What Hotel Toiletries Will Be In Your Room?

l'Occitane goodies at Hotel Montalembert, Paris

l’Occitane goodies at Hotel Montalembert, Paris

A large part of my job as a travel writer is reviewing hotels. The quality of the bed linens is crucial to my rating, but what will make or break you in my book are the bathrooms. Part of the evaluation I do is examining the hotel toiletries and sometimes the lack there of.  It is annoying, at best, to try to fit “needed” toiletry items into the TSA approved gallon-sized zip lock baggy.  Mine is usually full because I hate to be caught off-guard. I am a “just in case” traveler who despises over-packing, but find it difficult to avoid. I don’t like to waste precious time shopping for forgotten essentials when visiting someplace spectacular.  Wouldn’t it be super to have a definite answer, before packing, as to what amenities will be in your hotel bathroom?

Le Labo's Rose 31 fragrances at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, Monaco

Le Labo’s Rose 31 at the Fairmont Monte Carlo, Monaco

The types and quality of the sample size amenities vary greatly and are unpredictable. Most every hotel in the world provides the standard bar of soap and bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Three star hotels typically have one super tiny bar of generic soap, a shampoo and conditioner bottle and sometimes a moisturizing lotion. Four star boutique hotels tend to have a small brand-named facial soap, a larger one for the tub or shower, perhaps a shower gel, but for sure recognizable name-brand shampoos, conditioners and lotions. Many four stars have, in addition, a disposable shower cap and perhaps a shoeshine cloth. Luckily the toiletries in Paris are very French – high quality, smell wonderful and organically based.

Annick Goutal at Palais de la Méditerranée, Nice, France

Annick Goutal at Palais de la Méditerranée, Nice, France


Five star properties offer pure luxury brand toiletries like Bulgvari or l’Occitane. All of them will have generous sized shampoo and conditioner portions. They have lotion and at least two bars of soap – one for the bath/shower and one facial type. Extra helpful goodies include emery boards, Q-tips, shower caps, mouthwash, cotton balls, natural body sponges and aromatherapy bath salts where applicable.

Bvlgari luxury at Four Seasons George V, Paris

Bulgari luxury at Four Seasons George V, Paris

Once you get to know a hotel, it is easier to pack your travel toiletries and skip any items that you are positive will be there upon your arrival. Perhaps hotels would open to the idea that they may create more loyal guests by providing a list of bathroom items included in the room description during the booking process that clients could rely upon. I don’t necessarily think we need to know the brand names of the items, but for luxury bookings it would be a plus to know the added value.

l'Occitane at the Hotel Sofitel, Dijon, France

l’Occitane at the Accor Hotel La Cloche, Dijon, France

It may not seem like a big deal to the occasional traveler, but to me it would be hugely helpful to skip the exercise of liquid replenishing before each trip. It would also lighten the load in my luggage, giving me more space and baggage weight allowance for souvenirs. How fab!

What do you think? Would you benefit from knowing ahead of time what toiletries will be available in the bathroom?

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  • susan
    Posted at 16:18h, 25 September Reply


    When you are traveling “carryon” it is definitely a plus to know that the hotels you are staying have you covered in the toiletries department! I loved Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice and their fab toiletries! I plan to email the 3 hotels we are staying in next month to ask about toiletries. Do you think they will be put off by my asking?

    I tried to find that Sofitel in Dijon…………has it changed hands? I so wanted to stay in Dijon on our first night in Burgundy as we have a tour the next day that starts from Dijon. All the hotels that were highly recommended were booked a month ago when I was booking, so we are in Beaune for nights 1-3 and Dijon for night 4.

    We also tried to book a hotel while in Paris on your favorite little island, but it too was booked……Hotel de Lutece. I did check availability of your 3* Hotel Left Bank Saint Germain and it did have availability. I am presently booked at Hotel du Danube Saint Germain on rue Jacob. It has many lovely things said about it on TA. I think my present booking might be 30E cheaper per night, which makes for covering some delish French food. Quiet and a comfy bed are what I want most!

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 12:38h, 25 September Reply

    I am a total snob about the toiletries. I have quite the collection at home of good ones that I bring with me if I am unsure of what will be at the hotel when I arrive. And yes, it would be awesome to know what is provided before my arrival. One time we stayed in this awful hotel out of necessity and there were NO toiletries. I went to the front desk to request shampoo and they gave me a one use white foil packet that said SHAMPOO in black letters on it.

  • Carol
    Posted at 09:41h, 25 September Reply

    For me, the toiletries are not an issue, as I always bring my own, but I wanted to add a comment about hotels verses an apartment. For the past six trips to Paris we have rented an apartment, and have loved feeling like a native rather than a tourist. Part of the experience is buying groceries from the locals, purchasing croissants in the morning for breakfast, coming back in the afternoon for a glass of wine on the patio before going out to dinner. Unforgettable! We have stayed in wonderful apartments…on the Left Bank, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, and for the part three years on the Ile St. Louis which a small slice of heaven.

    • Weekend In Paris
      Posted at 15:43h, 25 September Reply

      Dear Carol,

      Funny you should mention apartments because I will be staying in an apartment for the first time this coming January that I got through Go With Oh! I can’t wait to shop at all the little places that I toured with Context Travel Paris’ chef docent this year. I know exactly where to get the best veggies, prepared meals to go and wine.

      I love Île Saint-Louis, my favorite little island in the Seine.

      Thanks for writing me!


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