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Toiletry Dispensers are Out to Eliminate Free Bottles of Hotel Shampoo

August 23, 2010 at 2:32 PM | by | ()

We've noticed something lately when it comes to hotel toiletries; let's see if you agree. Does it seem like hotels are moving away from the mini bottles and teensy-weensy cardboard-boxed soap bars and more toward dispensers? The differences between the two are noticeable ones: you can't take a dispenser home with you, but having a dispenser often means more supply and not having to stick your finger in the tiny shampoo bottles to eek out the final drops.

What's more is that having the dispensers—usually mounted to the wall inside the shower, providing shampoo, conditioner and body wash gel—cut down on waste and cost. Thus, we weren't surprised to see them inside our bathroom at the Aloft Chicago O'Hare, but were a bit taken aback to notice that the funky favorite Ace Hotel New York has them as well. No take-home shampoo for you!

Upscale versions of these dispensers also exist, as spotted in the showers of Soho House hotels. They fill the shower caddy with full-size bottles of Cowshed Spa products, which you are free to use but you'll be charged the retail price of each bottle you nick into your luggage.

All of this makes us wonder if dispensers are the future of hotel toiletries. What do you think? Have you spotted them anywhere?

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Element hotels too

Aloft's greener sister Element has toiletry dispensers. I also saw them in Barcelona at the Omm Hotel as well as in NYC at the GEM Hotel.

The MayFair

The 5 star MayFair in London has this approach as well (as of May 2009 anyway), with Gilchrest & Soames products.  I find it convenient not to have to open those little bottles - just squirt and wash - and appreciate that it's less wasteful.  No complaints here about this trend - I just want the products to be of a good quality.  If this measure cuts costs to allow the hotels to have higher quality products, it is more than fine by me.  It might feel cheap and stingy if the products in the big dispensers were generic and not luxurious, though.  


Chamberlain West Hollywood uses dispenser products from an upscale boutique, Neil George. They are truly amazing, and the rest of Viceroy Hotel Group is using the products at many of their other properties as well.

James New York

I saw dispensers of their Intelligent Nutrients shampoo and conditioner in the showers during our sneak peek tour...

Viceroy, really?

That's really interesting about Viceroy Hotels. They do not strike me as the toiletry dispenser type of brand but then again, it's a green practice so good move!

Very topical

Fabrice Burtin posted this a couple of days ago, covering the same topic:
"Show me your Bathroom Amenities & I will tell you Who You Are"


I did this story because not only had I noticed the rash of dispensers on my recent travels, but also because I just got off of a cruise where they used them in the cabin showers. Cruise ships used to do the little bottles...until lately, I guess.

The Clarendon Hotel

We're planning on moving to wall mount dispensers from L'Occitane next month (September 2010)... this should be the law, plain and simple.  We currently dispose of 125,000 little plastic bottles per year.. most are only 1/4 to 1/2 used, sending loads of unused chemicals into our groundwater supply.  The caps of little bottles increase risks of slip/fall.  Again, this should be the law - shame on hotels that continue to carry small bottles past the end of this year!

Hotel Dispensers

Have we seen this new product anywhere that has a dispenser inside of it?  The new product to come!   (YAHVISION.COM) Clean and Stress Free!

Please request and suggest that your favorite hotel and department store add with all the bells and whistles for ultimate enjoyment.  Elegance, luxury and style.

Environmentally Friendly

Unique Amenities has always known that luxury, style and being environmentally friendly can go hand in hand... Bravo to all the hotels that are recognizing that as well!

Doesn't change that much, imo

The truly determined will simply bring along their own empty bottles...

two thoughts

i'm all for green hotels, but dispensers always make me feel a little icky like i'm in a public toilet. i doubt they wash the dispenser bit every day, and i just find it a bit gross.
since i always take my swag home, i may start bringing my own bottles to places to fill up

Mens stuff

I have stayed in some posh hotels, some offer shampoo and hand cream for the ladies and on the odd occasion I snagged some free hair gel and face cream for men at the waldof Austoria which was nice.

Hotels should cater for men too, you pay enough for the room so why not.

soap dispensers

simple soap!...take your own medium travel soap container and fill from the dispenser...decant into a larger container when you go home.
This was the scenario at Express by Holiday Inn for the last 10 years or so.
Only trouble was if the dispensers ran out!...Express staff were very obliging in replacing with full dispensers...and even gave me the old, half-empty dispenser to take home (to avoid waste)...Express in some countries are now going back to basics.

Sanitory issues

I am totally agreed with juliab. I like being green, however, not all rooms in a hotel would be used constantly especially in a less populated area. Therefore, the stuff in the dispenser would stay in the dispenser for months if not a year. Shampoo, bodywash, etc, are chemcails and all have a limited shelf live. When maids keep refilling the dispenser, they are adding new chemicals to the older ones. It is almost like putting poisons onto your skin. Unless hotels specified they empty and cleaned out the dispensers every 3 months or so, I would hestitate to use it at all.

Just Say Noooooo!

Wall dispensers seem oh-so green, and that's right up my alley, but I just don't care for them at all!  I agree with juliab and Kevin Chan... I don't know what's in that dispenser or how long it has been in there.  Ick.

Instead, I much prefer paper bottle amenities and order those for my property, a luxury 'green' b&b.  We have used BeeKind by Gilchrist & Soames among others... and I plan to keep using these as long as we can!

Barb Shadomy
Stonehurst Place,
Atlanta GA

Tamper Resistant

Are the soap dispensers tamper resistant?  If not, I doubt I would use them and what about the liability exposure to the property?

The key would have to be tamper resistance

 I like this great product At the Sir Francis Drake San Francisco and Several Destination Resorts.

The Amenity Station a locking and tamper resistant fixture made from Stainless steel.

 by www.Aquamenities.com

 <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRk4ICJCh0o">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRk4ICJCh0o</a>

Thanks GLoh I agree

check this out...