Making off with the hotel toiletries is one thing; making off with the mattress is another thing entirely. It sounds like an unbelievable scenario, but according to one recent study, that level of brazen thievery isn’t outside the realm of possibility – and in fact, it’s more common than you might expect. 

Young woman having a glass of wine on a balcony with a view.
Robes, towels, and even wine glasses go missing with startling frequency © DaniloAndjus/Getty Images

Wellness Heaven, a spa and luxury-hotel review site for German-speaking countries, recently surveyed 1157 hoteliers (primarily European) to get the scoop on the things that they’ve seen go missing, and overall, guests at four- and five-star properties are absconding with towels and bathrobes, followed closely by other everyday items like hangers, pens, and cutlery. 

And then there are the outliers. At one Berlin hotel, thieves stripped the bathroom of its fixtures from the rain showerhead to the sink – even the toilet seat went missing. At another German hotel, the spa-area stereo system disappeared overnight, and at a hotel near Salzburg, a guest lifted the pine-wood benches from the private terrace of a spa suite. 

Overview of a grand piano on a checkered floor.
A bold trio dressed as workmen removed a grand piano from an Italian hotel lobby © Grant Faint/Getty Images

"Once I walked through the lobby, I noticed that something was missing,” a hotelier from Italy noted. “Soon after, I learned that three unknown men in overalls had taken away the grand piano, and it never reappeared, of course." In England, a hotel guest removed the numbers from his door, an escapade that the staff didn’t notice until the room’s next occupant couldn’t find his accommodations. 

Breaking down the data further, hoteliers at five-star properties report that big-ticket items go missing far more frequently than they do at their four-star counterparts. Fancy TV sets are nine times more likely to disappear at five-star hotels, and high-dollar tablets, artwork, and mattresses – yes, mattresses – are being stolen more often as well. 

RF © Rasulov/Shutterstock
Remote controls are 4.9 times more likely to go missing at four-star hotels © Rasulov/Shutterstock

Wellness Heaven CEO Tassilo Keilmann told CNN that 49 of the hotels surveyed said they’d lost mattresses – often worth thousands – since January 2018. "They told me that it usually happens in the night,” he said, “when the reception is not open, when there is nobody there. Some of them have security camera footage showing them transporting it to the elevator." 

Four-star guests, on the other hand, stick with the practical stuff – towels and hangers, batteries and remote controls, even toilet paper is in high demand. Dutch hotel guests also seem to favour the utilitarian, including light bulbs and toilet paper, and Americans go for pillows and batteries, while German and British guests focus on cosmetics and toiletries. Other nationalities seem drawn to the food and beverage angle: Austrians tend to walk away with dishes and coffee machines, and Italians with wine glasses. 

For more details and to see the full study, visit

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