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Hotels and leftover food?

ipsedixit Jul 19, 2010 11:43 AM

You're staying at a hotel.

Your room has no wetbar (or fridge).

You dine out and have leftovers that you'd like to keep.

Have you ever asked the hotel kitchen to hold your leftovers for you?

Would this not be kosher?

Would it be "more ok" if you ordered breakfast for room service that same day?

(If this topic has been beaten to death, I apologize. Just point me to the old thread link(s). I searched but came up nil.)

  1. a
    AllaSiciliana Jul 19, 2010 12:53 PM

    Interesting question. I'd stick em in the ice bucket wrapped in a plastic bag.

    9 Replies
    1. re: AllaSiciliana
      Phurstluv Jul 19, 2010 04:55 PM

      Or I would fill the sink or tub with some ice & keep it there. Done that before. It works, for a day. Ate the leftovers within 24 hrs.

      1. re: Phurstluv
        monku Jul 19, 2010 04:58 PM

        All hotels have ice machines.
        If it's cool enough I'll leave the leftovers in the car overnight and eat them ASAP the next day. Now I carry a collapsable cooler in the car.

        1. re: monku
          Phurstluv Jul 19, 2010 07:38 PM

          Um, yes I know. Not sure what I posted that makes you feel the need to remind me of that fact, monku.

          1. re: monku
            Lizard Jul 20, 2010 03:35 AM

            Actually, Monku, not ALL hotels have ice machines, although many do. I wish ALL did, though.

            1. re: Lizard
              monku Jul 20, 2010 08:25 AM

              Can't recall a hotel I've stayed at in the US that didn't have an ice machine. I imagine at a 5 star hotel they pre-stock the ice bucket or bring it to you?
              Foreign countries are a different story.

              1. re: monku
                ipsedixit Jul 20, 2010 08:56 AM

                Many many hotels do not have ice machines. In fact, in my experience, only about 1 out of 5 hotels have ice machines and usually it's on every other floor, if that.

                You want ice? You call room service.

                Reason for the paucity of ice machines? Cost (both $ to buy the equipment and energy) as well as noise.

                1. re: monku
                  goodhealthgourmet Jul 20, 2010 09:12 AM

                  just last week i stayed in a hotel in LA that didn't have ice machines.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    monku Jul 20, 2010 09:49 AM

                    How about all hotels have ice machines, but they may not be accessible to the traveler?

                  2. re: monku
                    lagatta Jul 20, 2010 12:58 PM

                    Many small hotels in Europe don't have ice machines, and I've stayed in small hotels here in Québec where there are none (and no, it is not cold all year round here).

          2. goodhealthgourmet Jul 19, 2010 12:58 PM

            no option to ask for a mini fridge? most hotels have at least a few on hand.

            1 Reply
            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
              ipsedixit Jul 19, 2010 02:50 PM

              I've been in a few that do not have them (some that do, charge extra).

            2. monku Jul 19, 2010 03:13 PM

              Sometimes the hotel and restaurants are two separate owners. I would say it's unlikely they'll accomodate you.
              There was a similar thread not too long ago about having a restaurant holding leftovers while someone went to a show and the poster was floored because they refused.

              10 Replies
              1. re: monku
                ipsedixit Jul 19, 2010 03:20 PM

                "Sometimes the hotel and restaurants are two separate owners. I would say it's unlikely they'll accomodate you."

                Wait, are you saying that the hotel and its room service facility/kitchen are owned (or operated) by separate entities?

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  joonjoon Jul 19, 2010 04:03 PM

                  I go for the bathtub and a bucket of ice when i'm in a situation like this.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    mtngirlnv Jul 19, 2010 04:26 PM

                    Not uncommon anymore.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      monku Jul 19, 2010 04:34 PM

                      Here's that post about a restaurant holding leftovers while the poster was going to a spa next door. (I thought it was a show or movie)

                      (Matter of fact you responded)

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        monku Jul 19, 2010 04:45 PM

                        Good example in your neck of the woods would be Hilton Garden Inn in Montebello. Hotel is managed by Hilton an outside concessionaire runs the restaurant and room service. *(they also run the food concession at the Montebello CC)

                        1. re: monku
                          ipsedixit Jul 19, 2010 04:49 PM

                          That's interesting.

                          While I don't want to get off-topic, but is the outside concessionaire an independent contractor of the hotel (e.g. Hilton), or what is the relationship between the two?

                          I only ask because if there is a complaint about room service, generally, I would think the natural impulse is to call down to the front desk (or the Hotel), and at least from the perspective of the hotel guest, a boo-boo on the room service front is the "problem" of the Hotel.

                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            monku Jul 19, 2010 04:52 PM

                            Outside concessionaire is an independent contractor of the hotel. They also have the food concession at Almansor Court.

                            1. re: monku
                              ipsedixit Jul 19, 2010 05:00 PM

                              As an independent contractor I don't see why the concessionaire would have any problems accommodating a "special" request from a guest, right?

                              This would be different than, say, an on-site shoe service where the guy is basically a "tenant" renting space on hotel property.

                              Probably all academic ... I'm just going to start eating more.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                monku Jul 19, 2010 05:20 PM

                                It would depend on the hotel and how far they'd want to go to handle "special" requests. Never hurts to ask.
                                I don't think Thomas Keller at the Venetian would do it.

                          2. re: monku
                            MandalayVA Jul 21, 2010 09:14 AM

                            Hilton Garden Inns, however, always have a mini-fridge so it'd be a moot point about leftovers there because there's a place to put them in your room.

                      2. m
                        Maximilien Jul 19, 2010 04:30 PM


                        I've heard (urban legend ?) that hotels can charge you even if you only move items in the bar; anyway, there's probably not enough place to put things in.

                        Any other way you can find to keep the left-over will not be "good enough" in regards of food safety.

                        "Would it be "more ok" if you ordered breakfast for room service that same day?"

                        I'm not certain I understand the question?

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Maximilien
                          goodhealthgourmet Jul 19, 2010 06:41 PM

                          "I've heard (urban legend ?) that hotels can charge you even if you only move items in the bar; "
                          that's only if there's a glitch in the new sensor-controlled electronic minibars in some hotels...and it's easy to rectify.

                          sometimes the temperature in the minibar is adjustable. if so, i always request that they empty it before my arrival (since i don't use any of the items in there) and turn it down to a temperature that's sufficient to keep food safe. if there's no option for a fridge in the room they'll usually accommodate the request, and the one time they screwed up and the food spoiled, they reimbursed me for it.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                            ipsedixit Jul 19, 2010 07:02 PM

                            ""I've heard (urban legend ?) that hotels can charge you even if you only move items in the bar; "


                            Not true, at least in my experience.

                            I've routinely removed items in the wetbar so to take advantage of the fridge space and then replaced them afterwards, unopened.

                            The hotel desk will know -- via sensors -- that items have been removed, but then they will also "see" that the items were replaced.

                            Makes sense, b/c what if you simply wanted to take a look at an item and then later decide you didn't want to eat it.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              cookie monster Jul 19, 2010 07:20 PM

                              I think it depends on how long the items stay moved. Based on recent personal experience (Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas) if you move items and haven't replaced them by the time the hotel runs their daily electronic check of the minibar, you'll get charged. Of course they'll fix the problem eventually, when they see the items are in fact still present, just in a different location. We were told the best thing to do is ask in advance to have everything taken out of the minibar, as ghg suggested.

                              1. re: cookie monster
                                Phurstluv Jul 19, 2010 07:39 PM

                                yes, I believe ghg is offering very sound advice.

                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                akq Jul 20, 2010 12:02 PM

                                I figured it was to avoid the old trick where you drink the $6 coke from the minibar because it's there, and replace it with $0.50 coke you bought outside the hotel before you check out...thereby cheating the hotel out of its opportunity to make $$ off the minibar.

                                MB is very clear upon check in that moving items will result in immediately being charged for them (although I don't know if it's really true since I don't usually touch the minibar items unless I actually plan to consume them).

                                1. re: akq
                                  c oliver Aug 10, 2010 04:45 PM

                                  We stayed in a nice hotel in Reno not long ago and that's what happens there. They have a nice sign that explains it to you. And that includes non-refrigerated things, even a disposable camera.

                                  But, yeah, I do ice in the ice bucket.

                              3. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                lagatta Jul 20, 2010 04:43 AM

                                Thanks, goodhealth, I didn't know you could ask for that. I want the space, not the overpriced wee bottles and mixer.

                            2. m
                              mojoeater Jul 19, 2010 05:12 PM

                              I would say no. Outside food is a big non-no as far as most health departments are concerned, and it would be rude to ask. If you had dinner at the hotel restaurant they might hold it for you. But even then it is very likely that another staff member will chuck it when cleaning out the fridge.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mojoeater
                                c oliver Aug 10, 2010 04:48 PM

                                A few years ago we went to a high-end restaurant in the resort area where we live. It was Christmas time so the folks with the big, private jets are around :) We were waiting to be seated when another diner arrived and very politely asked if they could store her "caviar and foie gras" while she was dining. They'd just flown in and came directly to the restaurant. I just linked my arm through one of hers and asked if she wanted to be best friends :) And, yes, the restaurant was happy to do it.

                              2. a
                                akq Jul 19, 2010 05:24 PM

                                You can always ask, but I wouldn't be shocked if the hotel said no (or yes). It's going to depend on the particulars of the situation: Are there any regulations against storing outside food in the commercial kitchen, etc.? Do they have the space? Do they feel like accomodating you? Are they concerned that someone's going to throw the food out and you'll be livid when it's not there when you go to collect it? Did you make advance arrangements? Are you a VIP? Did you have an event at the hotel? Is this a big place like MGM Grand or a small mom & pop place? Are there special circumstances - special diet, medical necessity, etc.?

                                I've heard, for instance, of hotels holding fish for a group that went charter fishing or special cake, etc. This may be more common in certain areas than others. Usually it wouldn't occur to me to even ask if it's just run of the mill leftovers...but for a special item or occaision, I'd ask in advance, if possible.

                                1. Caroline1 Jul 19, 2010 07:19 PM

                                  I've only done that once, and it was years ago. We went to lunch in a place that had a HUGE fish tank full of all sorts of critters and you chose your own. There was a lobster in the back of the tank. I thought maybe it was a two pounder, tops. When they brought it to the table, that sucker was over six pounds! You better believe that puppy went back to the hotel with us! The chef was magnificient. Took it in and made special room service lunches for us for at least two days after. My guess is that it's always up to the chef, but hey, if you throw the food away at the restaurant, you'll never know whether the chef would have said yes. We sent the chef a nice bottle of booze as a thank you. Hope this helps!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                    Phurstluv Jul 19, 2010 07:41 PM

                                    Wow, you were lucky!! Of course, you said it happened years ago. Hard to find that kind of dedicated service now.

                                    ipse, next time, if it's a nice hotel, and not a motel, stay on the club level. Food & Drink are included, much less hassle.

                                    1. re: Phurstluv
                                      Caroline1 Jul 19, 2010 08:43 PM

                                      I suspect they would probably do the same today. It was the Istanbul Hilton.

                                  2. j
                                    jeanmarieok Jul 19, 2010 07:27 PM

                                    OK - I have had success with hotel room service keeping my salad dressing for me in their fridge. It was a long term job ( 4 months) in a Marriott in Atlanta, and I asked them if they could keep my local salad dressing in their fridge. They were terrific about it - they'd bring it to me (on the side) every time I ordered room service.

                                    As far as asking them to hold my leftovers - I have never done that. What I usually do is have it put together for takeout - get them to add plastic silverware, and I leave it on top of a trash can. 9 times out of 10 it's gone within minutes, if I am in a populated area (most recently, Venice Beach, CA, at dusk - it was gone before I got into my rental car).

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jeanmarieok
                                      Phurstluv Jul 19, 2010 07:43 PM

                                      No doubt, lots of hungry homeless there. I live about 10 miles north. Very generous of you, but most of us would like to keep what we paid good money for and enjoy a second meal out of it.

                                    2. t
                                      tarteaucitron Jul 20, 2010 04:00 AM

                                      I don't think it would make a difference that you order room service to make up for your requests, because each order and request from your room is likely to be overseen by a different member of the staff, and no single person would keep tab of all the things you have ordered and requested, just to see if it balances out.

                                      The only time I felt comfortable asking for the hotel to store my food at their fridge was when I travelled with a baby/toddler. They happily accommodated my huge bag of food items, including milk, fruits and other things for myself. Other times I just used the ice bucket.

                                      1. m
                                        mpjmph Jul 20, 2010 08:04 AM

                                        If I'm staying in a hotel sans fridge I usually avoid leftovers or have leftovers packaged to go and set it out like jeanmarieok. I never really thought about it before now, but one option would be to ask the hotel staff if they have a break/lunch room and wouldn't mind stashing it for you.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mpjmph
                                          BellaDonna Jul 21, 2010 03:45 AM

                                          No fridge = No leftovers unless the leftovers will be eaten that night or if I bring a cooler with me

                                        2. MandalayVA Jul 21, 2010 09:20 AM

                                          Hilton and Marriott both offer property chains that have mini-fridges and microwaves in the rooms (Hilton Garden Inn, Springhill Suites) or suites with full kitchens (Homewood Suites for Hilton, Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites for Marriott). All of these are frequently much less expensive than "regular" Hiltons and Marriotts, since they're newer are generally very nice and more of them are popping up in major cities. I've also stayed at Courtyard by Marriott and my experience is they're pretty decent about giving you a fridge at no extra cost.

                                          1. PeterL Jul 21, 2010 09:32 AM

                                            And if you eat the leftover and get sick, who's fault is it? These days I'd think that hotels would be very reluctant to assume the liability.

                                            1. tracylee Jul 21, 2010 01:21 PM

                                              The last time I ate at the bar at a Holiday Inn, the bartender offered to keep the leftovers overnight in the restaurant fridge for me. It was just a grilled cheese sandwich, so I took it back to the room and my SO finished it when he got in from his flight.

                                              1. g
                                                gryphonskeeper Aug 10, 2010 06:47 PM

                                                Boy I am glad I stay at fleabag hotels that all have mini kitchens. :)

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