The age-old debate over whether the safe in your hotel is actually good at keeping your belongings secure continues. In truth, it’s something which you can never answer.
There are vast differences in the hotel industry, but read on for a more in-depth look at the situation and how you should react to it.
The Hotel Safe Concept
The hotel safe itself is a nice little addition to your room’s package. It’s also a target for theft. Most traditional bed & breakfasts generally don’t have safes you can put your belongings in, but the lack of people in the building at the same time normally means it isn’t a problem. Bigger hotels usually have a small safe in the room or a large one behind the reception desk.
Both of these safes are at risk of theft. It’s not uncommon for a thief to kick their way through a weak lock. And because they know you’ll be enjoying the sights of your destination they have plenty of time to rip open the safe. Getting behind reception is also easier than you think. All it takes is a few minutes for a lone receptionist to be drawn away from the scene and an accomplice to rob the safe. That being said, the hotel’s main safe is more secure than room safes for passports and cash/travellers cheques.
Where Do You Go?
UK travellers should take into account where they’re going. Most reputable hotels in the UK will have a well-protected safe which is just perfect for storing your valuables in. Go to a country like India, Ghana, or Romania and the situation is quite different. It’s unlikely these hotels will have invested in quality security equipment unless it’s a luxury hotel; and even this doesn’t guarantee a whole lot.
Regardless of where you go, the class of hotel influences how safe your belongings will be. A two-star hotel with a safe is probably not going to invest much in world-class security equipment. Holiday at The Ritz and you have nothing to worry about. If you decide to go abroad, assume the safe isn’t foolproof unless you happen to go to a five-star hotel under a well-known brand.
If the worst happens and your belongings do disappear, the hotel only covers a certain value. Normally, this only amounts to a few hundred pounds. If you lose anything with a higher value you won’t get full compensation for the item you lost. And even if you do it won’t replace the pain caused by losing an item with significant sentimental value.
What You Should Do
Unless you happen to spend your summers in the luxurious embrace of The Ritz or The Savoy, keep the valuables at home. Only take jewellery you plan to wear on a regular basis and wear it rather than store it. At home, invest in a safe and protect anything expensive in the safety of your own home. With the lack of insurance and the amount of trust you have to put in others it’s just not worth the risk.
When deciding whether to place your faith in a hotel safe remember to take into account the location, class, and reputation of the establishment. If it doesn’t meet the highest standards don’t take the risk and leave the jewellery and other sentimental items at home.