/ / /

Hotel Lost and Found: Is It More Lost Than Found?

June 22, 2010 at 9:12 AM | by | ()

Recently, we had the pleasure of leisurely checking out of our hotel room at the InterContinental Chicago. This does not happen often. Usually we're in a frantic rush, racing to finish some work on our laptop, grabbing all of our belonging and stuffing them into the suitcase and praying hard that security doesn't knock on our door and try to remove us because we're 30 minutes past the check-out time.

But this being a Saturday, we had no work to finish up and we had no plane to catch. So we took our time gathering our stuff together before checking out. And of course, this is probably why we left our iPhone charger behind.

Now, we're not the best of packers and we're definitely the worst at unpacking--things get strewn everywhere in a matter of seconds. But we do remember unpacking our iPhone charger and plugging it into the plug panel at the desk. We even took a picture of it. Somehow we forgot to unplug it and pack it in our bags and we didn't realize it until we were at our new hotel just up the street.

So we called the first hotel and the operator directed us to Lost and Found which is, as it is in most hotels, run by the hotel's housekeeping department. A very friendly woman said she would have them check the room and call us right back. She did not.

We called the hotel again the next morning and the woman who answered the phone told us that they checked the room and our iPhone charger was not found. So we double-checked our belongings for the fifth time and still, no iPhone charger appeared.

We would never go so far as to accuse housekeeping of stealing an iPhone charger (because really, would someone do that? You'd need an iPhone too!) but seriously, where the F did this iPhone charger go?

This has happened to us a few other times with a hotel's Lost and Found department--typically involving phone chargers and other small items. But more often than not, our shizz is LOST and definitely not FOUND anywhere. It's almost like the socks in the dryer phenomenon. You never come back with a full pair. There's always one missing.

How about you? What are your experiences with Hotel LosT and Found? Let us know in comments below.

Archived Comments:

Lost and Still Lost

I worked at a hotel that would contact the guest if they knew 100% that the item came from their room. We would ask the guest to explain the item in further detail and then send it to them complimentary.

We also had to enter ALL lost and found items into a spreadsheet twice a day. This is really a task. I have had a guest return after a year and ask if we had his belt!

I would ask your hotel if they document lost and found items. I would also write a polite letter to the hotel manager with intent of improving services in the future. Include any useful information like who you spoke to and what you respectfully recommend for future guests. I bet you will see a charger soon!

Lost and Found

First, you left something somewhere?  I am shocked.  Heh, just kidding.  Second, I actually left a watch at the Muse in NYC a year or so ago.  It was not a fancy watch or anything, just a surf watch that I really kind of liked, so I called the hotel to see if it had been "found" in my room.  

The hotel not only confirmed that housekeeping had turned the watch into L+F, but also let me know that they would send the watch back to me.  Since I return to that hotel fairly often I asked if they could just hold it until I returned for my next stay.  They did and when I next checked in (two months later) they returned the watch to me safe and sound.

Is this really their bad (yet)?

I'm not sure I really support the underlying implication here that the hotel has been negligent... enough so to warrant a post like this.

I'd echo the first poster's suggested path. It seems the hotel's management has barely had a chance to address the situation. Granted, it does sound like the first contact didn't follow through.

I love this blog dearly, but your tack seems tacky here, both "not accusing" them, but obviously (and bolded-ly) suggesting that they're responsible. I've gone gunning for hotel staff before, only for the lost item to turn up later wedged in a shirt or tucked in suitcase lining i didn't know was torn, etc.

Frustrating, no doubt. But this post seems tinged with a bit of vengeance that is out of character for you guys. I'd have given them more of a chance to respond to the situation before posting. This seems to be your broader point, no?

Just wondering where else it could be...

We did call housekeeping and we were told that they would call us back. But it took us calling them again to ask about the charger. Then they told us they didn't find the iPhone charger in the room but if it's not with us (we triple-checked our bags--both when we moved to the new hotel, again when packing to leave for the aiport and another big check when we returned home, emptying the bag and all its pockets), then where could it be?

I guess we were just trying to explore more options for tracking down this item. Maybe someone did turn it in but under a different room number by accident. Honestly, we don't really believe the hotel would steal an iPhone charger. Sorry if we led you to believe differently. We were just exasperated as to where this could have gone, hence the socks in the dryer mention.

And when we were told that no iPhone charger had been found or turned into the hotel, we kinda gave up then. We weren't really sure what else we could do. But the first commenter had some good tips and we'll probably ring housekeeping again as well as the GM.

Completely fair...

Could be that the thing fell behind the bed.

Or that it was in the jumbled sheets and housekeeping unwittingly ran it through the laundry when they stripped your bed.

Or that the next guest found it and pocketed it. Yay! Free charger!

I guess there are a lot of scenarios that don't necessarily involve IC being negligent, you see? Most hotels at the IC's level do have very strict procedures for this stuff, under threat of termination... so I'm guessing simply nobody really did find it. But maybe not.  

My point is less about the scenario and more just about the platform. You guys have worked hard to build this blog up, so you've got a bully pulpit that does have weight. It's not like you were braying out into the vast wilds of TripAdvisor or something: you are a media player, so idle speculation can have implications that they might not otherwise.

In my own history, I was positive that a camera was lifted from my room. Two weeks later, after hotel security had grilled the housekeeper on duty during my stay, I found the camera in the pocket of a jacket I forgot I wore home on the trip. I felt terrible and apologized profusely.

In any case, sounds like you're doing the right thing and I'm not gonna continue to beat the drum on it. And while I love the tone of 95% of what you guys do (genuine, honest, smart), I'm suggesting this could be an example where some caution might be prudent "next time."

Keep up the really good work. I read this every day, religiously. And for good reason.  


You're very right and I/we apologize if it looked like we were coming down on the hotel personally and its houskeeping department.

The truth is we really just wanted to see what happened to things in a hotel's Lost and Found department and we wanted other readers to share their experiences with Lost and Found. Did you get your stuff back or was it missing forever? etc.

We weren't really looking to single out IC Chicago bc as we mentioned it happens in other hotels too. And as for me, I can be a bit Forgetful Farrah sometimes, especially when traveling so I'm sure I played a role in most of these "disappearances."

But no matter. We took the wrong track in expressing our ideas here and we'll definitely not make this mistake in the future. Thanks for your support and kind words and thanks most importantly for calling this to our attention.

my department

I handle the lost and found in our hotel. We get lots of calls like this. I hope the housekeeper apologized  for not getting back to you.
Second...I've had people swear that my housekeepers have stolen money, a lap top, even a big sunday church hat. All of them found later that day or found in their car. Never once did the accused get an "I'm sorry or Hey...um...I found it, thanks."
It wasn't till I got back with them about it, did they own up to the fact it was found.
I'm not saying you personally accused anyone, this is just a fact I deal with a lot.
Also...I'm still waiting on the people to call about the S & M stuff they left in their room. If anyone knows these people please have them call me. Thanks!

Ask For A Substitute

Hotels typically will have a box FULL of phone chargers left behing.  You can always call back and speak to the AGM or GM and tell him/her that since yours wasnt found if they could ship you a replacement.

Most hotel lost and founds will hold things for 3 to 6 months.  If no one claims, it then goes the person who found it.  I think the exception is laptops, storage media as they can contain personal information.  

In that case, they get destroyed and trashed :(