USA Today: Hotels are starting to replace mini plastic toiletry bottles with larger bottles as consumers demand greener options, and it's a trend that will likely grow.
I found regular-sized shampoo, conditioner and lotion bottles during my stay at the luxury Greenwich hotel in New York City earlier this summer. Then, while in Los Angeles I spotted them at both the SLS and Avalon hotels. Back in March, I found pump bottles at the business-traveler-oriented Mint Hotel Tower of London, but that hotel also included some of the old-fashioned bottles.
"As time goes on, I think more and more hotels are going to switch over," says veteran hotelier Steve Halliday, who last month opened the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver with full-sized toiletries.
What's driving the switch? And how much will you pay if you take the larger-sized toiletries home?
At Halliday's hotel, guest bathrooms feature hefty, acrylic pump bottles of shampoo and other products.
"They're safe, they're clean," he tells me. "They look good. It's almost emulating what you would have in your home."
When guests leave, the pump bottles are refilled so nothing is thrown out, reducing the hotel's waste. Most importantly, guests like them, Halliday says. In terms of direct costs, the large-bottle system's about the same as the cost of supplying bathrooms with mini-bottles, he says. If someone takes a bottle home with them, they should pay $25, but it's not always enforced - another trend among most (but not all) of these hotels.
Other hotels that shun the traditional, tiny plastic toiletry bottles:
SLS Hotel Beverly Hills: This hotel - part of Starwood's Luxury Collection - provides guests with jumbo plastic bottles with ordinary snap-open tops. Called "Lotions and Potions," they're made with organic ingredients. The hotel even provides a gentle face wash. The products are available for sale for $20 per bottle - which you might discover on your bill if you take them home with you. There is no sign in the bathroom stating the price, although the bottles are for sale in other parts of the hotel. Hotel spokesman Robbie McKay tells me that guests don't take them that often. My guess: The bottles are too big to fit in a suitcase and far too big to pass through airport security.
Most Viceroy Hotels: The recently upgraded retro-chic Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills provides guests with acrylic pump bottles containing Neil George products. Unlike other hotels I visited, the Avalon's bottles feature a note that says you'll pay $65 if you take it home. The Avalon's part of the small Viceroy chain, which emphasizes green operations and avoids the tiny plastic bottles at most of its properties.
Other Rosewood Hotels: Hotel Georgia's sister hotels such as Jumby Bay in Antigua, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and the Carlyle in Manhattan also provide guests with larger-sized toiletries, Halliday says.
Could there possibly be a downside to replacing plastic bottles that are used once with heftier bottles that don't have to be trashed after one use?
Well, yes, for some travelers.
I've heard more than one person say they would be concerned about using soap and lotions provided in bottles that anyone could have opened.
It's not clear, however, how widespread this concern is among travelers.