How To Score Free Bottled Water At Hotels

Filed Under: Hotels

Earlier today I saw a story with hacks for scoring free bottled water at hotels. The advice was to either go to a nearby store and buy bottled water, or to bring your own reusable bottle. Then there was the suggestion that some hotel groups offer free bottled water to elite members.

When I first saw the headline, I figured it would provide the one useful piece of advice when it comes to scoring free spring/filtered/bottled water at hotels, but it didn’t.

Having collectively spent a couple of thousand nights in hotels, and having even lived in hotels full time for a few years, I figured I’d share the approach I always took towards staying hydrated.

On the most basic level, if it’s safe to drink from the tap, I’ll do that. I’ll just drink out of one of the glasses or cups provided, though if it’s a glass I’ll rinse it out with my hand, because I’ve seen one too many “hidden camera” videos about the disgusting ways in which some housekeepers clean glasses.

But in many places drinking tap water isn’t safe (or at a minimum, isn’t recommended), which brings me to the hack that has meant that I’ve almost never had to buy bottled water when traveling. Most hotels have gyms that are open 24/7, and they almost always have complimentary water. It seems to me like it would be a liability issue not to have water at a gym.

Some have a setup with bottled water, and if that’s the case, I’ll grab a bottle or two. Meanwhile other gyms have water coolers, so in addition to hydrating heavily while there (even if I’m not working out), I’ll often bring a bottle or two and fill it up. This is why at hotels that offer a limited number of free bottles, I’ll save the bottles so I can take them to the gym to fill up.

Now, I’m sure someone will be around shortly to say “well isn’t it wrong to take bottled water/drink water in the gym?” I certainly don’t think so:

  • I’ve never seen a sign in a gym stating that water has to be consumed in the gym
  • To me it’s much more ridiculous to charge $9 for bottled water in a place where it’s not safe to drink tap water; it’s a basic human necessity

And even if you have elite status at a hotel, the bottled water benefit is often limited, so it’s nice to have an alternative.

Hotel ChainElite Water Policy
World of HyattDaily bottle of complimentary water for Discoverist (elite status included with the World Of Hyatt Credit Card), Explorist, and Globalist members.
Hilton HonorsSilver, Gold, and Diamond Honors members receive two complimentary bottles of water per stay (at Waldorf Astoria™ Hotels & Resorts, Conrad® Hotels & Resorts, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton™, Embassy Suites Hotels™, Hilton Garden Inn™ and Hilton Grand Vacations™ hotels).

• Gold and Diamond members can also select additional water at some properties as part of their "My Way" benefits.
• Honors Gold is a complimentary benefit of several American Express cards
• Honors Diamond is a complimentary benefit of the Hilton Aspire Card
Marriott BonvoyBottled water is no longer a published elite benefit, even at former SPG properties, though some brands and properties may offer elites water in the room as a "surprise and delight" benefit.
IHGNo bottled water benefit for IHG elites, though Intercontinental Ambassadors and Royal Ambassadors receive complimentary mineral water daily.

Anyone else use this technique to stay hydrated at hotels?

Comments

  1. In hotels that give two bottles a day (particularly common in Asia), if I haven’t used both, I’ll hide any unopened bottles in my suitcase, just to make sure I get two more. By the end of the trip, sometimes I have WAY too much water, but saves me a trip to the store!

  2. Club lounges often have bottles of water for taking.

    Ask the hotel for water. Some want to charge, but often when I’m getting free water as an elite or free water offered at check-in I just ask for more and the desk agent is happy to give it to me.

    In Asia and indeed much of the world bottled water is free, and not just where it’s questionable to drink from the tap.

    But yes – the gym is a place you can often get free water!

  3. Just call reception and ask for more bottles of water. This has *never* failed me, especially at SPG/Marriott properties.

  4. I’m fascinated someone would go this far to score free water rather than simply paying 50 cents for a bottle in supermarket.

  5. Your note for Hyatt is confusing. It’s included for Discoverist and Globalist members but not Explorists?

  6. be nice to the housekeeper and she’ll give you more water than you need. I was in Bangkok recently and happened to be in the room when the housekeeper serviced the room. She asked if I needed more water and was happy to give me several extra bottles. Bottled water also tends to be very cheap there so I will sometimes just buy a big 1.5l bottle for 30 or 40 cents.

    But it is a lot of plastic bottles that are terrible for the environment. I recently supported a Kickstarter campaign by GRAYL for a special water filter system that will allow me to just filter the tap water. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thegrayl/grayl-geopresstm-water-purifier-purify-water-anywh

  7. Promoting bottled water is myopic, at best. Single-use plastics are a danger to our environment. A refillable water bottle works just fine, most of time.

  8. How is “buy a bottle of water” either a “hack” or “free”?

    I have a hack to get free groceries. Walk to the store and buy them.

  9. @Jack – Left wing dingbats? What on earth are you talking about? You do realize Ben is gay as is TPG for that matter. Take your dumbass elsewhere.

  10. Shawn – Gay people can be of any political persuasion…

    Not that I have any idea what they were talking about.

  11. Not trying to stir anything up, but do you ever think about the environmental impact of all your travel? Especially when you were living in hotels all the time, that can’t possibly have been terribly energy efficient. Plus the never-ending plastic bottles that add up from lounges, planes, hotels, etc. And we all know that the airline industry is pretty rough on the environment.

    Don’t get me wrong, the things you’ve published here have helped a lot of people travel better, including me, which is a net good. And of course one person is a drop in the bucket compared to the global problem, which is mostly driven by large companies anyway—not individuals. I’m just curious if you’ve thought about it seriously.

  12. I also saw that post earlier and I’m tired of all their fluff. So sad how they’ve gone down in quality. I’m planning to quit them.

    About your article I’m glad you reminded me about the the gym water. It’s great advice.

    For those who don’t understand why you don’t just stop at a store all the time— some locations are not near stores and if you get in late many are closed. Plus some places are not very walkable.

    Water is the most important travel item to secure. I’m baffled at how little water most people drink. I consume 1 liter per night. Then I also need additional morning water for thirst, pills and teeth brushing if not in the US.

    I also liked your policy article.

  13. I mostly stay at Hyatt properties and have millions of those free coupons for water that come with status. This is a nice tip to have though.

  14. I just drink the Evian from the mini bar and replace it with tap water. Cheap and saves the environment by recycling the bottle and I don’t even have to call room service. #winning

  15. Even as a Hilton Honnors non elite member (I’m mostly a Hyatt loyalist), Home2suites properties give me two fee water bottles each stay. It’s nothing special but certainly much appreciated

  16. Ok here’s the big secret! I’ve worked in hotels all over the world! Front desk has bottled water…. just go to the front desk and ask. I guarantee you they have a supply of water and are more than happy to give it to you!

  17. @Kevin, that should be the ultimate hack. Unless of course the person before employed the same trick.

  18. Just one little tidbit of info.
    In my experience, apart from the USA, bottled water is very low in cost. One wonders when comparing the 1.5 liter 6 packs of spring water at Auchan (Italy) to the bottled tap water often sold in the USA. Better Hotels that want to stand out offer bottled water in glass bottles rather than the same plastic that costs pennies at the closest shop.

  19. For hotels outside of the US (particularly in Asia), I always call housekeeping before leaving for the day and ask them to put an extra 5-6 bottles in the room. I have never been charged, and they tend to replenish every day thereafter. When I have forgotten to do so, I also tend to go raid the gym fridge where bottled water is aplenty.

    Another thing I do is add it to my room preferences when making a reservation so there is a good supply upon arrival.

    It always strikes me as so odd on hotel loyalty programs where it will specify something like “two bottles of water free per visit”… It just seems tacky cheap that water should be seen as a perk in a premium property for hotel loyalists. Eye roll.

  20. If the tap water is drinkable, I drink it, even if it tastes awful (I’m looking at you, Malta). Otherwise I refill my reusable bottle in the gym (if available) and supplement with purchased bottled water, buying 2L bottles to refill smaller ones as needed. Adequate drinking water is my first priority when traveling, as I drink at least 3L a day.

  21. Germaphobe. I grew up drinking out of a cattle watering hole. I’m much more worried about BPA cancer causing chemicals and the effect of silly plastic water bottles on the environment.

  22. Also, shitty content notwithstanding, I like that TPG frequently takes a (correct) political stance. Lucky’s near-perpetual ambiguity RE: politics has long led me to believe he votes Republican, and probably reluctantly supports the Trump agenda.

  23. Solid advice. Park Hyatts typically have a lot of water available in the gym. I grab an extra bottle after working out.

  24. Robert – I get the impression he doesn’t care about politics and doesn’t take any interest. What you interpret as “perpetual ambiguity”, I interpret as ignorance! (Not meant in an insulting way – the majority of people are the same)

  25. I’ve been getting my water refills from the gym, but also from (breakfast) buffet. I’ve never seen anybody else doing the same in those places, so I’m thinking only 1-2% of guests are doing it. Think about all the plastic waste we can save.

  26. @Lucky – Tap water is safe to drink (and FREE) in 98% of the US/EU/ANZ, among others. I have a lot of respect for you, but it would be a noble cause to use your platform to demonstrate how we can minimize the environmental impact of traveling.

    Not to mention hotels calling bottled water a “benefit” is 100% marketing BS.

  27. Isn’t it sad to see how low we have gone (our generations, and getting worst)?

    Don’t mean to be negative but could you imagine your father or grandfather talking about going to a 4 star property and how they score a free bottle of water?

    Can’t even imagine what 30 years from now will be like…

  28. In may hotels in Africa or Asia where you need to go through a security check to get in the staff often won’t allow you to bring in water from outside. They’ll say it’s for security reasons but of course it’s mainly because they want you to buy water from the hotel. The gym or lounge is a good option in such cases.

  29. @Callum Whether ignorance or apathy, it’s a reflection of staggering privilege to say you “aren’t political” in this day and age. When a maniac like Donald Trump has the nuclear codes, silence is tantamount to full-throated support for his treachery.

  30. @Robert – ah right, the politically correct TPG where 99% of its employees are white, privileged and equally ignorant folks with their fake charity work in Africa and casual racism.

    Case in point: trip reviews that mentions the “smell” and “rowdiness” of certain races.

    Case in point: the fact that when pretty much every reviewer and poster is Caucasian

    Case in point: Reviewer goes to one of the poorest country in the world for charity work and complains about the “third worldness” of the hotel.

    Don’t @ me because I’m right. I’m tired of y’all white folks taking advantage of our countries.

  31. Yep, I’m with you on this! Also, when I did my 6 marathon runs on 6 continents, Hyatt made sure I had like 20 bottles of water in every room for free! 🙂

  32. Hey Robert, Where were you when Obama flattened Libya? When he began the starving of Yemen that continues today? When he massively expanded the torture and spying state more than even Bush the lesser? One could go on.

    You were nowhere to be found, because you are a coward. And your great dream is that we can get another smooth talking conman back in place so you can fall asleep again.

    So great that the water bottle discussion turned into this…

  33. Visit the market and purchase a large bottle of water. Endless smaller bottles of water, free or not, is too much waste. No issues with tap water but tap water isn’t safe to drink in all locations (Mexico City).

  34. Robert – Well that’s no surprise as Lucky (and you and I) ARE very privileged.

    I go one step further, and think if you’re not disgusted to be an American then you’re also complicit. But again, that applies to almost everyone.

  35. Charging for drinking water is one of the biggest scams of our time. I prefer to use the drinking fountains and fill my reusable bottle or resort to taking the bottles at the gym.

  36. @ Samo, Callum and others,

    Buying water outside is not always an option: The top hotel in Budva, Montenegro, their local best approximation of Deauville or Portofino, has a “customs desk” in the lobby, where everything entering and leaving the hotel can be examined.

    The aim is to prevent Russians and other Eastern Europeans from bringing in cheap food from supermarkets and take-outs for consumption on the premises, also to make sure they don’t leave with the towels, blankets or curtains. Water, which is charged about $1 per small bottle in the hotel vs $ 0.05 in the local 7-11, is definitely on the controlled list.

    “Why would one stay there?” you may ask. It was for a wedding, I didn’t choose the venue.

    I must say that, as a westerner, I was always waved through the controls with a smile but I find it extraordinary that such a level of pilferage should justify the process. I have never seen this elsewhere but would not be surprised if it eventually happened here in the new “Basic Economy” atmosphere. As to what chain might begin, bets are open.

  37. I sometimes boil water to make coffee and tea, whatever left in the kettle is perfectly safe to drink if when tap water is unsafe.

  38. @ Dave…

    I don’t know about you, but in 30 years I’ll be dead and that’s the best thing that could happen to me at the time.

    I fully agree with you. Long term, I just don’t want to be in the same world as some of the posters above.

  39. @ Robert Schrader

    Lucky has no doubt benefited from Trump’s pro-business, pro-growth, anti-regulation agenda which has resulted in a booming economy and stock market, making his job much easier. Why shouldn’t he be a Trump supporter? #MAGA

  40. haahahahahaha the literal most mundane and innocuous topic brought this discussion… amazing

    omg ur complicit bc you were born in a certain geographic region!! omg ur a terrible person for NOT living your life with the sole intent of ruining the US prez. omg ur the scum of the earth because you want two bottles of water instead of one

    you americans are so annoying… nobody else thinks about these issues.. live your lives and stop worrying about what others may be doing… useless twits.

  41. Ben, I implore you to please revisit this topic. I’m a huge fan of your blog and have benefited from your terrific advise and recommendations. You help me and so many your readers to increase travel of our wonderful world. However, the same beautiful planet that explore is deteriorating due to our own activities. There is noting worse than traveling to globe (Tahiti, Seychelles, Carribean, etc) to see the trash with which we are destroying our own planet. There is noting worse or more sad that to witness the direct impact that trash is making to our seas and lands. We you leave home you should always take a bottle for the airport ride. You drink or pour it out it before security. You can refill it at the airport fill station or lounge. When you get to your hotel many have water/drink stations set up in the lobby where you can refill. If the tap water is safe you can refill your bottle. If there is a kettle, you can boil water and when cool refill it. During you meals you can always refill it or ask for it to be refilled by the staff. Please think how many plastic bottles you’ll eliminate. Imagine how much more beautiful the earth will be on your travels! Please use your successful platform to help make to world a better place.

  42. I think there is some discrepancies between hotels properties within same group. When I was at Doubletree in Istanbul (was diamond), I received fruits, delicacies and water every day. When I was at Hilton Rio de Janeiro, I got water every day (was gold). Hilton Budapest also gave water everyday while gold. Hilton Gdansk, also gave me water every day as Diamond. Intercontinental Warsaw also gave water every day on my first stay, but fruit was only first day. The same Intercontinental gave water and fruit on my first day only on second stay.
    These are the exceptions, other properties “followed” the standard published benefits.

  43. I’ve been taking water from hotel gyms for many years now. I pack 2 empty 16 ounce bottles from a hydration belt. I fill the bottles with ice from the machine in the hallway and then fill both bottles with water from the gym. I have a lined cooler bag that fits the 2 bottles and it keeps the water cold all day. The bag goes into my backpack.

  44. @DEBIT
    I work and pay for my healthcare.
    Those without money are entitled to free healthcare.
    Those with money pay for healthcare.
    NOBODY is taking away anybody’s healthcare.
    What is ending is the concept of free care for those that have money but prefer spending on tech toys, large tv screens and more. The days Just showing up at a hospital and demanding free care is over.

    By the way, medicaid has many advantages over almost any plan that can be purchased.

  45. @ Adam….You are correct. I ask at all hotels groups at the front desk when I need water and get it. Never been denied and that is without knowing my elite status. No need to sneak around the fitness center. House keeping also will also supply if they are out cleaning when you need it.

  46. Laughing at this as I just carried four bottles of water from the gym at my hotel in Geneva. It is the go to always for me. Don’t judge.

  47. @Debit
    I would simply state that I am fact oriented.
    Please tell me who is taking away health care from anybody. There is health care available to everybody, those with money and those without. No other country offers a higher level of healthcare with no difference based on payer.
    The comparison to a Nazi regime or to nazi behavior is so off and distasteful I will not stoop to reply. Just remember, a statement like that can get you arrested in certain EU Countries.

  48. I use this technique all the time. And just to be eco-friendly, I do bring my own stainless steel reusable hydroflask water bottle so I can refill it in the gym. Many times hotels have a bar and I’ll often ask a friendly bartender for a refill on filtered water.

  49. “single-use” plastic bottles can be reused multiple times. What contributes to plastic waste is people buying new bottles all the time, and not reusing or recycling the old ones.

  50. Let’s all meet up at the Mineral Well, TX Crazy Water festival and discuss. I’ve been wanting to go. http://www.crazywaterfestival.org

    The water is naturally alkaline and contains lots of minerals. They will fill up your containers if you visit. In Austin it’s at HEB & Wheatsville. Not very eco but it makes me less crazy after reading all these off topic comments. Oh wait, this off-topic. Doh.

  51. My comments are not specifically about the ACA. The fact is that insurance is available through work or directly through companies. Throughout the USA every state runs a Medicaid Program for those that cannot afford to pay for insurance.

    The ACA primarily helped those that did not want to pay for insurance although they had income and funds to do so. Simply put if you have the money pay for it yourself and if you don’t have the money the government provides really comprehensive insurance for free.
    As somebody that has worked for decades, I do not resent people that are poor. I truly resent people that are not willing to pay for health insurance but are somehow seen with other indications of a relatively comfortable lifestyle such as the newest iPhone iPad Etc. People like that, with the right to sign up for insurance when disaster strikes, are one of the reasons that insurance rates are sky-high. For the most part, most insurance policies do not allow you to sign up after a disaster strikes. Imagine getting retroactive auto insurance right after a major accident. Yet this is one of the dreams of so-called millennials, only get health insurance when something happens and you have a lot of medical cost coming up.

  52. FYI, the Hyatt properties in Hawaii (and perhaps in other places that are trying to reduce single use plastics) have gone to a system where each guest gets a free/cheap reusable water bottle which can be filled with filtered water at several “hydration” stations located throughout the hotel/resort. Single use bottles were still available for taking in the club at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

  53. @Robert Schrader Lucky runs a travel blog, not a political blog. All kinds of people read this blog, including Republicans. It would be silly business for him to alienate part of his readership.

    As others have pointed out, did you call out Obama for all the atrocities carried out during his regime, whether in the Middle East, on the border with Mexico, or the bailouts of horrible financial institutions? I myself am a Bernie supporter, but this fake outrage over Trump has got to stop. Russiagate, for example, is literally becoming the Benghazi of the left, with Rachel Maddow replacing Glenn Beck. It’s embarrassing to watch.

  54. @Robert Schrader your pettiness explains every bit of fake outrage you’re displaying. People like you are the problem with this country today. Bye Felicia

  55. Yeah, continue to drink tap water everyday instead of bottled mountain springs water. I’m sure your kidneys will be very happy.

  56. @Gary Leff : Except club lounge Mariott LAX. They have water in a tank and open bottles (very small) which you can fill. I asked for bottled water. Response: because of the environment we do not have plastic bottles. Well the small open glass bottles did not work. So, we went down stairs and asked at the front desk. Off course they were available. Please go the gift shop where you can buy them (expensive off course) So environment my ass. Just Plain economics
    And I know you can go to a supermarket but when I just arrived after a long flight, I only want some bottles of water fast. (and a long shower).

  57. I use the free water from Gym trick. It works most of the time. I also tip housekeeping cash in hand on my first day and they usually put in a few extra bottles of water everyday without me asking.

  58. I’ve always gotten it for free at check in at Hilton, even if I just had no status, but just by being signed up for their honors program. It doesn’t matter the brand I go to at a Hilton, I always get water. No status

  59. I try to always arrive at the hotel with at least one bottle of water.

    In the hotel I’ll grab water from the lounge, or request from housekeeping. Since I use the gym, I will fill up my water bottle or grab bottles from there.

    I also travel with a STAGE 2 water filter bottle (for use when no bottle water is around). I tested it in Brazil and did not get sick from drinking the local water. A water bottle can be filled on the plane prior to arrival.

    I also look out for local shops or gas stations on my way to the hotel so I can go for a walk and pick some up if need be, or just wait til I’m out and about and bring some back.

    So there are many many ways to get around not paying! The TPG article offered nothing on this.

    In an emergency, the maximum I will pay for water in the room is $2-3… but again, my back up emergency is my stage 2 filter water bottle. ($12-40) on Amazon. If you travel alot, you need one!
    Stage 2-4, nothing less.

    TPG is beyond awful! its for basic folks who know no better and actually think its informative, with their TMZ level of writing and pathetic reviews.

  60. Whenever I go on vacation in the summer I would stop past a local store or a Walmart or target and buy a case or 2 of water to have during my stay at the hotel and at attractions. I must’ve saved it if money by that.

  61. Is it really our fault for using plastic bottles? We need the water and that is how they are supplied.

    Supplied by who. Corporations with Government approval. With the “Great Science” we have today, they should be able to develop something that does the same thing and doesn’t hurt the environment.

    This does not seem to be our fault or responsibility.

  62. mostly i’ll call the room service and ask for water (in places where I do not drink the tap) never got charged a dollar for a bottle of water 🙂

  63. Agree with your comments; however, I would add two additional comments –

    1. In many places that have an executive lounge for you to use then water can be obtained for free there. While it’s probably inappropriate to take as many bottles back to your room as you would from the gym, at least you can take a couple of bottles. Many people do this.

    2. Regarding the benefits for members of various hotel groups, it does depend where you are staying. For example, in Africa and in China for all guests of such hotels where you cannot drink the tap, the housekeeping will provide daily and nightly complementary water bottles. There is a difference between cannot and should not. In places like Europe, there, in actuality is nothing wrong with the tap although many people believe still that there is and this is different than in China (and other parts of Asia) and Africa.

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