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What Do People Steal From Hotel Rooms?

Where: Various Locations
April 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM | by | ()

It's okay, you can admit it. We've all pocketed the toiletries from the bathroom in hotel rooms. Really, it's all right. The little shampoo bottles travel awfully well, after all, and sometimes most times the shampoo is better than the slop we put in our hair at home.

This sort of "theft" has come to be accepted by hotels worldwide, from soap to shampoo. Hell, sometimes we've even taken the mouthwash and Q-tips (we've yet to come across anyone over 60 who swipes the shower cap, though). While we wouldn't think of touching the towels or the linens or the lamps, we know some of you out there have some explaining to do.

Yes, some of you have stolen the lamps out of hotel rooms, and we know all about it.

Hotels.com did a study recently and found that 35% of guests pocket hotel room amenities other than the aforementioned toiletries. Magazines, linens, clocks, lamps, and artwork all made the list, and we're sure the hair dryer has gone missing on more than one occasion.

The study also reveals what the rate of theft and leading item stolen are based on the individual country. The U.S.? Linens and towels are being tucked into suitcases. In China, it’s furnishings, such as lamps and artwork (seriously, how do you steal a lamp?!). In most other countries, magazines and books are what's flying off the shelves.

In the States, 66% of people said they have never stolen anything from a hotel room. Denmark is the most honest country with 88% of its people claiming they’ve never stolen anything, while only 43% of people in Colombia could say the same thing. See the entire rankings here.

So, come clean! What have you stolen from a hotel room? And for the industry folks, what do you see guests making off with most often?

[Photos: Will McGough for HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:


I'm a magazine junkie, and often can't help myself from stuffing whatever glossies I found in the room into my backpack on the way out. Of course, I'll probably never get around to reading any of them. It's just the idea of having them that I like.

Never tried stealing any furniture, though...I usually only pack one carry-on, so even if I wanted to nab a drawer or a lamp, I don't know where they'd fit!


I have to fess up to swiping the coffee and tea that I don't use.  The tea generally gets used when we're out running around, and the coffee in my desktop coffee maker at the office.  You can bet I'm going to look twice at the lamp next time, though!

Joey via Facebook

I once borrowed without returning a couple hand fulls of chocolate from the cleaning ladies cart.

Lindsay via Facebook

I found a Crowne Plaza nite light in my toiletry bag once. I still say it fell into my bag without my noticing....it's currently in my hallway!

Jason via Facebook

I often use the free laundry bags for my dirty clothes, but I stopped collecting hotel shampoo years ago.
In my showbox, I do have a set of linen wrapped ballroom silverware, and a tambourine from a show we did with Macy Gray... Her road manager was such an @$$!

re: Jason Via Facebook

A tambourine??? That's got to be the best one I've heard haha


I know the robes are a no-no, but we can take the slippers, right? If not, I'm in troubbblllleee....

Repeat Offender

I have to admit, I am a sample/small size junkie so when I see small stuff in hotel bathrooms I get so excited to take them home with me.  That's about as bad as I get, BUT, I have to say I did take a Walt Disney World face towel once for the memory because I am a Disney fanatic.  I did not feel too bad since I've given them thousands of dollars over the years :)

They trust us with some things and not others

My number one pet hate is non-removable coat-hangers.  When my dress is scrunched in a trolly bag all day I like to hang it in the bathroom for the creases to come out. Have you tried to do that with the coathangers where the loop stays in the wardrobe?  It's funny that a hotel will trust us with a Bose iPod dock but not a coathanger!  And don't get me started with hairdryers wired to the back of a drawer .. with a salon standard ceramic model at home I'm highly unlikely to nick theirs.

It's all about the logos.

The first hotel at which I worked was a new construction and when the Hotel Management Company took possession of the building from the contractors, it was discovered that none of the guest room sinks were equipped with stoppers to close the drain.  The hotel had magnets made with the hotel logo on them which would adhere to the metal ring around the drain at the base of the sink and keep the water in.

Those things flew out of the building faster than the towels!  That's one reason most hotels have moved away from logoed items as they are more fun for guests to walk off with as a souvienir of their stay. (I have a Holiday Inn logoed towel without any idea as to how it made its way into my linen closet -- honest!)

I have to admit that 25 years later, the hotel chain no longer exists, the building I worked in is closed and the grounds are overgrown, but that round logoed magnet looks very nice on my fridge.

Other than that, I'm a real pen thief.  I have a huge collection of hotel pens.

Guests that Steal

I tried to do something nice for our guests by putting hand lotion in our public bathrooms. 3 times I did this they were stolen within the week so I gave up. No hand cream.
Also someone stole a pair of paintings of the wall in their room.
I have lost bed pillows, they bring their own ones and take mine. My xmas tree in the lobby had its decorations go missing one by one.Its endless and guests wonder why we put the prices up. we are for ever replacing stuff.