If You Travel Alone… You MUST READ THIS

I DVR just about everything and last night caught up on a recent Dr. Phil episode that SHOCKED ME. Yes, I watch Dr. Phil on daily basis. Please don’t judge me.

This year, I’ve traveled quite a bit – and most of those trips were ALONE or with my partner Audrey McClelland. I was practically shaking on the couch watching the show because I knew that what I was watching could happen to anyone.

It scared me more because the hotel they were talking about was a Starwood which is my preferred hotel of choice. It wasn’t some no-name motel. It was a reputable brand!! I have over 350,000 points with them (and I’ve gone away for free several times already). Needless to say, I am a lover of Starwood and now I am scared out of my mind.

Here’s the story:

A woman was away on a business trip overseas. She was dining with colleagues and a man began to show interest in her. So much in fact that she felt very uncomfortable and asked friends to walk her back to her room. Once inside, she closed the door, changed into her PJs and went to bed.

Hours later she heard her door open up and close. A man entered her room, took off all of his clothes, got into bed with her and began to fondle her. It was the same man that was inappropriately harassing her all evening. Thank goodness he was drunk because she was able to run out of the room and down to the front desk.

Are you ready for this????

She screamed to the staff, “THERE’S A MAN IN MY ROOM!!!!!”

And they said, “Of course there’s a man in your room. That’s your husband. We just gave him the key.”


The room was in her name and her name alone. The hotel never checked records, phoned her to make sure he wasn’t lying, checked his ID etc. They just took this stranger’s word and GAVE HIM THE KEY TO HER ROOM.

She could have been RAPED OR KILLED. I was shaking. I felt sick.

The woman is obviously suing Starwood and I’m not sure of the status of her case, but I will say this. DEAD BOLT THOSE DOORS. Every lock that the hotel offers – USE IT! This poor woman thought she was safe because she was in her room, but obviously you can’t trust ANYONE these days. Use every precaution to protect yourself. This is just too disturbing for me to handle and I had to write about it just in case you missed the show.

You know when you watch something and it’s a game changer? Well, this was it for me. I will NEVER EVER STAY IN A HOTEL ROOM WITHOUT LOCKING EVERY SINGLE LOCK THAT IS OFFERED. Please do the same.

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  1. My wife always insists on using every lock and doohicky on the door. I never understood why until now!

    Posted 5.30.12
  2. anne wrote:

    yeah i heard about that a while ago. really strange the hotel staff was so indifferent about it. i hope the hotel pays through the nose.

    Posted 5.30.12
  3. The staff at the St. Regis in New York City gave me the key to the WRONG Mr. Evans’ room once. I went in to the room, took a nap, had a snack and left. Later when I told me husband, he informed me he hadn’t checked in yet. Imagine the other Mr. Evans surprise if he had walked in on me napping in his room.

    Posted 5.30.12
    • Vera wrote:

      KIM-MARIE That is so CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Posted 5.30.12
  4. I worked at the front desk of hotels for four years, and I can’t believe these people gave him a key! We were very strict about guest security, including never saying a guest’s room number out loud (NEVER), and (a) getting the names of people authorized to have a key, and (b) checking ID and matching that to the account when a key was requested. We would never just “take someone’s word for it.” That’s absolute negligence on the part of the hotel staff.

    Posted 5.30.12
  5. Jamie wrote:

    SCARY! But this is a great reminder to deadbolt your hotel door! I still can’t believe they gave the guy her key. Also it’s a reminder that if you need to, use a “fake” name if someone is harassing you. Don’t give out your real first or last name!

    Posted 5.30.12
  6. Patty wrote:

    This is insane! I always use the dead bolt when I am in the room alone. I can’t believe a Starwood hotel would do something so crazy. Thanks for sharing.

    Posted 5.30.12
  7. Sherry wrote:

    I always use the deadbolt and the other dealie that swings over the dealie. I’m sure it was a fluke incident and I’d bet Starwood hotels made DAMN sure that security measures were upped after that. (and I’d bet that the clerk was fired on the spot)

    Posted 5.30.12
  8. Karlee wrote:

    I had a similar experience, but maybe worse (?). My boyfriend and I were staying at an airport hotel in Seattle and were exhausted from traveling. We crashed out and when we woke up, we noticed his watch and my cash were missing. Someone used a FAKE KEY and broke in WHILE WE WERE SLEEPING!! I felt so violated. How did we not wake up?? This person targeted travelers who are super tired and have no weapons. Ugh.

    Posted 5.30.12
  9. Julie wrote:

    Great post. Nice to be reminded of the dangers out there in the crazy world! Thanks Vera

    Posted 5.30.12
  10. Crystal wrote:

    I received valuable advice to bring a door stopper with you if you travel alone and place it under the door to be extra safe. So if someone trys to open the door (and no deadbolt or it fails to work), the door stopper will stop someone from entering.

    Posted 5.30.12
  11. I always bolt the door but man this is scary story!!

    Posted 6.1.12
  12. I used to travel on business a lot. 4 things they tell you, always deadbolt the door, never answer the door before calling down to the front desk to ensure its really the hotel knocking, check all the windows are locked and never stay on the ground floor. In fact, hotels made it a policy years ago, never to book single women on the first floor to ensure their safety.

    That said, that is a scary story.

    Posted 6.4.12

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