Posted by: David Stewart | October 20, 2008

The Ethics of Hotel Amenities

One of the most memorable scenes for me in 2000’sMiss Congeniality is quite subtle, but totally hilarious. In it, pageant-prep superstar played by veteran actor Michael Caine is in the process of packing to check out of his hotel room as he carries out some discussion with another character. If you look closely at what Caine is doing, he is packing away rolls of toilet paper.

I love it, a little secret play on the kind of people who will clean everything out of a hotel room that they can get their hands on.

I often stay in the home of a family member whose drawers are chock full of hotel amenities like shampoo, conditioner and soap. Convenient for house guests, and a little pride in all of the traveling that resulted in these “acquisitions.”

Then a little ethics comment comes my way from another family member: “The hotel provides these for your use during your hotel stay. You don’t think they intend them to supply your home, do you?”

Recently I have had a hard time remembering to get a travel size tube of toothpaste, so I am constantly grabbing the teeny tiny tubes from the hotel (on the rare times they provide it). But then I get the little voice that nags my conscience – am I being Michael Caine in Miss Congeniality?

Why not collect the amenities and give them to homeless folks? Well, the hotel doesn’t intend for this either. Should I care what the hotel intends? Isn’t a hotel just a collection of human souls trying to make a living, hopefully doing what they love, just like me?



  1. I must defend my top-right-bathroom-drawer-ful of hotel baggings. I figure they’re advertisements as much as amenities…souvenirs of the place you stayed. The opened containers are going to get chucked anyway. One assumes that the hotel prices their rooms assuming that all amenities will be consumed.

    I just bagged a Loofah from the Taj West End in Bangalore. It is the most expensive free loofah ever!

  2. Actually the hotel room I am in at this moment of writing (Grand Hyatt, Taipei) has a loofah as an amenity too. I’ve never used a loofah before, and not sure what I would do with it. It stays.

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