Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.


Hotel Security.
January 7, 2008, 8:33 pm
Filed under: In the News, Process of Travelling | Tags: , , ,

Doing Europe in 2005, I had an unfounded worry about security in hostels.  I’ll provide one example that doesn’t make me seem too “out there.”  I wore a money belt at almost all times.  I slept with it on many nights; it was on me or under the pillow if it was a super hot night.  Today, I would probably be a little less fussed about things.

Having just typed that out, I now think I probably wouldn’t change a thing…except maybe flirt more.

That said, a Canadian family received a shock lesson on travel security in what is a front page news story down here.  A family of five from Montreal staying at one of Auckland’s nicest hotels were burgled out of their luggage, cash and passports when a con man convinced hotel staff to give him their room key – without showing identification or indicating what floor or room he was supposed to be staying.

Even the hotel association has come out and said the five-star, boutique hotel has screwed up:

“Hospitality Association chief executive Bruce Robertson said … access should not have been provided and the hotel would have to decide whether it is an issue of serious misconduct.”

Ouch.

Yes, it is true that the thief charged an NZ$80 dinner to the room account, and managed to spend some time in the hotel bar as well.

The lessons here:

  1. Name identification should be on the inside of your luggage.  Anything identifying the luggage as having come from an airport should be removed as soon as you have cleared Customs.
  2. Better yet, don’t leave your luggage unattended.  If you have to use a red cap or bellhop service, watch them take your bags to the elevator.
  3. Tell the front desk staff not to give out your name or room number to anyone other than yourself.  If it’s good enough for a Hollywood movie star, it’s good enough for you.
  4. Passports should be on your person at all times when you are a tourist, in my opinion.  Realistically, it should never be left in your luggage or anywhere in your hotel room.  Besides, you need it to do almost anything in New Zealand when you are a tourist (imagine a link to my corporate newsletter short story on my passport dilemma from week one back in September).  The Auckland hotel in question has in room deposit boxes…and secretarial services.
  5. I’m pretty sure fancy hotels can be instructed to refuse charges to your room account if you want an extra level of security attached to any purchase.

This story is front page news across New Zealand tonight.  In Canada, the only mention I could quickly find was on the CBC’s Diversions page.

UPDATE: New Zealand Police have arrested a suspect, who is in a hospital after requiring surgery on his hand.  Police have only been able to find and return a couple of small bags.  Quoting the father, “It’s not much, we hope they will be able to recover more of it.”  Those items were found at a local homeless shelter.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

a tough lesson to be sure….perhaps it was a thief dressed in a sheeps clothing ?????

Comment by Blacksheep

i’d like to know how a scruffy, unshaven ‘drunk’ guy walks into a 5 star hotel and gets un-escorted access to a $400 a night room that isn’t his without the slightest background check…yes, the people are idiots for not locking up their stuff (usually it’s the staff you have to worry about)…but the knob behind the desk totally must have missed the most basic training available to service sector staff…i hope the hotel at least comp’ed their stay!!

Comment by b




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