From bins to bottles, hotels selling their own items

Published3/15/2008 11:07 AM

I realized I had become a design-aholic when I started lusting after my hotel room's garbage can.

Granted, it was a very stylish affair, made of stainless steel and erected in three cylindrical tiers to resemble a classic 1930s art deco building. Its proper home was The Savoy in London, and that was where it was meant to stay.


I couldn't face that fact.

So, too chicken (or too honest?) to steal it, I decided to ask if I could simply buy that magical bin. The concierge at this venerable hotel did not even blink when I made my request, but rather said in that instant and with the ultimate authority, "That can be arranged."

And it was.

Not only was I allowed to purchase said garbage can, but I was also afforded the convenience of having it shipped and insured from London to LA so I didn't need to worry about its safe arrival at its new home.

The pretty rubbish bin still stands ready for, well, rubbish, in my art deco bathroom, always reminding me where it came from and how I came to own it more than a quarter of a century ago.

Today, many items I become acquainted with (and must own) while traveling for business have become much more accessible than ever before.

Take the lovely water bottle at Inverlochy Castle in Scotland.

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This high-end Highlands hotel allows visitors the use of a very elegant vessel much akin to those that serve stronger beverages (like a fine ale), complete with a lift-up cork so you can save whatever you have not consumed without fear of contamination. Even more alluring, a picture of the famous Scottish castle is embossed on the glass.

Happily for thirsty me, the water is free to all guests, but the bottle that carries it costs about eight pounds. I know because there was a sign saying that right next to the bottle of water on the nightstand by my bed. I drank but did not buy.

What I could not resist was a waterfall showerhead experienced at Hong Kong's illustrious Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This happened back in the early 1990s when these contraptions were not yet all the rage, so I was more than enthused when I was allowed to buy this new-found plumbing equipment. The nifty shower attachment came directly from the small Mandarin store off the lobby where all sorts of Mandarin props were ready for purchase. What a find!

Another find that comes directly from Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City (and all other 42 Kimpton hotels nationwide) and hangs in each guest room closet on tiny clothespins, there for the taking, the trying and the buying: slipper socks with soft rubber tread on the bottom and made of a stretchy animal-print fabric to match much of the hotel's flashy decor.


And finally, if these comfortable foot-warmers are not up your alley, how about a Kimpton-branded camisole or pair of boxers, both done in leopard print and designed by esteemed lingerie creator Karen Neuburger? These are the latest items to be found in all Kimpton Hotel closets, up for sale at a mere $30 for each item.

The moral of this story?

Just because you spot an item in your chosen property that you wish you could own but that you believe you cannot, think again.

Chances are that certain something can instantly be yours simply by supplying a credit card upon checkout from the savvy hotel that had the panache to show your new purchase off in the first place.

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