Honest Guest's Guide to Free Hotel Amenities
Where's the line?
When you're staying at a hotel, is it OK to pocket the bottles of shampoo and lotion? How about the magazines? Bathrobes? Furniture?
It depends on the traveler. A recent Travelocity survey found 86 percent of hotel guests admitted to taking toiletries, like oatmeal soap and lavender body gel. About 3 percent said they swiped a bathrobe or slippers, and 1 percent said they stole dishes, silverware, electronics and -- I'm not making this up -- Bibles.
Not to get all theological, but for anyone who filched God's Holy Word from their room (at least the ones that weren't meant to be taken), I would advise you to return it at your earliest convenience. I don't even want to think about the punishment that awaits you now -- or in the hereafter.
The point is -- we can all agree that there is a line. We can't necessarily agree where the line is.
"There are gray areas," admits
"Yes," he sighs. "It was a smaller, flat-screen TV. One day it was there, the next day it was gone."
In case you were wondering what happens next, Marty's staff contacted the guest who had occupied the room during the disappearance and asked about the whereabouts of the hotel's TV. They were polite. They were persistent. "But you can only push so far," he says. In the end, the hotel took the loss.
I don't know exactly where the line is, either, but I can tell you that taking TVs -- and Bibles -- crosses the line. I asked frequent hotel guests where they thought it was. Here are their thoughts:
If there's a price tag on it, it's off limits.
Seems pretty obvious, right? Hang on. The bathrobes in your room may have a price tag, but they're also there to be used during your stay. Off goes the tag. And from there, it's not much of a leap to your unpacked bag.
If you can consume it, it's yours.
"I take all toiletries every time I go to a hotel," says
Don't take more than you're supposed to.
In other words, hands off those carts stocked with soaps and lotions. Those are meant for someone else's room. "I know someone obsessed with hotel shampoo and soap, and he even stalks the housekeeping carts to steal handfuls," says
Card keys are OK.
Magnetic card keys may be recyclable, but no one is going to think twice if you don't return yours. (I've tried, and the hotel clerk is never impressed by my honesty.) "That's one thing I take consistently -- the room keys," says
Hotels aren't charities (despite their low rates).
Some hotel guests -- not you, I'm sure -- justify taking generous handfuls of soaps and lotions off the cart with the idea that at some point, they'll donate it to a homeless shelter or some other charity. This, too, is problematic.
There are exceptions to every rule.
But he always does it with permission from a housekeeper. After years of collecting, he adds, "no one has had a problem with it."
So where's the line? It's there -- not always clearly visible -- but look hard and you might see it.
Please let me know when you do.
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(c) 2010 Christopher Elliott
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