Mini bars are likely to be a feature of hotels for the foreseeable future

Mini bars are likely to be a feature of hotels for the foreseeable future

Many people stay clear of the mini bar when they visit hotels for fear of running-up an extortionate bill, but for others being able to enjoy a cold drink and a packet of peanuts in their room is what makes staying in a fancy hotel so exciting. One of the largest appeals of the mini bar, the fact that people can enjoy a drink whenever, was potentially threatened by early morning alcohol restriction orders (EMROs) which are being introduced as part of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.

However, premises that are authorised to provide mini bars and room service between 12am and 6am will actually avoid being subject to EMROs, although hotels which sell alcohol in the bar, lounge, or lobby between midnight and 6am will still be subject to the regulations in communal areas.

Minister for Crime Prevention and Antisocial Behaviour Reduction Lord Henley is quoted as telling Caterer and Hotelkeeper: "We have already overhauled the ineffective licensing regime and introduced new measures that will put local people back at the heart of licensing decisions, allowing them to take action against problem premises and alcohol-related offending."

It is thought that mini bars were exempt from the rules as it is very hard to police what people do in the privacy of their own hotel rooms and if they were banned then people may have simply taken in their own drinks, meaning that hotels would have lost out on much-needed income in a tough economic climate.

"We recognise that hotels have in some areas a different business model to other licensed premises in that they offer services to residents similar to those that they can enjoy in their own home. We do not wish to penalise residents who consume alcohol in their room. Therefore we will ensure that the provision to supply alcohol to residents through mini-bars and room service in premises with overnight accommodation is not subject to an EMRO," the government stated in its report Dealing With The Problems Of Late Night Drinking.
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