There are good reasons to light candles in your hotel room, from creating a romantic ambience to making the room smell nice.

But are you even allowed to light candles in your hotel room, or is it forbidden?

What are the penalties, if any, for doing so?

Let’s find out.

Smoking vs. Non-Smoking Hotel Rooms

According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), 97% of hotel rooms are non-smoking, and only 15% of hotels offer smoking rooms too.

This is important to note because, to hotels, candles are generally viewed in the same way as cigarettes, despite one being pleasant smelling and the other being foul.

Candles, due to their open flame, are considered a safety hazard, which hotels want to avoid, and may even be considered more dangerous than cigarettes in this sense because they are constantly burning.

Therefore, whether you can light candles in a hotel room can vary from hotel-to-hotel, with some hotels allowing you to light candles in non-smoking rooms, while others won’t allow you to light a candle in any of their rooms, including smoking rooms.

As a general rule, don’t expect to be able to light candles in a hotel room. The same applies to incense too.

Marriot, Hilton, Holiday Inn Candle Policy

  • Marriott: The Marriott state that lighting candles within any area of the hotel is prohibited and subject to a $250 fine.
  • Holiday Inn: Holiday Inn forbid guests from lighting candles and will charge $200 to anyone caught doing so.
  • Hilton: The Hilton also prohibit guest from lightning candles in their rooms, and will charge $250 if caught.

3 Reasons Why Hotels Don’t Allow Guests to Light Candles

There are good reasons why hotels generally don’t allow guests to light candles in their rooms.

1. You Could Start a Fire

According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2015-2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 7,400 home structure fires that were started by candles per year.

So, while you might think that the risk of starting a fire from lighting a candle in your hotel room is insignificant, it’s still a very real possibility.

2. You Could Set Off the Fire Alarm

Generally, a candle will not set off a fire alarm, as it doesn’t let off enough smoke, but it may still be possible under some circumstances, such as when blowing the candle out.

In any case, the fire alarm going off causes great inconvenience to everyone in the hotel, from guests to employees.

3. To Maintain Air Quality

Candles may smell nice, but when burned they release carcinogenic toxins, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, benzene, and toluene, which all have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).