Some Potentially Bad Advice Regarding Valuable Property in a Hotel Room

“I  mean, when you pay $400+/night for hotel stays you wouldn’t be so concerned about property security, would you?” asked FlyerTalk member YWang after $900.00 in cash was allegedly stolen from a wallet left in a hotel room during the celebration of a wedding anniversary. “I guess this is a very painful lesson we learned.”

Indeed.

Some Potentially Bad Advice Regarding Valuable Property in a Hotel Room

Realize that the room rate of a hotel does not necessarily correlate with safety or security. Crime can happen in upscale hotels as well as seedy budget motels…

…but what concerns me is how many FlyerTalk members recommended in this discussion using the safe in a hotel room to keep valuable items secured — and while that may lend an extra layer of security to valuable items as opposed to leaving them out in the open on a nightstand or desk in the hotel room, it is far from a safe and secure option. Please read this article to find out why; as well as watch the video accompanying this article.

Better Advice to Keeping Your Valuable Items Secured

Keep your important papers on your person — as I always do — or take them down to the front desk and ask the agent to store them in the hotel safe.

Do not take more cash than you need. I take just enough cash in case of an emergency — otherwise, the credit cards I take with me usually more than suffice whenever I need them, as they are usually a more secure option of payment. If your credit card is stolen, you have significantly more recourse than you would with cash pertaining to losses; and for credit card holders in the United States, you are typically liable for only the first $50.00 in charges when a credit card is stolen — and my experience is that I have never had to pay that $50.00 whenever my credit card number was stolen.

Although I usually attempt not to use it, I would rather pay the potential surcharges incurred on my bank card when using an automated teller machine rather than leave excess money in my hotel room with a chance of it being stolen — or worse, potentially be robbed of it when carrying it on my person. Those extra charges probably look quite good rather than have had the money gone forever in the case of anyone who had their cash stolen or lost.

Use the hotel safe. If you really must have extra cash immediately available when you travel, you can take a chance by storing it in the safe in the hotel room if it is equipped with one — but there is no guarantee that you will see it again in there either.

Rather, take any valuables you have and have the front desk clerk or manager store your items in the hotel safe instead — although YWang claims that the hotel was not equipped with a safe — and be sure you get an official signed receipt as proof that the hotel indeed does have your belongings, just in case there is a dispute. This option may be less convenient, but it is far more secure.

Summary

Although YWang was given a partial credit by the hotel, it did not cover the amount of cash which was purportedly stolen. At least members of the staff of the hotel property were immediately informed; a claim was filed with the parent company of the hotel property; and a report of the incident was created by the police — but despite taking those actions, recovering all of the cash is likely not possible at this point.

The most important lesson to learn in this case is to never leave your valuable items unprotected — whether in a hotel room or elsewhere.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

4 thoughts on “Some Potentially Bad Advice Regarding Valuable Property in a Hotel Room”

  1. DOUBTING THOMAS says:

    I’m glad that you posted about this incident, Brian.

    I read that and the subsequent posts by YWang, and I have got to tell you, many of the events he relates are pretty unbelievable.

    For example, as pointed out by another person who responded, the claim that they left the bag containing the $$ unattended for the duration of their stay, without even once looking into it, is pretty difficult to comprehend or credit, let alone the idea that they had a safe to put valuables in and yet decided not to use it!

    This coming from someone who claims to be an experienced world traveler and one who holds Marriott Platinum states = 75 nights in hotels per year.

    Then, his account that Tripadvisor did not post — but which he strangely posted in that thread as a Google document.

    Well, I took the time to read that document, did you or anyone?

    In his fuller re-telling of his claim, did you see that he stated that her cab to presumably the Miami airport from the Miami Edition cost $170.00?? (“since my girlfriend had a flight to catch, she had to leave before a police officer arrived (she caught a taxi to the airport which costed around $170 alone which we could have avoided as I was supposed to drive her there).

    I was recently in Miami Beach, and a cab cost no more than $35 – $40.00, at most to the airport.

    In addition, the poster claims that his girlfriend noticed she was missing the $$ the night before she was to leave but didn’t think much of it:

    “on Saturday night on 20th August, my girlfriend realized nine $100 notes in her wallet went missing, amounting to $900 in total. Since the idea that someone from the hotel stole the money never crossed her mind, she thought I took them (as I told her earlier I might need some cash for different cash payment those two days), and didn’t question it.”

    I don’t know about your, but if I or my wife saw that either one of us was short $900 from our wallet, our natural inclination would be to at least say SOMETHING to the other one, as to its whereabouts or where it was used.

    Further, instead of cherishing the moments of this anniversary trip, the poster related in his introduction to this “horrifying incident” the following:

    “However, all I remember now about this weekend was the shocking face of my girlfriend when she realized her money was actually stolen, and her shaking voice when she told me how unsafe she felt afterwards. This shattered my heart.

    And even when I was walking down the hotel floor that evening, knowing someone might be watching me and preying on me as I walked by was extremely terrifying, and easily the worst hotel experience I ever had. I bolted my hotel door for the first time in United States that night.”

    A bit over the top, don’t you think?

    In addition, the first time he ever bolted his door at any Marriott property worldwide????

    I’m sorry but am truly skeptical of many of these details related in the above story.

    I think he was quite fortunate for the hotel to cut even a 1/3 off his hotel bill.

    Were I the front desk staff, I would have sympathized but would not have given any sort of compensation, whatsoever.

    This story stinks to high heaven, and I am surprised that no one has called him out sooner on it.

    Little wonder that Tripadvisor has refused to post his version of the “truth” of these alleged events which can be found in its entirety here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zb8DYI8UdrF7VQSj_16RsG3iRZt4YCeuaDaDEzafwxo/pub

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The story does seem odd and its veracity may be questionable, DOUBTING THOMAS; but it did offer an opportunity as a reminder for readers to be careful with their valuables whenever staying in a hotel room.

  2. R says:

    I read the flyertalk link and nowhere there is the slightest suggestion that your room safe is not safe. Yes, of course it can be opened—that is obvious–but only by maintenance/management crew. Unless you are storing diamonds—why?—not sure what your point is.

    Found it needlessly alarmist.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You obviously have not clicked on the links in the article, R; so I will do the work for you and select one of those links:

      http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travelbuzz/1259544-how-unsafe-your-hotel-safe-post17127630.html#post17127630

      I stand by what I wrote in the article.

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