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What really happens when an item goes missing at a hotel? Our Front Desk Guy, Aditya Rajaram digs into the hotel Lost & Found to find out.
It has happened to all of us. A book left behind, a favorite shirt, a pair of glasses and the dreaded phone charger!
Most guests have, at one time or another, left something behind at a hotel. And most guests normally expect that the hotel will find it and return it to the guest. Unfortunately, the guest isn't always reunited with their belonging.
This causes quite an issue for many guests because they grow to mistrust the hotel and believe that either someone has taken it or the hotel is too lazy to go look for it. But the truth is, most hotels do have very clear protocols about items left behind. However, more often than not, the guests are the ones who have erroneously described the item, incorrectly suggested where it should be or have not misplaced it at all and instead found it in their luggage or back at home.
Still, if you think an item has gone missing in a hotel, requiring a diligent follow-up and thorough check on the part of the hotel staff is a must! The procedure for relocating a lost item, in most instances, is quite simple.
Below are the basic steps that hotels and guests should when items go missing.
We've long been suspicious of the in-room hotel safe after personally encountering safes that simply didn't work and after hearing several tales of the safe getting robbed, like this one. But if you were still trusting the hotel safe to keep your valuables protected, this story may really cause you to think again.
At the posh Peninsula Hong Kong, one of the most high-tech hotels in the world, a man wearing hotel slippers tricked the staff into thinking he was a guest, not only gaining access to a hotel room but also getting the password to the in-room safe. Here's how he did it:
"Speaking in English, he told hotel staff that he had lost his room key and demanded another one," the [South China Morning Post] cited a Hong Kong police officer as saying, adding that the man provided details of the 47-year-old male occupant including name and birthdate, without saying how he had obtained such information.
After entering the room, the man "telephoned the front desk from the room saying he had forgotten the password of the safe and asked for assistance to open it", the officer was quoted by the SCMP as saying.
The thief managed to walk away with about $4,900 in cash, a computer, a wallet and a piece of luggage. So far, no arrests have been made but we're pretty sure that couple will never, ever, ever, use the hotel safe again. Or maybe, Hong Kong just needs to beef up their hotel security. After all, a HotelChatter tipster was able to uncover where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was hiding out, thanks to a very nice hotel operator.
Traveling with some pretty nice stuff but don't want to use the hotel safe? Read our tips after the jump!
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:
It's okay, you can admit it. We've all pocketed the toiletries from the bathroom in hotel rooms. Really, it's all right. The little shampoo bottles travel awfully well, after all, and
sometimes most times the shampoo is better than the slop we put in our hair at home.
This sort of "theft" has come to be accepted by hotels worldwide, from soap to shampoo. Hell, sometimes we've even taken the mouthwash and Q-tips (we've yet to come across anyone over 60 who swipes the shower cap, though). While we wouldn't think of touching the towels or the linens or the lamps, we know some of you out there have some explaining to do.
Yes, some of you have stolen the lamps out of hotel rooms, and we know all about it.
While on vacation over the holidays, we were relieved of our cell phone. And not because we wanted to tune out like the Four Seasons Costa Rica urges guests to do.
Instead, we made the classic mistake of putting our iPhone down on a bar top for a minute while chatting with a friend. We were at a private function at Moon Palace Resort, which isn't some bootleg resort, btw. IOW, we probably were too comfortable in our surroundings.
We hesitated to name the region because it already gets an unfair bad rap in our opinion. Plus, our complaint isn't with the thief--after all, putting your phone down for a second is apparently naive, especially in areas where an iPhone must be a commodity. We're so spoiled in the U.S., you wouldn't think they were of that "high value". Nonetheless, whomever took it, shut if off immediately (we discovered it was missing in minutes), so they knew what they were doing. The phone was instantly untraceable.
We'd rather address the problem of the lax resort staff and security. They didn't seem to give a rat's ass about our issue.
Apparently, the lobby at Radisson Blu Oslo can be a dangerous place. The Daily Mail reports that King Otumfo Osei Tutu II, who was visiting the Norwegian capital for a conference, had a suitcase full of crown jewels stolen from right under his nose in the lobby of the hotel, where rooms start at around $279/night.
Not too much else is known, save for the obvious fact the 62-year-old Ghanian king is pissed.
Though if it's any consolation, ex-Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell had, like, the exact same thing happen to him at a Marriott. And let's not forget the £1 million emerald ring that went "missing" from a Four Seasons bathroom.
These things happen!
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People do funny things when they're in love. And hotels do funny things when they want more followers on Twitter.
In an effort to gain more social media buzz, the folks at Waldorf-Astoria in New York have launched a new campaign asking old guests to return anything they've stolen from the hotel. The stolen goods will then get displayed on the hotel's Facebook page—ideally, with a little background story on each item—and then showcased in a special exhibit inside the lobby.
The klepto-guests themselves will remain anonymous. So what's in it for them? The chance to set things right.
It turns out aging boy banders are just like us! They, too, have stuff, allegedly, stolen from their hotel rooms.
In the case of Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys, he claims his wife's $110,000 wedding ring was stolen off the nightstand of the Evergreen Marriott Resort at Stone Mountain in Georgia over the weekend:
He said after they checked out and were leaving the park, his wife, Leighanne, realized she didn't have any of her jewelry. The couple immediately returned to the hotel, but said by the time they got to the room, all $120,000 worth of jewelry was missing.
"It was just kind of weird how it happened and how fast," Brian Littrell said. "I kept my rings on the bedside table, we left the room and 15 minutes I came back , they're gone." Leighanne Littrell said.
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So we're not entirely sure what crossed the mind of Swiss jeweler Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele when she absentmindedly left her £1 million emerald ring in a bathroom at Four Seasons Hong Kong last week. According to the Daily Mail, Gruosi-Scheufele left the ring, which was bought by her parents in 1963, in the bathroom at the hotel's fourth-floor ballroom during an event. A busy, busy event, with lots of people rushing in and out of the bathroom. By the time she raced back to the bathroom (six minutes later), the ring was nowhere to be found. Quick work!
2011 hasn't been a good year for California-based wine steward Mark Lugo. After serving four months for robbing a $275,000 Picasso off the walls of a San Francisco art gallery, Lugo now has been caught stealing yet more art out of two Manhattan hotels: the Carlyle and the Chambers.
Throwing caution to the wind, Lugo apparently walked straight out of the buildings with the artworks in hand—and in broad daylight, according to District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. When police finally tracked him down at his house, they turned up nineteen total pieces, including another Picasso. What we wanna know is, what were those hotel doormen up to when all this was happening? Walking into a gallery is one thing (those places can be deader than graveyards sometimes), but a hotel? It's not like Lugo was robbing the Chelsea Hotel.
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Hey Hotels, if you've been noticing that your hotel robe supply has been dwindling you might want to look into the closet of "Real Housewives of D.C." star Michaele Salahi.
The White House Crasher turned Journey groupie is apparently a major klepto when it comes to hotel bathrobes...according to her soon-to-be ex-husband, Tareq.
Tareq told TMZ.com that he's auctioning off all her belongings now that she's ditched him for the Journey guitarist and among her precious wares are OVER 50 HOTEL ROBES. How does one woman possibly snatch up that many hotel robes? Well, there was a diabolical sort of madness to her crimes. Tareq said:
As soon as we arrived [at the hotels], Michaele would call housekeeping and demand a bath gown saying that there was one missing. So when we checked out we would not be charged for taking it." Tareq adds, "Looking back I know realize this is indicative of our relationship together, full of deceit, lies ... and bathrobes."
With all the perks available to hotel workers (free rooms, free food, celebrity sightings on the reg), you'd think they'd be content with their lot. But Tia McNeill, a Pennsylvania sales manager has proven us wrong. The suspect, who has now been taken into custody, was apparently leveraging her position in the hotel to pocket thousands of rewards points, which she then used to purchase items from a Skymall catalog. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
"McNeill worked at the Renaissance Hotel, part of the Marriott chain, in Tinicum Township as a sales manager until Nov. 24, according to court papers. According to court documents, McNeill allegedly created six fictitious accounts in Marriott's rewards program and logged points into the system. Purchases using those accounts were made between October and December of last year."