Marriott Will Use Bulk Toiletries in All Hotels Worldwide By End of Next Year

A month ago IHG hotels – Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and related brands – announced they would move to bulk toiletries across all of their brands by 2021.

Marriott had already moved to wall dispensers in the shower for the North American hotels that they manage (rather than franchise). Now Marriott has announced that they will eliminate single use toiletries worldwide by 2020. In some cases that will be larger bottles, but in most cases it will be bulk dispensers.

  • Bulk toiletries are cheaper
  • They get to say they care about the environment (while still encouraging you to fly out to visit their hotels)
  • But if they cared about the environment rather than cost savings, they’d use biodegradable packaging for single use toiletries.

The problem is that wall dispensers are awful and must be stopped.

  • They don’t get refilled properly and when they do get refilled hotels are more likely to use cheaper counterfeit products. I stayed in the same room at one Marriott a week apart and the same bulk dispenser was empty on both stays.
  • They’re germ magnets. The dispensers don’t get cleaned well between guests.
  • And guests have been known to put stuff in them you wouldn’t want there. Even where there are safeguarding locks in place I’ve had rooms where those weren’t locked.

Plastic is recyclable, Marriott just hasn’t been doing it because CEO Arne Sorenson says it’s too hard to clean the bottles out.

Make no mistake: this is a cost cut you’re shamed into liking because good people care about the environment – but it is not necessary to go to bulk if you want to make environmental progress. Hyatt is testing the same thing. The fight has been lost. But that doesn’t mean hotels ought to get moral approbation for their cost-cutting. There’s no reason they ought to be smug, claiming they’re ‘doing the right thing’. They are certainly doing a good sales job though.

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. make no mistake – spoilt brats used to the “good ole” days of unfettered environmental pollution and waste creation in various forms of hotel toiletry are thoroughly upset some company tried to the right thing for once.

  2. This is about the environment as much as not changing the sheets between guests at hotels
    Its all about a money grab cost cut
    Marriott cares about one thing $$$$$$$$
    But I suppose if I shelled out 13 billion I might get just as greedy
    Agree with most of your points about sanitary maintenance should go to glass containers with seals that cant be opened under normal circumstances
    But seeing those photos makes me want ti play safe and bring my own

  3. They’re completly full of crap. This isn’t about the environment its all about profit. NO different than the attempting shaming when you request fresh towels (“we care about our oceans. but if you do want fresh towels….”).


  4. @henryLAX. Wow did you fall for it hook line and sinker…Do you honestly believe that they care about the environment over profit? Look, I don’t think Marriott is out there dumping sewage in the ocean but this is cost cutting plain and simple

  5. This is OLD NEWS. Marriott’s latest announcement contains ZERO SPECIFICS. In fact, deep down inside of the press release it says owners and brands can do whatever they want because, let’s face it, the upscale and luxury branded hotels will keep the individual bottles unless they have a super cheap owner.

  6. So, some housekeeper who may not even speak English is supposed to pour the shampoo in the shampoo bottle, the conditioner in the conditioner bottle, and the body lotion in the body lotion all while being told they only have 20 or 25 minutes to clean a room? You know damn well — if they even find the time to refill the bottles — that shampoo will end up in conditioner bottles and body lotion in shampoo bottles. Has anyone thought about this? Why doesn’t Marriott just use biodegradable or fully recyclable small, individual bottles?

  7. I bring my own anyways. Hotel stuff sucks, though I do like the bodywash at Aloft. If I could get a benefit for no toiletries like I can for no housekeeping, I’d take it every time

  8. I’ll bring my own from now on, if I ever have a need to stay at a Marriott. I’m completely disgusted thinking what is on those bottles or even in those bottles. While I understand the environmental concerns this is just plain gross…

  9. Let’s push the mouthwash in dispensers too. Next thing you know the slippers will be re-used.

  10. At the Marriott Residence Inn in Sacramento, CA (who does this) my choices were body wash, body wash and conditioner. No shampoo

    This is a horrible idea. Time to start packing my own.

    It makes there high-end brands cheap and gross.

  11. Gary (and pretty much all the responses) – you are all such petty germaphobes that this really bothers you. I know Gary has issues with everything from germs to body scanners but really people?! Get over it – everyone will be using these in a few years (like IHG already has done and so have many other non-Marriott hotels I’ve stayed in around the world). If you don’t like it or prefer your own toiletries take them – have at it no one is stopping you. As for me I can tell if it is shampoo, conditioner or body wash so don’t have a problem using what is supplied. Also, as for “germ magnet”, Gary there are germs EVERYWHERE. It is people that go out of their way to avoid them that get sick – I have NEVER given a crap about them or worried about the sheets, TV remote (that is the really bad one for those that care about that stuff) or airline tray/seat/etc. Also rarely, if ever, get sick so likely built up a normal resistance.

    Life is too short to obsess or worry about petty things like this. SMH!!!!

  12. What’s the difference between a Marriott and a homeless shelter?

    The homeless shelter has single use toiletries. The Marriott doesn’t.

  13. So I guess I will be bringing my own toiletries (disposable mini shampoo bottles with my hair loss shampoo anyway) and throwing it in the trash. Not much plastic saved and plastic in landfills isn’t a concern for the environment; plastic in the ocean is. I don’t see many people chucking their plastic shampoo bottles in the ocean.

    Now a maid will refill those huge bottles, containmenate the shampoo and make life more difficult for everyone.

    Environmentalists are cancer not because they care about th environment but because most of their plans don’t help the environment one bit whether it is bio fuels with millions of buschels of corn and energy intestine converting processes or this. At least going to wood coffee stirrers and going to bio degradable straws make sense as they are more likely to get into the ocean.

  14. I would sooner have bulk toiletries like in the photograph versus a tiny piece of soap or a tube of shampoo the size of my little finger. What is the problem?

  15. I just keep on thinking about hair gel in the movie “Something About Mary”. Yuck.

  16. This seems perfectly fine to me. I think Gary and others are just whining. I’m no fan of Marriott and I’m sure they’re doing it for money but I’m glad they’re doing this. Plastic is incredibly hard to recycle (to the surprise of many)

  17. I’m wondering how many people will bring their own bottles and fill them up at the hotel.

  18. Good.

    Who cares that this is a bottom-line driven move by Marriott? It’s still a better approach than single use bottles/containers which are a waste.

    I stay 100+ nights a year in hotels – wish they would all do this.

  19. Bulk toiletries are a win-win or as consultants call it a triple bottom line. Yes, they reduce costs, but they also reduce waste.

    Environmental conversation is 1. Reduce 2. Reuse 3. Recycle. It’s far better to reduce and reuse than recycle. Recycling still requires water, energy, and waste.

  20. I vastly prefer the large containers because they’re easier to use. The reduced plastic is a nice bonus. The dispensers are way easier to clean than items like duvets and furniture; this doesn’t pose any actual health hazard.

    Get over it.

  21. Gary as is often the case you are on the money. This has nothing to do with the environment and rather 100% about cost savings for hotel owners. Very bad not just for us germophobes but also those among us who prefer bar soap. Cannot stand liquid soap particularly for showers!

    The tide is currently against us but would not be surprised to see premium properties set themselves apart with single use products. Stay tuned.

  22. Bonvoyed again. At this point we have to assume that 2019 Marriott is the newly-combined Marriott completely $hit$ on its customers with terrible brand standard changes, awful new Bonvoy program and possibly industry-worst point valuations in an effort to shed as much cost as possible.

    Then, coming in 2020… We’ve heard your feedback all and we realize had some missteps last year. We’re starting from scratch and that means taking the best of Starwood & Marriott. Our program will soon be renamed Marriott Preferred Guest and will be all about YOU. Please give us another chance…

  23. I dislike the bulk dispensaries, they are never sanitized, thus are gross to touch. I agree, people are just going to steal from them, unless crappy soap is all Marriott offers.

  24. Gary raises a question nobody has commented on. Why not use biodegradable packaging for single use toiletries? It seems that would satisfy both those who want to reduce the use of plastics and those who are uncomfortable with large dispenser toiletries in hotels.

  25. Do people not understand that your fellow humans wipe their butt and then touch the dispensers for soap or hand wash? Those dispensers are never, ever sanitized. All the science says they aren’t clean or sanitary.

  26. @Betty;
    Why bitches?
    I pay for the room exactly what they ask for. I am entitled for certain perks in exchange. One of them is clean toiletries. I don’t see why this is bad or unreasonable.

  27. I’m glad I don’t give Marriott any of my business. Wyndham and Choice Hotels and sometimes Motel 6 are my choices.

  28. It’s pleasing to see this initiative. The bulk containers are fine: I’ve not had any problem with them; never seen them unlocked, malfunctioning or empty. The Aloft product is genuine ( Bliss in most locations), not counterfeit.
    I don’t care about Marriott’s motives for the change.

  29. All the changes to Marriott that have been going on are encouraging me to use up my Marriott points as fast as I can and not to use them in the future except as a last resort. I don’t like all the changes. I wonder if all these negative changes Marriott is making (and I am not talking about the bath soap!) is going to bite them in the end.

  30. What a bunch of weirdos. When you stay in a hotel do you ever touch the door knob, lamp, nightstand, faucet, remote, alarm clock, drawer handles, iron, or shower door/curtain? None of these things are sanitized.

    What makes soap dispensers so much worse?

  31. Aman hotels has been doing this for ages. And the containers aren´t even locked… They are normally local artisans jras. I didn’t ever hear about skin infections in those hotels, due to soap or shampoo. This argumente is ridiculous !

  32. Plastic is NOT recyclable. Companies do can not find uses for ALL those water bottles etc that everyone dumps. The Oceans are full of plastics, animals eat the plastics and DIE from it.

    @ Charlie I bring my own bar of soap and my own shampoo. Same travel bottle I been using for last 10 years. Refill from the large bottle I get from the Warehouse store.

    Gary Bring your own Products save the planet !

  33. AC is right…. Stop whining about germs. If you were so concerned, you wouldn’t sit on a seat in a plane!

    And Rami… Oh, Rami…. ” I am entitled for certain perks in exchange”

    No, you’re not. You’re not entitled to anything. You pay for a room with a bed. Nowhere does it say, “His lordship Rami must be adorned with the lotion of a cherub’s tears, bottle in the horn of a unicorn”

    Grow up, the lot of you. We can ill afford to continue to dump the amount of plastic we do. Yes, we all know that this is a cost cutting exercise, but please take this time to be a little reflective of your plastic usage. Having NO toiletries is the answer, with you bringing your own. I’m looking especially at you, Rami

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