What to do (and not to do) to ensure a trouble-free stay
Hotels are magnets for thieves, the busier the better! And if it’s a city centre hotel, then the sky’s the limit for them.
Finding reliable statistics on crimes committed in hotels is not easy. Many are reported to the hotel management and only occasionally reported to the police. Furthermore, hotels will not share their statistics if they can help it (would you?). Only major crimes are reported where there has been personal injury or where the guest insists.
I’ve worked in hotels in London and Barcelona, as well as various resorts in Spain and further away; I’ve also travelled extensively and I have seen the many different tricks used by thieves.
The naked thief
Once in London, we received a warning from our sister hotel that there was a man who would go to the bedroom floors, strip naked, throw water over himself and then, clutching at a towel barely covering his parts, would approach a room maid and pretend he’d just locked himself out by taking a “wrong turn” out of the shower.
Although the maids have instructions to ask for ID when receiving such requests, evidently the man had none and the poor maid would hastily open the door rather than risk the guest’s towel falling off.
Another great one is causing a diversion. Someone purposely trips the waiter up, tray falls, lots of crashes and shattered glass. Everyone looks around and meanwhile an accomplice steals the briefcase or handbag they’ve been eyeing for a while.
And then of course there’s personal safety. Hotels in major cities are generally fine, but if you are in a dubious hotel in a shady part of town, it’s worth taking extra precautions.
It’s rarely the hotel staff
Thirty years in the business and I can scarcely remember an incident where it was demonstrated that a member of staff had taken a guest’s personal belonging.
Such incidents do occur, but they are rare. I wish I had a dollar for every guest who has blamed the maid for stealing something and then called hours later from their home to say it was at…