What is complementary in a hotel ? (and some things that are not)


As you are packing your bags and getting ready to check out of your hotel, you are probably tempted to take some extra soaps, a pen, notepad or maybe even a towel. Is taking any of these items considered stealing or are you allowed to take all of this? Are these things (other than maybe the towel) complementary? In this post I will be discuss what is allowed to be taken from your hotel and what is not.

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset
Taken by Seth Teitelbaum

I. The obvious complementary items.

Experienced travelers who have stayed in a hotel know what the complementary items are, so let’s get them out-of-the-way first.


A study done by Hilton Hotel’s shows that 73% of Guests take the Toiletries home.

(Click here to view Hilton Hotel’s study)

I personally take home some toiletries from the hotels I stay at and use them when I travel on future trips, these items include:

  1. Soap
  2. deodorant
  3. Shampoo
  4. conditioner
  5. Mouthwash
  6. Toothpaste
  7. moisturizer
  8. Shaving Cream

Disposable items

Disposable, single use  items are the items that you would usually pick up at a store but the hotel provides a complimentary cheaper version, these items may include:

  1. Razor
  2. Showercap
  3. Tooth brush
  4. Sewing kit


I can’t remember the last time that I actually bought a pack of pens. Whenever I travel and stay in a hotel, I always snatch that pen that sits on the desk. I have so many pens that I have made a collection. (Click here to read my post on my hotel pen collection)

  1. Pen
  2. Notepad
  3. Envolpe
  4. Newspapers

Usally newspapers left by the door is meant for you to take but certain magazines and papers are meant to be left behind. There should be a sign next to those items stating that it should stay on hotel premisis.

Beverage packets

Some hotels have two types of coffee and tea packets. The packets on the coffee/tea-making station are free and the ones in the mini bar are NOT!

  1. Coffee
  2. Tea
  3. Sugar

The confusing complementary items

This is the part that gets confusing to travelers. Some of the items I will be listing below guests may not think are complementary, however, they are and you can feel free to take with you.

1. Slippers

Usally the hotel slippers are left behind, but the hotels actually want you take them with you. If you leave them behind its most likely they will be thrown to the trash.

2. Snacks

Some items that are in your mini fridge are not complementary but the little mints that are left under your pillow are complementary.

3. Bottled water

In most hotels the bottled water in your room is complimentary. Be aware that that is not always true. In those hotels that charge you for the water there will usually be a notice next to the bottles.


The things that are not always complementary (Depends on the hotel)

1. Mug

The mug that has the hotel logo imprinted on it are usually not a complementary item. In some instances if you ask the staff for one as a souvenir,  they will most likely give it to you. The Hotel gets cases of mugs in case they break during your stay. The hotel knows that one or two mugs will likely disappear.

2. Bathrobes

If you are staying in a Sheraton Hotel, the bathrobes are not for you to take, but if your staying in a St Regis Hotel then the Bathrobe might be a complementary item. I would recommend you ask the staff before you take one and end up seeing an additional charge on your credit card.

3. Umbrella

When it rains it pours. If you are staying at a resort or a higher class brand hotel then they would provide an umbrella. The umbrellas are meant to be returned to the hotel but more often then not they end up going missing.

4. Rubber ducks

Ok, I have read some articles about what are complementary and what is not in hotels and the duck thing is real. I never saw a hotel that actually had a rubber duck sitting on the tub. But apparently it is a thing in some hotels. You can have the duck, the hotel will provide another one for the next guest.


Things you should never take from hotels even if you must have it!

  1. Coffee machine
  2. Phone
  3. TV remote
  4. Alarm Clock
  5. Bed sheets
  6. Blankets
  7. Bible

All of these things listed above are items not for you to take home. You might think that I am crazy, it is common sense not to take these items. However, I have witnessed myself some people who have  walked out of the hotel with the coffee machine from their room.


Just remember If you don’t know then ask the staff of the hotel.

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset
Taken by Seth Teitelbaum

Thanks for reading – The Hotel Fanatic


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