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Towel Placement

I just had a slightly odd family come to visit. I prepared the rooms as I always do. Each bed was made up [the sitting room can become a second bedroom], breakfast items were displayed, milk in the cute little dairy glass bottle, fresh water chilled in their private fridge, and three sets of towels, stacked neatly, on top of the double vanity in their private bathroom.

Mom arrived first. She, it turns out, works for a South African Safari outfit that has guests staying in cabins, or something. Anyhow, she promptly took the towels from the bathroom, and put the stacks at the bottom of the beds so each person would know which towels were theirs. The only time I have seen towels stacked at the end of the beds like this was at hostels and camps where the bathrooms were shared with a lot of people.

But my question is, if there is a private bathroom that is completely separated from the hosts’ living quarters, would you put the towels on the bed or in the bath?

[Oddly, they also then, during their stay, they used doorknobs and hooks in the bedrooms to hang their wet towels instead of using the towel rods provided in the bathroom. At least they didn’t use any of the wood furniture!]

I used to hang the towels in the bathroom but started stacking them on the bed because it was just slightly less work. But then I was showing a fellow the room and he sticks his head in the bathroom and asks if there are any towels. So I may start leaving the stack on the vanity. In terms of “so they know which towels were theirs,” that’s just OCD. If the towels haven’t yet be used it makes no difference. Weird.

Yea. These folks were pleasant enough, but just ‘off.’ They managed to consume 27 packets of sugar, 1 qt of milk, 9 hot chocolate packets and 7 oatmeal packets, plus the prepared breakfast items. They were here for two nights.

My husband heard them state that maybe they should leave [when the kids got there] since the bedrooms didn’t have locks as soon as they got to their floor, the top floor of the house. Neither does our bedroom! Why do you need to lock the door when it is just the two hosts and your family?

They are new to the whole AirBNB thing, admitted as they left that they were very nervous about the whole thing, and that after their experience here, they think it is a great idea.

Think I will stick with the vanity which is more in line with the whole hotel thing.

I’ve been airbnb shopping the last two days and have read more than one review about lack of or malfunctioning locks on the guest room door. Some guests want them and no listing is ever going to be hurt by having them.

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If there’s one couple, I put 2 bath towels and a hand towel in bathroom. If the couple is traveling with children or another couple, I put bath towels in each room and leave a hand towel hanging in the bathroom. When 3-4 people are using one bathroom, whatever is hanging on the towel rod inevitably gets used as hand towels and then they need additional bath towels when it’s time to shower. I also understand hanging towels in their rooms since they’ll get mixed up in the bathroom if the towels are matching. If I’m traveling with friends, I don’t want to accidentally dry off with their used bath towel although I’m fine with re-using my own for a week.

I am simply never going to have locks within my house. I am not running a boarding house. There were some locks in our house when we first moved in, and I laboriously filled each of those holes with 125 year old wood and re-stained to hide the patch.

I have had one inquiry that asked about locks and chose not to book because of this. Seriously, I am at far more risk than any of my guests. Why the hell would I steal anything from them? They arrive with a tiny suitcase that has nothing of particular value while I have everything I own right here, and they have a key.

Turns out that this is my line in the sand. Funny what triggers that response isn’t it?

I max out at 3 people, all in the same group. There are three sets of rods, separated to keep towels from co-mingling. The bathroom is where there is a fan to dry out the towels, and tile floors in case there is dripping. I actually, of course, don’t care where they hang their towels. That is the least of my concerns!

I was just surprised to be chastised about my clean towel placement.

I give each guest a bath sheet, hand towel and wash cloth. There are more on the shelves and in general, people have not chosen to use extras.

I’m sure we all have one.

I doubt that’s the only concern. They might be afraid of you walking in on them accidentally or something like that. I have friends who lock the door when they go in the bathroom and they’ve been coming here 15 years. Once the lock messed up and they were locked in there.

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I suppose in another setup that could be a concern, but here they have their own floor, and it is the top one. No one goes into that space while they are there. It is not a pass-thru to another space. But, of course, that doesn’t mean someone wouldn’t be anxious that this is the case.

And wouldn’t the host have a key to those rooms anyhow? [just playing devil’s advocate]

I think that the reason some people like the towels on the beds is that they wear the towels back and forth to the bathroom.

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I would hope so. It’s just a psychological thing on their part, just as it is on yours.


And just cause… so I had to sort their trash since they didn’t separate the recycling. There were only two oatmeal packet, two hot chocolate packets and three sugar packet remnants in the trash. So, they must have pocketed the rest. AND, the unopened Neutrogena make up remover container is gone. No wonder they wanted locks. They are the kind of people they fear!


She actually said something about the towels? That’s a bit obnoxious.

Oh yes. I was chastised in that all knowing sort of way. But it sounded lovely with her South African accent.

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I would message them and say “oh I can’t find this, could you tell me where you put it?” And unless they fess up to “accidentally taking” it I would mention it in their review. I don’t want to host people like this.

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Of course we feel we’re more at risk than the guest, but it’s not actually about how we feel as hosts - it’s about the guests.

I’m a host myself and I’d be very hesitant to book your place knowing I couldn’t lock my door. It’s a psychological thing. Even if we know that the host has a key, we feel as if our belongings will be safe and undisturbed if we personally lock that door as we leave. Plus, for many women, it’s a personal safety thing too.


Actually, on this platform is a balance of both. It is one of the things that I like best about AirBNB. Both the guests and the hosts get to choose the type of accommodation/guests that they want, date for a bit via messaging, and pick the one that fits. Using the hotel model, it is only the guest that gets to choose what is important to them. This is one of the significant differences between both the models, and the expectations.

I don’t have towel rods in the bathrooms, and I probably could fit the towels in the empty drawers. I have never tried that because I try to leave room for their items. I doubt guests even use the bathroom drawers though. I think they just sprawl all of their items across any clean counter top.

At first, I used to set the towels all nice and pretty on the beds in a stack. I did the same with folding a duvet at the bottom of the bed (during winter months) - on top of the coverlet. No more.

I would find towels tossed all over the room. I really couldn’t tell if they had been used, as they were still slightly folded. The duvet would be on the floor (people walking on it with their shoes). So all towels go in the upstairs closet. This closet is used by the upstairs guests to hang their clothes, and store luggage. They also have their own dressers in the bedroom. But the closet also stores all towels, first aid kit, and extra pillows, blanket.

I only notice with larger groups of unrelated adults that people will grab more than what they need, and then leave the unused (at I think) folded ones in the bathrooms, bedroom, etc. It’s annoying as I wish they would just take what they need, then come back for more. But I can live with that since at last they are no longer staining them…lol.

I think these were just oddball guests.

Just to add - another reason why I just leave all my towels in this particular closet, is because the downstairs bedroom guests would have no reason to walk upstairs. And if they do want fresh towels after a few nights, I don’t want them to think I only provided them a limiited amount for a 7 night stay.

Guests have access to all of my towels, even it is just a couple staying for 2 nights. The majority do not take advantage of this. But because I strictly tell guests not to wash any linens/towels, I feel I kind of need to leave a few more to prevent this.

I think I haven’t explained myself well. You can dig your heels in all you want and insist on not having locks, it’s your home and your perogative.

But regardless how you feel about locks, not having them is going to put some guests off. So your decision is, do you care enough to consider the guests’ opinion as more important than your own? (“No” is a valid answer. We don’t have to do everything.)

When I hosted in a shared space I had locks because I knew they were important to the guests. I am not at all offended by a guest who locks their bedroom door. Other peoples’ privacy values are not my own, and I didn’t expect to only book guests who are comfortable walking freely in an unlocked home. YMMV.

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