Skip Navigation

Leaving your room key at the hotel reception?

Travel Forums General Talk Leaving your room key at the hotel reception?

  • 1
  • 2
Last Post
1. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Does anyone know the rationale behind this practice? I feel insecure about leaving my key at the reception whenever I'm headed out. It's like anyone could come in and claim the key if the reception were any less careful. I feel much safer carrying the key with me.

Are there any ways you use to get around this sticky problem? I've actually 'sneaked' out of the hotel with my key while the reception wasn't looking!

2. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru 516 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

A way around this??? I do the same thing and sneak out

I hate the practice. Even when I could afford a good hotel, I never liked the idea of leaving a key for the cleaner or who ever. They have back up keys, can key cards.

In lower income hotels I like the practice even less. If I am staying in a place that only has a padlock on the door I replace it with my own.

A couple of hostel owners told me that they ask for the key because of the amount of keys people loose on them. I don't know how true this is, as I have never lost a key. I also imagine they would charge if you did loose it. That said there might be a risk to the next room user if your pocket gets picked and a thief gets the key. So if a key goes missing they actually have to change the lock.

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5644 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I always take my room key with me. Never had a hotel where you really were obliged to leave the key to be honest. It is my responsibility and my choice

4. Posted by sapphyre (Respected Member 418 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I've never had the impression that it was compulsory to hand over your keys like that. I don't usually do it, though I've never thought of it as unsafe either. The upside to it is when a few people are sharing a room and there's only one key. This way people are less likely to get locked out.

The only place I've stayed in where we HAD to hand over the keys when we left was a hostel in Taipei where I stayed in last August. It was absolutely dumb because they don't hang it behind the reception counter but simply left the keys ON the counter in running order. Anyone could just take any of the keys, they don't check. So we usually just walked past reception quickly and avoided looking at the people there to leave with our room keys.

5. Posted by barries (Budding Member 4 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I have never had a problem leaving the key in hotels the cleaners have there own keys to get in the rooms I have travelled all over the world in the last 40 years you have to trust somebody some time.

6. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3898 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Most of the time I don't mind leaving the key as it's one less thing for me to worry about losing. In theory anyone could ask for your key and break into your room, but the likelihood of this happening is surely pretty slim. In terms of the hotel staff they could get into your room if they wanted to anyway.

I also stayed in a hotel somewhere the keys were just lined up along the reception counter - I think it was somewhere in SE Asia.

7. Posted by loubylou (Respected Member 664 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

We usually don't leave our keys with reception unless they are secure ie in a locked drawer that the receptionist personally givs out and not on display for anyone to help themselves to. The only worry we have about taking a key out with us is if it has the hotel name on the keyring and we lose the key.

When we were in Cambodia in April, we took our room key with us one day in our bag to the beach...our bag got stolen and we had to run (and alternately jog because I'm not very good at running!) for 30 minutes to get back to the hotel so they could change the lock before the thieves got there and cleared us out! This hotel had a policy of having to leave your key but didn't complain or charge us for the lock change, they were really good about it.

The only reason I can think of for leaving keys is for fire safety...if there is a fire they know who is in and out of the hotel. The place we are staying in at the moment has a list with the security guard who checks people in and out so they don't have to leave their keys. As for cleaning, the hotels should have spare keys so if you don't want to leave the key you shouldn't have to.

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by laurim (Respected Member 260 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Many of the places I stayed in Italy took my key while I was out. The hostel in Rome monitored the locked exterior door to the courtyard and the dorm room itself was never locked. I'm sure it's because too many people lose them. In Rimini, I had to pay a 10 euro deposit to keep the key with me. I don't leave valuables in my room so it never bothered me and I don't travel with anything that would devastate me to lose anyway.

10. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 1024 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I get why it seems a little sketchy, and I used to feel this way...But the answer is above, anyone who would have access to the key would also have their own....So you really are saving nothing, and protecting nothing...

I believe the practice of keeping the key behind the counter is so that you, the retarded hotel guest, don´t stupidly leave the key somewhere, causing them to have to go get a new one cut...They charge you for it, but it´s still a pain in their ass. Because now, there is another room key floating around in the world that makes their hotel that much less secure....The practice is sort of designed to actually protect you.

So suck it up, fellow traveller. And rejoice! You don´t have to remember where you left your key, because it´s at the front desk.

It occurs to me, just before I sign off, that the real reason that many people don´t like leaving their key is so that they can quickly sneak in and do something untoward, without the scrutiny of the front desk person...You can see why the hotel would want to discourage that policy as well. Six to a single room sucks, and the hookers steal shit.