PSA: Watch Out for the Westin

I just wanted to put it out to the public of the security flaws that the Westin had while we were staying there this year. In total, we lost $60 from our room on Thursday to the maid service. We had left it in our suitcases (which was our fault) but we had no reason to worry as we had called to cancel the maid service for the entire stay. We did not put the please do not disturb sign out as we did not have one in our room and they were unable to give us one until Saturday Night. When we found that we had lost money ($40 from my bag and $20 from my teammate’s) we called security right away. They finally arrived to our room 45 minutes later. When they arrived, they asked us what had happened taking down every detail that we provided them. They also took down all of the card keys that were used in our door for the entire day (pretty nifty how they do that too!). They then began to twist our story that we had provided to them, making it sound like we had stolen from each other. They said that they would call us back within a couple of hours on what was going to happen, yet this didn’t take place. The next morning we took action, we locked all valuables in the safe (which we didn’t know was there before) and took anything that wouldn’t fit with us. We then strategically placed our bags and put the zippers in strategic places. Using the USA Today provided at the door that morning, we took pictures of everything the way it was. We called down again to cancel the maid service. When we arrived that night, they had tampered with our bags again, and the room had been made up. We called security again, this time without moving a thing in the room. When they arrived we showed them the room and then the pictures. They were absolutely astonished. They couldn’t believe that we had taken pictures and proven that people were in fact messing with our bags in our room. The security officer then proceeded to figure out why our case had not been resolved from the night before and took the picture files with him to the office. We were informed the next day that our money that had been lost was going to be replaced and that they were going to look into it more. Our lead teacher went down to complain that night to the manager, only to be greeted by guests of different floors that had the exact same thing happen to them. This was not a one room happening, but a 5 room happening, with each loosing over $40 a piece. The absolute worst part of everything is that the rooms that were robbed were cleaned the way they should be, but every other room had little to no cleaning done to it. Please, next year when you are booking, make sure that you look into other hotels before the Westin as our stay was very unsatisfactory.

Ouch. If we do end up in Atlanta next year, we’ll be sure to take note of that.

On a side note, perhaps you should forward your story to The Consumerist blog and let people outside of the FIRST community know.

That’s horrible Eric. What floor were you on? I was also in the Westin and haven’t noticed anything tampered with, but I will look over my things again closely.

I think this is a bad lesson to learn, but it’s one we all need to remember about hotels.

-Lock up your valuables
-Hide all electronics and other important things
-When you are sleeping make sure to dead bolt the door
-When late at night, don’t let others in behind you if the door is auto-locking, make them go through the main lobby.
-Keep your eyes peeled.

228 was staying at the Westin as well, and as far as I know there wasn’t anything stolen from us.

Most likely the issue was a single person at housekeeping who stole the money. I once had $80 stolen from a hotel room at Disney World, and since learned that this kind of thing can happen anywhere. After that incident, I’ve always locked everything valuable in the hotel room safes.

I overheard a parent talking about a missing gold necklace his wife lost at the Westin over the weekend. I haven’t actually checked to see if everything of mine is in place, but I certainly will.

Valuables should always be locked in a safe or with the front desk at any hotel.
www.tripadvisor.com is a great resource forum for feedback.

1676 was at the Westin on multiple floors (40, 41, and 45, I know for a fact), and I haven’t heard any reports of things being stolen. I was on 41, and never had a problem. But thanks for letting us know about your situation, Schnabel. Let us know when you hear anything more.

I did notice that they tempered with the stuff in the room, accually my friends (a few floors down) left a few quaters on the ground to see if the maid would take it, and guess what she took it all I think it was something like 3 dollars in quarters.

I was on the 22nd floor with members on the 23rd as well. We had no issues. My only complaint was one day the maid moved all my stuff like 5 ft from the bed (huge pile of laundry) just to make it. I had to leave my laptop in my bag in the room since I couldn’t baby sit it all day as a member of the drive team and all was well.

Well maybe there are different maids for different floors… Or maybe the maid just had enough money already after cleaning those rooms.

Lol, or the maid just didn’t think your laptop was worth all that much.

Most of the time if you blatantly leave money out in the open in hotel rooms, they assume it’s a tip and take it.

I’ve had some really life-changing job experiences over the years.
One of the most memorable was the summer I spent during high school as a chambermaid, the most junior of the crew, in a swanky resort. I have also had the job of running a lodge and supervising the cleaning and food service crew. (For any of you hikers in New England, this would be Pinkham Notch Camp which you pass heading up to Tuckersman’s Ravine on Mt. Washington-not swanky by any criteria.)

I hope that everyone has the opportunity to experience working in a underpaid, under appreciated service role because it is an incredibly valuable life experience.

For most “nicer” hotels, (the Westin would fit this category) there are certain rules of the road that should be followed.

  • Lock your “valuables” in the safe or at the front desk. This includes laptops, and gold necklaces and money you chose to leave behind.
  • Maids will not assume that “money left around” is a tip, unless you have checked out. Please leave a tip if you think the maid did a good job. Otherwise, don’t leave money around.
  • If you do not want the maid to make the bed (which is one of the dictates they are given), call the front desk and tell them you do not want your room serviced. You can just request towels be replaced for example. Of course your clothes need to be moved off the bed in order to make it!
  • A guest at a hotel with a key card can request to have the code changed at any time.

Schnabel experience was definitely a problem, and not necessarily because of the maid.