Chinese culture is not unified. It is different from place to place. Chinese people from the southern China prefer No. 8, which means getting easy money. However, oversea Chinese living in philipines, they don't like No. 8, it sounds death.
I don't see anything wrong that giving towel to somebody as a gift is bad. We (my wife and I ) had received a towel set as a gift. Anyway, it is not popular in Chinese culture that giving somebody a towel as a gift is bad.