Packed everything? You'll never guess what these hotel guests left behind in Malta!
From passports to cash, toys (of all, ahem, kinds) to iPads and even an unused wedding dress, hotel security officers reveal what guests leave behind after they check out.
We all know the drill. Check all the drawers, cupboards, wardrobe, once, twice. Lift the bed sheets and check under the bed and you’re almost guaranteed to find stray socks, coins, shoes, Lego blocks, toy cars, books and earrings that would otherwise have been left behind in the hotel room. In the rush of checking out on time and making it to the airport at the end of the holiday, we’ve all missed packing the odd item or three and unwittingly 'donating' it to the hotel.
We once forgot all our passports locked up in the hotel room safe. Of course, we only noticed as we were driving across the border on our way home, a good three hours drive from the hotel! A panicked phone-call later with a very understanding concierge meant that our passports were found and would later be mailed back to us. Fate was on our side that day, and as we crossed over the Schengen border we were not stopped for any random controls, so we sailed through without passports. Phew! (Note: don’t try doing this, ever!)
Adriana Bishop - Mr Snuggles after being 'rescued'
The case of Mr Snuggles
But how many times have we realised only too late that we’re missing credit cards, documents or, worse still (far worse!) our child’s favourite soft toy? Last Christmas, Mr Snuggles was left behind, hidden underneath the duvet, in our room at the Radisson Blu Resort St Julian's. We only noticed he was missing when we were unpacking, back home in Switzerland. Several emails later, we were relieved to learn he was safe and being looked after by the hotel’s security. I returned three weeks later to rescue poor Mr Snuggles, only to realise that he had been in good company, with a giant ledger full of lost and forgotten items.
Cedric Attard, head of security at Radisson Blu Resort St Julian's, reassured me that I was not the first person to forget items in the hotel room. “The most common items left behind by our guests are clothes and shoes,” he tells me. “There are times, believe it or not, and it’s common, when guests forget their passports, suitcases, electronic devices, mobile phones and also laptops. We’ve also found some adult toys and costumes.”
He adds that forgetting to empty the hotel room safe is a common mistake and often security finds “jewellery, money, documents, car keys and much more” - ouch!
The jilted bride
Robert Micallef, front office manager at the Qawra Palace Hotel, has been in the hospitality industry all his life, and there’s little he hasn't encountered in his long career in terms of items forgotten by hotel guests. “Apart from the usual items such as mobile phones, chargers, iPads, laptops, tablets, wallets with cash, credit cards and driving licenses, toiletries, dentures, jewellery, clothing, shoes and other personal belongings, there have been a few other things that were certainly talked about,” says Robert.
“We once found a brand new wedding dress complete with shoes and accessories left in a wardrobe. We contacted the clients in order to ship the dress back, only to get a very nasty reply from the bride-that-was-meant-to-be telling us we could throw everything in the bin as far as she was concerned, since she wanted nothing that reminded her of the ‘pig’ she was supposed to marry!” recalls Robert. “Apparently, the groom had cheated on her while on the island when they were supposed to be on their dream holiday and getting married in Malta. The wedding obviously never took place.” Oh dear!
There have been some other memorable forgotten items, memorable perhaps for different reasons. “We’ve also had a couple of good laughs over the years when we found sex-related items left behind including sex toys of all kinds, shapes and sizes, even inflatable dolls! These things make our job a little bit more entertaining,” laughed Robert.
Waiting to be claimed
And it seems that not everyone bothers to claim their lost items. Hotels always register lost-and-found items and, in the case of the Qawra Palace Hotel, these are then kept for three months, waiting for their rightful owner to reclaim them.
Robert explained that if it’s an expensive item the hotel tries to contact the client and, in other cases, the clients contact the hotel themselves. “However, a lot of the stuff is left unclaimed,” points out Robert. “In that case, the person who found the item and handed it to our security officer is entitled to it after the three months is up.”
At the Radisson Blu Resort St Julian's, unclaimed items which are “not valuable” are kept at the hotel for a maximum of six months while valuable items are kept for a year until their rightful owner reclaims them. Cedric points out that all credit cards, ID cards, driving licenses and other personal documents, car or house keys are kept in a safe and are destroyed if not claimed by the owner after six months. And, as in other hotels, all other items which are not claimed by their owner are then offered to the person who first found them.
Have you ever left anything behind in a hotel room? Let us know in the comments below!