Major hotel chains are moving to less expensive wall-mounted toiletries in their rooms. Not a single chain has announced a reversal of this during the pandemic. Despite huge efforts to assure guests that it’s safe to travel and to stay, hotel chains have remained silent on the practice of having one guest after another use the same liquids dispensed from shared containers in their bathrooms.
There are several problems with this arrangement.
- It’s unhygienic. Bulk toiletry bottles are often not cleaned properly or thoroughly by housekeeping, and are more likely to be tampered with despite use of locks to make tampering more difficult.
- It encourages use of counterfeit products. Do you expect any hotel in China will use legitimate branded products when the guest doesn’t even see the refill bottle?
- They’re more likely to be left empty. This has already happened to me on multiple occasions.
A reader passes along this video from his Aloft Wichita shower:
The Points Guy writer Richard Kerr shared this germ-laden photo of a bulk dispenser in his guest room last fall.
Bulk hotel toiletries are the best. Keep saving the world hotel companies. pic.twitter.com/Ix8UoCgqRR
— Richard Kerr (@KerrPoints) November 4, 2019
And while some of these have locks on them, which are easy or hard to open (and may sometimes be left open), someone put bodily fluids in Detroit airport restroom soap dispensers.
This isn’t an outlier. I’ve stayed in hotels where the toiletries were empty, and at a Marriott Courtyard was assigned the same exact room a week later where the dispenser was still empty. These dispensers aren’t getting close cleaning attention they require. Here’s a National Institutes of Health study on bacterial contamination of bulk-soap-refillable dispensers.
We aren’t re-using grocery bags right now, or dishware on airplanes – everything is moving towards single use because we’re in the midst of a global pandemic. Hotels need to recognize that and take it seriously and end this ill-fated experiment with getting guests to re-use each others’ shampoo.
I’m not suggesting environmental considerations aren’t meaningful – they just point towards single use biodegradable packaging, which have been in some hotels for years, not communal use.