|A new twist on the "all-sweet hotel"|
By Patrick Hruby
Special to Page 2
News Item: The University of Arizona is investigating allegations that members of its men's basketball team stole change and up to 80 candy bars from a vending machine in a Lawrence, Kan., hotel last weekend.
Indeed, the oddest thing about the Wildcats' alleged pilfering isn't that they stole from a hotel -- it's that they stole candy.
Talk about a wasted opportunity.
As any savvy-if-slightly-kleptomaniac business traveler can tell you, the average hotel offers more than Snickers bars and stale Funyuns. Much, much more.
With that in mind, Page 2 takes a closer look at what the 'Cats missed out on:
(Note: This article is for recreational purposes only, and is in no way meant to endorse or encourage theft. That would be wrong, not to mention illegal.)
Where to stay: A suite at New York City's Plaza Hotel, where the towels are heated.
The perfect crime: Ask the maid for extras, then stuff them in the team trainer's bag. With any luck, he or she won't notice the difference.
Possible complications: Team trainer never, ever notices the difference; towels end up being used to mop floor sweat during games.
Where to stay: The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz. Terry-lined, cotton pique luxury. In fact, there's one hanging in our closet right now (don't ask how it got there).
The perfect crime: Wear the robe underneath your warmup suit. Tell coaching staff that your summer weight workouts went better than expected.
Possible complications: Hotel robes might provide inadequate, hospital gown-like coverage for players 6-foot-5 and above.
Soap and shampoo
Where to stay: The Bellagio in Las Vegas, which carries products from ultra-snooty fragrance company Hermes.
The perfect crime: Concoct an elaborate heist involving bowler hats and an army of Pierce Brosnon lookalikes, a la "The Thomas Crown Affair"; alternately, toss 'em in your carry-on bag like everyone else.
Possible complications: Once you run out -- and trust us, the small bottles mean you will -- it's back to Zest, Pert Plus, or whatever other proletarian hygiene products your roommate likes to buy. Bummer.
Where to stay: L'Ermitage in Beverly Hills, the first hotel to offer a pillow menu. Feather? Foamed? Hard? Soft? It's all up to you.
The perfect crime: Bring a pillowcase from home; slide over pillow. Voila, it's yours! (Really, who's going to argue with you?)
Possible complications: Pillows might be a bit too stiff -- or as British golfer Colin Montgomery once wrote in a London Newspaper, "I hate hotel pillows with a vengeance. They are the first things I examine when I go into a hotel room, and my heart sinks when I discover they are too hard." Poor, poor Monty.
Where to stay: Boston's XV Beacon carries Kiehl's, the same brand used on Air Force One.
The perfect crime: Empty lotion bottle into hands. Rub contents into skin until no longer visible. Walk out of the hotel. No one will ever know.
Possible complications: If your hands are too smooth, you might have a tough time handling the basketball. Those calluses are there for a reason, you know.
Where to stay: Chicago's Millennium Knickerbocker hotel, where the alarm clocks have built-in CD players.
The perfect crime: Tuck clock under armpit. Tape to body. Run power cord down leg. Try not to look too suspicious.
Possible complications: Remember to remove before reaching the airport; otherwise, you might set off the metal detectors.
Where to stay: The Burj Al Arab in Dubai, where guest rooms feature 42-inch flat screen plasma displays.
The perfect crime: Disguise yourself as a repairman; tell hotel staff that you're taking the set away because "the Spectravision isn't working."
Possible complications: Flip flops and a practice jersey don't count as a credible disguise; outside of the hotel, the Spectravision really won't work.
Swipe-worthiness: Moderate. If nothing else, good for toga parties back on campus.
Where to stay: The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans. 300-thread count, baby.
The perfect crime: Cut eye holes in the sheet. Place it over your body. Go to front desk. Yell "trick or treat." Guess what? You'll get some free candy, too! (Note: This only works on Halloween).
Possible complications: If a disgustingly memorable episode of "20-20" is any indication, sheets might by stained with, er, bodily excretions.
Where to stay: The Palo Alto Sheraton, which offers Starbucks.
The perfect crime: Just stuff it in your pockets. It's yours to take, anyway.
Possible complications: Coffee isn't good for you and could stunt your growth. Stick to something safer, like cigarettes.
Where to stay: Anywhere.
The perfect crime: Lift machine; lower out of hotel window to a waiting teammate.
Possible complications: The average vending machine can weigh more than 300 pounds, enough to crush a man. Enlist the help of a walk-on.
Patrick Hruby is a sportswriter for the Washington Times. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.