Wondering what’s okay to take from a hotel and what’s off limits? Well, wonder no further. Here are ten things you can and can’t take from your hotel room.
10. Bathroom Amenities
Soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, oh my! There’s so many goodies, and they’re all complimentary. In fact, Travel + Leisure magazine says that hoteliers are counting on you taking these items. “Using it later could remind you of your stay and convince you to come back,” the magazine said on its website. Also, many of these bathroom goodies are branded with the hotel’s name and logo, so taking them helps spread the word about them because they could possibly be seen by others.
FUN FACT: Four- and five-star hotels often give guests free toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, sponges, combs, nail files, and luxury skincare products from companies like L’Occitane.
Certain marketing materials like paper, pens and notepads with the hotel’s name and logo on them are yours for the taking. Trust us, they won’t mind you taking them since every time you use those materials in front of others, it’s free word-of-mouth advertising for the hotel. Oh, and those newspapers and magazines are complimentary as well.
FUN FACT: We’re not sure if this deal is still in place, but it’s worth mentioning that if you stay at the Trump Hotel Central Park in New York, you may be able to request and receive personalized business cards and stationery free of charge. And, on your second stay, you could receive free luggage tags!
From the complimentary tea, coffee, creamers and sugar packets found at less expensive hotels to the bottle of Champagne to welcome you at more expensive hotels, there are lots of food and drink freebies you can partake of. And, if you stay at the DoubleTree Hotel, you’ll get free fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to welcome you. Keep in mind that you can even take food and beverages from the minibar. Mind you, you’ll be charged for it, but it’s there for your enjoyment after all so you might as well take advantage of it. Just don’t try to be slick and think you can get away with drinking the alcohol and replacing it with some other liquid. Many hotels nowadays equip their minibars with sensors that can tell when you’ve removed an item. And, get this: You can still be charged for it even if you don’t consume it!
Although these are one of the most common items people take from hotel rooms, it’s considered stealing. Our advice? Just DON’T do it! Not only will the staff notice that it’s missing (yes, they do check behind you after you check out), you could end up being charged for it. Not only that, but you could end up spending time behind bars for it. Is it really worth it to go to jail over a bathrobe? Of course not. Here’s a tip though: If you love the bathrobe that much, you can always call the front desk and ask if they will let you keep it or if they’ll sell it to you. Believe it or not, many hotels are actually willing to sell such items.
DID YOU KNOW?
While you can’t take the bathrobes, it’s perfectly fine to take the complimentary slippers home with you.
Okay, so even if you wanted to steal a hotel bed, how would you go about it? Could you really sneak it past the hotel staff?! As silly as it sounds, there have actually been people who’ve attempted to steal a hotel bed. According to the Daily Mail, Travelodge says that some of their guests have tried stealing the hotel’s king size Dreamer Beds. “Since we have introduced our new brand design and modernized our hotel rooms across the country, we have seen a significant rise in our fluffy pillows, snuggly duvets, striped bed runners and contemporary artwork being taken from our 504 UK hotels,” Travelodge spokeswoman Shakila Ahmed told the Daily Mail.
5. Event Tickets
Did you know that some high end hotels throw in free event tickets? Yep, it’s true. For example, the James New York hotel in SoHo offers free tickets to the New Museum, a contemporary art museum in Manhattan, via its Cultural Collection program. Another perk they throw in is free admission to outdoor screenings by the Lower East Side Film Festival. And, yet another perk is free admission to The Drawing Center, the only not-for-profit fine arts institution in the United States that focuses solely on the exhibition of historical and contemporary drawings.
As plush and luxurious as hotel towels are, they should stay at the hotel. Don’t kid yourself by thinking that they’ll have no way of knowing you took that towel. They’ll know. In fact, thanks to electronic tags, some hotels are now able to track those stolen towels. Plus, you don’t want to end up like the woman in Nigeria who was sentenced to three months in prison for stealing a couple of towels from the Transcorp Hilton Abuja Hotel. While you probably won’t spend that much time behind bars here in the U.S. for stealing hotel towels, it’s still not worth it because you just may end up doing time–even if it’s a short sentence. Unless of course you don’t mind something like that going on your record.
You’d be surprised how many people steal a book that contains the words “Thou shalt not steal.” According to a survey conducted a few years ago by Laterooms.com, British travelers stole 34,000 bibles from hotels every year!
Perhaps they didn’t know it, but there are lots of places you can get a bible for FREE. One of the simplest ways is to download it from the internet. Or, if you’ve got a slow connection, you can simply go online and request one from websites like FreeBibles.net, BibleSociety.com, MyFreeBible.org, or Bibles4Free.com. And, if by chance you don’t have access to the internet, you can always reach out to a bible society or a local church to see if they’ll give you one for free.
Just because you can take the tea and coffee with you doesn’t mean you get to keep the mug, too. But, that doesn’t stop some people. According to TripSavvy, the Hilton Caribbean Breakfast mugs at the Hilton Curacao are one of the guests’ favorite things to steal. In fact, the love them so much that they disappear on a daily basis. “A few people leave the restaurant to ‘finish coffee in their room’ and take the cups with them,” TripSavvy said. Ironically, the mugs are available for purchase in the hotel gift shop.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to Travel + Leisure, NBC says that “most major hotels now have a computer data base with a ‘no stay list’ filled with previous patrons who have stolen one too many coffee mugs and are no longer welcome to book a stay.” Not only that but those hotels are more than happy to share their lists with other chains. This means that you could end up getting banned from not only the hotel you stole from, but from others as well.
1. Anything from the Housekeeper’s Trolley
Jacob Tomsky, a veteran of the hospitality business, says that you should “consider the unmanned housekeeper’s trolley a smash and grab situation. Pack your bags full of almond butter hand cream and guava face soap with espresso crisps. Take three of everything and get the hell out of the hallway. Even if you do get caught, just say you were out of shampoo, or, even better, out of toilet paper, and thought you’d save them the trouble by grabbing it for yourself.”
Look at it this way–these things are yours for the taking, Tomsky added. The hotel has no way of disputing your claims of needing to use multiples bottles of shampoo and conditioner when washing your hair or several bottles of lotion after you’ve showered. So, when you take these amenities, we hope when you use them later they’ll make you think of us, Tomsky said.
TIP: Just because Mr. Tomsky is okay with your raiding the housekeeper’s trolley doesn’t mean that all hoteliers will be okay with that. Proceed with caution!
Use your judgment for anything not included on this list. If you’re still not sure, then ask the hotel. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Looking for more practical advice on hotel rooms? Discover the ten things you should NEVER do when staying at a hotel.