Hotel Staff Walking In The Room – Without Knocking

At hotels, we all have a certain aspect of privacy when it comes to the actual hotel rooms. We know that, for the length of our reservation, that is our abode and we are able to enjoy that element of privacy. To help us with that, the hotel gives us their variation of the universal “Do Not Disturb” sign and another lock to keep the door barricaded from the inside.

When I stay at a hotel, I have a routine – I walk in, hold the door open with my foot, and stick the Do Not Disturb sign on the handle before setting about to unpack. I normally do not use the extra lock/latch unless it is nighttime. The bad part about the signs is that they can fall off the handles easily which is why I love the hotels that offer little Do Not Disturb lights or some other permanent fixture to notify people not to knock.

First Entrance

Recently, I was at a hotel for a conference and my expectation of privacy did not really come true! I had just got in after a long series of flights and had a meeting, so I hurried about getting my clothes out and preparing to freshen up. While I was in the complete transition phase of the “freshening up,” my hotel door opens and a man starts to come in! Now, there have been a couple of times when I have had people try to come in my room because they thought it was their room but never had someone actually come in. In this instance, he had the uniform on that I would have placed as being from engineering so I knew it was a hotel staffer. I was startled and kind of was shouting to “please go out.” He kept saying something to me (that I couldn’t understand) and I kept thanking him and asking him to leave right now. He slowly backs out and leaves.

Second Entrance

So, I then jump into the shower. I know, the first thing I should have done should have been to hook that latch but, really, could I expect another visitor so soon? As I was getting out of the shower, I hear the door open again and someone walked in. I am really calling out now to please leave. He says he is there to fix a problem. I told him I had no problem and to please leave right now. He asked again if I would like him to leave or stay and I pretty much shouted out that he could go right now. 🙂

To say I was irritated would be a proper reflection of how I felt. I mean, one time I could understand – it could have been a mistake. But to have two people within 10 minutes – that was too much. In all fairness, I did not hear if the second person knocked or not. But, the first person definitely did not knock on the door!

I hurried downstairs to talk to the desk staff before my meeting and asked them what in the world was going on. This was far from a cheap little hotel – it was a really nice hotel which made me feel confident this would work out that people wouldn’t keep walking in on me. 🙂 They ran the entry codes on the door and found that no one had been in the room, except for the cleaning staff two hours earlier! That did not make me feel comfortable! I described again what happened and they went to check something else.

The Answer

After 15 minutes, they came back and said they found out it was engineering and that they had a work order from earlier to replace a lightbulb in the room. Never mind that I refused the maitenance the first time – they thought they would try again! In fact, both men said they did knock and admitted that I had said I did not want them in. Yet, the first did not knock.

In the end, I had no more visitors and the rest of the stay was perfect! At least it was memorable! I have never had people walk in on me, and certainly not twice when I was in an uncomfortable position. Now, I did have a video camera and microphone in a hotel one time, but that was more about the country I was in than the hotel. Plus, I knew they would probably be there so located them quickly enough that I could dress out of sight. 🙂

Moral of the story – keep that latch on the door no matter what!

Has this ever happened to you? 

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • As a female, and especially if I were traveling solo, this would’ve been more than just irritating. I would’ve seen it as an unacceptable breach on the part of the hotel, esp. if the do not disturb sign was up.

    Anyway, can you elaborate on the camera/microphone in your room situation? I’m curious!

    • I completely agree. Had my wife been in the room instead of me, I would also have been more than irritated.
      As for the A/V room, it was a room at a hotel in Iran. 🙂

  • i am sure that is one of the house keeping supervisor trying to steal any tips left for house keeping maids by guests. this one one of the story a house keeping maid told me. these supervisor would go before the maids go to clean and if there is any tips left on the table by guest, they would steal. so the advice is leave at with the front desk with your room number

  • Charlie, I sent you email but I guess it got buried since I haven’t get any reply so I decided to copy paste it here:

    Hi Charlie,

    Hope all is well with you.

    I just read post about $0 fee on MS on travelisfree’s blog:


    The post is kind of ambiguous. I tried to figure it out and guess, but
    had a hard time. Based on the pictures that he post, I can only catch
    that we can buy Green Dot MoneyPak at Rite Aid and load it with $500.
    But how to avoid the $4.95 activation fee? or maybe the one sold at
    Rite Aid has $0 activation fee……..but then how to buy it with
    credit cards as mostly they only accepts debit cards or cash only.
    And how do you liquidate it?

    I tried to read couple or threads at flyertalk but I don’t get the
    process, some mentioned it involves MoneyPak, Rite Aid, Emerald Card,
    Serve, AccountNow……too many and I got confused. Can you please
    kindly guide me the right way on how to do this?

    I promise to keep this a secret and won’t tell anyone about it. And I
    won’t ask or post about this on your blog or other blogger’s posts in
    boarding area to keep it a secret.

    Thank you so much and really appreciate your help!

  • Happened to me at the Park Hyatt Milan last May, staff didn’t knock and try to drop off a welcome gift, fortunately the door chain was latched. Nonetheless the staff handed me the gift through the gap while in my underwear.

    • I had a similar experience at the Park Hyatt Dubai. They did knock, but did it while opening the door. I had the latch on and asked and they said they had my welcome gift. They left it outside the door for me. At least I had the latch!

  • This happened to me at an Accor hotel in Sydney a few weeks ago. A night security guard entered my room at about 0130 in the morning without warning…my partner and I were asleep in bed at the time. I was furious. I didn’t know who it was at first and initially just yelled at them to get out! Once I put some clothes on I opened the door as he was still in the corridor. He claimed he was delivering newspapers, but didn’t have any! When pressed further he showed me the room manifest which seemed to indicate the room was empty…we had arrived late a few hours before and possibly it was printed before our arrival. The most likely explanation is that the security guard was going to use the ’empty’ room for a nap on the job! I had a totally sleepless night after that and complained to reception the next day…I ended up being refunded more than half the cost of my stay. Just to add, the room had no means of securing the door from the inside…there were holes in the door frame where a lock would once have been…but no more!

    • That would keep my heart pumping all night long after something like that! I am surprised! It wasn’t the Sofitel, was it? I stayed there a few years ago and thought it was an excellent hotel, maybe it has gone down?

  • I am currently staying at a villa in Bali. It is the third villa in our trip. The staff enters several times a day and never knocks. Often we are asleep or undressed. They come in to clean dishes, turn on lights and close shades and Windows. Also, for cleaning. No do not disturb sign, and they enter with their own key even if if the door is locked. This place has great reviews, but neither of us have ever experienced anything like this. Beyond frustrating.

    • That is really frustrating! Have you mentioned it to the management? I recognize that some places have some cultural familiarities, but this should always be in deference to a customer when it is at a place like this (as far as the room is concerned, of course).