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Do you feel safer in hotels with 24-hour service?

Do you feel safer in hotels with 24-hour service?

Old Oct 8th, 2004, 09:32 AM
  #1  
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Do you feel safer in hotels with 24-hour service?

If you are staying at a hotel with a 24-hour desk, do you feel safer than if you stay at a hotel that is unattended?

From what I can tell, some hotels give keys to guests so they can enter the building after a certain hour when the receptionist has gone home. For some reason this idea makes me feel somewhat nervous.

Does the presence or absence of this arrangement make any difference to your hotel choice? Has anyone had any bad security experiences either way?
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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I've never thought about it that much, but I guess I wouldn't be crazy about a hotel that had no one at the desk in the middle of the night. I don't think I've ever stayed at such a place in my memory, even a 2* hotel. I've been in plenty of hotels that lock the doors at a certain hour and you have to ring for entry, but that's more a security measure or something, I think, as the person is at the desk to let you in.

I think I wouldn't like it because it does sound insecure -- obviously a guest can lose a key or give one to someone else, etc. Also, someone should officially be in charge of the hotel in case of fire, emergency, etc. For example, at my favorite Parisian hotel, there is a night clerk who doesn't speak much English but I think he is there all night long. If I were deathly ill, he would know how to call for an ambulance, etc., or he could call the police. Also, if there were a fire in my room, I could call down to tell them.

So, I've never had any bad experiences because I've never had such an arrangement. What hotels are you finding like this? I would think the hotel owner would want someone on site, also, for their purposes.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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This practice is quite common at a number of smaller boutique type hotels and country inns (family owned) in France and Spain, and there is nothing wrong with it. Most of these hotels do not have more than a dozen rooms, anything larger, or more exclusive, will have someone in reception 24/7, but then you expect it when you're paying the price.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:09 AM
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A few months ago, I stayed at the Hotel Burchiati in Florence. It is on the second floor of an old restored building. They gave me keys for both the big front door and the door to the hotel. While the person at the "desk" left at 5 or 6, there was the night watchman there. As a matter of fact, I had to reserve a 5am taxi for the airport. The watchman stayed out front with me until the taxi arrived. Actually, with the keys, I felt more like I was staying in my own apt. I think lots of B and Bs have this arrangement.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:15 AM
  #5  
ira
 
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Hi,

When we stayed at a B&B in Florence, we had a key to the door to the building, a key to the door to the B&B and a key to our room.

None of the keys were labeled, so that if they were lost they couldn't be used by someone else.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:18 AM
  #6  
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I haven't stayed at one of thse limited-service hotels in Europe. Either it's been a hostel (with a 24-hour desk) or a full-service hotel. So I hadn't really considered the issue in detail.

But in the case of some small hotels in Italy, it seems they don't have 24-hour service. I was alerted to this problem because I read on the Rick Steves board about key mixups and other problems relating to being locked out that occurred at a couple of small hotels in Florence when the guests arrived late. That is why I am giving the matter consideration. So far the choices I've made for my Italian trip appear to have either a 24-hour desk or a curfew (in the case of the convent I'm staying at). The convent doesn't give out keys, but buzzes the guests in.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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Ira, but a nefarious guest could have copied the keys or given them out perhaps? I have to say I haven't heard of that happening.

Is 24-hour service a factor that distinguishes a 1* from a 2* hotel, or a 2* hotel from a 3* hotel? I seem to have seen it on a checklist somewhere.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 11:19 AM
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I wouldn't stay anywhere which didn't have a full 24-hour service. If I fancy a snack at 3am I expect someone there to make it for me and serve it with grace.

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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 11:36 AM
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I don't think it distinguishes a 2* from a 3*, as I've stayed at 2* hotels and I'm pretty sure they all had someone at the desk 24 hours. I'm not referring to 24-hour service in terms of doing anything for the guests as most of the hotels I stay in don't have room service anyway, nor would they bring you up extra towels or anything like that. However, I think they have someone manning the door all night or who would answer at the desk if you called in the middle of the night for an emergency.

It's kind of interesting that an owner would leave his investment entirely unattended for that time period -- at least to me, but I guess it's custom. What if a guest decided to steal something from the hotel, for example? What if there were a fire somewhere in the downstairs area or basement? I think having a night watchman there is fine, and that may really be what I am calling a night clerk, but not having anyone there at all is a little different.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 11:50 AM
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Here's a tip...if you stay in a hotel that does give you a key, try it right then and there to make sure it works. We spent a horrible late night wandering the streets of Siena because the lady at the desk of the Antica Torre hotel gave us a key that did not work. We finally found an open hotel whose desk clerk had our owners' phone number and they came and let us in. A lesson learned the hard way...
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 11:53 AM
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ira
 
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A very good tip, TL.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Teacherlady - that happened to a friend of mine in Sicily this spring. She finally flagged down a slightly inebriated couple of guys who called the number on the door and woke someone up to come let her in...

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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 01:32 PM
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Well let me tell you all a story.
My husband and I had been given a gift certificate for a stay at a darling botique hotel in the Bay Area. At 1:00am in the morning he starting having a heart attack. I tried to call out on the phone in the room to 911. No dial tone! Half asleep and panicky I finally found my cell phone. Fortunatly knew the phone # of the town's PD (as 911 calls on cell phones in CA go to the Hwy Patrol).
The PD office said they were sending an ambulance, paramedics etc. BUT I would have to go down to the lobby to let them in as this hotel did not have any employee on the premises after midnight. I did not know this. Exterior door was locked from outside so Paramedics would not be able to get into hotel. They said I would be able to unlock the exterior door from the lobby however. And we were on the 3rd floor. I had to leave my DH who was doubled over in pain and as white as a ghost and run down 3 flights of stairs.
What a nightmare!!!!
I had never ever thought of this kind of situation even though I have travelled a lot.
I would never never never stay in a hotel that did not have any employee at the desk. Never. And if I have any doubts believe me now I always check on this. More important than anything (the bed, the view, the size of the room etc). So please dear Fodorite friends, don't ever put yourself in this position. Trust me on this one.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 02:44 PM
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I stayed in a small hotel in Prague last summer that had no one at reception after 8pm and I'll admitt it was a little creepy having to let myself in through a main door and then another one before I got to my room. I usually try to stay at places that have 24 hour reception. And I kind of agree with what most of you are saying about emergencies, etc.

HOWEVER - people on this forum are constantly singing the praises of staying in apartments while traveling. They don't have 24 hour reception. That's no different whatsoever from staying in a "hotel" that doesn't have someone downstairs all night. In both cases you get a phone number for emergencies. So how come so many people think apartments are so great?
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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Apartments are like living at home, where you don't have someone sitting at a reception desk. Hotels are a service environment, hence the difference. However, as I've said before, I'd never stay anywhere that didn't do a creme brulee at 3 in the morning.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:09 PM
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Yes, Isabel, I stay in apts or villas on vacations and have never worried about emergencies any more than I would at my home. I have a cell phone with me though and I guess it is a good idea to learn what the emergency #'s are for the area. I'll do that the next trip.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:16 PM
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Actually that would be one reason I wouldn't be crazy about renting an apartment. Obviously for many people, they don't mind. However, even a frequently rented apartment will still have less key turnover than a hotel will.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:19 PM
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I have never even thought of the key turnover of the rentals. You mean if a previous renter made a key copy and decided to come back and rob me? Guess I will have to start wedging a chair under the doorknob.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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I guess people don't really worry about the issue for vacation rentals. But if you were a landlord who were to tell a woman renting an apartment in her home city that she was going to get a key that the previous 10 tenants had used, I doubt very many women would go along with that. So why is it different on vacation?

I guess that's one reason why I like hotels with electronic swipe cards, although I hadn't really thought that through either.
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Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:35 PM
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>But if you were a landlord who were to tell a woman renting an apartment in her home city that she was going to get a key that the previous 10 tenants had used, I doubt very many women would go along with that.

I'm a woman renting an apartment in Chicago and I can guarantee you that the locks are not changed between tenants and I and everyone else does 'go along with it'.
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