The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Property -

We spent a cou­ple of nights at a lovely ho­tel in Ox­ford last week and, as usual, came back with the lit­tle bot­tles from the bath­room to add to the hoard of loot ac­cu­mu­lated over the years. We col­lected one oat and bay con­di­tion­ing sham­poo, one grape­seed jo­joba shea but­ter body cream, and one neroli and grape­fruit zest body wash. Th­ese will be placed round the edge of the bath, by the eight shower and bath gels (in­clud­ing one ver­bena and one en­er­gis­ing sea moss), six con­di­tion­ing sham­poos (one cu­cum­ber), two lit­tle bot­tles of body wash (one brac­ing sil­ver birch), two hand lo­tions, two hand washes, one fa­cial wash and one body lo­tion. My rule in ho­tel bath­rooms is I’m al­lowed to take the lit­tle bot­tles so long as I use some of the sham­poo while I fail to work out how the shower’s tem­per­a­ture con­trols work. Why do ho­tels leave out th­ese po­tions? My the­ory is that they be­lieve the ra­di­ant com­plex­ions of the clients will be a good ad­ver­tise­ment for their es­tab­lish­ment. They don’t want peo­ple with dull, un-en­er­gised skin or non­con­di­tioned hair clut­ter­ing up the res­i­dents’ lounge. They ob­vi­ously want us to zing. So, when you check in, the re­cep­tion­ist as­sesses the level of glow in your com­plex­ion, makes a cal­cu­la­tion of your body-wash needs and reg­is­ters the “bounce” in your hair. That’s why she spends such a long time at her com­puter key­board: she’s send­ing a mes­sage to house­keep­ing: “Rush re­in­force­ments of cu­cum­ber con­di­tion­ing sham­poo to room 209.” For the guest, th­ese bot­tles are also sou­venirs. You can rem­i­nisce about a visit to, say, Winch­ester and sigh: “Ah yes, the won­der­ful cathe­dral — and the in­vig­o­rat­ing black pep­per body wash.”

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