One Thousand Scents

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Toiletry Snit

If you ever visit Bath, and you should, you ought to see about staying at the Carfax Hotel, which we loved: old Georgian buildings with crazy-high ceilings, within walking distance of utterly everything. My only real beef was with the supplied toiletries, which, as you know if you've read about any of our other trips, I tend to hoard as mementoes. The little bottles of shower gel and shampoo and whatnot were decorated in an overly adorable style--Georgian, I suppose--and contained products that were altogether too flowery and girly. Do only women stay at the Carfax and we weren't told? Or are men supposed to bring their own manly products?

So I went to Boots, a drugstore, and bought little travel bottles of what appears in retrospect to be a house brand of shower gel, Original Source Tea Tree and Lemon & Tea Tree and Mint. The former smells like a lemon meringue pie with tea tree oil added, the latter exactly what it says on the label. They are both wonderful. I shall have to buy full-sized bottles before heading home.

If you ever visit Edinburgh, and you should, you might want to try to get a good rate on the Fraser Suites, as we did. 15-foot ceilings, gorgeous bathrooms, free laundry facilities, in just about the best possible location if you're on foot. My only real beef was with the toiletries, which were advertised to be l'Occitane but which turned out to be something called Peter Thomas Roth. They all smelled like that awful clean-soapy-musky synthetic rose that's in everything--all except the shower gel, which for some reason was a bright, cheerful rose, realistic and enormously appealing. So I tucked the bottle in my toiletry kit and waited for a fresh bottle the next day. It didn't come. Don't they know the drill? All the missing bottles are supposed to be replaced! It wasn't on the next day, either, so I decided to force the issue and hide all the bottles. Didn't work. None of them were replaced. Either the hotel is cutting back on its toiletry supplies (one of each item per room per visit, however long) or the maid doesn't know how this is supposed to work.

I'm still going to tip her, though.

Update: Jim tells me--he read this online--that it's the policy of The Fraser Suites to supply one of each little necessaire de toilette as a "welcoming gift". After that, I guess, you're on your own. Seems kind of chintzy for such an otherwise top-notch hotel.

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