The Items Most Often Stolen From Hotels, & The Nationalities Of Who Steals What

by SharonKurheg

People have been stealing stuff from hotels for probably about as long as there have been hotels. Small items, such as pens or pads of paper with the hotel’s name on them, or single-use bottles of shampoo, are obvious. Those items also aren’t really “stolen,” since hoteliers expect guests to take them.

But there are plenty of other things people steal from hotels – to the extent that there are notifications in the room that if you steal, say, the bathrobes from the room, you’ll get charged for them.

A while back, Wellness Heaven, a luxury and spa hotel guide based in Germany, 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:

Which items are stolen the most?

Screen Shot 2020-02-20 at 9.36.21 PM

Source: Wellness Heaven

It’s not surprising that people steal towels or even bathrobes. And I’ve certainly seen enough anti-theft hangers that won’t work in regular closets to know that people steal those, too. But look down towards the bottom of the list. Tablets and light bulbs? Coffee makers and TVs? Phones and lamps? And really, forget about value, but stealing blankets, pillows, and mattresses? Ew!

The most bizarre stolen goods

  • A hotel in Berlin said that some of their guests have been known to steal all of the bathroom fittings from their respective hotel rooms. Bathroom fixtures, the head of a rain shower, a hydromassage shower, a toilet seat, a drainpipe and even an entire sink have been pilfered.
  • A hotelier from Italy said, “Once I walked through the lobby, I noticed that something was missing, and soon after I learned that three unknown men in overalls had taken away the grand piano, and it never reappeared…”
  • In England, a hotel guest removed the numbers from his hotel room door.
  • A hotel in France had a stuffed boar’s head on the wall. A guest was caught trying to steal it (later on, his friends bought the trophy from the hotel and gave it to him as a wedding present LOL!).
  • A hotelier in Austria said that the fragrant pinewood benches in their hotel’s sauna were stolen.
  • In the Maldives, a hotel manager reported they had to buy new flower arrangements several times a week to replace the ones that are snitched.

Theft habits of guests of 4 star vs. 5 star hotels

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Source: Wellness Heaven

Besides being asked what people stole, a total of 634 hoteliers from 4-star hotels and 523 from 5-star hotels were surveyed to determine the behavior of thieves depending on their wealth (or, I guess, how much they were willing to spend on a hotel room).

I found this chart to be the most interesting from a “human interest” POV. At the top of the chart, guests of 4-star hotels were generally more likely to steal the comparatively cheaper items, but once you got into more high-end things that could be found in hotel rooms, the theft of those items happened more often in 5-star places. I guess the artwork, TVs and mattresses in 5-star hotels are that much better than those in 4-star hotels? πŸ˜‰

Who steals what, based on nationality

  • German and British hotel guests appear to enjoy stealing towels, bathrobes, cosmetics and toiletries the most.
  • Austrian’s favorite things to steal are dishes and coffeemakers.
  • Italians’ thievery tends to be focused on wine glasses.
  • Guests from Switzerland are often the most interested in taking the hotel’s hair dryers.
  • French hotel guests are the ones to tend to steal their rooms’ TVs and remote controls.
  • Guests from The Netherlands focus on light bulbs and toilet paper.
  • And finally, guests from the United States often enjoy stealing hotels’ pillows and batteries.

Go to this page of Wellness Heaven’s website for more info about the survey.

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LAURAPDX February 23, 2020 - 7:03 pm

I thought that the pens and paper were complimentary and offered to guests (to promote the name brand).

SharonKurheg February 23, 2020 - 9:05 pm

Me too. And I have the pens and pads to prove it (pens from Renaissance hotels are my favorite)

Carl WV February 23, 2020 - 7:20 pm

So nobody steals the spare toilet paper roll or tissue box?

SharonKurheg February 23, 2020 - 9:04 pm

I do, on occasion πŸ˜‰

Billy Bob March 26, 2023 - 3:43 am

I’ll hit the cart if no one’s around.

Mk February 23, 2020 - 9:52 pm

30 ml Toiletries, that would be thrown away, are β€œstolen”? this is pure idiocracy.

SharonKurheg February 23, 2020 - 10:17 pm

Well, let’s hope they would at least donate them ;-). But I’m with you – single use toiletries are made to be given away, AFAIC

Kjekje February 8, 2024 - 2:11 pm

If I use 1/2 of it and then take the rest home. I say it is a memory. Have plenty of those, made a shelf in our bathroom to remeber ,, those where the days, it allways help us to remember our trips, here and there.

Dan @ Points With a Crew February 23, 2020 - 10:02 pm

I take literally every pen from every hotel that I see. And I also do not consider that stealing

Lrdx February 24, 2020 - 12:12 am

The.. Mattress? How? Why?

SharonKurheg February 24, 2020 - 12:38 am

Beats the crap outta me πŸ˜‰

Christian February 24, 2020 - 12:24 am

I don’t understand the cosmetics, since I’ve never seen them offered. Do you think they might mean toiletries?

SharonKurheg February 24, 2020 - 12:38 am

Dunno. I just reported the terminology they used in their data

derek August 21, 2021 - 2:15 pm

I often reallocate one roll of spare toilet paper per trip (ha ha), not per night, even if I stay in different hotels. The small pad of paper is often convenient to use. I consider taking towel as wrong and to be avoided.

AlohaDaveKennedy August 21, 2021 - 6:16 pm

I would have thought that in the age of COVID shortages toilet paper would be a major theft item.

Bobby boy November 14, 2022 - 8:10 pm

Pens and single use toiletries are not theft.

SharonKurheg November 14, 2022 - 8:22 pm

I don’t think so either. But they’re “taken,” so I guess they were included in the survey.

Rsm61 November 14, 2022 - 10:00 pm

Just a clarification I think, concerning the following paragraph.

In the Maldives, a hotel manager reported (s)he had to buy new flower arrangements several times a week to replace the ones that are snitched.

I thought “snitching” was telling on someone, and stealing things was referred to as “snatching” them?

But I could be wrong, and I guess it depends on where you’re from. But I’m not a snitch, and I haven’t had any sn@+ch for quite a while (yet another meaning, lol).

SharonKurheg November 14, 2022 - 10:20 pm

“Snitch” is “to steal” in the UK (second meaning according to Oxford is to inform on someone). Updated the spelling because we run a family show here πŸ˜‰ but, um, my condolences? πŸ˜‰

Tony March 25, 2023 - 8:11 pm

Since when were pens not considered complimentary?

SharonKurheg March 25, 2023 - 8:16 pm

I mentioned that in the next sentence πŸ˜‰

John March 25, 2023 - 11:49 pm

A bit racist.

StAugustine March 26, 2023 - 12:50 pm

I have a collection of hotel pens.

Rachel May 14, 2023 - 3:44 am

Ooops. I always thought the pens and pads of paper were complementary and okay to take.


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