Hotel Room Safes – They May Not Be as Safe as You Think

For years you have always been told not to leave your valuables out in plain view when you leave your hotel room. Thefts of valuables from hotel rooms, while not rampant, are a real problem. Master keys and master key cards in the wrong hands make the thefts easier and faster. See what happens when thieves gain access to a hotel’s master key card system or use other methods to enter your hotel room when you are away.

Click to read "Hotel Room Safe Theft Reports"

Click to read “Hotel Room Safe Theft Reports”

Your only choice (outside of a portable safe that you can lock down in your hotel room, like these) is to keep your valuables secure by placing them in your hotel room safe.  And while hotel in-room safes are a good place to secure your valuables (other than the front desk safe which is usually more secure and usually has more liability protection but less convenient) you can take additional measures to provide extra security to deny unauthorized access to your hotel room safe.

Theft from hotel in-room safes is not an everyday occurrence, but it does happen. To get an idea of where and under what circumstances thefts from hotel safes occurs, read some of these numerous occurrences of room safe thefts reported on TripAdvisor all around the world.  Hotel guests do forget their safe codes, or safe electronics may malfunction. Therefore, the hotel staff has to have some way to unlock the hotel room safe.  Hotels all have a special “electronic backdoor” that allows them to use a special digital code, key or electronic device to open the safe if needed. So you are truly not the only one with access to your safe.

To prove how easy it is to break into a hotel room safe with simple tools, the below video shows that the metal nameplate on one brand of common hotel room safes can be easily removed revealing a backup keyhole underneath.  Using nothing more than a simple pocket tool and a short length of wire, the safe can be easily opened. The interesting part is when the safe’s door is then closed, it automatically locks itself again like nothing’s happened. So when a traveler returns to their hotel room they’ll see the safe’s door closed and assume it’s locked and secure, when in reality some or all of the contents have been secretly stolen.

This is just one way to open a hotel room safe without your knowledge, however there are many other easy ways to do the same thing with other hotel room safes, depending on the safe manufacturer.

Video Showing How Easy it is to Unlock a Hotel Room Safe with Simple Tools

There are only two products on the market that are portable, and can be used to stop unauthorized entry to your hotel room safe, the those products are at the end of this article.

The following will give you additional information on the various types of room safes that are found in hotel rooms around the world.

Electronic Keypad Room Safe

Bloxsafe Hotel Safe Lock - Use your own lock to prevent unauthorized entry

Bloxsafe Personal Hotel Safe Lock Use your own lock to prevent unauthorized entry

This type of safe is commonly found in mainstream hotels and resorts and in many ways is the one that MAY have the least amount of thefts from it. That’s because it requires a handheld computer device to open the safe. These safes require the attachment of a handheld PDA, with either an infra-red USB, or cable. The units store up to 50 entries, incorrect PIN entry, and it’s all time and date stamped. These can be attached to a PC, where audit reports can be printed for police and insurance purposes. These units DO NOT have a hotel override, it reveals the guest PIN.

Electronic Keypad Safe With Keypad Override Access

These types of hotel room safes require the use of an override *sequence*, not just a PIN number. This type of safe is almost as good as the one previously mentioned, as it contains a removable chip, which can access all the same data as above.

Electronic Keypad Access With Manual Safety Key

These room safes are not as secure as the previous two. This style requires the moving of the safe to enter a key, and entering an override code. They record the time and date of the override entry, but nothing else. Refer below as to who *should* hold the spare key.

Manual Key Safe With Safety Key Access

This is a very old room safe model and is becoming more rare as time passes as hotels remodel and replace them with newer electronic versions. Yes they do have spare keys, but reputable hotels don’t keep them accessible – even to management. It’s often kept in a fire safe with either the general cashier, or hotel management – we would hope – but many times who knows where this key is and who has access to it?

Hotel Safes Always Have Pre-Determined Default Override PINs

Milockie Hotel Safe Lock - Use your own lock to prevent unauthorized entry

Milockie Hotel Safe Lock Use your own lock to prevent unauthorized entry

A story and video that was posted on YouTube made this claim and it could be very true, but is not believed to be a common occurrence.  Since this video hit the internet, many hotel room safe manufacturers now generate a random default password to prevent this in case the safe is accidentally locked during installation.

If you are unsure of your hotel room’s safe security, and you want to use your hotel room safe, your best option is to consider using portable hotel room safe locking device. There are only two devices on the market that are portable that can help prevent unauthorized entry to your room safe.  These locks are similar, yet different in quality, size and price.

Thefts from hotel safes usually involve dishonest hotel employees and these types of thefts seem to have a higher rate of being reported in hotels outside the United States.  To view many of these hotel in-room safe stories reported by travelers, click on this TripAdvisor link A common thread in these hotel in room safe theft reports is that they occurred in Mexico, South America, and Southern Europe, Spain, Canary Islands, Africa, and Asia.

Here are a few videos that travelers have filmed showing how easy it is to open hotel safes with a simple master code or other means.

Hotel In Room Safe which Opens with Master Pass Code of “0000” – Not Too Frequent of an Occurrence – But Know That In Can Happen

Hotel Safe in Chicago Shows the Reset Switch Which Can be Easily Accessed.

Solutions to Prevent Unauthorized Entry Of Your Hotel In-Room Safe

Obviously there are a few things that we all know already. First, we all know we can use the safe at the hotel’s front desk. By doing so offers more security, as well as better financial protection, as in some states in the USA, only front desk safes are covered under hotel liability. Secondly, we don’t have to put items of value in hotel room safes. However, both of these ideas are not too convenient. However there are portable room safe solutions that you can take with you. Currently there are only two products on the market that can prevent this.

BloxSafe Hotel Room Safe Lock

This is the gold standard when it comes to preventing someone from entering your hotel room safe without your knowledge.  This is locking device that clamps on the front of your hotel room safe and prevents someone from opening it. This is the strongest and most secure device on the market today that can help stop hotel room safe thefts. Watch the video to see the BloxSafe in action.

Milockie Hotel Room Safe Lock

The Milockie is a smaller device, however it is on a smaller, and less robust scale. While it does keep your hotel safe door from being opened without your knowledge, its not built to the same strength standards as the Bloxsafe.  The selling point of this device is its relative small size and price point. Watch this video to see how the Milockie hotel safe lock works.