The disturbing news about an armed heist at a well-known, high-end Paris hotel is surprising in and of itself, but especially because of the hotel’s location at the prestigious Place Vendome – also the location of the French Ministry of Justice, and because hotel guests were around and subjected to the dramatic break-in
In case you haven’t heard the news, two days armed thieves were after some $6 million in jewels on display at the hotel boutiques. They reportedly smashed window displays and got away with some stratospherically expensive jewels.
One report said the thieves entered the hotel from a service entrance, due to some construction going on. but then went through the hotel’s Hemingway Bar. One of my friend’s sisters-in-law was actually having a drink there when it happened. She reported that the bartender acted quickly and told everyone to get down when gun shots broke out.
Can you imagine the brazen attack? it is almost out of a movie – (To Catch a Thief?) entering one of the city’s best hotels, during hours when people were still enjoying the bar, and stealing millions of dollars of watches, gems, etc. (Some of which have been recovered at this point, along with some arrests having been made.)
After the unbelievably heinous shooting in Vegas, (and even terror incidents before that) hotel security became the subject of intense scrutiny. The recent incident in Paris makes us all wonder again- how safe are we when we travel if even one of the nicest, luxurious hotels in a seemingly protected area faces such crime?
This reminded me of an interview I did a while back with the Vice President of Redpoint Resolutions – a company that offers high end individual travel safety services.
Here are some suggestions he had, mixed with some I have heard before on the road, on how to stay safe in hotels. It doesn’t hurt to hear them again.
- Be cautious when booking at big American hotel chains when abroad – they can be targets. That doesn’t mean don’t do it – cautious is the key world. Call and ask about the hotel’s security – is the entrance well lit? Are there security guards and cameras?
- Book a room far from the lobby or public spaces, especially if you are woman traveling alone. Don’t say your room number aloud at check-in, and never open your hotel room door to anyone who isn’t supposed to be there.
- On that same note, keep your hotel room door open at all times when room service or a bell boy comes. If you have to, wait at the door with it open until he is done with the services. It may sound silly, but I was sort of cornered by a bell boy who wanted to come in and show me how to use the air conditioning in my room.
- When dining or enjoying the public spaces of a hotel, always know where the exits are. Pick a seat facing the door to see who comes in.
- Don’t take your eyes off your bags when giving them to the bell boy to load in a cab upon departure. Watch them get loaded. A friend of mine’s bags were actually stolen this way. She didn’t check the back of the cab when she got in , and her bags were not there.
I hope this helps, and makes you think twice about your safety while traveling, my travel tribe!