Dear Sheraton, It’s Time To Rethink Your Bath Amenities

According to a front desk agent in October, I have the dubious distinction of having stayed at 50+ unique Sheraton properties. I don’t really want to think about what that might say about me, but I have certainly experienced more than my fair share of Sheraton bath amenities.

And they are due for an update. Let me explain.

Sheraton-Shine
Do these bottles (or their contents) say “upscale brand” to you?

Sheraton has been undergoing a bit of a “soft” rebrand, adding more luxurious properties to the portfolio, and updating others with the “Grand” designation. And I’ve had really great experiences at some of these new-concept hotels — like the charming Sheraton Dubrovnik and the Sheraton Grand Dubai (which I haven’t had a chance to tell y’all about, but was just lovely).

Sheraton-Grand-Dubai-Suite
A fun and modern suite at the Sheraton Grand Dubai

The problem isn’t with the “Shine” amenities as such (although I don’t really get labeling a fragrance as “Mandarin and Mint” when it smells nothing like either of those things), but rather the association.

Matt wrote about this a few months back — fragrances are part of our memories of a place, and can create impressions of a brand.

So it is incredibly jarring to walk through a new or freshly-renovated room in a fun hotel to discover the same crummy Sheraton Shine bath products I’d find at a junky airport hotel (or the Sheraton Catania, which is likely worse than any airport property you’ve been to).

Sheraton-Catania
Sheraton Catania — a Category 1, because that’s as low as the categories go

You just don’t want to fill up a soaking tub set in a private villa garden and emerge smelling like the Sheraton Heathrow Mortuary Hotel. Or at least I don’t.

Sheraton-Maldives-tub
You couldn’t get much further from an airport hotel than this bathroom design

And this is an area where other brands are placing a great deal of emphasis. Hyatt updated their chain-wide “default” scent a few years back, and Hilton offers Peter Thomas Roth at their base properties. Individual hotels sometimes opt-out of the default bath amenities (and others take it way too far), as this can be a small way to create a point of difference. A fragrance might even become a favorite, and be part of why people return to a hotel.

So if Sheraton is serious in marketing their properties as more-upscale, an update to the bath products would be a great place to start. I’m not sure how many gallons of the current stuff they have stockpiled, but a new, fresh, scent could help to create new memories with the updated brand.

Does anyone else notice bath amenities? Have I just spent too much time in hotels?

Comments

  1. Which property is that last picture?

    Since you guys participate in Starwood’s’s STARS Program, don’t they listen to your feedback?

  2. I agree and was just thinking about this. Stayed at Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown and New Orleans Canal Street over the past three months. Lovely hotels (taking into the renovation at the former) but bathrooms need some TLC and the amenities are so outdated. Feels like something from a Super 8.

  3. Completely agree on this.

    The Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown is another property with a great refresh as well.

    But yes, these amenities I feel like haven’t changed since the 90s.

    W Hotels, Westin, and even Hilton all do a great job with their products and fragrances. Let’s get with it, Sheraton.

  4. Agree on Sheraton. And if we’re going to nitpick, the leaf soap at Westin needs to go. Smells great, but breaks into pieces immediately on coming out of the cellophane.

  5. @Tiffany

    If you are staying at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon how is the level of plane noise ? It seems to be very close to the flight path to MLE on maps.

  6. Speaking of signature amenities, the AA redflower products are awesome. Great smell and classes up an otherwise standard kit.

  7. Can we talk about how bad the Holiday Inn stuff is. Or the CY by Marriott. This is not limited to SPG’s base brand

  8. Whoa, Sheraton’s bath amenities are actually really nice. Allow me to elaborate-

    1. They’re by Bliss (though they are no longer co-branded, Sheraton has made a big deal that they didn’t reformulate it.) This replaced the junky Pantene crap.

    2. They’re really high quality – on par with W brand amenities, and ahead of Westin, though I really love the scent of Westin.

    3. The mandarin and mint smell isn’t bad at all.

    The worst part of a Sheraton? A Sheraton. Their properties are dark, dingy, and nowhere near as well kept as any neighboring Hyatt, Hilton, or Marriott. The only thing good they have is their bath amenities. Unless you have a fetish for sad club lounges with broken espresso machines with heavily worn trim and a dank smell everywhere, you can just skip Sheratons.

    That chain could fold and nobody would notice.

  9. Yes! Stayed at a couple Sheratons these last few weeks and really hate how grungy and early 90’s it all feels. I love free stuff and have tons of leftover toiletries, but these toiletries aren’t worth taking home with you.

    The June Jacobs lines at Grand Hyatt is my absolute favorite among all hotels so I’m going to do everything in my power to stay there this year just for that alone.

  10. YES! After each stay, if offered an opportunity for feedback, I always say the cheap toiletries need to go.

  11. I am staying tonight at a Hyatt Regency. Compared to most SPG properties, I find that what I wish I had was different bath products. They don’t even give you hand lotion here. Maybe a refresh is in order, but honestly, I tihnk Mandarin and Mint is quite competitive vs. Hyatt. It is all individual taste, some will prefer one chain’s soap to anothers…

  12. @ No Name — It’s not bad at all. The seaplanes are the loudest, and they mostly pass by the far end of the island. The others pass by the lagoon area on departure, but plane-spotting while paddle boarding is pretty darn fun.

  13. It should be down to the more unique places to spend a bit more and go a bit more upscale.

    Used Le Labo for the first time at the Fairmont Abu Dhabi and it made me switch over to that brand for all my personal products that i buy. Can work both ways at a higher end place, product placement to a target audience.

  14. I agree. I’ve never been a fan of the Sheraton bath amenities, but I do like the Westin ones a lot! I’ll admit if there’s a choice between Sheraton or Westin, I almost always pick Westin!
    BTW, have you ever used the LUSH bath bombs? They’re absolutely amazing but I made the mistake of trying them out in my bathroom first! 😉 Ok so they’re great but the ones with seaweed and what not are a pain to clean up. I’ll admit I at times bring these LUSH bath bombs with me if I know I’m going to stay at a luxury hotel since I know I won’t be doing any of the cleaning.

  15. @ David F — Agree that individual preference is factor, but my main thought is that Shine (and the Mandarin & Mint scent) has been associated with some pretty dismal properties for a long period of time. So even if they keep the same “stuff” a new scent and updated packaging could help with the rebrand.

  16. Tiffany, I so agree!

    Was in ABQ for business recently, staying at both a Sheraton and a local hotel chain. Shine seemed a bit cheap and disappointing while the local chain had nice CO Bigelow toiletries. Not that CO Bigelow is the best by any means but definitely seemed a lot nicer than Shine!

  17. I’ll join Tiffany in being underwhelmed by Sheraton’s (generally) and their amenities.

    My view is that bathroom products should be stratified, that is, the higher the room grade the better the soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash should get. Base rooms getting serviceable but economic products (because cost is key here) – expect in luxury hotels – with Executive/Club Rooms and Suites getting a more premium product. Some hotels already do this, and I think it works well (ideally you should even have the option to add as an “extra” to your base room a toiletries upgrade so you can enjoy some small luxury).

    “Premium” hotel/airline toiletry brands I quite like are Le Labo, Aesop, Antipodes (great hand and body wash), Bulgari, Remede (except their gritty body wash), Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Soul, and Molton Brown.

  18. I agree Shine needs an update, but I’ve just enjoyed Shine in my outdoor villa shower at a Sheraton. I’d love to see cinq mondes, bliss etc, but it beats the hell out of Roth stuff.

  19. @ Joey/Tiffany: The LUSH bath bombs are cool! But do they ever reach bubble bath status? I used it before, and it just didn’t end up to my bubble bath expectation 🙁

  20. I quite like Peter Thomas Roth products, although I much preferred the older (grapefruit?) body wash over the current orange version, which seems to be lower quality. Molton Brown is fine but over-rated IMHO, and I *HATE* the Agraria stuff at InterContinental, it actually makes my skin crawl and I just can’t use it!

    Love the Hermes products at Sofitel.

    #firstworldconcerns

  21. While I agree with the overall sentiment that there needs to be a refresh of the toiletries, I am not sure the actual product (Bliss, you say?) needs replacing. I just find the bottles confusing with the “Shine” which I find confusing to iD the shampoo from the shower gel, or the conditioner from the moisturizer. And the design is rather tired. That said, the shampoo is the best I’ve come across for my hair and I always stock up on as many bottles as I can to use back home. (Never knew the actual brand, now that I do I can source it normally.)

    Sheratons generally are still a mishmash of standards in the US particularly, though there has been a reinvestment to bring them up to consistency. Like Hiltons of yore, Sheraton’s North American properties lagged well behind their international compatriots.

  22. Agreed with you Tiffany, but I think it is also pretty much the same as Westins.

    While there are great Sheratons and Westins compared to meh Sheratons and Westins (though much more meh Sheratons than Westins), I feel that the better Sheratons and Westins should have their own premium toiletries for the complete unique (I am a premium Sheraton / Westin) experience.

    Then again, Starwood will no longer exist this year, so Marriott will have to decide, and who knows what they will do to these brands?

  23. I agree, the Sheraton brand bath products are terrible. The soap is dry, and the shampoos disgusting. I can’t wait to hear about your stay at the Sheraton grand Dubai. I stayed there for a week last fall, and I would say it’s one of my all-time favorite hotels.

  24. Yes, I always notice the soap and bath items. It can influence where I stay if I know I really like one hotel’s soap items over another. We love Westin’s soaps. Higher end Hilton’s have the Peter Thomas Roth products – those are fabulous!

  25. @Jon I agree! Le Labo is the best and I have now become a fanatic in my personal consumption of their products. I use the Santal 33 line that is, quite frankly, the greatest scent ever created. As well, I have been known to stalk the maid’s carts at Fairmont Hotels, lol.

    As an aside, Le Labo just got bought by Estee Lauder so it will be interesting to see where the brand goes.

  26. Interesting to read the different comments on this one. I personally really like the Sheraton products, particularly the Mandarin & Mint scent (although I agree it smells like neither). I much prefer it to the white tea aloe scent at Westins. I’ve managed to collect a lot of Le Labo products from Fairmont/Etihad in the last year, but I can’t say I’ve ever been wowed by their stuff. Like Daftboy, my favourite is the Hermes line at Sofitel. I guess preferences are quite individual!

    I’m interested to read your review of the Sheraton Grand Dubai. I stayed there in September and was not impressed at all. The rooms (plural because I made them move me) all stunk of mildew, the construction quality was poor, the pool was unimpressive, and the location was mediocre. I certainly won’t be staying there next time.

  27. In an remember when Le Meridien was just acquired, my platinum status got me all Hermes products including full bars of soap.

  28. Definitely agree. Thanks to Fairmont, I discovered Le Labo and Rose 31 evokes a wonderful weekend away in Manila. I now have many of the Rose 31 and Santal 33 products at home. honey and vanilla from Forest Essentials, an upscale Indian brand, evokes the Four Seasons Mumbai. Of course, I then had to find the shop (also one conveniently located in BOM for transit pax) and have a spectacular sandalwood scrub and body oil.
    Scent evokes powerful memories and I do really judge a hotel by the amenities provided!

  29. One thing I think we can all agree on is that the Westin green leaf soap has got to go! It’s such an artificial looking color of green and the highly-molded leaf shape also just feels so… processed, artificial, and manufactured. None of those are attributes that Westin is trying to associate with its brand, so I don’t know for the life of me how that green leaf thing has survived so long. Not to mention it breaks so easily and slips out of my hands constantly.

    I also think that each hotel chain has OK products, but you eventually get sick of them. I mostly stay at Hiltons, and while I think the Peter Thomas Roth stuff is fine, I get so bored with it. Why can’t a big chain have a few different brands they carry and it’s somewhat of a surprise each time you check in? It’s no fun to be halfway around the world and you check into a Hilton that has the exact same bed cover and toiletries as the one at the local airport hotel. Mix it up! I’m not suggesting these big chains go all boutique, but maybe borrow an idea or two from popular boutique chains and introduce a little variety.

  30. In all honesty, Sheraton properties seriously need to update their furniture and interior decor. Many of them are stuck back in the 80’s or 90’s.

  31. I recently stayed at a Sheraton and my hair loves the Shine Shampoo and Conditioner and am actually going to buy some for my home. 🙂

  32. As of my stay in June 2017, Sheraton Garden Grove – Anaheim South is providing Le Grand Bain toiletries. They are god awful. The shampoo and conditioner smell like cigarette ash, and the soap smells like B.O. I literally had to shower at my next hotel to get the sickening scent off of me.

    Sheraton Park at the Anaheim Resort still has the Shine toiletries, which to me is very welcome. Sheraton Cerritos has a bizarre combination of Shine shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and Le Grand Bain BO soap.

  33. I completely disagree with you rich! i am absolutely and completely in love with Le Grand Bain, the scent is so subtle and somehow so rejuvenating, i work for a Sheraton and am strongly considering buying it for my home (for now i just snag a few hand lotions)

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