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A Famous Actor's Infidelity Is Likely the Reason Hotels Put Chocolate on Your Pillow

by Olivia Harden Mar 3, 2022

Have you ever wondered why you’re greeted with a sweet treat on your pillow when you enter a nice hotel room? It turns out we have a romantic actor caught in a scandal to thank.

That actor is Cary Grant, the British-American leading man in movies from the 1930s to the 1960s, including the 1930s version of Alice in Wonderland and Arsenic and Old Lace. According to the most widely spread legend, Grant booked the penthouse suite at the luxurious Mayfair Hotel in downtown St. Louis during one of his frequent stays in the early 1950s. Grant, who was married to his third wife at the time, was trying to court a secret lover. As a romantic gesture, he decided to leave a trail of chocolates that began in the living room area all the way up to her pillow along with a letter.

A manager at the hotel had gotten wind of Grant’s gesture and decided to start leaving a chocolate on the pillow as a standard amenity in the hotel. Soon, many hotels did the same, turning the practice into a tradition. Now you’ll find everything from expensive or locally sourced chocolates to the more generic stuff, a cookie bite, or mints.

The Mayfair was purchased by Marriott and became the Magnolia St. Louis — a Tribute Portfolio Hotel in August 2014. The hotel had ended the tradition before it was sold. When Marriott purchased the property, management brought back the tradition using chocolates from Bissinger’s, one of the finest chocolatiers in the nation. The industry changing extra isn’t the only nod to the hotel’s past: In honor of Grant, guests who stay at the Magnolia can dine at the Robies Restaurant and Lounge, named after Grant’s character in the film To Catch a Thief, and they can book the Cary Grant suite on the 18th floor.

So, the next time you indulge in a sweet treat you’ve found on your hotel pillow, it turns out you have infidelity to thank.

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