A Hotel Soap of One’s Own


Hotels have mastered the art of making guests feel comfortable (personalized check-in, pillow menus…), but the small plastic servings of stock shampoo always stand out as a reminder that you are not at home. (Sure, you could have brought your own trusted grooming supplies, but they would have just been confiscated by the TSA at the airport, since who wants to pay to check in bags these days?) That’s why the option to choose your own bath amenities – a service that Conrad Hotels and Resorts introduced late last year – seems like such a no-brainer, we can’t believe no one’s done it before. With Conrad Amenities, guests select their preference via e-mail or from the Conrad Concierge mobile app. No more settling for the standard soap that dries you and your hair out. It’s customize time.

“I believe we are one of the first hotels to do this,” says Hilton Worldwide spa director Tyra Lowman. “We wanted to be able to offer a personal experience for our guests.”

Each of the three available lines is totally distinct and comes with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, bath soap, and body lotion. Aromatherapy Associates is full of essential oils and natural herbs, such as rosemary, which can help relieve jet lag. “It is geared 100 percent towards the traveler,” says Lowman (as such it is what guests will receive if they do not specify a preference). The basic bright color tubes and sleek gray box are attractive in their own right in an Apple-lite sort of way.

Hong Kong fusion-y fashion store Shanghai Tang offers up amenities based on Mandarin tea, which is intended to relieve exhaustion, and fittingly comes in a shockingly bright orange tea box. “[Shanghai Tang] is for the guest that’s maybe feeling a little exotic, maybe a fashionista,” says Lowman. Though we don’t quite consider ourselves fashionistas, this was actually our favorite of the bunch. The tea scent is subtle but refreshing, and we liked that it wasn’t the first thing everyone smelled when we walked into a room.

The last option is Tara Smith Vegan Hair Care, squarely aimed at the organic crowd. It comes in a box that’s covered with images of animals, lest you forget that none were harmed in the making of this product and that it’s the only amenity made up of 100 percent vegetable materials. “Lots of shampoos use preservatives or chemicals,” says Lowman, “Tara Smith Vegan Hair Care doesn’t.” Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean your hair shouldn’t shine.

And just because you’re staying in a hotel for the weekend and didn’t, understandably, check in any luggage, doesn’t mean you have to settle for generic or perfume-heavy soap and shampoo. The Conrad Amenities service ensures you won’t have to. Let’s hope more hotels follow suit.