Weird and wacky finds from the hotel minibar

I’m of the opinion that there are two kinds of hotel guest – one that is so scared of the hotel minibar that they’ll refuse to be handed the key, and one that makes it one of the first things they check out in their room.

I’m one of the latter – and find that the contents of the minibar says a lot about the quality of the hotel chain. A low end hotel chain may offer nothing more than a couple of bottles of water and some full size cans of soda. High end hotels may have as much as $2000 of items behind the door (their prices, not retail prices).

I’ve collected some of the weirdest things I’ve come across in the hotel minibar. And before you ask – yes, I too hate the automated minibar where a mere touch of the door makes a computer think you robbed the place.
W Hotel, Times Square New York

Many hotels know that their guests might/will get a bit frisky when they enter the room, and most of them understand that their guests don’t always carry “protection”. For that reason, the minibar may be where you’ll often find an assortment of intimacy products. The W Hotel at Times Square takes adult fun a little further with their “sex in the sheets” product. Sure, it isn’t really a minibar item, but it certainly is worth mentioning in this lineup.

For $18, someone will come up to your room with ice cream, a bunch of toppings and plastic sheets. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what these are for. Add $20 and you get a disposable camera. Kinky!

Edgewater Hotel, Seattle

The Edgewater is one of my personal favorites in Seattle. The whole place just feels more like home than most hotels, down to the contents of their minibar. Sure, they have the regular overpriced booze and soda, but they are also the only hotel I know of that will gladly sell you a teddy bear or rubber duck. Sure, some people may claim they want it for their kid back home, but I’m sure there are guests that gladly spend the $40 to have a companion to keep them company in their bed.

Hotel Rivington, New York

The hotel on Rivington is one of those hotels that tells a lot about itself just by looking at the minibar. This thing has it all – from full size bottles of Champagne to six (yes, six) different “intimacy products”. They also have T-Shirts, full bottles of Patron and $6 gummi bears. You can instantly tell this is an expensive minibar, because they don’t stock any regular soda, but they do have 8 different flavors of juice.

With the amazing view from their rooms, and the Tempur-Pedic bed, it is no surprise that they keep these items in the minibar, it is a very romantic hotel.

EasyJet tells six year old girl that her teddy bear has to travel as excess baggage

It’s amazing what a total lack of common sense can do for your company.

Take for example the story of a check-in agent at Glasgow airport responsible for helping Easy Jet passengers. When 6 year old Amparo Peris-Bordes approched the desk with her mother, this EasyJet staffer told her that she’d have to pay 9 pounds, and send her teddy bear onto the conveyor belt, and into the hold as excess baggage.

For some reason, her mother refused to pay this, so they boxed the bear up, and sent it home with the mail.

EasyJet has of course announced that they’ll review their internal procedures, because nothing says “bad PR” like a smiling girl in the news reporting how mean your airline is.

What’s the Deal with Albanian Teddy Bears?

When researching an upcoming trip to Eastern Europe, I ran across an interesting thread in Lonely Planet’s travel forum, Thorn Tree, called “Albanian teddy bears.” It reads:

“Anyone know why Albanians hang teddy bears from the rooves [sic] of their houses? It seems to be all over the place!”

There were only two responses to the message, none of which had the answer. Both, however, shared conflicting personal experiences. “I was in Albania in May and didn’t see any teddy bears,” one response read. Another replied, “I was there also in May and June and teddies were all over the place and in every town or village i went to, although more in towns.”

So what’s the deal? I figured I’d throw the question out to Gadling readers since they’re so freakishly good at pinpointing the location of even the remotest destinations in our Where on Earth? feature. Surely someone out there knows the answer to one of life’s great mysteries: The Albanian Teddy Bear. And don’t call me Surely.

Update: That was quick! In the comments, Gadling reader AT found this nugget of information: “These things are called “dordolec” (pronounced “dordolets”) and are apparently to ward off the evil eye. There have been quite a number of anthropological studies of the evil eye, but none of those I have seen mention this custom, and I was curious to know whether it, like religion, had been suppressed by the Hoxha regime, and if there is anything similar in neighbouring countries.” A subsequnt Google search for “dordolec + evil eye” confirms this theory. Thanks, AT!