Family Caught on Video With Stolen Items From Their Hotel: What’s OK to Take?

A video going viral on social media shows a family caught by their hotel in Bali with items in their luggage stolen from the hotel. Points of Arabia explains that the family got into an argument with hotel staff, and the property demanded they open their bags for inspection. They were caught with stolen items from their room. One stolen piece after another gets revealed.

What Are the Most Extreme Thefts?

A former Starwood GM reports the theft of a grand piano from his lobby. Some guests walk out with the TV from their room. Another GM reports a guest unscrewing the room number off their door for a souvenir.

How about,

sections of carpet, light fittings, mirrors and even curtains. …a medieval sword, door hinges and a 4ft wooden bear. .. One gentleman staying at the famous Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel – which featured in the film Pretty Woman – is alleged to have taken the entire marble fireplace. … a couple staying at an American Holiday Inn specifically requested a room near the car park. They then proceeded to empty the entire contents of said room (bed, furniture, the lot) into their handily-parked U-Haul.

Now we know why some chains mount hair dryers to the wall.

What Can You Take from a Hotel?

Hotels actually want you to take the toileteries. They don’t want you to raid the housekeeping cart — many of those now lock down when unattended, whereas in years past they used to be completely open. But the ones in your room? Clean those out, the hotel hopes you will think of them and the brand when you use them.

Hyatt specifically implores you to do it.

Beyond toileteries,

The most common items taken by British travellers were stationary (20 per cent admitted taking such items) and slippers (12 per cent).

What Happens When You Cross the Line?

Some hotels have taken to RFID tags to detect when towels leave the property.

[O]ne hotel that has saved $16,000 per month by reducing its towel thefts each month from 4000 down to 750 by attaching washable RFID tags to its towels. I assume that they aren’t actually tracking down towel thiefs, rather by letting guests know that the towels are tagged this serves as a deterrent. Presumably the deterrent would work just as well by telling guests that the RFID tags are in the towels, without any need to make the actual investment, at least as long as they are able to keep their lack of technology investment a secret.

More than warning you, or even catching you, there can be real consequences to theft in some places:

In Japan a few years ago, one hotel reportedly had a young couple arrested for running off with bathrobes and an ashtray, while a woman in Nigeria was sentenced to three months in prison for stealing two towels from the Transcorp Hilton Abjua Hotel.

Too bad they didn’t take advantage of towel amnesty.

What Do You Take from Hotels?

What do you consider yours, as part of the room rate? What do you feel a little guilty about? And what wouldn’t you ever take?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Jim

    Shame. I wasn’t born in OZ.

    But in the country that sent its convicts to populate the USA. Ironically, in the same numbers that they sent to Australia.

    Notwithstanding that inconvenient factoid, if that is your view of Australia, more than happy that you stay well away from our wonderful country, a country that doesn’t condone killing each other in mass shootings or tell its own Australian-born democratically elected parliamentarians to go home whence they came in an act of divisively aggressive racism whilst inciting mass rally hysteria.

    Now, in terms of the original post – the more your “leaders” behave like self-entitled idiots, the more you witless apologists will assume that your bad behavior is acceptable – society degrades, behaviours fester.

    Here is Oz, government realising they can no longer depend on alliances – military or trade – that our forebears fought alongside to protect and champion. So very sad.

    Fortunately, the vast majority of the US folk I meet or count as friends can see through your BS…

    Now, please, make my day, tell me you’re gonna stay away from Oz…your gun lobby is already spending more dollars per capita over here than in your own sad killing fields…(Steven Romerowho one of the latest children to be slaughtered…we don’t want that or your vile racism here)…

  2. @ Ivy — I certainly hope you weren’t calling me a racist. I am by no means a racist, and I haven’t said anything racist in my comments (unless Oompa Loompas are a real race).

  3. I’ve often wondered about towels.

    Mandatory “resort fees” sometimes included “pool towels.”

    What’s the problem?

  4. @Raging platy.
    (1) Raging P said: “easy sport to dent the reality of the right-wing apologists with some basic facts and figures.” Whenever an angry leftist says this, usually they enter into the fact free zone. Why bother to use your brain, when you can just parrot talking points. Patient goes into a doctor and says my brain does not work can you do a brain transplant? The doctor say sure and points to two brains and says one is $100,000 the other is $100. What’s the difference the Patient asks? The doctor wisely says, more expensive brain is from a liberal. Never been used, almost new. The cheaper brain is from a conservative, worn out, thinking too much. [Actually Gary, it is just a joke, I am sure your brain is well used.]
    (1) My comment about Canada and Australia was not anti-Australian. Both countries accept legal immigrants, but you have to go through the legal process and obtain approval from authorities. Canada is difficult, because I know people that have moved there, and Canadians are protective of their jobs. I have read in mainstream media that Australia is the same. It was the comment was actually meant to be a tease for Allen and Gene, implying that they were not qualified to immigrate to Canada or Australia. WTH. Not sure Canada would approve my immigration application, even though as a working person, I am not a useless activist threatening to immigrant.
    (2) You said “my wife is a Latina immigrant – the sort that your POTUS” is against. Now President Trump has a problem with immigrants without documentation [well, except for a stolen Social Security cards and the like]. Following the logic, it sounds like your wife was a latina without documentation. Did she marry you for your documents? I know men that have married women who wanted documents, and it did not work out well for them. The woman cheated and then left them taking half, plus 10 years of spousal support. I hope you signed a prenup. [If you gave her an iphone, you can track her movements using the find my phone feature. However, if she is cheating on you in your own bed, when you are at work, then the find my phone might not help.]
    (3) The term “latina” is confusing. Liberals classify them all as brown. But they speak Spanish in Central and South America, because many were white. Have you ever been to South America? Many are whiter and more European most Americans. Talking about white, AOC looks whiter than most Puerto Ricans (who are American citizens at birth) that I see in the Salsa clubs in New York. Maybe I am going blind, because she claims to be a woman of color.
    (4) On Australia, I personally am thankful to them for maintaining traditional English food. Modern day London is cappuccino, wine, and multicultural food. Aussie food is beef and kidney pie, bangers and mash, chicken and mushroom pie. Great. If I could just get them to serve their beer warm, out of a wood barrel with a pump, it would be a big win. But it is true, partying, drinking, and rugby do appear to be a national pastimes. Rating P will probably go nuts on that statement. However, I told a real Aussie and he laughed and bought me a drink. Then I bought him a drink, then after some more drinks, it is kind of hazy. Aussie beer is kind of strong you know Raging P, are you really an Aussie? Most Aussies I have met are not snowflakes like you. Are you sure you are manly enough for a “latino’ woman? When was the last time she seduced you? If it has been a while, maybe you should muscle up and watch the movie Hitch for some tips on dating your wife.
    (5) “nazi rallies”. Raging P, you do realize that the Nazi movement was in Germany. History seems to be a weak point for you.
    (6) Despite your rant against the USA, I still think that the USA navy should protect your dinky country against Chinese dominance. What, you say Australia is not dinky? Well EXCUSE me. The total population of Australia is 25MM. The population of the New York City Metropolitan area alone is 24MM. Even in your area, your country does not have not so many people. For example, Indonesia has 216MM. Philippines, 108MM. Vietnam, 96MM. Thailand, 69MM. Malaysia, 28MM.
    (7) “inconvenient factoid”. Yea, right. One irrelevant fact, probably from fake news CNN. BTW. Do you know where your wife is right now. If you are checking her on the iphone, you are [as President Trump would say] “A LOSER.”

  5. Is it ok to take branded pens? I often would like to take them as a souvenir, especially when they are not written in a Roman alphabet or have some out-of-the-way place on them, but I was never sure if that was ok. Especially if they aren’t just the thin cheap plastic kind.

  6. Well at least they did not steal the bible. The housekeeper who caught that must have got a nice pat on the back for finding it. But really why does a hotel even have stuff in the room for guests to steal to begin with? And why does a guest really want to take stuff that has been used by 365 other people?

    Growing up i remember having Holiday Inn towels in green lettering. They were only used to dry the dogs feet because they were so rough.

  7. @ Other Just Saying says:

    on your


    The irony in Australia is that while the right-wing has used the racist card and irrational fear of terrorism to instill fear and loathing in the community by demeaning and denigrating boat arriving refugees ever since the infamous Tampa and “children overboard incident”, the reality is that there is an enormous influx by plane of folk simply overstaying their tourist or working holiday visas (estimated at up to 90,000 or about 1,000,000 per capita in USA terms) or applying for asylum whilst on a tourist visa after entry into the country – under the government process they are immediately awarded a bridging visa enabling them to work and access universal healthcare: there are an estimated 250,000 of these (or about 2,500,00 million in USA terms). The temporary or permanent visa may take two or more years to process.

    The point is that when most folks start to hold up Australia as an example of strong immigration policy they get suckered into the right-wing government storybook – look at how we are “stopping the boats” when the real story is that the government has lost control of the majority cases through its own ineffective policy.

    There is the compounded idiocy that those who have arrived and been processed are probably not going to be able to work in the field of their expertise and education since it is hard to get overseas qualifications ratified.

    Oh, and, until recently companies could make overseas hires without a due attempt at local recruitment through the extensively rooted 457 Visa system.

    Of course, when right-wingers look through the lens of their prejudiced lens they only hear the convenient (and factually incorrect) narrative about “stopping the boats”.

    (2) / (3)

    Trump is quite happy to play the racist card, attacking people based on their race regardless of their documentation or actually even being born in the USA.

    Your other comments on my wife expose your total lack of character.


    More drivel that, again, exposes your lack of character. Please don’t come to Australia. You’ll be disappointed by the lack of steak and kidney pie!


    You are in dangerous territory when you are inciting folk to mass chant “send her back” (cf Ihlan Omar). It’s a slippery slope. Learn from history.


    Oh yeah – the might is right mantra. But not helping in the South China Sea and Straits of Hormuz at the moment…nor encouraging confidence in generations-old alliance members…

    PS. Back on topic….I did take a towel from Necker Island once (along with some Molton Brown toiletries) – must pay back Richard Branson next time I see him!

    ; )

  8. @ platy

    Your incoherent rant against “right wingers” and “Trump” show what an ignorant ass you really are – but then that’s what I expect from drunken aus-holes like you. Keep playing your hit record about not having “coons” living next door.

  9. @Raging P. No steak and kidney pie in Australia. Then why would anyone go to Australia. I mean standards have to be met. Next you will be telling me there is no more beer in Australia and I have to drink Chardonnay. The horror.

    Oh, I know. I should go to Australia to find latina women that have recently dumped their husbands for being total wusses. Na, it is kind of far to go just to find rebounds.

    Rage on dear boy rage on. Over an out.

  10. @ Other Just Saying says

    Mate, you should stay exactly where you are – the rum grog comes sharp enough to scour ya guts into a butt searing prolapse – we have ripper roos at the back of our place that’d box ya pachycephalic cranium and scratch up ya fat guts, salties at the local beach that’d death roll ya bloated arm clean off, and pythons living in the roof that’d swallow you up, slow and whole…the local fellas would spear up ya up and shrink ya head into a bob toy for the dashboard of their red muddied ute…MAKE AMERICA GREAT BRITAIN AGAIN…

  11. @ Jim

    “Coon” is a brand of cheese in Australia. And Alan Bond went to jail (but not before Australia trounced the USA in the Americas Cup and sadly ya mob is still crying poor over the keel design). And our proctologists are world-class and stand behind their work.

    But then, America is the greatest country in the USA…MAKE AMERICA GREAT BRITAIN AGAIN!

    And stay away from Australia, there’s a good fella…now have an awfully nice day…

  12. @ platy

    COON was a hit song in your country, and has nothing to do with cheese, as you well know but are too much of a coward to admit.

    I do agree the US is a great country, but we have no desire to become of the Britain’s puppets like your country. I’m sure you do not mind sending tax money to the queen.

    And I have no intention of returning to your country, please stay out of mine as well. Better yet; don’t travel at all. I travel a LOT, and any time there is bar fight or in the street anywhere I go (Middle East, Asia, etc…) 99% of the time it’s one of your drunken countrymen involved.

  13. platy’s:
    Australia? You have got to be kidding me…..

    10% GST for all, 40%+ effective top tax rate, council rates payable even if you are out of the country, ridiculous stamp duty rates, some of the most expensive food, real estate prices in the world. Australians are some of the most angry people on earth – due to mortgage stress? Cost of living? Or is it just that everything ailing Australia has been caused by China?

    What country’s political system is more dysfunctional than Australia’s? who has THE worse race-relations? And you attempt to even try to compare it to the USA? Really? remember Pauline Hanson?

    thanks for the laugh

  14. @ Jim

    If you knew more than one line of the song you might get the humourous reference made to Alan Bond (but no – way over your head).

    Just remember to leave your guns at home when you travel – civilised countries like Australia have gun control laws to prevent the endemic plague of mass shootings that occur in the US – strangely enough, it works.

    Most herein don’t want your NRA interfering with our politics despite their best efforts to do so (as recently as a few days ago the NRA president attempting to trash our gun laws and our former PM who introduced them).

    Also remember that civilised countries and their respective states have laws to limit racism and discrimination and racial incitement – this because some inevitably abuse their freedom of speech to attempt to victimise, marginalise and discriminate others unfairly and cannot use their freedoms responsibly without seeking to hurt others. The vile personal and racist attacks on this very thread would not be tolerated, for example. So be a good boy and leave your racism at home when you travel, it may get you into trouble in other countries.

    Most folk I meet from the US are entirely in agreement with the above and very decent people, which is why my comments are not anti-USA – my comments are directed at those individuals who wantonly abuse their freedom of speech and circulate misinformation to justify seeking to hurt and victimise others.

  15. @ Bailey

    Oh you precious snowflake – you can’t take on a comment without it being taken as some heinous anti-USA rant. Australia was being held up as an example of strong refugee policy by the racist right wing apologists on this thread – I was pointing out that wasn’t the case and provided FACTS and FIGURES on such.

    FWIW the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party, ironically enough, was outed pre-election by the media when trying to get money from the US gun lobby and thereby lost much credibility mustering only a few percent of the national vote in the 2019 election.

    FWIW many state sales taxes in the US are similar to the GST rate in Australia.

    Our income tax rates don’t even kick in until $18,000 (or higher if tax offsets apply) wherein US taxpayers have been doling out 12%.

    There are so many tax avoidance opportunities in Australia that the worst-case scenario would be paying 30% (by channeling your income through a company structure), once you’ve exhausted splitting into superannuation funds (at 15%) and family trust structures, offset against negative gearing of investment properties, located your business away from your “residence” to apply travel allowances below fringe benefit tax reporting requirements, etc…the big US corporates in Australia pay little in any local taxes, which is a scandal in itself.

    My US friends complain about their property taxes – if my modest dwelling in Northern Australian was in Pennsylvania for example, I’d be paying $6,000 against Council Rates in my home city of $2000 – my mate south of Philly is paying about $45,000s in property taxes alone…

    Not that any of that is really relevant – only to serve to expose your utter ignorance.

    Now, to be clear, what we don’t want is the US gun lobby and associated apologists coming to our country messing with a system that works – we don’t murder each other = and our childrren in mass shootings. So your NRA and supporters can stay away.

    And, per my post to @Jim, a gentle reminder that other countries have laws against the racist and discriminatory behaviours such as the posts above – you may need to respect such when you travel.

  16. @ platy,

    You’re quit the long winded racist aren’t you? Still a coward, though. And yes; your comments are a direct attack on the US. I’ve never mentioned guns, but you very clearly have an issue with the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights which allow Americans to own firearms. You have used this hatred to attack me numerous times, but then in your drunken state I’m sure you don’t comprehend that. Again, do us all a favor and stay out of our country.

  17. @ Jim

    No. Disagreeing on a political point / policy cannot be logically extrapolated to a hatred of a whole country. If you’re smart, you know that.

    Inescapable fact. Hate speech in the US is not regulated. Apparently, that means that the personally derogatory nasties that have been written about me and my wife, on the latter profoundly and vile racism are OK in the US.

    But can only happen when individuals abuse the power. Thus not an attack on a country but those who abuse their freedoms.

    In Australia it is regulated.

    Just remember that when you travel – not all countries allow hate speech under the cloak of free speech.

    If Australian organisations were seeking to alter the US political milieu in the way that US groups like the NRA are trying to mess with Australia you might be one to have reservations yourself.

    Enjoy your Constitution and Bill of Rights.

    And for goodness sake, try not to presume and claim that an alternative point of view is motivated by hatred.

    Travel safe.


    PS. The latter was (when previously posted) and is a joke. So lighten up snowflake. Once again, humour has gone right over your head. Cue another round of personal abuse from an over sensitive and humourless yank.

  18. @ Platy,

    Yet another long winded rant by a racist, drunken aus-hole. Attacking our Constitution and our Amendments is an attack on our whole country. You are not smart, or you would know that.

    Again, keep your drunken, racist self out of freedom loving country.

  19. @ Jim

    The Constitution and Amendments are a matter for the citizens of the USA to decide (although the volume of proposed amendments – 11,770 introduced to congress between 1789 to January 2019 and 33 sent to States for ratification of which 27 passed, the most recent, apparently, in 1992 – clearly indicate that US citizens themselves are keen to make changes!). No matter how attached or perfect you think your constitution/amendments may be, clearly it is subject to change with US citizens realising they are not “sacred texts”…if you were smart you would know that.

    You might like to try the “Aus-holes” insults the next time you find yourself in a bar full of those “drunken Aussies” mentioned in an earlier post or insulating their partners or race. It would be interesting to see how far you get chucked out of the bar and / or arrested for public nuisance.. f…hopefully you exercise more basic manners and maturity on your travels than that expressed by you and certain others on this blog/thread.

    @ Gary

    Your blog obviously cannot be recommended to friends/colleagues and the frequent flyer community any longer given its infestation of hatred and racism. Vile stuff.

  20. @ platy

    I made no mention of anyone’s partners or their race. But you being a drunken aus-hole wouldn’t remember that far back. Nice try at yet another attack. BTW – the last time I was in Bangkok I very much enjoyed watching a 6″ 6′ 250 pound, loud-mouth drunken aus-hole get his a$$ handed to him by three 5″2′ Thai guys!!! Take your own advice and watch who you trash talk.

  21. @ Jim

    Yet another mass shooting in the USA. This time, El Paso. Twenty or more dead and dozens injured. Currently reported that this was motivated by hatred and racism directed at Latinos.

    That’s where the hatred and racism you and others on this thread have expressed leads you.

    All you need to add to the mix is ready access to military-grade weaponry to create a bloodbath.

    It doesn’t generally happen in my country of birth (UK): it doesn’t happen in my country of residence (Australia). In Australia, 3 mass shootings in the last 23 years: in the USA, 250 in 2019 alone.

    Your so-called freedoms cease to be freedoms when they impact the freedoms of others.

    Your country is not under attack from reason and common sense – rather from within, from the vile hatred and racism that you, certain others on this thread, and certain folk in your administration – RIP the murdered in El Paso.

    Travel safe.

    Oh yes, I always take the pens from the hotel rooms when I travel.

  22. @ platy,

    Thank you for once again proving what an aus-hole you are. You remind me of the aus-hole who shot up the mosque in New Zealand.

  23. @Jim

    Another day. Another mass shooting in USA. This time 9 dead. In under 30 seconds. The killer had access to a weapon that could kill 9 people in under 30 seconds.

    In NZ (since you mentioned that): gun reform from their government within 6 days. The Muslim (in this case the object of the racist hatred) community embraced.

    Spot the difference between the NZ and USA governments. One acts to protect its citizens.

    Yet @ Jim still calling Australians “Aus-holes” (although I wasn’t even born in Australia so it can’t be a personal insult rather a generically racist one like the many earlier posts), thereby expressing his hatred and racism.

    What now – are you gonna call NZ folk from NZ “Ki-holes” because they had some courage and acted, and thereby have shown up what an utterly uncivilized administration you currently have?

    Same in Australia. The government acted after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 (and a right-wing government at that).

    Spot the difference between the Australian and the USA governments. One acts to protect its citizens.

    Your hatred and racism are exactly what breed such mass killings. Your hatred and racism are exactly what support a racist administration eroding democracy and equality.

    You are an apologist for racism, hatred and mass murder – stay away. Your NRA and gun lobby – stay away.

  24. @ Jim

    Per the previous post. 20+ countries listed. Guess which one is the USA…..that’s right the last one. The one that tolerates people like you.

  25. @ platy,

    Still trying to prove what an aus-hole you really are I see. Trust me, the world is convinced of your racism and hatred. Try looking at the violent crime in your own native country. How many little girls have been groomed for sex slaves? And your country prefers to lock up the people who mention it than the people committing these horrific acts. Another five minutes another rape or sexual assault, your native country is the rape capital of Europe. Another 10 minutes and another knife attack. Another hour and another acid attack. I’d rather get shot than have acid in the face.

    And by the way – I’ve never mentioned if I own any guns, the NRA, or any of the many, many other things you have thrown at me. Some Cup??? What’s that???

    Keep your vile, racist, hatred off the internet your drunken lout. Again, don’t come to the US.

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