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When You Open the Hotel Mini-Bar, What Do You Grab?

I’m curious as to how many people partake of the goodies in a hotel mini-bar. For those that do, is it out of desperation for food or drink after arriving into a hotel room late at night with a growling stomach, or is it an easy and quick snack or beverage that you routinely indulge in? Enough people must obviously grab food and drinks from the mini-bars as the hotels would most likely not have them if they were not profitable.

I was traveling to a conference with a brand new consultant who was not familiar with the institution of a hotel mini-bar. Many of the food items were laid out on a beautiful cabinet (similar to this photo) with a price tag discretely to the side. He thought the

goodies were all free. He snacked away both nights of the conference, thinking that the hotel was really great for supplying him with all of these neat food items. He was really surprised when he checked out and had over $60 on his bill for these munchies. Luckily he did not partake in any of the adult beverages or his bill could have been triple the amount!

With more and more hotels charging for these items based on the weight of the refrigerator, I rarely even open the refrigerators. Some travelers have the items removed immediately upon check-in so that they cannot be billed for items that could not have used. Others, upon receiving a key to the refrigerator upon check-in, say no to the key. I just ignore the items and monitor my bill at checkout… and in all my years of traveling, I have only been charged for 1 bottle of water that I did not drink.

I have not eaten any food item from a hotel mini-bar in years. I cannot bear the prices that are charged for a bottle of water, a candy bar or a soda. I could buy 3 full bottles of wine for what the hotels want to charge for a ½ bottle. Room service looks cheap compared to the menu shown! I am definitely not contributing to a hotel’s bottom line with my lack of mini-bar indulgences.

How about you? Chocolate covered peanuts, a cold beer, a Snickers bar, a mini intimacy kit … what’s your pleasure?

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