Their valuables disappeared from the hotel safe — and so did the hotel safe

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By Christopher Elliott

How safe is the safe in your hotel room? If you’re Steve DeLucia, not as safe as you think.

DeLucia recently checked into the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Copenhagen before a cruise vacation. He stored all of his valuables in the safe.

Lost in security

“When we were to leave in the morning, we slid the sliding doors that covered the safe and found that the entire safe had been pulled from the wall and taken,” he says.

That sounds like the plot of Fast Five, minus the drama.

He continues,

I immediately called security and up to the room they came. They, too, were in shock.

We were told this had never happened in the hotel before. I asked them to call the police, which they did, and a report was made.

I asked to see the video tapes for the floor so we could see who entered the room. To our shock they did not have cameras on any of the floors or the elevators.

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When they did a door key history check all that was found was housekeeper — and us.

So what was in the safe? About $45,000 worth of watches, wallets and DeLucia’s passport, he says.

When he asked the hotel to cover his loss, here’s how it responded:

I am afraid that I have to inform you that the Hotel cannot assume any responsibility for the missing belongings, as the police report does not suggest any trace of the hotels involvement.

I trust you have reported the loss to your insurance company in order to have your loss covered.

I am so deeply sorry that this had to happen to you. Despite, I do hope that you will chose to stay at the Royal Hotel again or at any other Radisson Blu hotel.

DeLucia is disappointed by that response. His insurance will only cover a small part of the loss, and he thinks the hotel should take care of the rest. (Related: There’s no smoke in my hotel room, so what’s this $250 charge?)

Losing trust

I’m no expert on Danish lodging laws, but most countries limit the liability of an innkeeper, even when items are placed in a safe. That’s one reason I recommend travelers leave their jewelry and other valuables at home. (Update: Reader Vlad Ioan-Luca, an attorney based in Bucharest, says the law may offer DeLucia some options, if he wants to pursue the matter. For example, section 7.9 of Dutch civil law provides some remedies. I’m trying to determine if Danish laws have similar provisions.)

In cases like this, I’ve seen the hotel make a goodwill offer, either adjusting the room rate or offering a voucher for a future stay. A simple “sorry” just didn’t seem like an appropriate response to me. (Here’s our guide to resolving your consumer problem.)

I sent an email to the same manager, asking about this issue. He didn’t respond.

Now what? I could take this matter to corporate Radisson, asking it to look into the incident and ensure it responded to DeLucia appropriately. I’m not sure if I should.

If Radisson offers anything to this customer, it probably would be in the interests of good customer service.

At the same time, if a hotel is going to put a “safe” in a room, shouldn’t it stand behind it? I mean, what’s the point of having a safe if someone can waltz right into your hotel room and take the darned thing?

Should my advocacy team and I try to mediate this case, and if so, what should DeLucia reasonably expect?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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