Mornings With Gina Birch

An email crossed my inbox this week that was titled, The Expert’s Guide To What You Can And Can’t Remove From A Hotel Room. I immediately thought, ‘Do we really need a guide for this kind of stuff?’ Then, I reached for the moisturizer in my purse that had Walt Disney World Resorts on it. It sparked a conversation with a friend whose family owns hotels in Southwest Florida and another who has been in hotel management for decades including properties in Fort Myers, Naples and Key West. You wont believe the crazy things taken from hotel rooms in Florida.

two espresso cups full of frothy coffee

These espresso cups are so cute. They were in a room I stayed at in Europe and would’ve made a nice souvenir. However, I left them behind like a good girl.

I get it. You are having a great time on vacation and want something to remember it by. Back in the day you could swipe a matchbook with the hotel logo. Some still have pens and notepads. Then you look over and see the cool coffee mug, robe,  fill in the blank here.  You think, ‘Surely they wont miss this one.’ Then I hear my mom saying, ‘What if EVERYONE took just one? Then there wouldn’t be any to take.’

I put the question to friends on Facebook. Here are a few confessions of the things taken from hotel rooms.

  • Toiletries
  • Toilet Paper
  • Do not disturb signs
  • Pool and bath towels
  • Sheets and blankets
  • Pillows
  • Bathrobes
  • Drapes
  • Chandeliers
  • Television
  • Iron
  • Hair dryer
  • Salt and pepper shakers
  • Dishes and coffee cups
  • Couch
  • Bible

Jeff Webb is the area general manager for Home2 Suites in Fort Myers, Naples and Nashville. Over the course of his 37 year career in the hotel industry he has seen some pretty crazy things. One of the most bizarre happened in Key West. Housekeeping called him to a room which had been cleared out. Literally. Everything single thing in the room was stolen. He says that is why televisions and even some artwork is bolted down in hotels these days.

Finally, getting back to that original email. It was from Mark Johnson, the founder of H18NY. He says, “Before you put anything you’re not sure about into your suitcase, remember you can always ask hotel staff if it’s okay to take.” Here are some general guidelines from both Jeff and Mark.

  • Toiletries and Stationary

    These are meant for you to use and are OK to take. Especially if the toiletries were opened and used during your stay. A friend of mine keeps a bag of them and puts them in her guest bath so there is always something there for visitors to discover, use and maybe even take for themselves to keep the cycle going.
    Hotel bathroom complimentary toiletries

  • Food and Drink

    Mostly yes. For instance, it would be OK for me to pocket the pods from this coffee maker pictured below. But not the coffee maker itself. By the way, this was the best in room hotel coffee I think I’ve ever had. It was at Bardessono in Yountville, California. Then there is the mini-bar. Feel free to clear it out. You’ll be charged handsomely for that one.
    Coffee dripping from a one serving coffee maker in a hotel room. It is frothy on the top

  • Linens

    Nope. I get it, the sheets and the pillows gave you the best night of sleep ever. But they need to stay. I know we always need beach towels living in Florida, but those you got from the pool should stay too. Definitely that plush robe as well. I’ve had so many great robes including a leopard print one at hotel in Portland, Oregon. NO, it did not end up in my suitcase. Most hotels will sell their bathrobes and some sell their pool towels too.
    close-up shot of bathroom amenities with bathrobe on bed in hotel room

  • Electronics

    This should be a common sense “don’t”. But apparently that is not the case. Never take cable boxes, hairdryers, irons, or lightbulbs. Yes lightbulbs. Keep the TV and its remote and the batteries in your hotel room. It’s not going to work with your television anyway. Also do not remove the clock/radio or tablet. These things are not souvenirs.

    TV remote control in the foreground, tv in the blurry background. Streaming.

  • Miscellaneous

    If your room provides a small sewing kit it is generally thought to be OK to take. It is typically part of the bathroom ‘amenities’ anyway. So are slippers. They are designed for single use and great to use on the plane. Toss them when you depart. However, if you hotel still has an ashtray, you should leave it along with glasses, mugs and dishes. Artwork belongs to the hotel too. Don’t take it or any other décor, including furniture.
    Clock radio on a nightstand along with a bottle of wine, two glasses, a wine key and a welcome note


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