disguised as a maid, much to Tony's appreciation.
  • Used with spectacular non-success by Weasel on an episode of Family Matters when Eddie, Weasel, and Waldo wanted to meet a pop star.
  • In the early '70's Saturday Night Live, a recurring sketch was the Landshark, a huge shark that tried to get into people's apartments by knocking on the door and saying, "Uh, candygram..."
  • During a Discovery Channel documentary on (actual) ninjas, some individuals where asked to act as bodyguards and "protect" a target (prevent his cap from being taken off) and were told that the attacker would strike like a ninja of antiquity would. He disguises as a set manteinance personel to get through the bodyguards. Though at first they're reluctant to let him in, but he succeeds in the end.
  • In I Love Lucy, Lucy does this several times on their trip to Hollywood to get close to celebrities.
  • Rose did this to Charlie once. Notable as she had to fly in from England to do it.


  • Used by the good guys early in the Star Wars New Jedi Order series. A New Republic Intelligence operation on what's basically a cruise liner in space, a mock conversation between passengers and an attendant is used as the recognition code.

Video Games

  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, the assassin De Killer gets into his target's room disguised as a bellboy delivering tomato juice.

Web Comics

  • In Girl Genius, someone almost managed to assassinate an injured Baron Wulfenbach by pretending to be a nurse.
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