“To Steal or Not to Steal” Hotel Amenities


We were all raised to know the difference between right and wrong. And stealing is definitely in the wrong category, right? So is taking toiletries and amenities from hotel rooms really stealing? Is it right or is it wrong?

annex20-20grant20cary20to20catch20a20thief_nrfpt_13The lines between right and wrong are sometimes blurred. In To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant as John Robie the cat burglar asks the Lloyd’s of London agent, “Did you ever take an ashtray from a hotel, or a towel?”

“Souvenirs, they expect that,” says the Lloyd’s of London agent.

And sometimes the lines between right and wrong are not so blurred. Years ago someone walked into a Seattle hotel, picked up a piece of Chihuly art glass on a lobby table and walked right out the front door. Obvisouly, theft, right?

So where do we draw the line? For some it’s an easy answer and for others it’s a scribble and not a straight line.

I’ve broken it down into three lists. Let’s see if we can agree on two of the three categories and leave the third to our own conscience.

On the definite DO NOT TAKE list:

  • TVs and remotes
  • Clock radios
  • Coffee makers
  • Glass and china
  • Sheets
  • Towels – Hotels used to put their name on towels but that’s a thing of the past because too many people took them as souvenirs. So the answer here is obvious, NO.
  • Bedspreads and duvets
  • Pillows – If you like it, ask if you can buy one. Most hotels sell their pillows or have online sites where you can buy a brand new one.
  • Artwork
  • Shower curtains
  • Furniture
  • Light fixtures
  • Hard cover books
  • Any key other than a disposable key
  • Anything the hotel offers for sale
  • Robes – Robes are expensive so most hotels wouldn’t want to give away something as nice as a robe. Many hotels offer their robes for sale. So if you like your robe, check with the front desk.
  • Throw pillows or other room décor
  • Irons
  • Hair dryers
  • Coat hangers
  • Mattress pads
  • Batteries – Don’t leave the next guest with a dead remote control.
  • Keurig coffee pods (sorry, Ron)

On the definite OK TO TAKE list:

  • Card keys
  • Open and partially consumed toiletries (soaps, shampoos, conditioners, etc.)
    • If you hide the opened ones so housekeeping gives you more, then that’s sneaky and a good indication that it’s wrong.
    • And don’t take more off the housekeeping carts, that’s stealing. And don’t try to justify it by thinking you will donate it to a homeless shelter. Most hotels have their own philanthropies they donate to on a regular basis. If you want to help your local homeless shelter, purchase shampoos etc. from your local drug store.
  • Weekly magazines and newspapers
  • Shower cap
  • Sewing kit
  • Stationary
  • Slippers – Why would you want to? I’ve never met a pair of hotel slippers that I like. I wear a 6 ½ size shoe and hotel slippers seem to be about double that size. But since the hotel can’t reuse them, go ahead and keep them.
  • Pens


  • Bible – The Gideons want everyone to have access to a Bible. They prefer that you keep the hotel Bibles in the room for the next person but stop short of saying it’s a “sin” if you take one. If you really want it, just let the hotel know so they can restock or call the Gideons and ask them to send you a free one.
  • Umbrellas
  • Unopened toiletries
  • Branded Ashtrays
  • Unopened toiletries



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