We remember when hotel shampoos and soaps were just kind of there, like better-than-nothing safety nets. But in recent years, we've grown to love, and expect, so-cute sizes of up-and-coming brands awaiting our arrival. In fact, they're now on the list of things we size up upon entering a just-checked-into room, along with the view, the snacks, and whatever book is subbing in for the bible. There is one thing, though, that we've never looked for — and hotels know it — and that's toothpaste.
Slate tackled this pressing question with a three-page piece written on behalf of all the weary travelers in North America who ever took to bed with unbrushed teeth. Many theories were posited (a bellboy conspiracy for tips), several good reasons surfaced (AAA diamond ratings don't factor in toothpaste; oral-hygiene products have more rigorous regulations than soaps), and one fact certainty was revealed: The business of hotel toiletries is a complicated game of one-upmanship.
This sort-of amenity arms race has gone in and out of travel fashion through the years — currently, it's been in since about 2005 — and last peaked in the late '80s when the Los Angeles Times wrote about a Minnesota hotel that was giving its guests cats. Yes, cats. The furry things.
The current iteration focuses on luxe little extras — the things we don't buy ourselves — and toothpaste doesn't fall into that category. In short, the toiletries a hotel puts out is more a statement about its brand and giving guests a little thrill than practicality. And as long we're not given anything that's breathing, we're okay with that. (Slate)