The Most Frequently Stolen Items From Hotel Rooms Might Surprise You

For whatever reason, staying in hotels seems to bring out the kleptomaniac in even the most honest people. It starts with taking home the miniature toiletries (which are of course, fair game) and before you know it, you’re trying to figure out how to stuff the fluffy white bathrobe into your suitcase without anyone noticing it’s gone.

Now we’re all familiar with the rampant theft of towels and linen from hotel rooms – in fact, the problem is so widespread that some hotels have resorted to inserting tracking devices in their linens to stop the thievery. However, it seems some hotel guests will steal just about anything that’s not nailed down (and some things that are). A poll of Britons uncovered a surprising array of goods pilfered regularly from hotel rooms.Among the more bizarre items stolen were curtains, with 27 percent of respondents admitting to taking home the drapes. Artwork was also high on the list, with one in three people claiming to have pinched the paintings right off the wall. Thirty-six percent also said they’d made off with picture frames from their hotel room – one can only presume these are the same folks that took the artwork. Other items of note included kettles, which were swiped by 19 percent of respondents (this was a survey of tea-loving Brits so perhaps it shouldn’t surprise). Hotels have also been busy replacing batteries and light bulbs, with more than half of respondents confessing to emptying out remote controls and lamps.

But perhaps the biggest sin to have been committed by British hotel guests? Stealing the bible. In an ironic twist, seven percent of people owned up to pocketing the very book that condemns theft.

[Photo credit: Flickr user UggBoy UggGirl]

Don’t forget to vote in Airline Madness

Airline Madness is Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances. You can catch up on all of the previous tournament action here.

gadling airline madness tournament bracket

Polls are still open in the second round of Airline Madness. Don’t forget to vote to see who will advance to the Final Four of our tournament of airline annoyances. Go ahead and share your thoughts on the match-ups in the comments, share with your friends and voice your opinions to us on Twitter and Facebook. Polls close on Friday at 11:59PM EDT.You can easily jump to any of the second round match-ups be clicking the links below.

gadling airline madness annoying passengers recline seats

More Airline Madness:
First round match-ups
#1 Annoying passengers vs. #16 Disgusting bathrooms
#2 Legroom vs. #15 Inefficient boarding procedures
#3 Lack of free food/prices for food vs. #14 Cold cabin/no blankets
#4 Baggage Fees vs. #13 Obese people who take up two seats
#5 Lack of overhead space vs. Inattentive parents of crying babies
#6 Change fees/no free standby vs. #11 Lack of personal entertainment/charging for entertainment
#7 Rude airline staff vs. #10 Having to turn off electronic devices during takeoff & landing
#8 People who recline their seats vs. #9 People who get mad at people who recline their seats
Hotel Madness: Gadling’s tournament of airline annoyances

Catch up on all the Airline Madness here.

On the Supremacy of the Bed and Breakfast

I’ve been staying in a lot of hotels. Some nice ones, some not so nice, most owned or at least operated by a corporate parent. There’s a anonymous familiarity about them all, which is comforting or unsettling, depending on my mood.

I’ve also crashed with some friends on this road trip, sleeping on a recliner in a living room in Detroit and an air mattress in an extra bedroom on Staten Island. That’s fine-and a fine way to save some scratch.

But it took about three minutes at the Whistlewood Farm in Rhinebeck, New York for me to finally realize that the bed and breakfast is the world’s greatest form of lodging. Please hold your arguments until I lay out mine!

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The size: There are just seven rooms at Whistlewood, which means my host, Maggie, knew who I was the moment I set foot in her home. We’d already spoken on the phone and arrival was like meeting a new friend in person for the first time: a little awkward, but with hope for a fine future.

The freebies: I will not be nickel-and-dimed and I know it. The blueberry crumble pie? Free. The lemon-poppy seed cake? Free. Wireless internet? Free. Tea, coffee, pretty much whatever else? Free. “Make yourself at home” is the request? Oh, thanks, I will!

The farm: There are horses here, roaming their paddocks, playfully inquisitive about visitors. There are chickens running around. A woman in a big straw hat is pruning rose bushes. There are exactly zero “porters,” “valets” or “customer service representatives.”

The countryside: So this one doesn’t go for every B&B but the birds here make a racket. It is hard to stress over an email thread from the office when there are birds chirping and flitting around the back yard, picking up caterpillars to feed their chicks.

The breakfast: Obviously the ultimate consideration. At Whistlewood, the spread is enormous. Eggs from the farm’s own chickens, bacon, sausage, French toast, pancakes, fresh fruits salad, yogurt, English muffins, quick breads and muffins, juice and enough coffee to sate an Italian village. Would you like seconds? Go on, just help yourself.

In sum: The best service, everything’s included and it’s insanely relaxing: Sounds like the world’s best lodging to me. Don’t you think?

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Travelocity survey says: fat, smelly and coughing the worst to be sitting next to

A Travelocity survey confirms what we knew all along – smelly passengers, coughing passengers and “passengers of size” are amongst the worst people to be sitting next to in the air.

The results are from the Travelocity 2009 “rudeness poll”, asking people a variety of questions. In total, the survey interviewed just under 1600 people, from the US and Canada. When the survey expanded on “large passengers”, 44% said the airlines should provide a second seat for free, while 39% said fat passengers should pay for their own space.

When asked about hotel items taken from the property, people either lied, or are just more honest than I expected – 13% of people never take anything from their room, and just 1% admitted to stealing dishes and silverware.

The survey is very well put together, and a lot of work was put into explaining the results. If you’d like to read more about rude passengers, check out the full version of the 2009 Travelocity Rudeness Poll (PDF file).

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The secret activities of The Ritz-Carlton – Poll

Orphanage / Home for Children donated by The Ritz-Carlton in Jamaica
This past weekend when I was checking out the Ritz-Carlton’s event capabilities, I attended several presentations, including one on the ways the luxury hotel chain is continuing to expand and improve.

Not going into much detail, the Ritz-Carlton representative talked about packages called Give Back Getaways, Meaningful Meetings, A Vow to Help Others and VolunTeaming — I hadn’t heard of any of those before. One catchphrase he also mentioned (which did ring a bell) was Community Footprints, aka the Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to doing good things for the local communities they occupy.

With a little Googling, I found the Community Footprints website, which lists some of the above programs as well as their “Human Rights Policy Statement.”

I was not the only one who felt that this important stuff was glossed over in the presentation (which talked more about how the RC has expanded from 32 to 74 hotels in the last nine years and that they are developing a new concept called Ritz-Carlton Reserve, which will be a series of smaller, more intimate hotels). In the question and answer section at the end, many of my fellow attendees wanted to know more about all these great things the Ritz-Carlton was doing — and helping guests to do — for the environment and their local communities.

Then I learned something. Senior Vice President Ezzat Coutry responded with “We are very careful about bragging about what we do for the communities.”
What? Don’t they know that if travelers knew how much work they’re putting into their communities (we’re talking $8.55 million in cash and in-kind donations and 57,000 hours of volunteering in 2008 alone!), it would make them look good?

Yes. They do know that. And they’re way ahead of us. “We struggle with that,” Coutry continued, “We do something great — do we say it or not?”

“We don’t want it to appear self-serving,” added Verona Carter, Area Director of Public Relations for Mexico and the Caribbean.

Here’s what I learned — in my career-long quest to find out what’s cool and great and tell everybody, getting information about the good stuff some larger companies like the Ritz-Carlton are doing has often felt like pulling teeth. I never really understood why getting the information was so hard; why there weren’t fabulous press releases and huge celebrations … and it turns out that the answer is simple modesty.

In this age, where we crave more corporate transparency, do we just want to know the bad things that our large chains are doing, or do we want to know the good things? Does the fact that the Ritz-Carlton is so actively working on sustainability and the well-being of their communities make you like them more — and if they’d advertised it (above and beyond it just being there on the website if you go looking), would you feel differently?

Well, in any case, the word’s out now. What do you think?
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