Hotel safety

Staying in a hotel is a great way to relax. With no cooking, cleaning or making your own bed to do you can just concentrate on enjoying your holiday. To get the most out of your stay it’s worth taking a little time to check out the safety features in your hotel to help ensure you have a trouble-free stay.

Balconies

Balconies are a great place to chill but they are also one of the most common places for holiday accidents so you need to take care.

  • Always supervise children on balconies
  • Keep all furniture away from balcony walls and railings and never stand on it
  • Don’t lean over, sit or climb on balcony walls or railings
  • Never jump off a balcony into a pool
  • Don’t try and pass things from one balcony to another
  • For more on balcony safety see our guide.
Bathrooms

Bathroom floors are often tiled so condensation and water spray can make them slippery. If your hotel provides non-slip floor mats these are worth using and remember not to use electrical appliances near water.

Electrical appliances
  • It may sound obvious but before you use any electrical appliance you find in your hotel room you should read the instructions to ensure you use it safely.
  • If you’re travelling with children you need to supervise them when they are using electrical appliances and playing near plug sockets. You may want to buy safety plug protectors.
  • If you plan to take any electrical appliances abroad, such as a mobile phone charger, make sure you have the correct adaptor suitable for the local voltage.
  • Don’t leave any item charging unattended.

And just like at home, don’t overload sockets!

Fire safety

It’s a good idea to read the fire safety notices around your hotel as soon as you arrive. If you can’t find them ask at reception. Find out where the fire exits are, which escape route is nearest to your room and how to raise the alarm if there’s a fire. Make sure everyone in your party knows this too.

  • Walk from your room to the nearest fire exit and then along the escape route until you get outside. If there are any obstacles along the way such as blocked doors or faulty lights tell the hotel reception immediately.
  • Count the number of doors between your room and the exit. It might seem straightforward but in the middle of the night and with a smoke-filled corridor it will be good to know.
  • Keep your room key by your bed at night so you can find it easily and take it with you if there’s a fire.
  • If the alarm sounds, leave immediately and close all the doors behind you. Use the stairs and remember to never use a lift during a fire.
  • If there’s a lot of smoke, get low (this could mean on your hands and knees) and go under the smoke to your exit.
  • Raise the alarm

If you’re unable to leave your room:

  • close all the doors
  • close the windows
  • turn off the air conditioning
  • cover the door seals with wet towels or wet clothes
  • call reception and tell them you’re unable to leave your room
  • shout for help from a window
Food and drink

Food poisoning due to poor local hygiene or food preparation is thankfully rare in most popular holiday destinations. Often the cause of an upset stomach is due to a change in climate, eating foods you’re not used to or perhaps drinking more fizzy drinks and alcohol than you usually do.

But if you are concerned about the food and drink at your hotel it makes sense to take precautions. This could include avoiding ice cubes, raw seafood and uncooked fruit and vegetables and only drinking bottled water.

If you or someone in your party fall ill and you think this may be due to the food in your hotel then you should speak to the hotel and/or your holiday rep if you are on a package holiday.

For more on food and water safety see our guide.

Gas safety

If there are any gas appliances in the room you sleep in, such as a gas water heater or cooker, take a couple of minutes to check out the appliance.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is sometimes produced when a gas appliance is faulty. You can't see or smell it but it can be fatal.

  • If there are black marks or stains around a gas appliance, the flames are orange instead of blue or there is more condensation than there should be it could be faulty and you should report it at once.
  • Always turn off gas appliances when you’re not using them.
  • If you smell gas report it immediately.

The six main signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. Don’t confuse these with other holiday sicknesses and if you have any concerns contact your hotel reception immediately.

Most hotels abroad don’t have carbon monoxide detectors. If you are worried about this you can buy a portable one in the UK or patches which detect carbon monoxide and take these with you. For more on carbon monoxide see our guide.

Glass doors and windows

When the sun is very bright it can sometimes be hard to see glass doors and windows. Even if you know they are there, they might look like they are open when they are not. This can lead to a nasty collision and can be particularly dangerous if anyone is running towards what they think is an open glass door.

Many hotels will put stickers on their glass doors or windows so you can spot them but if they don’t, take care to remember they are there and remind any children in your party as well!

It’s often a good idea to keep your windows locked particularly if children can easily reach them, they can be reached from someone else’s balcony or you are on the ground floor where a thief could easily gain access to your room.

Lifts
  • Young children should always be accompanied in lifts.
  • Sometimes a lift may only have three sides and there will be a small gap between the door opening and the wall of the lift shaft. Make sure you stand back from the exposed wall(s). If you have children with you make sure they stand at the back of these lifts and you may want to hold their hands.
  • If there is a fire always use the stairs and not the lift.
Reception and communal areas

Marble flooring and tiled floors are more common in hot countries than in the UK. They’re great for keeping places cool but they can be very slippery if they get wet. So if you’ve just got out of the pool and are crossing one of these surfaces or other people use it when they are wet, take care.

One of the most common causes of holiday accidents is falling on stairs. It’s worth reminding children not to run up or down stairs and to use a handrail if there is one.

If there are large windows or glass doors around the hotel take extra care in bright sunlight to check if they are open or not if you’re going through them – it’s not always obvious.

Most hotels are perfectly safe but it’s always good to guard against thieves. So if you are telling reception your travel plans or what you’ll be doing that day its best to keep the conversation between you and them – you don’t want everyone else to know what your plans are.

Room safety

Keep your room locked at all times even when you’re in it. The same goes for windows if they are easily accessible from outside or small children can get to them from inside.

It’s also often a good idea to indicate your room is occupied even when you are out. You can do this by using a "do not disturb" sign or leaving the lights on.

If you’re staying somewhere you don’t feel particularly safe (and this won’t apply to most holidaymakers) try and get a room with a peephole so you can see who is outside before you open the door. And you can also place a wedge under your door if you feel really uneasy.

Swimming pools
  • Read the pool rules before you get in the water and if you have children with you make sure they also know the rules for how to act in and around the pool.
  • Never leave children unsupervised in or around a pool.
  • Remember that most hotel pools do not have a lifeguard.
  • Check where the pool is shallow and where it is deep before you get in and if you’re allowed to dive make sure you only do so where the water is at least 1.5 metres deep.
  • Don’t swim after a meal or if you’ve been drinking.
  • If you’ve had an upset stomach within the last 48 hours don’t get in the pool.

For more on pool safety read our guide.

Valuables

If there is a wall safe in your room you can use this to store your money, valuables and any important documents you want to keep safe.

If there isn’t one you may be able to give them to reception to lock in the hotel’s safe.

If there’s no safe to store things then you can either keep your valuables on you or hide them in your room. Make sure your room is locked at all times (even when you’re in it) and that you don’t leave valuables on display.