“This could’ve been stopped,” she said. “The Nashville Marriott could’ve just called me and said, ‘We’re putting this man who requested to be next to you, is this O.K.?’ And I would’ve called the cops and we would’ve gotten him. I’m so angry. I’m so mad.”
Go read the article and then come back for my observations
If the Marriott Front Desk did place Ms. Andrew’s stalker in the room next door just on his word, they truly screwed up. That was lack of basic hotel security training or just plain irresponsibility. It may sound chauvinistic in this day and age, but hotels must take extra steps to protect female guests and do so with religious fervor since they are a favored target by sexual predators both from the outside the location and among the guests. The response from the Front Desk should have been “I am sorry, but all the rooms in that floor are taken. Maybe tomorrow there will be something available and we will accommodate you.” followed immediately by a call to Security who would contact the possible victim and inquire if they are acquainted. If not, then there is the choice of calling the cops and evicting the person or just plain evicting. I personally favor the first just to put the fear of God into the bastard.
But… even the best hotels will screw up as this case shows. That means it is up to you to make sure you can avoid and ultimately defend yourself against attackers. I have no idea why normal and usually secure-conscious people just drop all precautions when they are away from home and leave their safety to the hands of people who are dealing with several hundred other guests. That is not smart.
We are in an era that everybody has a cell phone so, you can start by asking the Front Desk not to allow calls to your room. If you want to be even safer, do not use your regular cell but buy a cheap pre-paid phone and use it during the trip as contact phone for the hotel those not on your regular circle. The other thing you do is to also ask Front Desk not to send Housekeeping to clean your room during your stay. Let’s face it, you can do with fresh bed-sheets for a couple of three days and you can always call for fresh towels or if there is a Houskeeper in sight, trade your used ones for new ones. Same for toiletries and coffee and in fact, you should have spares in your luggage. In case of emergency at night, the Front Desk always has coffee even though they may not want to share it.
The door is the weakest link in your room. Don’t let yourself be fooled by how solid it looks: that is fireproofing, not security against human critters. Peephole? A simple piece of tape holding a business card will block the darn thing while allowing you to use it as you need. Use all the devices that come with the door and lock although frankly, they are not much of a stop for a determined criminal. Do tie the door handle to the door chain with a piece of para-cord and wedge a rolled towel in the gap at the bottom of the door as there is a cute little tool that will defeat the lock in seconds. I go as far as placing the luggage and anything else not nailed down against the door as to give whomever breaks in a nice distraction or even trip while I go for other means of defense. And obviously, if you are alone, do not stay in a room with a connecting door to another room. If there is no other choice, make sure your side is locked and place a big piece of furniture in front of it.
Here is a link to other tips to stay safe at a hotel, you may even recognize the author.
Stay Safe Away From Home.