Fluff and fold (Illustration)
Photo: Amit Magal

The great towel heist

Recent polling of Israeli hotels reveals that Israeli vacationers have a passion for fluffy mementos. Towels, bathrobes most popular items taken; shampoos, cutlery also have avid fans

Sticky fingers: The recent discovery of some 60 hotel towels in a police raid on a Netanya home seems to have caught everyone by surprise – except hotel managers, that is.  


Israelis, one Eilat hotel manager told Ynet, "Simply love taking souvenirs from hotels. That way, they feel they got a little something extra for the money they spent."


The difference between the Israeli vacationer and the foreign tourists is easy to spot, he said, thanks to the "towel-meter": "When we have many foreign tourists in the hotel we do a lot of laundry. When Israelis are staying with us we do a lot of unpacking, to replace missing towels."


According to hotels' data, between 300,000 and 400,000 towels are stolen from hotels every year, amounting to millions of shekels in losses.


Other hotel items ranking high on the pilfering list are bathrobes, bathmats, shampoo bottles, linens and cutlery.


The cost, however, is rerouted back to the consumer, because hotels factor in possible damages when pricing their rooms.


"People try and take anything that isn’t bolted down and sometimes even that doesn’t stop them," another Eilat hotel manager said.


A third hotel manager had guests who dismantled the bathroom mirror and another found the pictures in the room missing.


Some hotels, like those belonging to the Isrotel Chain, are trying to fight the ugly phenomenon by placing security tags on towels – similar to those stores use on clothes – and informing their guests the their luggage may be subject to a search before they check out.


"If a buzzer goes off, the hotel security officer will take the guest aside, so not to create a scene, and try to find the cause," Lior Raviv, vice president of Isrotel, told Ynet.


"We are willing to do anything to spare our guests any embarrassment or discomfort, but one must remember we're talking about huge financial damages to the hotels."


פרסום ראשון: 08.12.09, 21:43
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