Flight attendant Miguel Muñoz, currently based in Dublin, told Express.co.uk that holidaymakers should always check the minibar as soon as they check in.
This is in order to avoid extra costs as housekeeping staff inspect the minibar every morning to keep track of the drinks and snacks guests have taken.
Miguel explained: “I always check what’s in the mini-bar before going to bed the first day of my stay. It’s important to make sure that it’s full and nothing is missing because housekeeping will check it in the morning and add whatever is missing to your bill.”
Hotels normally have a mini-bar menu in every room, so travellers are advised to make sure all drinks and snacks listed are in there and that nothing has been opened or damaged.
Travel experts at Zestcarrental recently issued a warning and explained that guests should always “check hotel extras like the minibar to avoid the sting”.
They explained: “Many travellers have been caught out by these before. Additional charges for items within the mini bar should be made clear but this isn’t always the case. Even just removing an item from the fridge can trigger a charge, without even consuming it!
“These items often have inflated rates to cover the convenience for you having them in your room. These can be avoided by simply popping out and grabbing what you need from the local shop. Some hotels may include bottled water or soft drinks within your rates free of charge, but always check.”
But how do hotel staff know when guests take something? Hotel experts at Hotelchantelle revealed that they have several methods to track minibar use, including daily inventories, and visual and manual checks.
The travel gurus explained: “One common approach is through manual and visual checks. Hotel staff often conduct regular inspections of the mini-bar area to ensure that all items are accounted for. These checks involve physically inspecting the items and comparing them to the inventory list.”
They claimed that in some hotels, mini bar items are weighed. “Each item is assigned a specific weight, and if the weight decreases, it indicates that an item has been consumed. This method allows hotels to accurately track the usage of mini bar items and identify any discrepancies.”
How can guests avoid these charges? As flight attendant Miguel recommended, the best way is to always inspect the minibar “when you first enter your hotel room” and make sure all the items are there, and that they haven’t been opened or partially consumed
The experts advised: “If you notice anything suspicious, immediately inform the front desk. By documenting the condition of the mini-bar items upon arrival, you can protect yourself from being wrongly accused of taking something.”