One Thousand Scents

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cleaning Up


Okay, you tell me. Hotel toiletries: take them or not?

Part of me feels just a leetle bit guilty about taking them, but I do it anyway. (And no, I don't take anything else from a hotel room, not even the notepad.) I have a whole boxful of hotel bath products in the linen closet: yummy Davies Gate products (Quinoa shampoo, Amaranth conditioner, Quince lotion) from some hotel we stayed at during our trip to the UK last year (our second stint in London, I think), some really odd shower gel and shampoo from a hotel in Cardiff (the bottles look exactly like wine bottles, one white, one red), and surprisingly many other things besides.

We were in Hamilton and then Toronto the weekend before last (we went to see Margaret Cho in Hamilton on Friday night, then spent Saturday and Sunday visiting with friends), so naturally we stayed in hotels. The Sheraton in Hamilton was unexpectedly nice, and they had some really great bathroom stuff from Bliss, from a line which I guess was developed especially for the hotel chain, because it's not available from them otherwise: Shine Mandarin Mint. (You can see the whole collection up there. It's not my photo, though; I stumbled upon it while searching for an image labelled "hotel toiletries", so I guess someone else was as impressed as I was, enough to take a picture.) The shampoo is the best: while it smells like its namesake, it also has a subtle vanilla-caramel undertone which clings to the skin (I use shower gels and shampoos interchangeably, so I washed my hands with it). Naturally, I snagged everything that was left in the bathroom. (It just barely fit into my airline-approved one-litre zip-lock bag.)

The previous month, we took a little trip to St. John's, Newfoundland, which is where I was born, and the hotel was part spa, part suites, and so it was all very woman-oriented: a hot tub in the room, enormous fluffy bathrobes, the hallways kept ungodly hot so that people travelling from the spa to their room through a sort-of-underground passageway wouldn't get a chill. (We stayed there because my youngest sister, a travel agent, got us a really terrific rate.) We did not avail ourselves of the seaweed wraps and hot-stone massages and god only knows what-all, but the toiletries, again, were first-rate, Aveda this time, with a zippy wake-up call of mint and rosemary. (The bottles are teeny, though, maybe three quarters of an ounce: the Bliss bottles are much bigger, at least 50 mL and probably two ounces.) Again, I grabbed it all.

On that same trip, I visited my sister and discovered in her bathroom a trove of like products (they were out in the open--I didn't snoop!), and I commented that that was yet another thing we had in common. She travels a lot, and she doesn't feel the slightest bit of remorse about taking them all. Her logic:

You're paying for it anyway. It's included in the price of the room, and they're not going to reduce the price if you don't take them. And if you use them, they just throw out whatever's left anyway.

I can't really argue with that.

The reverse argument, I guess, is that if you use part of a bottle and leave it so you can use the rest, they don't replace it with a fresh bottle, so if you take all the bottles and they have to replace them the next day, then you're taking more than your share. But again, as my sister said, it's included in the price of the room; they don't knock a buck or three off the second day's stay if you haven't looted the bathroom for tiny bottles and bars of soap. So what the hell. No more guilt, I say. I'll take my little souvenirs (that I've paid for!) and remember my travels every time I use them.

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