Don

By Chris Chamberlin , January 9 2015
Don

Do those hotel-supplied soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and body lotions frequently make their way into your cabin bag and then magically appear in your bathroom on your return home?

You’re not alone – a recent study of over 1,000 hotel guests in the USA reveals that three quarters of travellers nick the mini toiletries when they depart, while more than half of globetrotters open and try every single bathroom amenity that’s available during their stay.

Commissioned by Hilton Worldwide, the chain has declared that “hotel guests can officially stop feeling guilty for taking the last of the mini toiletries from their guest rooms - actually, everyone's doing it”.

But once the goods have left the hotel, they’re not merely being used up in favour of travellers’ regular kit – one in five plan ahead and set the merchandise aside for overnight guests to use in their own home.

That’s certainly not a bad idea, although 10% of those surveyed confessed to giving the free hotel amenities away as bona fide presents to friends and loved ones.

Who takes what?

In an industry where presentation is paramount, more than half of business travellers have used hotel toiletries to clean their shoes before a meeting or event – with 55% of men also slipping the body lotion into their pocket on the way out.

Also read: Travel hack: five hotel room staples you can repurpose in a pinch

As if the entire contents of the bathroom shelf weren’t enough, millennials are significantly more likely to raid the hotel maid’s cart for extra ‘souvenirs’ than those aged 55 and above, with the odds of a walk-by at 31% and 13%, respectively.

If you’re not the type to take things with you, the chain has thought of that too.

"Our comprehensive soap and amenity recycling programming has allowed us to repurpose soap from our hotels and convert them into new bars," said Jennifer Silberman, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Hilton Worldwide.

"To date, we have recycled nearly 600,000 pounds of soap (272 metric tonnes), converting them into more than one million new bars - a win-win for our waste reduction efforts and communities in need."

But if those toiletries do make their way into your own bathroom, know that you’re not the first – and certainly won’t be the last – to leave the hotel with a heavier bag.

Also read: What happens to used soap in your hotel?

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

NZ Elite

03 Jul 2014

Total posts 108

"Our comprehensive soap and amenity recycling programming has allowed us to repurpose soap from our hotels and convert them into new bars," said Jennifer Silberman, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Hilton Worldwide.

"To date, we have recycled nearly 600,000 pounds of soap (272 metric tonnes), converting them into more than one million new bars - a win-win for our waste reduction efforts and communities in need."

Umm. What? They collect up the half used soaps and make them into new bars?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

When my grandmother did that, it was called being a cheaparse. When Hilton does it, it's "a win-win for our waste reduction efforts and communities in need". 

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 994

That's no "worse" then what they make the soap products from in the first place.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 May 2011

Total posts 229

I kinda thought they had to throw away the partly used shampoo/conditior/etc anyway because you wouldn't want the next guest coming into the room, finding their soap half used and wondering what exotic diseases the guest before them had.

So, if it is going to be thrown away anyway, then you might as well take it. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum

07 Feb 2013

Total posts 558

You would take a half used bar of soap with you? Sheesh good luck to you!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Nov 2011

Total posts 246

I favour shower gels to bar soap.

Hope they can rid the bar soaps.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

I favour coffee to tea. Hopefully they can get rid of tea.

Hey, now let me tell you about religion...

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 138

Ha, I take soap bars so I've got them in my luggage for those times you stay in a hotel which doesn't have bars.  If I wanted to wash my body with shampoo, I would.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jun 2013

Total posts 367

I prefer the tooth brush and tooth paste pack that Hilton provides as it's something I forget to pack on a regular basis 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 715

I don't see a problem taking the unused shower gel, shampoo and conditioner (or soap, if you prefer that) from your room. You or your work has paid for those mini-tubes anyway. And Hilton's Peter Thomas Roth's branded product is decent too (better, in my opinion, that that Crabtree stuff). Its sometimes a bit more of a hassle taking these things through an airport in a post 9/11 world, but some of that hassle has eased a bit, and it gives you options if you come across supplied stuff you don't like.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I find hotel soap bars to be excellent. I routinely collect so much in the course of my travel that I have not had to purchase bar soap at Woolworths for some years.

The little bottles are great in a pinch if you need to give someone a bit of something, or as part of a kit (especially when I'm arriving at SYDi in Y in the morning as it's useful to have something to use in the public showers).

The toothbrushes are a godsend when we have relatives over as they all seem to forget them; they're also good when you don't want to pack away a wet toothbrush, e.g. when brushing before a flight.

The one supplied amenity that I cannot and will not ever take is the disposable razor. Those are horrible. I do take the single-use shaving cream sachets, though. Fantastic when you don't want to muck about with bottles of gel.

04 Dec 2013

Total posts 138

Agree re the razors!  The biggest mistake you can ever make is using the ones they give you in airline lounges - they'll shred your face. The EK lounge in Dubai is an honourable exception.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2223

I lasted one pass with the Qantas ones (Domestic Business Lounge, as the towel comes with the whole kit inside). Now my standard response is to throw out the razor whole (with cap on, obviously) and pocket the shaving cream.

Not only will they shred your face, they're also very poor in their build. It's absolutely worth packing a real safety razor in your carry-on amenity kit to use in lounges. I do it myself with a Gillette Mach 3 and 50mL shaving foam.

Toothbrushes are also usually of very mediocre quality, but you can make up for it with good technique and skilled brushing. The razors will just do you in!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 May 2014

Total posts 112

We have been collecting up the hotel toiletries for years and once a year packaging them up and donating them to a homeless shelter for them to distribute.

21 Jul 2012

Total posts 127

I did a similar thing with my on-board amenity kits a few months ago.  Donated most of the contents and some of the kits themselves to the local women's shelter since the people often leave home suddenly and show up with nothing.  FYI, they gladly take men's products as well since the kids (including teenage boys) frequently come along with the mother.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

06 Feb 2014

Total posts 15

The only thing I take are cotton buds.  Even though I usually pack them, a small pack of 2 or 3 from a hotel is perfect for after a shower in an airport lounge, because that's the one thing they don't usually provide.

I once experienced the bud dislodging from the stick and stuck inside my ear. That was the last time I used cotton bud from a hotel, it's more of a phobia than anything.


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