Home Hotels A New (To Me) Reason To Not Steal Hotel Towels, Robes & Linens

A New (To Me) Reason To Not Steal Hotel Towels, Robes & Linens

by SharonKurheg

Hotel guests steal stuff from their rooms ALLLLL the time. So much so that Wellness Heaven, a Germany-based luxury and spa hotel guide, once surveyed 1,157 hoteliers to find out what their guests stole, who (in terms of nationality) stole what, the most bizarre stolen goods, and the theft preferences of those in 4 star vs. 5 star hotels. Here’s what they found out.

If you look at the link, well, I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that towels were, by far, the most popular items that were stolen from hotels rooms, followed by bathrobes. Blankets and pillows weren’t stolen nearly as often, but still happened often enough to only be halfway down the list (as opposed to, say, mattresses).

Some hotels have tried to temper the theft with signs in guest rooms, reminding them that they will be charged if towels, linens, etc. are missing from the room.

PC: Sleep Inn & Suites

Others are more genteel and tell guests that if they find their robes that enjoyable, they’re available for purchase in the gift shop (but also that they’ll charge you if you just steal it).

PC: Ritz-Carlton

From what I can tell, some of these hotels just give lip service. Others, I can promise you, follow up – in fact, USA Today once reported that hotels in Nigeria and Japan have actually filed police reports and pressed charges against guests for stealing their towels and other amenities. And I will bet you anything that if your hotel bathrobes from the Grand Floridian Resort Hotel And Spa at Walt Disney World is missing at the end of your stay, you’ll be charged for it.

For a regular hotel that may not care so much as those in Japan, Nigeria and Disney World, you may figure that if it’s just the housekeeper who would need to report a missing towel or whatever, you might be able to get away with it. But get this – for over a decade now, many hotels have had RFID trackers sewn into their towels, robes, blankets, pillows, etc., as a form of theft deterrent.

PC: Reddit / aaronlikesbeer

If you Google HOTEL ROBES TOWELS TRACKING, you get several hits that are companies that sell such trackers. Fresh Equipment. InvoTech. Towel Tracker. Those and other companies have patented washable RFID chips that can be sewn into towels, robes and bed sheets. They’re flexible, washable, and can tolerate the high heat of industrial washing several hundred times.

The trackers are an excellent way to keep track of linens in storerooms, and eliminate having to count how many washcloths you still have. However a fringe benefit is they can also tell you when towels are not where they’re supposed to be. For example:

RFID trackers, of course, only work in small areas. So that hotel in Albuquerque where you stole that bathrobe won’t be able to see that it’s now hanging in your bedroom at home. However many hotels have placed readers at their entrances and exits, so hoteliers are alerted by an alarm when a towel/robe/etc. is leaving the property. And I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to have to explain how that super fluffy Ritz-Carlton bath towel get into my suitcase.

So yeah…maybe think twice about taking that stuff. It may not be as easy as you think.

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Frank January 5, 2022 - 4:55 pm

One more big benefit is that most of these hotels have linen services so they used to have to track the washing by weight and guess how many sheets and towels left and were returned by the service but now they know exactly what was sent out and what was returned.

SharonKurheg January 5, 2022 - 7:07 pm

Yup. Some of their theft also happens at those services.


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