Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Nice Parting Gift

How many of you are guilty of swiping those miniature bottles of soap, conditioner and lotion from a hotel bathroom before checking out? Come on, don't be shy. Trust me, we all do it, especially if they are a particularly nice brand. I mean, let's be honest, a tiny bottle with a Comfort Inn label stuck on it is not exactly appealing. But slap L'Occitane or Peter Thomas Roth or Crabtree & Evelyn on it, and it instantly becomes a high-end item. Luckily for us, more hotels are choosing to stock their bathrooms with products from well-known beauty companies. Hotels see it as a marketing strategy, as well as a way to boost awareness of certain brands. For guests, it's a nice little gift to take with us to use on our next trip. (Especially since hotel bath products conveniently fit the no-liquid-carry-ons-over-three-ounces rule.)

Peter Thomas Roth. Credit: WSJ
Hilton Hotels recently commissioned six new products from Peter Thomas Roth's cosmetics brand, which will be useed in all its name-brand hotels. It's mid-market brands, Embassy Suites and Doubletree now carry Crabtree & Evelyn. Since Hilton is a hotel within my price range, I'm happy to hear about these developments and upgrades.

The Ritz-Carlton features products with their own label, but I have a feeling that they are not cheaply made by any means. Especially considering that the hotel stocks its Club Floors and suites with Bulgari products--not too shabby.

Bliss. Credit: WSJ
Starwood's boutique hotel chain, W, opted for products that fit the modern, edgy decor of its hotels. It chose Bliss beauty brand, which appeals to a younger demographic--apparently my generation. I had honestly never heard of Bliss until reading about it being featured at W, but it has certainly caught my attention.

The question is, do these beauty brands gain anything from putting their products in hotel bathrooms? I assume since they are free to use and guests take them at their leisure, probably not. But I also believe that many people, particularly women, would go in search of the brand after seeing it in a hotel. If nothing else, it's publicity.

I don't often stay in hotels, but when I do, I definitely check out the merchandise in the bathroom. More often than not, it is a brand I normally wouldn't buy, either cause of price or personal preference. So it can be nice to get a sample of something different. And if I really like it--or if it smells amazing--I just might considering picking some up for myself when I get home. Or just grab the bottles by the handfuls and never look back.

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