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What to Do When The Hotel Safe Isn't Very Safe

Where: Paris, France
May 2, 2013 at 3:42 PM | by | Comment (1)

What you don't want to see in the hotel safe when you've returned to your room.

Last week we talked about what guests were stealing from their hotels and it turns out, a lot of you are stealing way more than the bath toiletries and the slippers. (Seriously, how do you smuggle lamps and artwork out of a hotel? Extra large suitcases, we guess!)

But today, we've got a more serious side of hotel theft to talk about--the hotel safe, as in what to do when the hotel safe isn't safe?

A reader emailed us from the Hotel du Louvre, a five-star property in Paris located near three of the city's biggest landmarks--the Louvre, the Opéra Garnier and the Palais Royal. Room rates here start around 370 euros a night (or about $483). But just because it's a fancy spot, doesn't mean your valuables are safe, even when you put them in the safe. Our distraught reader tells us her tale:

Yesterday we were out seeing the sights in Paris. Upon our return, we opened our hotel safe and discovered that my jewelry plus $600 was missing. We reported it to management, but had a very weak response. We were told to find a police station and report the theft so we could file an insurance claim.

I am not interested in spending my vacation looking for a police station. Management should get my jewelry back from the employee who stole it from my safe. I am an executive in the hotel industry and am appalled at the apathy and matter of fact attitude here. Apparently Parisians must be so accustomed to seeing tourists ripped off that it's no big deal.

Also considering the numerous pickpocket warning signs in this area, it's astonishing that there is no security at this hotel. Anyone can come in the door unnoticed and head right up to the rooms. I'm surprised that Hyatt puts their brand name on a creepy place like this.

Clearly, this guest is beyond upset, but we're publishing this letter to not to point fingers at hotel employees or the Hyatt brand, who are not liable for this theft, but because this is a good warning for all hotel guests. (We're also waiting to hear back from the reader as they emailed us right after it happened and we want to know how it all turned out. Hopefully, the hotel at least drove them to the police station!)

We've always been suspicious of the hotel safe--many times we've seen safes that don't close all the way or just don't work--so we've used them sparingly.

But if you can't trust your in-room safe, what can you do?

· Don't Bring Valuables. If you can, leave the jewels at home. Try to travel with one good set of jewelry that you never take off and then supplement with cheaper jewelry if you want to switch things up. (Banana Republic makes great little baubles.)

· Don't Leave Cash in the Room. Not Even in the Safe. If you must carry cash, then carry it with you in a secure pouch like one of these which you can wear under your clothes. (We like the personal bra stash or Rack Trap that we've written about before, lol.) Same goes for your passport.

· Bring Your Own Anti-Theft Bags. If you don't want to take any chances, travel expert Peter Greenberg recommends purchasing a slashproof bag like this one which is made from "strong, lightweight, flexible, high-tensile, stainless steel slashproof wire mesh." Greenberg also recommends using a cable lock on the bag to hold the zipper shut and securing it to a stationary piece of furniture.

· Keep a Record. The credit report agency, Experian, has put out a list of tips for travelers on how to protect their identity while away. You can read the full list at ProtectMyID.com but we couldn't agree more with #1 which is to keep a record of everything that's in your wallet. Keep the list in a secure place at home and write down everything from your credit cards to your driver's license to your medical insurance card and more. We also recommend keeping a copy and digital scan of your passport in a secret place too.

Have some more tips to share with your fellow travelers on how to keep your belongings safe in hotel rooms? Put them in comments below!

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Comment (1)

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I'm way too trusting

I rarely use the safe and I probably should more, especially after reading this. I just have this idea that it would be crazy for staff to pilfer. But if hotels are this cavalier about catching/helping thieves, then I need to get my head out the sand.

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