Over the last few years, I have travelled around the globe reviewing 4& 5 Star hotels, roughly 250. As the reality of our world regarding global climate escalates. So does our passion for luxury travel.  Travel is affordable and easy for the most part. Over the last three years my growing concern for the overuse of the marketing term, COMPLIMENTARY is the reason why I want to give some practical tips of how we can avoid using complementary items when one checks into five-star hotels.

Complimentary Costs

To say we have got along way to go when it comes to Eco-friendly operations is putting it mildly. At 5-star hotels, I find there is a dated mindset that needs to be addressed when it comes to the over consumption of unwanted not necessary complimentary items. So ask yourself it may be a small gesture but what are the implications regarding using these non-recyclable items during our say.


Do we really need slippers in our rooms? They are wrapped in plastic and such an environment cost both to the hotel itself. They look ugly and even in you are only there for a one night stay. For me, this is such a waste of material and money. The alternative is very simple to bring your own or in many spas now some flip flops are made available. So the next time you are about to pop out for a spa treatment choose not to wear those slippers. The hotel needs to be more ruthless regarding slippers. My thinking is to charge a high price for them it may make the guest think twice before using them.

hotel slippers


I am notorious for forgetting my toothbrush. And am very grateful when I see one in my hotel room. But it still doesn’t seem right that this plastic disposable item should be treated with such carelessness.  Think about its packaging, a plastic toothbrush, wrapped in a plastic wrapper than in a paper box.

It is often given with a tiny plastic toothpaste again more rubbish for us to consume. Again harming our environment, our eco-system. So the next time you forget your toothbrush just pop out as I do and buy a good quality one that lasts for longer. Bamboo toothbrushes are a good alternative.

Complimentary hotel items

Towels & Robes

Nothing nicer than having an excess of huge fluffy towels right? Or having that robe to head to the spa or pool. But think about the act of convenience when using these items only once.

Plastic Pollution Ruins the World

In Thailand and Italy, I was surrounded by rubbish as I swam. In Thailand, there were oil bottles and rubbish from hotels on the beach and floating within the water. Obviously where it was being dumped was a concerning issue. In Vietnam, I couldn’t believe how much rubbish was on the beach at these so-called luxury resorts. It was endless and so every day I decided to pick up the rubbish. Toothbrushes, plastic wrappers of all sorts. Cans and bottles and endless amounts of plastic cups and an endless amount of Polyethylene terephthalate. In Asia when I order takeaway it is overused so much. In Italy when you take away Gelato it is given in polyethene terephthalate

Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET) is a lightweight plastic that is made to be semi-rigid or rigid which makes it more impact resistant, and helps protect food or liquids inside the packaging.

Impact-resistant it maybe but it is a product I continuously swim with. It is so nasty so the next time you get that take out for your luxury room.

Think twice of the packaging and bring your own plastic recyclable boxes.

The Shard London

Action speaks louder than words. Locals notice me doing this and the next day others were following my lead. The next time you dry yourself in that 4& 5star hotel, make a small difference and use the towel more than once.

Are we eating plastic at a seafood restaurant these days?

No plastic use at this meal

Same with bed linen, if you are there only for a three night stay. Ask yourself do I wash my bed linen every three days?

Plastic Straws

The use of plastic straws in 4& 5star resorts has to stop. I make a conscious effort to meet with the manager and point this out. Proud to say they take my advice on board and implement bamboo straws or recyclable ones. Don’t be afraid to speak up the next time you get a plastic straw. As I travel a lot I bring my stainless steel ones along for Asia.

Cocktail trends and bamboo straws

Fresh coconut anyone

Complimentary Conditioner and Shampoo

We all love our feel-good factor of complimentary shampoo and conditioner. It is yours to take, you paid for it. But ask yourself what can I do to not end up with so many plastic bottles. I like hotels where items are made of recyclable materials. Or they have amenities on the wall for you to use endlessly during your stay. I review a lot of hotels, can you imagine how many bottles I could end up if I took them all?

Same with the soap in most rooms I am given two or three, just open one package. How much soap can one use during a short stay let alone an overnight stay?

Turtle swimming in plastic

Plastic Laundry Bags

I can’t believe how much plastic laundry bags are still in hotel rooms. Next time just use a recyclable cloth bag you have on your journey and set an example. I also point out to hotel manager about opting for recyclable laundry bags. Whenever possible do your own washing, especially swimwear and linen fabrics are very easy to wash and dry in hot climates. Pack less, wash less and choose materials less harmful to our oceans.

An Lam Ninh Van Bay

Finding A Place In Where A World Is Made Of Paper

Can you imagine if every hotel complimentary items were all made of paper? Where items are well throughout and could be recycled. In where the hotel takes on an Eco-friendly mindset. I did find this one place. Sri Lanka of all places. Jetwing Blue Negombo 

They were so ahead compared to the rest of the world. Everything including their water was never wasted. In reality, hotels are changing but in the meantime, we can all make a difference and choose not to opt for those complimentary plastic harmful items within your rooms.

Sunrise at Fusion Maya Danang Vietnam