Why Hotels Are Sticking With Bar Soap

In the cleaning industry, so much has changed over the past two years from the rise in electrostatic sprayers to the wearing of masks beyond just healthcare facilities. But one constant for many hotels has been the presence of bar soap, notably in hotels. As outlined in an article by Cónde Nast Traveler, many hotels are sticking with bars of soap as a bathroom fixture despite other changes — including larger-scale shampoo and conditioner dispensers in lieu of small plastic bottles for environmental reasons.

In speaking with hotel operations staff from different regions of the U.S., Cónde Nast Traveler outlined several key reasons as to why the classic bar of soap has remained a cornerstone, and why facility cleaning managers and frontline staff for those facilities might not expect a change anytime soon.

A Sense Of Luxury

One general manager who oversees the Gansevoort hotel in New York notes that they still use bars of soap because it conveys a sense of separation from the regular homes of guests. Part of the tradition of having a bar of soap ready in the bathroom helps drive home the point that they are staying in a luxury hotel and getting a unique experience from what they are used to.

Why Hotels Are Sticking With Bar Soap

A Sense Of Familiarity

Interestingly, an operations staffer for Maison de la Luz in New Orleans is a proponent of bar soap for the exact opposite reason. Their goal is to instead make the guest feel more 'at home', and they believe the optics of a large dispenser right next to the bathroom sink feels less residential. They've adopted the dispensers like many other hotels, but they're instead placed near the bathtub as a more practical location.

Complementary Branding

The same staffer for the Maison de la Luz adds that bar soap allow for more branding opportunities. Their bars of soap, for example, are branded with the Maison logo and molded into the shape of an oyster shell — a staple of the New Orleans experience. Similarly, the general manager of the Marram in Montauk in New York State says they give their bars of soap a woody aroma to represent the outdoor scent of their region.

Changes May Loom

Not all hotels are sticking with the bar soap, however. Conrad Hotels & Resorts recently switched from the bars of soap to bulk dispensers of soap, outlining the same environmentally-based concerns of mini plastic bottles for restroom amenities. Their global brand head noted that the pandemic reinvigorated the need for single-use hygiene products, but as normalcy returns, so will the priority of environmentally-friendly options.

On a related topic, check out this article comparing the benefits of bar soap vs. liquid soap.