As a woman and sometimes-solo traveler, I've often got safety on the brain. On a recent trip, I came back to my hotel room to discover it open. I thought I'd share the story here because although it's not something that had ever happened to me personally before, it's not unheard of either.
I had spent the evening out with friends and came back to my hotel room at about 10:30 p.m. As I reached for the doorknob to I scan my key card, the door fell open—it hadn't been shut all the way. I paused, door partway open, key card still out, processing the fact that my room had not just been unlocked while I was out but was actually open.
My first instinct was to assume that a hotel employee had probably been into the room for some kind of turn-down service and had failed to latch the door behind them (or that I had left it open, though I'm generally careful about that sort of thing). But the part of me responsible for flossing and looking both ways before I cross the street thought, even so, let's take a short walk to the front desk and see if I can get someone to check the room.
So I shut the door, making sure it latched, and then walked back to the front desk. The hotel staff was appropriately concerned without being alarming and within minutes, I was walking back toward my room with two polo-shirt clad security guards. They did a sweep of the room, the bathroom, and the closets. As I entered the room afterward, I noticed all the signs—bedside lamp on, bed turned down, bathroom towels tidied—that a hotel employee had been in to prepare the room for evening. Even so, I was glad to have the security guards do a check since anyone could have come in to the open room after it had been left open.
While I did a quick valuables check, the hotel security guards plugged a little machine into the card-scanning slot on the door that allowed them to download the key-card history so they could double-check that it had been left ajar by a hotel employee (and presumably talk to the employee about double-checking that doors latch) and not anyone else. That any hotel door with a key card has its own electronic record of comings and goings wasn't something I had thought about before, but it seems like a handy thing to know going forward.
The next morning, as I was leaving my room again, I experimented with the door and noticed that because of the ventilation system in the room, the door actually came up against a bit of resistance just before it latched. Since strong ventilation systems are a pretty standard part of newer hotels, I'd imagine this sort of thing is getting more common.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Share it with me and other readers below. Be sure to mention what you did and if you'd recommend (or not) it to others.