There’s been a lot of talk about stolen property in hotels — see last week’s story on the safe removed from a Radisson room — and today’s case presents us with a similar problem.
This time, the pilfered items include a watch and an item with sentimental value: a West Point class ring. But unlike last week’s burglary, which was addressed promptly by the hotel, this one has been dragging on for more than a year without a satisfactory response.
Then again, maybe the response is the best the guest can hope for from the Dallas-area Hilton Garden Inn they were staying at.
“Last June, one week before our wedding, my husband and I attended a wedding in the Dallas-Forth Worth area,” explains Thy Ramia. “My husband had just graduated two weeks before from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and as the wedding we were attending was for a classmate, he and a fellow West Point in attendance planned to wear their class rings on the big day to signify their bond to each other.”
On the morning of the wedding they came downstairs for breakfast and then went to the business center to check email. Ramia explains what happened next:
We returned to our room to find that my husband’s class ring and an expensive watch he’d been given by his parents the previous year for his birthday were missing from the TV stand.
He hadn’t intended to leave them there, but he woke up close to the end of the breakfast hour and hurriedly went down.
We were hesitant to accuse someone on the staff of stealing, so we immediately looked through all our belongings and rental car, all of which turned up nothing. After our search, we went to the front desk to report that our items were missing.
The young desk agent told us the property had never had an issue with theft before and went to look through the linens in the hope that the items accidentally got mixed in with the sheets during cleaning. When that turned up nothing, she promised to call the general manager.
Neither Ramia nor her husband are newbie travelers. Ramia works for the State Department, and as an Army officer, her husband is a seasoned traveler. They pretty much knew what to expect.
They knew, for example, that state lodging laws limited the hotel’s liability. They knew they shouldn’t have left their valuables on the table — that was a tourist mistake. But they didn’t know what the hotel would — or wouldn’t — say.
And Ramia says she was surprised by the response. The claims process was extraordinarily difficult and slow. Were it not for a hotel server who stepped in and found the correct form, it would have been delayed even more. Then came the general manager’s answer:
He confirmed that the only other person to enter our room was the maid, and that she had indeed entered our room at the time we were downstairs and the items went missing; however, he insisted the maid simply could not have taken our items.