Marriott Security Breakdown Gets Me Out of Bed (updated)

Along with Westin, Marriott hotels are some of my favorites. But an incident last night, followed by my conversation with management this morning dropped my opinion down a notch.

At 1:36 AM last night, I awoke to someone breaking into my room at the Cambridge Marriott hotel, outside of Boston. I heard the door slam open against the “visitor latch” that lets you open the door a bit to see who is outside. I jumped out of bed with my heart pounding, pulled on my pants and dialed 0 to have them send security to my room.

Less than 2 minutes later, the front desk called me back to tell me that my mother had asked the front desk to deliver a rollaway bed to the room. Since I was traveling alone, I was surprised at this and the clerk apologized about the incident.

Additionally, I now know that the housekeeping keycards bypass the “extra security” knob that occupants turn when they are in the room. In my mind, bypassing the “someone is in the room” lock should only be allowed by hotel security. If I didn’t have the visitor latch closed, I would have had one very surprised housekeeper in my room in the middle of the night.

Management Is Powerless?

Fast forward through a sleepless night full of adrenaline rushes, and in the morning as I was checking out, I asked the clerk (who I had talked to in the middle of the night) if I could talk to a shift supervisor. She told me the woman standing next to her was the supervisor, so I  told her the story about someone breaking into my room overnight. The clerk explained that it was housekeeping and it was a mistake. I then related my security concerns to the supervisor and asked to be comped for a night for the fright that it gave me.

My Security Concerns:

  • Was the  the woman requesting the bed asked for ID?
  • Did they ask whose name was on the room registration and verify it?
  • Why didn’t they call the room to confirm, or at least have housekeeping knock on the door before using their keycard to enter the room?
  • Why do housekeeping keycards bypass the “someone is in the room” lock?

The clerk didn’t say anything and the supervisor told me that I would have to talk to the head of security about the lapses and only the front desk manager could authorize free nights, but neither were in. I gave her my card and she promised to pass it on to them with my concerns.

The Rest of the Story

Justin, the Senior Operations Room Manager (an update to the Front Office Manager title), reached out to me after he and the hotel security manager completed a thorough debrief of the employees involved and an analysis of my room lock and keycard access controls. He apologized profusely and offered compensation to me for the event.

While he could not tell me exactly what went wrong, he did say that security confirmed that housekeeping keycards cannot bypass the “someone is in the room” lock (you can draw your own conclusions about how housekeeping managed to open the door). He also told me that there are always opportunities for retraining and this was one of them.

The camper is now happy again.

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