Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 February 2020

From mattresses to pianos: the most surprising items stolen from the world's luxury hotels

Thieving hotel guests at luxury resorts are helping themselves to more than just toiletries

Hotel guests are making off with mattresses in the middle of the night, according to a survey by Wellness Heaven.
Hotel guests are making off with mattresses in the middle of the night, according to a survey by Wellness Heaven.

Hands up if you’ve ever pocketed the toiletries from your hotel room? You’re not alone.

Hotels have long had to contend with guests helping themselves to shower gel, shampoo and the odd bathrobe, but it seems travellers are getting ever more ambitious.

According to a new study by spa hotel review site Wellness Heaven, luxury holidaymakers are stealing mattresses, televisions, coffee makers and more.

Hotel guests are stealing coffee makers from their rooms. Courtesy Design Hotels / HabitaMonterrey
Hotel guests are stealing coffee makers from their rooms. Courtesy Design Hotels / HabitaMonterrey

Researchers at the German website surveyed hoteliers from 1,157 four and five-star hotels, primarily located in Europe, about the items tourists are packing up upon checkout.

The most common things stuffed in suitcases were towels, closely followed by bathrobes, coat hangers and pens.

According to a survey by Wellness Heaven, hotel guests are stealing mattresses, coffee-makers and television sets from their rooms.
According to a survey by Wellness Heaven, hotel guests are stealing mattresses, coffee-makers and television sets from their rooms.

Thief in the night

Holidaymakers are also taking more than just the small things.

Mattresses, often worth thousands of dirhams, are being taken from five-star hotels. Hoteliers reported that this type of theft typically happens in the middle of the night using elevators that lead directly to underground parking lots.

Grand Piano theft

A hotel in Italy reported the theft of a grand piano from the hotel lobby. Courtesy flickr
A hotel in Italy reported the theft of a grand piano from the hotel lobby. Courtesy flickr

But that’s not the biggest item taken. A hotelier from Italy reported the theft of a grand piano which suddenly went missing from the lobby.

In the Maldives, one resort needs to purchase new flower arrangements several times a week to replace missing ones and a hotel in Berlin had an entire sink stolen from a guest bathroom.

Five-star finds

Stealing patterns differ for four and five-star hotels. While overall theft is more likely to occur from four-star properties, specific items are much more likely to be taken from more luxury hotels.

Towels, bathrobes and coat hangers are often stolen from four-star hotels. Guests in five-star hotels are more likely to swipe artwork and blankets.

In the case of mattresses, five-star hotels are eight times more likely to be robbed of these than four-star hotels.

British go for bathrobes, Dutch pocket light bulbs

According to the survey, stealing preferences vary greatly by nationality of guests. German and British holidaymakers play it safe by swiping toiletries, with the occasional bathrobe also being smuggled home.

Austrians favour coffee cups or the chance coffee maker while US tourists tend to make off with batteries — perhaps taking advice from Ross in Friends.

Swiss tourists occasionally steal hairdryers if the appliances aren't attached to the wall and the French apparently represent the nation most likely to pocket a television and its remote control.

Dutch travellers are very practical when it comes to hotel thieving — the results showed that they prefer light bulbs and toilet paper.

Hotels in the UAE

Travel kleptomania also happens locally. According to Sabri Chouaib, operations manager at Hilton Garden Inn Ras al Khaimah, many of the guests staying in the hotel take smaller items home with them.

“Guests often help themselves to the bathroom products in the room. These amenities are all provided by Hilton Garden Inn for guests to enjoy, so we’re pleased they make the most of them and take them as a memento of their stay.”

But larger items have also been taken from the Ras al Khaimah hotel, although no mattresses have been reported missing.

“We’ve seen the hairdryer, alarm clock and even the soap dish go missing from our rooms before,” says Chouaib. “We’d ask our guests to keep items like these in their rooms as otherwise the next guest might have to go without.”

Updated: December 10, 2019 02:07 PM

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