Hotel Stuff We Love to Steal

By Miriam B. Weiner, Staff WriterSept. 13, 2012
By Miriam B. Weiner, Staff WriterSept. 13, 2012, at 1:25 p.m.
U.S. News & World Report

Hotel Stuff We Love to Steal

We've all thought about it: An extra towel here, a pair of slippers there … It's not like the hotel would really notice, right?

Recently, Hotels.com conducted a survey to investigate how many travelers snag a hotel keepsake. Out of the 400 participants in the travel booking website's nationwide survey, 66 percent swear that they have left their hotel rooms fully stocked, meaning that a notable 34 percent confessed to having sticky fingers.

Hotels.com conducted the same survey in Canada, and the results show that our northern neighbors are less "honest" (or less forthcoming) than we are. Out of the 250 survey participants, only 25 percent admitted to petty larceny.

But what exactly are guests taking home with them? With help from Hotels.com, U.S. News Travel has identified the items that have the most potential to wind up in guests' suitcases. (Note: Those mini bottles of shampoo and lotion don't count. Everyone steals those.)

Hotels make their money by providing travelers with a place to lay their heads, so it makes sense that the more successful establishments boast enviable bed adornments. Of the 34 percent of Americans that reported swiping souvenirs, 2 percent admitted that a hotel pillow found its way home with them. Meanwhile, Canadians are less likely to claim a new head rest, with only 1 percent of bandits checking out with cushions in tow.

Nothing says "the good life" quite like hunkering down in a fresh, fluffy robe with a glass of wine and a TV remote. But spa-quality bathrobes can be expensive, and some travelers have cut costs by stealing robes directly from the source: hotel and spa rooms. Hotels.com's survey shows that "accidentally" packing a hotel bathrobe is more common in the States than it is in Canada. Out of the 34 percent of Americans that confessed to pocketing in-room amenities, 3 percent have claimed a robe; that's 2 percent higher than the bathrobe thievery rate among our northern neighbors. 

The third-most popular amenities to loot fall into a category Hotels.com has labeled "other." This includes a hodge-podge of items like sewing kits, pens, coffee, room keys, and even hair dryer bags. It's these seemingly uninteresting extras that attract 11 percent of American lifters. Canadians, on the other hand, are more inclined to pilfer from the "other" category: These items beckoned to 13 percent of Canadian hotel guests, making them the most commonly stolen objects among Canucks. And if you thought shoeshine kits and shower caps were random, a small percentage of Canadians have also admitted to stealing hotel irons.

Many hotels recognize that vacations are the perfect time to catch up on some light reading, and they prepare for travelers by stocking guestroom and lobby bookshelves with bestsellers. However, not all guests believe in sharing the literary wealth. According to Hotels.com's survey, 12 percent of American hotel bandits leave with a brand new paperback or a glossy publication, and 11 percent of Canadian room-raiders do the same.  

With many hotels boasting high thread-count sheets and oversized bath towels, it's easy to see why guests would be tempted to re-stock their linen closets while on vacation. Of the 34 percent of American travelers who confess having stolen hotel amenities, a whopping 14 percent identify those items as fitting nicely on a bed or a towel rack. (Some guests even went as far as stealing blankets, though Hotels.com groups those in the "other" category.) In contrast, Canadians are far less likely to take the towel and run—only 4 percent of our light-fingered northern counterparts have ever nabbed hotel linens.

Have you ever stolen from a hotel? Tell us what you took on Facebook or Twitter.

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