What's OK to Steal from My Hotel Room?

There are so many things that five-star hotels won't tell you at the front office. Or in their ads. Don't fret. We asked Stephen Beal, vice president of Chancery hotel chain, to answer those questions you always wanted to ask, but were too shy to

Published: May 18, 2009 07:00:00 AM IST
Updated: Jul 31, 2019 12:51:21 PM IST

What items are most stolen from five-star hotel rooms? And what is OK to steal?

In my experience, bath robes, hand towels, face cloth, stationery, toiletries like soap, shampoos and combs are much sought after. We don’t mind really. Unless somebody decides to whack the linen.

You want it, you take it
Image: Malay Karmakar
You want it, you take it
What do you do with bottles of creams, lotions, shampoos that have been used only once? Do you throw away what remains?
Unused contents are thrown away, never recycled. Nowadays, most hotels have replaced bottles with squeeze tubes.

Does anyone trash rooms as bad as Hunter Thomson and his lawyer did?
Sure, there are people who misuse rooms very badly. Thankfully, no one seems to want to emulate Mr. Thomson.

This has truly mystified us: Why do you put ice in urinals?
Simple science. The ice melts slowly, so there is a continuous flow of water, which helps wash down the overpowering smell of urine.
Bonus: We end up saving on a significant amount of water as well.

How much do one of those fancy five star dinners actually cost to make?
Ahem….! Twenty-five percent of what it is actually priced at.

I am a well-read, well-fed, well-travelled man. And I’d like to believe I know pretty much all that there is to tipping etiquette across the world. But what in the devil’s name am I supposed to do in this country? At fancy places, I’ve seen people tuck into meals with bills that run into a few thousand rupees and walk out after leaving Rs. 100-150 in tips. Is something the matter here?
Er, as a thumb rule, 10 percent is appropriate.

Our tip on tipping: We will explain the mystery behind this number. When you pay for a meal with a credit card, and write the tip amount onto the charge slip, here’s what happens.
Each charge slip has a unique transaction number that stays live for some time. Usually, after closing hours, the cashier punches in the amount you’ve written out on the charge slip into his system and your card is debited with the amount, and the cash is then handed over to the waiter.

What remains unsaid though, is that if you write out a tip in excess of the 10 percent of the value of the bill, the transaction does not go through. This is to protect you from unscrupulous restaurateurs who could possibly punch in any amount of their choosing. And also because there is a tacit understanding between bankers and restaurant owners that 10 percent as tip is a fair number.

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(This story appears in the 05 June, 2009 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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  • Pradeep Gupta

    How much to tip the bellboy when you chek in and check out ?

    on May 22, 2009
Namaste, India
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