The interesting history of chocolates on hotel room beds

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Chocolates on the pillow

If you have ever found yourself in a really nice hotel, then you will know that chocolates are usually neatly set on the pillow upon your arrival. A lot of people think it’s just a nice welcome gesture, and yes it is… But it didn’t start out as a welcome gesture. It was actually a romantic idea from a man in the mid-90s.

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Actor Cary Grant who was married to his third wife Betsy Drake also had a mistress at the time. The actor in a bid to keep his mistress from the prying eyes of the world became a frequent guest at the 18th-floor penthouse in the Luxurious Mayflower Hotel in downtown St. Louis. That was where he met up with his mistress regularly. On one of her visits, she arrived at the suite before Grant did and found that he had laid a trail of chocolates. It started in the sitting room, ran into the bedroom, across the bed, and onto the pillow in a seductive way. A letter was also left on the bed. However, its contents along with the identity of the woman and whether or not the chocolates worked, remain undisclosed.

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The hotel staffer who got the chocolates and laid them on the bed told Mayfair’s manager about the chocolate idea. He liked the idea so much that he made ‘a chocolate on the pillow upon arrival’ one of the hotel’s many standard amenities.
This nice welcome gesture became widely adopted by hundreds of hotels around the world, even until now. At a point, the Mayflower hotel itself stopped the gesture for a while. But after it was sold and it became the Magnolia Hotel, the new management quickly restored the gesture. The management makes sure that every room on the 18th floor gets a chocolate on the pillow, particularly because it was “Cary Grant Suite.”


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