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Most stolen hotel items

Slipping the fancy toiletries into your bag at each hotel is surely fair game, but what about more substantial items?

Wellness Heaven, a luxury and spa hotel guide, polled more than 1100 luxury hoteliers to discover the most common – and most brazen – acts of theft from guests.

The study found that the overwhelming majority of guests steal towels and bathrobes. These two objects of desire are closely followed by hangers, pens and cutlery.

There have been a few outrageous acts of thievery though.

Colin Bennett, a former general manager for the Starwood Hotel Group, recalled the most brazen theft he encountered during nearly 20 years in the business: “As soon as I walked into the lobby of one hotel,” he said, “I immediately realised something was missing – but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It transpired that three people had strolled into reception, dressed in overalls, and had wheeled the grand piano out of the hotel and down the street, never to be seen again.”

The poll also found that guests at five-star hotels were far more shameless when it came to stealing from their rooms. They were nine times more likely to take high-end TVs and five times more likely to help themselves to art.

Even expensive luxury mattresses (often worth several thousand euros) are not immune: the probability for their theft is 8.1 times higher in five-star hotels.

How exactly some of these goods are snuck out of the hotel is anyone’s guess. Hotel staff speculate that it’s often done at night using elevators that lead directly to the parking garage. Do people not know CCTV doesn’t sleep?

Thieving preferences by nationality

It seems the nationality of guests play a part in what they’re happy to take. German and British guests were found to stick to the less expensive and smaller items such as bathrobes, towels and toiletries.

In contrast, the Swiss are often tempted by the hairdryer and the Italians like to remember their trip by swiping the wine glasses.

Austrians can’t resist the call of the coffee machine and Americans are more likely to stick to plundering pillows and batteries from the remote control.

Perhaps the most impressive of all though, are the French. They seem to see taking TV sets and remote controls as holiday victories.

Other bizarre items stolen

A Berlin hotel reported having bathroom fixtures stolen, including the head of a rain shower, a toilet seat, a drainpipe and an entire sink.

A guest once removed the numbers from his hotel room door, for what reason I can’t fathom. The director of the English hotel admitted to only finding out when the next guest complained because he couldn’t find the room he’d been allocated.

Wooden benches from a sauna were stolen from a hotel near Salzburg. The private sauna was located on the terrace of a spa suite and the benches made of a desirable, fragrant pine wood. The hotelier only noticed the theft when a subsequent guest criticised the absence of seating options in the sauna.

Wellness Heaven

Wellness Heaven, founded in 2006 by quantum physicist Dr Tassilo Keilmann, reviews spa and luxury hotels. The 18 Wellness Heaven hotel testers regularly evaluate selected hotels and rate them on the basis of a standardised test procedure. The website focuses on hotels in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the Maldives.

Have you ever stolen anything from a hotel? What do you think is the most you could get away with? Why not share your favourite hotel story in the comments section below?

Read: 15 things that make you a dreadful hotel guest

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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