Is it necessary to pay for water in hotels?

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This topic contains 49 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  MartynSinclair 24 Oct 2012
at 13:42

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  • Anonymous


    I am sitting at my hotel desk and would like a drink of water. The difficulty is, I have several choices:

    1. There are 2 bottles of free water on my side table.

    2. Behind the free bottles there is a large pint sized bottle of branded water which has a charge

    3. Then there is the mini bar which has a fizzy water – charged

    4. A third brand of plain water – charged

    5. I then have a tray juices,which has a fourth brand of plain water but in a fancy bottle coloured blue – charged

    6. Then there is the trusty tap – but I hear you all say, hotel tap water, isn’t drinking water

    7. Then the final choice, a jug of iced water bought to my room twice a day with a slice of lime. The source of the water, tap or bottle, I have never asked.

    My question, is two fold – In which countries is it safe to drink water from the bathroom tap and has any testing ever been carried out.

    Is water a real big revenue earner for the hotels that justifies having 4 different brands of water in one room.

    Must rush as all this talk of water – i need to rush somewhere


    NOWHERE!!! even in the UK its not worth the risk regardless of what people say. Only in UK restaurants i will ask for tap water. Bottles are a complete ripoff especially in hotels. Some hotels even sell Voss water for £30 a bottle!!!! i mean WTF??? But every where should be able to give drinking water free with no excuse. I wont risk it in Asia unless it comes from a bottle. Otherwise always carry your own bottle and fill up at water fountains. xx


    Well done TDC love it reminds me of the only fools and horses special of peckham spring love it!!! :O) xxx


    Great video, thanks!

    Martyn: anywhere in the EU or North America, your hotel would be prosecuted if the water that came out of the bathroom tap wasn’t of high drinking quality (you’ll see that the rare tap connected to a “grey” water supply is always clearly labelled). Tap water is safe in many other places too — South Africa has some of the best water in the world, for example. Always ask or check online before you get a bottle.

    Tap water is often much safer than botled water — remember the carcinogenic benzenes found in Perrier and San Pelegrino or the fertiliser residues in most filtered waters in India? (in India, always ask for a local mineral water — such as Himalaya — rather than the filtered water produced by Coke, Pepsi and others). Tap water is tested more thoroughly and more stringently than bottled water in most countries (including the UK)

    The bottles may be carcinogenic too. The jury’s out but I know a very eminent scientist whose job is to assess risks to health and he tries to avoid anything stored in clear plastic bottles. The craziest thing of all is to order imported bottled mineral water. It’s environmental vandalism of the worst sort and, if the warnings on the bottles are true, the longer the water is stored, the higher the risk.

    One more thing: tap water tastes better too. Tap water has won taste tests all over the world, from Yorkshire to New York.



    I’ll tend to drink bottled water in hotels in most countries, as one never knows how the water has been handled after leaving the water company treatment plant.

    When travelling to Asia and Africa, I am careful even with the bottled water – do you remember the scene in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, where the two young brothers were filling mineral water bottles from the tap and resealing them?

    In that case, I carry two items to make me feel safer

    1 – water filters, to remove heavy metals and chemicals – e.g. one of these – does not take up much space

    2 – then, for belts and braces, use a UV device to mess up the DNA of any nasties in the water and stop them reproducing in you – this should not be necessary after the filtering, but it is peace of mind for 90 seconds of effort per litre e.g

    These two devices are light and take up little room, if you wish, you can then drink tap water safely, but always filer first to remove any cloudiness, as this reduces the effectiveness of UV.



    Our posts just crossed, but it is good to see another frequent traveller who does not trust bottled water in some countries.


    Zigg bottles are suppose to be very good for storing water

    Disgusted are water purification tabs good to use?




    Never looked at tabs, as I’m travelling to hotels and thus always have electricity to recharge the Lion batteries for the Steripen and don’t need to process large quantities of water, so the filter bottle is good for 350 litres or many trips.

    If you are interested in these, you would be best advised to speak to Nomad or a similar specialist shop – or maybe another BT poster knows about them.


    It is also best to check the labels on bottled water too. In Vietnam we were given bottles of water which tasted disgusting. The label said it was purified tap water. Yuk!


    My own policy is no tap water outside of home (i.e. Switzerland). Rare exceptions are some mountain resorts and other remote places known for their water (but certainly not in large town). The logic of it goes beyond drinkable or not. I was raised in Europe and my antibodies are European. So my body is more sensitive in other areas.

    So I drink the free mineral water provided. I tend also to buy some in the street (where ever safe) like in 7 Elevens as the hotel prices for water make me mad (worse was EUR 20 at the Sheraton in Sofia!). Last resort is the mini-bar or room service ordering.


    In Chandigarh, India, I ordered a bottle of water in an upscale hotel, it was served chilled, but already opened. pon asking, the waiter, with a shy smile, confirmed that it was refilled with tap water. Of course, I got a new bottle, sealed and fresh.
    In Dacca, Bangladesh, also very upscale restaurant, they served iced water, ensured me multiple times “the water is safe, no need to buy bottled water!” The result of my naivite started next day, I had a diarhea for more than a week, bad.
    So, paid or unpaid, no tap water for me, except maybe in Europe and the US.


    I drink the water all over the world. If it seems safe to wash your teeth it’s probably safe to drink. However, (why must there always be a forever?) I also take a spoon of activated charcoal which neutralises most “nasties”.

    In 40+ years of travel I’ve only had a gippy tummy about 5 times.


    when I posed the question, I took for granted that in places like Asia, India and parts of S America, you don’t even use ice cubes unless you know the source of the water.

    Hotels are very quick to push anything that comes close to producing revenue, but as we are encouraged not to replace towels and bed linen on a daily basis, surely if a hotel is going to promote being “GREEN” as many are trying to do, the question of water and whether there is a need to pay ridiculous amounts should be addressed.

    Very simply, if I stay at any 5 star hotel in London or Switzerland, is there a need to increase the bill by ordering bottled water or is it healthy to drink from the bathroom tap.

    It would be interesting if the hotels themselves incorporated this into their Green policy.

    Very interesting video T D C, certainly educated me.

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