“Have you ever seen this before?” TikTok user Anna Brown (@annabrowniie) asked in the caption of a video where she expressed her bewilderment at the egregious $150 fee hotel guests are charged for using small bathroom towels to remove makeup.
Brown questioned the ethics of such a steep price gouge, as did several other users who responded to her video, many of whom pointed out that the cost of towels online is much, much less. The Daily Dot looked into the price of hand towels and it didn’t take long to corroborate that the hotel in question could purchase at least 216 hand towels for that amount of money if they ordered from BidSupply.
“The audacity of this hotel I’m staying at right now is insane I’ve never seen something like this before in my life,” Brown says, standing in front of the camera before her clip transitions to a sign in her hotel bathroom that she finds particularly upsetting.
“Use the provided wipes for makeup removal. A damage fee of $150 per towel will be charged for each towel found with makeup stains,” she reads aloud from the sign before showing off the makeup removal packets inside of the hotel.
“And then they put makeup remover wipes, right next to it,” she says. “This is the towel in question—it’s like a thin, little face towel. This thing could not have cost them more than one dollar, knowing how many they buy. A hundred and fifty bucks? Oh my gosh. They probably add like a tip bar at the end when you get charged for it.”
Brown isn’t the first TikTok user to slam exorbitant hotel room charges on the app: recently, another user staying at the Venetian in Las Vegas slammed the chain for expecting guests to fork over $14 for a packet of M&M’s and then $11 for a bottle of water. What’s more is that the mini bar items are on “smart” trays and packed into “smart” refrigerators meaning that if a guest so much as removes one of these products from these wired bits of furniture, their room is automatically charged for them.
Another user on the app, a flight attendant, slammed the hotel she stayed at that made guests pay $40 for the privilege of removing all of the minibar items inside the fridge to use it for their own items. She ultimately did find a workaround: she headed to a pharmacy and purchased a styrofoam cooler that she filled with complimentary ice from the hotel to keep all of the food she meal prepped for her travels from spoiling.
Commenters who saw Brown’s post were equally miffed by the hotel’s surcharge slapped against anyone unfortunate enough to wipe their makeup on a small towel that in no way shape or form should cost $150 to replace.
“That washcloth probably cost them 15 cents. And they’re going to bleach them anyway! Insaneeee,” one user wrote.
Someone else said that they would simply “steal” the hotel towel if they used it to wipe off makeup: “I’m an esthetician, I’m not using a random hotel face wipe. The way I would just use the towel and then just steal it. There’s no residue if they don’t have the towel.”
There was another TikToker who questioned the efficacy and cleaning capabilities of the hotel’s washers and dryers if they were unable to properly take care of a bit of makeup on a small white towel: “If their laundry system cannot clean mascara I am highly concerned about how sanitary my towel is.”
One commenter remarked that the makeup wipes usually aren’t enough to fully clean one’s cosmetics off of their face. “Okay but even when I use those wipes I sometimes still have residue! They need to provide a black washcloth!!!” they shared.
Others said they’ve frequented hotels that are kind enough to provide a black washcloth for their guests to use on their faces. “The best places I’ve stayed at had a black makeup washcloth. Problem solved & I don’t have to use your mystery makeup removal wipe,” one commenter said.
@annabrowniie Have you ever seen this before?! #hotel #hotelroom #hotelroomsetup #hotelbathroom #hotelbathroomtiktoks #hoteltiktok #hotelmakeup #makeupremover #hoteltowels #fyp #worktravel ♬ original sound – anna brown 🤍
Linen industry advocate TRSA reported on this trend, which seemed to be a welcome addition to the hospitality industry as a low-cost means of demonstrating a level of consideration for customers. The piece also acknowledges the difficulty that hotels usually have in removing the stains from towels, too. “This struck us as a clever idea, because hospitality operators regularly grumble about having to get makeup stains out of white terry products,” the group’s article reads. “After querying four executives on this idea, responses ranged from enthusiastic support to deep skepticism about the efficacy of black makeup towels, which are turning up in a fair number of U.S. hotels.”
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However, some folks weren’t so sure that the black hotel towels were a good idea, like this one laundry industry expert who was quoted in the same article: “Vicky Cayetano, president and customer service director for United Laundry Services, Honolulu, questioned the feasibility of the makeup towels. ‘I think it is a clever idea and probably more of a marketing tool than one that is practical,’ she said. ‘I say this because most women are using makeup ‘towelettes’ to remove makeup. And I think psychologically, I would like a white towel, which shows if it’s clean or not vs. a black towel. Most hair salons use black towels for hair coloring, etc.'”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Brown via email for further comment.