Hotel guests go big, then go home (with hotel property)
Hotel guests go big, then go home (with hotel property)
13 DECEMBER 2019 8:09 AM

A new survey of thefts from hotels shows that the things guests like to steal from hotels range from the mundane to the some pretty crazy stuff.

Research from Germany’s Wellness Heaven Luxury & Spa Hotel Guide reveals some surprising information about what guests have stolen from higher-end hotels in Europe. These items include bathroom fittings, a grand piano and an entire stereo system.

Most of the stolen items were deemed ordinary. Towels topped the list, with 77.5% of the surveyed 1,157 hoteliers reporting such thefts. Mattresses were last in the survey at 4.2%; and bathrobes, blankets, pillows, tablet computers, remote controls, light bulbs and other items filled in between.

Though listed among the “ordinary” items, that any guests successfully steal mattresses to me is wild. Apparently, the “probability for their theft is 8.1 times higher in 5-star hotels,” according to the report. Hoteliers told researchers these thefts take place in the middle of the night, and guests use elevators that go directly to an underground parking area.

Now, any missing item from a hotel room can be tied to the guest that last stayed there, but I’m inclined to believe that most hoteliers are not going to pursue a guest for something minor, like pens, batteries or hangers. That definitely would not be the case for something like a mattress. I mean, what is the thought process here? A theft like this is not going to require bringing in a forensic investigations team, so who exactly are the criminal masterminds who steal mattresses from high-end hotels? People who can likely afford these mattresses on their own and are looking for some sort of cheap (expensive) thrill?

Anyway, onto the really weird stuff.

The old joke that just carrying around a clipboard can get you access to almost anywhere appears to be true, at least in some variation at hotels. A hotelier told researchers staff noticed the lobby’s grand piano was missing. An investigation uncovered that a team of three men in overalls took the piano away and “it never reappeared, of course.” What?

A Berlin hotel reported that guests had stolen the head of a rain shower, a hydromassage shower, a toilet seat, a drain pipe and even an entire sink.

A German hotel owner reported someone stole the entire stereo system from the hotel’s spa. They dismantled it overnight and loaded it into their car before driving off.

Someone stole wooden benches from a private sauna from the terrace of a spa suite, but the hotel staff didn’t realize the theft until another guest complained about having nowhere to sit.

For some of these larger, weirder thefts, I suppose that does say something about how easy it can be for hotel staff to miss stuff like this when caught up in day-to-day operations. It’s also a good reminder that just because someone says they’re doing some work for the hotel doesn’t mean they really are. I’m looking at you, hotel staff who was apparently OK with a group of guys walking off with that piano.

The report also breaks down stolen items of choice by nationality. It throws some shade at British and German guests for their “boring” choices of towels, bathrobes, cosmetics and toiletries. Austrians seem to like dishes and coffeemakers. U.S. travelers go for pillows (OK, I get it) and batteries (that’s dumb, I mean, really?). Italian guests go for wine glasses, and the Swiss like hair dryers. French guests show some boldness with their preferences for taking TV sets and remote controls. The Dutch are called “practical” for their thefts of light bulbs and toilet paper.

What do you think of the results of this survey? Have you had similar experiences? Let me know in the comments below or reach out to me at or @HNN_Bryan.

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