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

BY Beth Williams

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.

How Does Hotel Room Safe Theft Happen?

Theft from hotel in-room safes is not an everyday occurrence, but it does happen.  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 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

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

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

when a traveler returns to their hotel room they’ll see the safe door is 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, however, there are other ways too it all depends on the safe design and manufacturer.

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

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

Currently, there are only two types of secondary locks that can be used to stop unauthorized entry to your hotel room safe. In addition to those, you can now bring your own portable safe (you can find one that folds flat so it will fit in your luggage.)

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

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.  



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

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

Milockie Hotel Room Safe Lock

The Milockie is a smaller device, and of a less robust scale. While it does keep your hotel safe door from being opened without your knowledge, it’s not built to the same strength standards as the Bloxsafe.  The selling point of this device is its relatively small size and price point.

Most Common Types of Hotel Room Safes

Electronic Keypad Room Safe

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 rarer 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

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 which can be “000000” 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.

Click to read "Hotel Room Safe Theft Reports"

Click to read “Hotel Room Safe Theft Reports”

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

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