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Old May 31, 07, 11:33 am   #1
 
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Damage to Hotel Room - who pays?

Sorry if this is not the right place to post this but I couldn't figure out any better related areas.....

Last week I took my family for a week in London and we stayed at an absolutely wonderful small boutique hotel. My problem began when my daughter plugged in a US voltage "hair iron" directly to the hotel's UK plug. She saw me plug my laptop in (built in voltage converter) and saw no reason not to do the same with the hair iron.

Needless to say, the hair iron overheated bigtime very quickly and ended up making burn marks in the hotel's cherry wood desk and on the room carpet. I have no problem paying for the damages as it was definitely our fault.

My question is twofold.....first does anyone know if a standard homeowner's insurance policy would pay on this? I called the insurance company and they were very vague stating that I had to first make a claim and then they would research the policy. And second, don't hotels normally carry their own insurance for things like this?

I paid the hotel on the spot but was curious as to whether or not I should have. The hotel was wonderful and the manager was empathetic so I have no gripe with them. Just wondering.

Thanks
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Old May 31, 07, 11:38 am   #2
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I'm having trouble visualizing how a US-spec electrical plug could possibly be forced into a UK-spec socket.

Having said that you did the right thing to pay off the hotel and maintain your relationship with the management. It's clearly not the hotel's fault. If you had deliberately taken a fire ax to the credenza the assignment of responsibility would be the same. While obviously the hotel has liability insurance, if it did not hold guests responsible for damage they cause, there would obviously be a whole lot more damage going on with all us living out our Keith Moon fantasies.

Homeowner policies vary wildly on stuff like this (though I would hazard that a "standard" policy would not reach this far); just have documentation for your agent. Did you take photos?
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Old May 31, 07, 11:54 am   #3
 
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Just remember that if you make a claim on your home owner's policy, there's a deductible you'll have to pay and the claim may have an impact on both your rates and your ability to renew your policy.
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Old May 31, 07, 11:54 am   #4
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As this thread is really not specific to Luxury Hotels, but broader-based, I am going to move it over to TravelBuzz. Please continue to follow there.
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Old May 31, 07, 11:58 am   #5
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
I'm having trouble visualizing how a US-spec electrical plug could possibly be forced into a UK-spec socket.
Maybe using the same plug adapter used for the laptop?
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Old May 31, 07, 12:17 pm   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
I'm having trouble visualizing how a US-spec electrical plug could possibly be forced into a UK-spec socket.
No trouble here. Many of the better hotels have a "combo" sockets. So do airline clubs.

They do warn you against plugging anything else besides laptops and cellphone charges which in most cases are dual voltage.
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Old May 31, 07, 12:31 pm   #7
 
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Two years ago I had a wonderful stay in a top-floor suite at the Drake Hotel in Chicago with my family (2 kids, then 3 and 5 years old). The older boy accidently broke the coffee table by climbing on the cross-brace.

I had two quick thoughts. First, I have to admit I calculated it would be impossible to hide the damage. Second, if I were charged for it, it'd probably be at the hotel's retail rate. But in the end I thought the best thing to do would be to bring it to management's attention.

I had booked the room through the front desk manager, with whom I had become acquainted. So my thought was to explain to him and let the chips fall where they may.

I convinced him to come to the suite without explaining the reason I had to see him in person. Then I came clean and showed him the damage.

His response: "It's our normal policy to charge for damage. But since you proactively brought it to our attention, we'll just chalk it up to experience. I have kids, too, and you never know what will happen with them."

The OP did the same thing (brought it to management's attention), and I want to commend him for that. And recommend that others do the same.
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Old May 31, 07, 12:42 pm   #8
 
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Originally Posted by BearX220 View Post
While obviously the hotel has liability insurance, ...
It wouldn't involve the hotel's liability insurance in any case (the hotel didn't do anything to be liable for), and it's doubtful the hotel would claim any sort of insurance for what is probably less than $1,000 worth of damage. It's likely less than their deductible, and in-house staff probably repaired the damage.
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Old May 31, 07, 12:49 pm   #9
 
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This reminds me of the travelocity commercial.....

Narrator: American plugs will not work in European outlets.
Nome: Nonsense.......ZAP!!!!

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Old May 31, 07, 1:25 pm   #10
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It wouldn't involve the hotel's liability insurance in any case (the hotel didn't do anything to be liable for), and it's doubtful the hotel would claim any sort of insurance for what is probably less than $1,000 worth of damage.
That's perfectly true of course, unless the guest was less than ethical and tried to argue that the adaptors, etc. were imperfectly labeled or prone to misuse.
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Old May 31, 07, 1:31 pm   #11
 
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Thanks for the responses.

My daughter did use a plug converter but not a voltage converter. I beleive the UK voltage is something like 330 vs 220 in the US. To add salt to the wounds, my daughter mentioned that she was going out to buy a quality hair iron in London....until I pointed out that it wouldn't work in the US. Gotta love kids.

I was proactive and called the problem to the manager's attention. She was very appreciative and promised to do everything possible to minimize the cost. I also took pictures of the damage and got a copy of the hotel's repair estimate. The total cost was about $2000 (US) and figuring that I have a $500 deductable on my homeowner's insurance, I'm just going to bite the bullet and absorb the cost. Made an already expensive trip that much more expensive however London was great and we found the people of London to be extremely cordial and helpful...I would highly recommend it to everyone.

Thanks again for the responses!
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Old May 31, 07, 1:43 pm   #12
 
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Until I saw both the desk top and carpet were involved, I thought the $2,000.00 claim was a bit over the top. Now, maybe you're lucky she didn't set the place on fire. Having survived a couple of European trips with a pair of daughters, now financially independent enough to travel and wreak havoc on their own, I sympathize, but like the "____ for Dummies" series, this is one of those pre-travel educational areas which more of us should be concerned enough to "pre-brief" as the military use to put it.

You'll know next time.....(after you've replaced to $2,000 in your vacation fund). Let's face it. It's not as bad as had she been driving the rental car in the right lane (which my 16 year old attempted one day in an English parking lot).
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Old May 31, 07, 2:08 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiproos View Post
Thanks for the responses.

My daughter did use a plug converter but not a voltage converter. I beleive the UK voltage is something like 330 vs 220 in the US.
The total cost was about $2000 (US) and figuring that I have a $500 deductable on my homeowner's insurance, I'm just going to bite the bullet and absorb the cost.

Thanks again for the responses!
I think UK current is 220V, 50 hertz. many US hairdryers are dual voltage and will work in UK. usually have to be run on low power because the fan runs a bit slower than in US.

You do this $2000 claim, then have a real one, and in today's marketplace, florida will be the only place you can get homeowners ins.
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Old May 31, 07, 2:12 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by chiproos View Post
I beleive the UK voltage is something like 330 vs 220 in the US.
230V/50Hz in the UK. 120V/60Hz in the US.

Last edited by sinanju; May 31, 07 at 2:19 pm.
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Old May 31, 07, 5:18 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by slawecki View Post
You do this $2000 claim, then have a real one, and in today's marketplace, florida will be the only place you can get homeowners ins.
That would be my concern too. I wouldn't make a $2K claim in most circumstances.
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