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The Newest Hotel Trend? Doing Away With The Mini-Bars

Where: Various Locations, United States
August 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM | by | ()

In a move that is most certainly a reason to jump on the next hotel bed you come across, properties around the world have begun to pull the plug on the overpriced, in-room vending machines we call mini-bars. Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt are all onboard with the change, and while not all brands will follow along, we expect to see a major decline in numbers over the next couple years.

Now, the concept of the mini-bar is really great in theory. It's nice to have a beer or quick snack at your disposal in the room, but hotels really took the wrong turn with their approach, jacking up the prices, billing guests if they merely removed an item to inspect it, and charging for the "privilege" to have the mini-bar emptied for fridge space. They also ran into problems of billing, relying on a site inspection by staff to add the charges to the room. Guest honesty also came into play in a variety of ways. You could get out of a mini-bar bill pretty easily by refilling a vodka bottle with water or simply insisting you didn't have anything upon check out. Most hotels, if you push it enough, are not going to lose your business over a bag of M & Ms.

With that, we offer a hearty good riddance to the mini bar, and we applaud the big brands for beginning to make this much-needed change. According to reports, the decision came at the hand of guest complaints of high prices and, we're assuming, the resulting loss of income the hotel suffered.

That last little fact might be the best part about this whole story. Forget the mini-bar for a second and notice that when we (the consumers) spoke up not only with our voices but with our dollar, the industry responded. So the next time you feel like you're at the mercy of big business, think again. All their ears perk up when it comes to the mighty dollar.

Where do we go from here? Well, how about we start with mini fridges in the room and reasonably-priced vending machines in the hallways? From there, we'll see how it goes.

Funny where we find ourselves right now in 2013. Both room service and mini-bars on their way out. Who would have called that five years ago?

Are you as happy as we are? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

I don't know

I hate the ridiculous jacked-up prices they charge BUT sometimes those nuts/Snickers/Pringles/Dean & Deluca candies and Cokes have been a life-saver when I've arrived in a hotel after a long flight and am too tired to hit up the grocery store.

Grab N Go

I think we'll see the minibar replaced with expanded or new lobby grab and go options. Hilton is already evolving this with the elimination of room service.  I'd personally miss not having a minibar in a Kimpton or W room.


Like I said on a similar article in USA Today, good. Mini bars are just a way for hotels to squeeze every dollar they can out of you. No you are not forced to eat anything out of it, but keep bumping into it, like my toddler was, and they'll charge you like a linebacker. It was hell getting my money back, even though I hadn't gotten a thing out of there.

...um, yeah

Minibars are huge money loosers for hotels and most hotels don't like having them because of this.  They were only there to add luxury cache which has dwindled over time.  The industry is certainly changing towards a self service, you get what you pay for, complain to the computer experience, which is not all bad.

Compact appliances

Most of the hotels rooms are introducing compact appliances to for their customers ease. Instead of using mini bars they have to bring some compact refrigerators for hotels room. Their storage space can help to store drinks and several eatables.