High-end hotels have been racing to boost their amenities, offering flat-panel TVs, wireless Internet, expanded room service menus, and even intimacy kits that include condoms.
But one mainstay of the hotel room appears to be fading in these trendy places: the bedside Bible. Since 2001, the number of luxury hotels to include Bibles and other religious materials has dropped by 18 percent, according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
That doesn’t mean Bibles are disappearing entirely; the number of hotels, motels and inns with in-room Bibles has increased from 79 percent in 1988 to 95 percent today.
But now, nearly a century after the first Bibles started to appear in rooms, luxury hotels and resorts seem to be bucking that trend.
Kimpton Hotels used to provide copies of the New Testament and sometimes a book of Buddhist inspirational phrases.
But a year and a half ago, the chain removed the books from rooms in its 42 hotels, according to Mike DeFrino, senior vice president of hotel operations.
The move was part of a larger push to be more environmentally friendly, DeFrino said, and also included stripping phone books from individual rooms.
Instead, Kimpton now offers copies of the New Testament, Old Testament, Book of Mormon, the Quran and Buddhist and Hindu texts at the front desk.
How many times do they get a request from guests for such books?
“Rarely,” DeFrino said.
“People don’t ask for this stuff. It’s not something they’re interested in,” he said. “They don’t ask for phone books, and they don’t ask for religious books generally.”
But it’s not because guests are shy.
Some of Kimpton’s hotels, particularly its Monaco brand, offer guests the chance to have goldfish in their room through their stay. DeFrino said roughly 15 percent of guests request a goldfish.
Kimpton isn’t the only chain with a lack of bedside Bibles.
The Hotel Gansevoort in New York and the soon-to-open Gansevoort South in Miami Beach don’t and have never had Bibles in the rooms. Instead, the hotel has opted for a library of assorted religious texts and books available upon request.