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10 Amenities Slowly Vanishing from Hotel Rooms

Your hotel room definitely still has a bed—but these once-common amenities might be missing.

Liquid soap put on bathrobe in room.Summer Photographer/Shutterstock

Hotel perks and amenities change with the times

Everyone has their own unique hotel taste. Some people prefer small family-owned inns, but others are loyal to their favorite chain hotel. No matter where you choose to stay, there are plenty of things you’ll probably never see in hotels again. Soon, these amenities will also be on their way out, too. Click on to see the amenities that are slowly vanishing from hotel rooms.

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Individual shampoo bottles

It’s exciting to find fancy little bottles of free toiletries in the hotel room. Guests not only score a free gift, but they don’t need to worry about packing toiletries. Now, to be more sustainable, many hotels are cutting down on plastic waste by not offering these miniatures. In July, InterContinental Hotels Group became the first global hotel company to replace miniatures with bulk-size shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and shampoos. Although, they’re not the only ones catching onto this sustainable trend. Marriott International and Disney resorts and cruises also plan on replacing small toiletries, USA Today reports. If you stay somewhere that still offers minis, make sure you take them home with you along with these other things you can take from your hotel room.

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Dressers

It might seem odd imagining hotel rooms without a dresser or two, but it’s slowly becoming a reality. Take the Drake Oak Brook, for example. Cathleen Knobbe, the director of sales and marketing for the Drake Oak Brook, says the soon-to-be newly renovated hotel moved away from dressers and replaced them with custom closet organizers. This not only allows for more space in the room, but it’s also a more sophisticated look that may resemble guests’ at-home closets. Yvonne Roberts, principal of Guru of Luxury and creative director for Hotel Retlaw, says many hotels are removing dressers because they want a minimalist approach that appeals to younger travelers. Travelers are even taking a minimalist approach for packing.

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Bathtubs

Roberts says bathtubs are an amenity that is consistently disappearing in hotel rooms. One reason hotels are more keen on showers is partly because of hygiene, according to Robert Festinger, the General Manager for Mondrian South Beach. And by removing the tub, there’s more space within the bathroom for families. Some luxury hotels and resorts still offer tubs for those who prefer baths.

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Daily sheet and towel changes

Not only are hotels cutting down on plastic use, but they’re also trying to limit energy usage, too. Hana Penvy, an Innkeeper who renovates small hotel properties and decides on in-room amenities, says travelers today want to stay in hotels that care about the environment. And hotels want to appeal to these customers. That’s why daily sheet and towel changes are less common amenities in hotels. “Today’s traveler is more eco-conscious and understands the need to reduce our carbon footprint,” Penvy says. Doing laundry less often is one way to conserve water and energy use. “The norm is to change sheets every third day for longer stays and towels every two or three if the guests indicate by hanging the towels that they don’t require daily changing,” Penvy says. Swapping out this amenity makes room for some of these incredible hotel perks.

High Angle View of Bathrobe and Breakfast Tray on Unmade Bed Beside Night Table with Red Book in Hotel RoomOzgur Coskun/Shutterstock

Room service

There are plenty of things you should never order from room service. Hotels are making it even more difficult to choose what to eat since they are pairing down or eliminating room service. More and more properties offer casual spaces where guests can eat and work at the same time, reducing the need for room service, according to Penvy. “Room service, I believe, is being redefined,” Penvy says. Hotels are putting their own spin on dining options with different family-style and community meals.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jochen Tack/imageBROKER/Shutterstock (4799216a) Mini bar with drinks and a safe for valuables in a hotel room VARIOUSJochen Tack/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Minibars

Guests won’t see traditional minibars in hotel rooms at the Drake Oak Brook, or many other hotels. Hilton, Grand Hyatt, and Marriott brands are removing the minibar drinks and leaving the fridge empty for guests to fill, CNN reports. Some hotels are simply ditching the drinks because they already have a hotel bar, Penvy says. That doesn’t mean hotels are abandoning alcohol in the room—they’re just finding more creative strategies. The Drake Oak Brook, for example, features bar carts instead of traditional minibars. “Our bar carts will be customized prior to each guest’s arrival with their favorite spirits and wine,” Knobbe says. “Upon request, guests can have a bartender come to prepare specialty cocktails from their bar cart.”  Don’t worry. You won’t need to go to the hotel ice machine for some frozen cubes. You’ve probably always wondered about hotel ice machines and these other things about hotels

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On-demand movie rentals

Opting for a pay-per-view or on-demand movie rental will soon be nostalgic memory from the past. Hotels are installing new smart TVs so guests can stream Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, according to Knobbe. Roberts says guests actually expect high-tech offerings and Wi-Fi so they can experience their own music and movies on their own devices. Although hotels might not rent out movies as often anymore, there are some weird things hotels have lent guests in the past.

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Front desks

Some select hotels are moving toward casual, automated check-in, Roberts says. This makes the process quicker and cuts down on staff, but Roberts notes that luxury hotels are less likely to hop on the trend. “I feel it’s important to have the personal touch-point of a staffed front desk,” Roberts says. “I believe guests always want to be welcomed and greeted and escorted to their room.” Fewer hotel staffers also mean fewer stories about the crazy things hotel employees have seen.

Telephone at hotel room sitting on bedside table along with the table lamp and alarm clock.Creative Caliph/Shutterstock

Phones

Phone calls used to be a big money-maker for hotels—but that was long before the cellphone. “With owning a mobile phone being a way of life now, the revenue stream and the incentive to have phones in rooms is no longer there,” Roberts says. Cellphones mean in-room phones are a thing of the past, particularly in smaller properties, Penvy says. Still, some larger national brands have phones for easy connection to the front desk or housekeeping. Guests should always remember to try limiting talking on the phone to their room, since obnoxious speaking is one of the rude hotel habits you need to stop.

Four workplaces arranged in pairs symmetrically with computers only on them. Four leather chairs around the table. Window with city view to the left. Filter. 3D rendering.ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Business centers

Blame cellphones and laptops for the decline of business centers in hotels. Since people have access to so many hand-held screens, there’s less of a need for a designated space with desktop computers, Roberts says. Printers in the business center were once necessary for printing boarding passes and travel documents, but many of these things are available digitally. Despite this fact, some hotels still have this amenity, but it’s certainly on it’s way out. If only hotels would swap out these sections for any of these things hotels should have.

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.