Wrapped In Mystery: Towel Origami Around The World

29 January 2015

We’re not 100% sure where towel origami first originated, but it’s clear these fluffy, abstract sculptures have become a trademark for housekeeping staff world over, not to mention a hot talking point for guests. Popular on cruise-liners and resorts from Thailand to Cuba by way of Dubai, we survey the art of towel origami in various establishments around the globe.

No doubt these towel-folding-artisans take inspiration from the 17th-Century Japanese art of folding paper into mini-sculptures: origami, but these days, it’s the towel folding that turns into paper-dollar tips for the sculptors.

Anyone can buy a how-to towel origami book from Amazon.com but if you’re a Carnival Cruise Line steward, you’ll need to undergo an intensive 10-hour training program to learn the wraps, pleats and weaves you need to know to create 40 different towel creatures.

From the swan to the elephant, the monkey to the butterfly, there are plenty of fluffy creatures to be found.

Liberty Travel’s Marketing Director John Feenaghty was recently at Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas, when he came across these clever towel sculptures.

 Butlers at Sandals Emerald Bay let their personality shine. Photo credit:John Feenaghty

Further south in Cuba, hotel towel origami is alive and well at Hotel Las Cuevas in Trinidad, Cuba. Where a couple on their honeymoon were greeted by a love-heart-shaped towel entwined with two sweet towel-people.

 Welcome to Cuba, lovers. Photo credit: welovepandas

The Greek’s haven’t forgotten the lost art of towel origami either.

 The Pearl Hotel in Rhodes Town, Greece. Photo credit: Daniela M

Perhaps the hotel-towel-origami award should go to Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai for their artful menagerie featuring swans, elephants and dragons!

 The whole zoo on your bed at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai. Photo credit: Sunskier

How about a pair of love birds found at the JW Marriott and Spa in Phuket, Thailand? Rumour has it the staff will even give you a quick lesson in towel origami if you ask nicely.

 Lovebirds spotted at the JW Marriott and Spa, Phuket. Photo credit: lally547

The staff really ‘snap-to-it’ at the Abu Tig Marina in El Gouna, Egypt.

 The elaborate towel art of Egypt. Photo credit: 1960Youngatheart

If you've snapped hotel towel origami in your travels, send us your pics! Email your photos to blog@flightcentre.com.au

Rachel Surgeoner

A self-confessed 'food-tourist', I take hunting for the world's greatest sandwich very seriously, my quest has taken me from Berlin to Hoboken. Stopping off only for vintage shopping, craft beers and Mediterranean sunsets.