Turns out the perfect hotel minibar - the sort guests might actually appreciate rather than disdain - might simply be an empty refrigerator.

The hotel minibar, repository of the $5 Coke and the $12 jar of nuts, has long been an object of scorn among value-conscious travelers. In a 2005 hotel guest-satisfaction study, the marketing information firm J.D. Power and Associates found that an in-room refrigerator ranked third among the desired amenities (after free continental breakfast and an in-room coffeemaker). And even as some lodgings spice up the standard drinks-and-snacks minibar fare (Kama Sutra products, anyone?), some hoteliers are heeding the message, particularly when it affects their bottom line.

The Hilton McLean in suburban Washington, D.C., for instance, is in the process of emptying the last of its 458 minibars, which are being rechristened as plain old refrigerators. The reason: lack of demand.

Similarly, New York's 1,946-room Marriott Marquis has ousted its minibars, which took 20 employees seven hours to service.

"It was a pure business decision," spokeswoman Kathy Duffy says. "When we saw how few people were actually using them and the amount of labor it cost to visit each room every day, it was far higher than the revenue."

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