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The inexplicable prices in hotel minibars around the world

hotel room service
AP Photo/Richard Drew
Who ordered water?
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

$18.23. That’s how much a can of nuts costs, on average, in Toronto hotel minibars. That was the highest pricetag (in US dollars) for nuts in TripAdvisor’s Tripindex survey of room service prices across the world—though the hotels in New York, Oslo, and some other cities weren’t that far behind. The TripAdvisor survey covers the prices of in-room orders of a club sandwich, can of peanuts, bottle of water, can of soda, mini-bottle of vodka, and to have a shirt cleaned at the 10 four-star hotels most popular with the travel site’s users in each city. (It tallied in-room minibar prices for everything except the sandwich and cleaning.) Helsinki earns the distinction of being the world’s most expensive city of those included for hotel service—and all the Scandinavian capitals are in the top 10. At some warmer destinations, refreshments and services are available for less. The most affordable room service for the basket of things TripAdvisor counted is in Tunis, followed by Cape Town—and Marrakech and Istanbul are also on the cheaper side. What’s surprisingly affordable in hotel rooms across the globe is, however, vodka. It’s much cheaper than peanuts and, in some cases, even water. (Minibar vodka serving sizes are admittedly generally a lot smaller than your average bottle of water.) And while that relative affordability does seem slightly suspicious, perhaps sales of cheap vodka are designed to drive higher overall spending: have a vodka, want peanuts, get thirsty, drink bottled water. In Zurich, Helsinki, and Oslo, the check for that list would add up to $21.10, $24.08 and $28.30 respectively. In all three cases, vodka is the cheapest item of the mix.

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