The Ethics and Legality of Souvenirs: What Can You Take from Hotels?

As travelers, we often find ourselves tempted by the array of amenities and supplies offered in hotel rooms. From miniature toiletries to notepads and pens, the question of what is acceptable to take from hotels raises ethical and legal considerations. This article explores the common items that guests may consider taking and sheds light on the boundaries between souvenirs and potential legal consequences.

  1. Toiletries: Miniature shampoos, conditioners, and soaps are among the most commonly taken items from hotel rooms. Generally, hotels expect guests to use these during their stay, and taking unused toiletries upon checkout is widely considered acceptable.
  2. Stationery: Notepads, pens, and other stationery items are often branded with the hotel’s logo. While these items are typically provided for guests to use during their stay, taking them is generally considered acceptable, especially if the branding is subtle.
  3. Disposable Slippers and Robes: Hotels often provide disposable slippers and robes for guests to use during their stay. The general consensus is that taking these items is permissible, as they are intended for single-use and are often discarded after a guest’s departure.
  4. Coffee and Tea Packets: Complimentary coffee and tea packets provided in hotel rooms are usually acceptable for guests to take. However, it’s essential to be mindful and not empty the entire supply, as these items are intended for in-room use.
  5. Informational Brochures and Maps: Brochures, city maps, and other informational materials about the hotel or local attractions are typically intended for guests to take. They serve as handy references during the stay and as keepsakes to remember the trip.
  6. Amenities from Premium Suites: Guests staying in premium suites often find additional amenities such as branded bathrobes, high-quality toiletries, and unique items. It’s generally acceptable to take these items, given that they are part of the upgraded experience.

Legal Considerations:

While the items mentioned above are commonly considered fair game, it’s crucial to be aware of the legal boundaries. Taking certain items from hotel rooms may result in legal consequences:

  1. Linens and Towels: Linens, towels, and other bedding materials are typically off-limits. Taking these items could be considered theft, and hotels may charge guests for missing items upon checkout.
  2. Electronics and Room Fixtures: Any hotel property, including electronics and fixtures like hairdryers, should not be taken. Removing such items may result in charges and legal repercussions.
  3. Artwork and Decor: Artwork, decorative items, and furnishings are strictly off-limits. Removing these items can lead to substantial charges and legal actions.


While it’s common for guests to take certain items from hotels as souvenirs, it’s essential to exercise discretion and respect the boundaries set by the hotel. Most hotels are understanding about small, disposable items meant for single use, but guests should avoid taking anything that could be considered theft or result in damage to the property. Adhering to ethical practices when it comes to souvenirs ensures a positive travel experience and helps maintain a respectful relationship between guests and the hospitality industry.

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