COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

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

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

Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 865
We stay in small hotels and pensiones all the time that have no one around at night. I have no problem with it. By spending less for the room, I can spend more on meals. In years past, these kinds of places had shared bathrooms "down the hall", no TV or phone and meager breakfasts. Nowadays, you can have your in-room bathroom, cable TV with CNN, phone, refrigerator and large buffet breakfasts.
Now, if I could just get them to accept Visa or Mastercard instead of just cash...
platzman is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 03:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,134
Well, maids and who knows who has your room keys in a hotel anyway, so don't worry.

The only time I got a little scared was when I heard noises in a villa's garage, I heard clinking and clanging like a knight's ghost, then I looked out of the window and saw the gardener.

SeaUrchin is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 04:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
We rent out a property (although we've had the same tenants for several years) and we do change the keys between tenants.
WillTravel is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6,117
The first evening in our small hotel in Dublin my husband went out in the backyard and found himself locked out. Not having learned from that, the next night a 100 miles or so down the road he went out the front door to smoke his pipe and was told they had locked the door for the evening. On the big island we stayed in a wonderful, luxurious b&b and were told we would be there alone. The staff stayed in another building up the hill. Yes, if you were that kind of person there were probably $1,000s of "stealable" stuff there as it was once a very prominent person's vaction home. However, I hadn't thought about the heart attack angle and I don't travel with a cell phone. Food for thought.
hopingtotravel is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 04:18 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
I think some of you are missing the point I was trying to make. For example IF there had been a fire in this small "darling" hotel" which was wood frame and very very old and the exterior door was locked so that NOONE could get inside (like the Fire Dept.) and none of the guest knew or had been told that no employee was on the premises during the night, the phones did not work (not everyone has a cell phone as I did), that "someone" had to unlock the exterior door from the lobby so that the ie. fire department could get in - well, no thank you. We would not have stayed there if we had had any idea. And NO we didn't ask because we had never had this kind of situation before so never even thought of this.
I can still not believe that this was "legal". That the city, the fire department etc. allowed this. The citizens of this town, including very prominent people were shocked when the story got "around".
As far as keys, which is another whole story, yes that is something to consider, and I must confess that I haven't in the pass.
But always use hotels, never rent apartments.
And always make sure that I use the security lock (had a maid walk in on me once, did not appreciate that). And with rentals I always had had the locks changed when a tenant moves out but sure many landlords don't. But again, keys, locks etc. are a whole nother subject
I believe renting an apartment does not leave one trapped in one room on a third floor, no phone, emergency people locked out etc. etc.
I for one will never stay anywhere with these circumstances. And because of my very sad situation I do know now what questions to ask.
I shared this story because I never want anyone to go through what I and my dear late husband went through.
Those that want to heed my warning are warned. And those that don't, good luck with never having a problem. I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone.
And a good weekend to all of you. Safe travels everyone.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 04:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,943
I like 24-hour room service because I usually send someone out to the drugist for a bottle of Valium or Demerol in the middle of the night. It is also nice to have some gin to wash it down with. Although, you could get that from the mini-bar. (It is too bad you couldn't get drugs from the mini-bar.)

Mkingdom, if I were your room-service waiter, I would put cyanide in your pasta.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 04:30 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
LoveItaly, thanks for sharing your experience. I agree that doesn't seem like a safe situation at all and I don't know why it's allowed.

Hopingtotravel, when the second hotel told your husband they had locked up for the night, I presume they agreed to open up again and let him in?
WillTravel is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 04:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
ThinGorgus, right at this moment I wish I had "someone to send out for something" siiiigh. Sometimes I think we are all speaking a different language. But it is OK, just poured a glass of wine - have a full bottle - so that will have to do. Don't you wish you had 24 hour service at home? I sure do.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Oct 8th, 2004, 04:37 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
WillTravel, I wish now (looking back) I had pursued this. Taken the situation to city hall, fire department etc. But losing my DH so suddenly, calling family and friends, funeral arrangements, settling the estate, having commerical tenants not renewing their lease (no idea this was going to happen) helping some family members with some serious problems that they had no fault of theirs - well I didn't pursue this. I still feel guilty about that. But I was on overload for about two years.
I have no idea if things have changed at that hotel. I can sure tell you the employees were in a state of shock the next day. The people that were the owners at the time are long gone. So all I can do is hope that someone else is spared the trauma that we went through.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2004, 11:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 12,188
Someone on the SlowTalk site provided this checklist of amenities for determining the star level of an Italian hotel, by government standards:

It looks like hours of service can be limited in all but five-star hotels. The page is in Italian, but that's what I get from it.

Priceline's hotel ratings for European hotels (a completely different system) require hotels with a 3-star rating and up to have 24-hour desk service.
WillTravel is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2004, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,432
To add a thought to Isabel's comment about renting an apartment (Hi Isabel!) , I feel much safer staying in an apartment, than in a low budget hotel with poor front door security/reception. Think of it this way - a hotel or hostel has many service people with keys to all the rooms. From the recent postings about people reporting break-ins in Prague, it seems that hotels can certainly be subject to shady activity. Many lower class hotels are in low level buildings, with entry to the rooms being from the outside, so people can break into your room pretty easily. I have stayed in about 7 different rented apartments in Prague. They all had great security, but the place I stayed in last summer was the best. Once I got past the front security gate, I knew I was in a locked "bunker", and it would be really hard for a burglar to get in. Sure, people can make copies of keys, but all the people that this owner rents to have been from the US or Australia, so it is not likely that they would bother to duplicate keys & come back to rob a fellow tourist... So, unless someone actually living in the building somehow got 3 different keys to fit all the locks on the door, the only other person in Prague with a set of keys was the apartment manager, who also acted as the cleaning person, in order to cut down on strange people coming in to the place. I felt as secure as I could be, in a rental situation, and would stay there again.
amp322 is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2004, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
From what I have been told, by a manager of a family run hotel, the more stars a hotel has in Italy the higher the hotel tax rate is to the government.

I don't remember all the details but it was very clear at the time.

Thus this particular hotel had a two star even though they qualified for a three star. They did not apply for the three star designation though because they would pay more in taxes.

In Italy the "stars" depend on the various immenities the hotel supplies.
Has nothing to do with how beautiful the rooms are, that sort of thing. But of course the more a customer pays the more the customer will expect better furniture, linens etc.

Two star hotels do not for example change the bed linens every day automatically. Only if the guest request same.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2004, 07:07 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,437
If there's a fire wherever you are, the firefighters will be able to get in. Even if it's your own house and you're away, they won't just let it burn to the ground because there's nobody there to answer a polite knock.

And I'd hate to think that if I'm home alone, have an accident, and manage to call the paramedics before passing out that they'll just leave me there to die if my door is locked.
KT is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 03:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,899
KT - I agree with you. I have to say as I've been reading these posts that I was thinking the same thing. Not to diminish what happened to LoveItaly, but KT is right that most emergency workers will not just go away for want of an unlocked door. And that was my point earlier about staying in apartments. Actually I really don't think "safety" is any different in an apartment versus a hotel without 24 hour reception versus a hotel with someone at the desk all the time. Emergency workers and burglers alike will be able to gain entry when they want to. I've often felt staying at hotels with 24 hour reception that someone could easily just ask the reception for the key to your room (extremely long thread on that floating around recently). The first day or two of a stay not all the desk staff know you and they still just give you the key when you state the room number. And as for the suggestion that you'd be safer staying at some huge corporate hotel with electronic keys, well those are the type of hotels that I would think would be most attractive to thieves - that's where the people with the best stuff to steal stay.

So, interestingly, this seems to be a topic with several different opinions, all of which seem equally right. When I said earlier that the hotel I stayed in last summer in Prague (Hi amp - thanks again for all your Prague help) without 24 hour recetion was a little "creepy" I didn't mean I felt unsafe there. I actually think it had more to do with the fact that you had to turn on the hall lights yourself so it was kind of dark. I think the only real advantage to 24 hour reception would be if you have a question about something it's easier to have someone there rather than having to call.
isabel is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 10,075
I am completely w/ LoveItaly on this one. Esp. if I am in a foreign country, I want to know that if there is a problem in the middle of the night that I can call down to the desk and a real person will answer!! Also, I am not sure if LoveItaly thought ThinGorjus was "mocking" her...It was my impression that he/she was just stating his/ her opinion of the rather trivial nature of the m_kingdom2 post about 3 am snacks.
socialworker is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 08:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,329
I never really had a preference on 24 hour service, and still don't. However, I will say that when I was last in Italy with my mother, my grandmother passed away unexpectedly at 5 p.m. eastern time, which was 11:00 p.m. in Italy. Because the hotel didn't have 24 hour desk staff, my sister couldn't reach us until after midnight eastern time and we found out at 6:30 a.m. in Italy, too late to get on a flight home that day. Just something to keep in mind.
amyb is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,899
The only downside I have experienced is the same as with a previous poster. We could neither receive or make phone calls after 8pm. NOt major, but an inconvenience none the less.
kfusto is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 10:19 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Please keep in mine, the terrible experience I had was in a small city in the SF Bay Area, not Europe. I am sure that if I had not dashed down the 3 flights to the foyer of this hotel to let the paramedics in they would have broken down the door.

However, in the essence of time, and the instruction from the 911 dispatcher I did rush down to the foyer and let the paramedics in (while leaving my dear DH in the room alone).

The phone not working to this day stuns me. WHAT IF I HAD NOT HAD A CELL PHONE?

To not be able to use the phone in my hotel room in case of an emergency is not something I will ever again tolerate. However, as I stated in my earlier post, I had no idea this was the case. No idea no desk clerk on duty. No idea that phones in rooms could not be used during the night.

Murphy's Law to be sure. Lesson I will never never forget. And so posted for those travelers that have never thought of these situations that could arise with this.

I think that my DH would not have lived even if there had been a deskclerk, a working phone in the room. However, I would not have had to left him to go down three floors to let the paramedics into the hotel. Imagine how I felt. It makes me angry to this day! And I should have followed up with the city fathers later, but as I stated in the other post life was nothing but one trauma after another for a couple of years. All I could do was just take care of things on a day to day basis. I will not go into all the details, but please trust me on this. But still mad at myself that I did not follow through on what I still consider a terrible situation.

For those of you who are comfortable with staying in lodgings wihout a night desk clerk and perhaps without a room phone to use - may you never need either.

And for those of you who do not want to experience what I and my DH went through, you now know what questions to ask.

Beautiful and safe journey's to everyone.
LoveItaly is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Nov 18th, 2006 10:45 AM
Apr 9th, 2006 03:47 PM
Oct 18th, 2004 04:31 PM
Dec 29th, 2002 09:57 AM
Nov 27th, 2002 10:04 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information