Reader Question: Theft At The Hampton Inn Cartagena Reception?


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about theft that had happened at the Hampton Inn Cartagena reception while he had been checking in.

Reader Question Hampton Inn Cartagena Theft

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You can access Hampton Inn Cartagena’s website here.

Here’s the email from the reader:

Here’s a rather peculiar story that happened to me last night. Getting into the Hampton at 9:00 PM local time in Cartagena and being quite tired from the day, I stood at the reception, leaned over the counter while checking in with all my luggage next to my feet, when out of 3 pieces my carry-on backpack with my laptop, camera + equipment, etc. was taken within seconds and a team of 3 professionals disappeared in the elevator.

As it turns out today from the video footage, it was a professional team. The 1st person, the picker, was known to the police, he had done it before, paid the fine, and was released. The 2nd person constantly called the elevator, and the 3rd person was distracting the receptionist + helping to act normal by inquiring about empty rooms. The hotel claims, that the reception area, though being in the 16th floor, counts as public area similar to airports. I do not agree! Having staid in many hotels as well, I always feel somewhat home and don’t expect criminals being inside “my home”.

Being a HHonors Platinum member, I would like to get your advice on if and how I should address Hilton’s customer service to ask for compensation. The total purchase value of the items stolen was $5,000-6,000. So far, I’ve only spoken to the hotel manager who says the hotel assumes no responsibility. However, she is helping with the cab to the police station, the police communication, and wants to report the incident to Hilton.

Is there anything I should or have to do to increase my chances?

This is really unfortunate situation and I have stayed a night at this very same hotel back in December 2015. I remember that the lobby was on a higher floor. Cannot remember if they had someone working in the ground floor too at the time.

Here’s what Hampton Inn Cartagena has on their website:

Reder Question Hampton Inn Cartagena Theft Satisaction

Hampton Inn promises 100% satisfaction but that only applies to the price of the room per the T&Cs.

I have no idea what the in-keeper laws are in Colombia. Most of the times hotels post on their websites and rooms that they don’t take any responsibility for anything left in rooms or even when safe is used (those can be opened easily).

The hotel must have some sort of general insurance that could cover theft too. I would pursue compensation with the management and, if it is not forthcoming considering that value of the stolen goods, would consult a local lawyer.

There is no harm opening a case with Hilton’s Guest Assistance and actively pursue the case through them. If the reader is not able to get any compensation from the property or if they are not communicating, that could lead to several Be My Guest certificates (just be sure that they are not limited to Hampton Inn properties only).


This really is a difficult case and I forwarded the reader’s email to our contact at the Hilton. Doesn’t mean that anything will come out of it.

I had a word with a friend that lives in Spain but is from Cartagena and who was in the city when this took place. His family don’t even walk outside but always uses a car due to the security issues. I didn’t feel insecure, however, when I was walking around the Hampton Inn and the historic city center.

It probably would be a good idea to have comprehensive travel insurance if someone travels with expensive computer and camera gear.

I often leave my stuff out when going to mens room when in hotel club lounge or airline one. If the lounge is busy, I may as someone to keep an eye on my stuff.

I wanted to post this to remind every reader to be aware of their surroundings wherever they are. I know for sure that I am sometime too lax about this. Don’t know what I would do if someone would steal my computer bag. Anything else, I wouldn’t care because clothes are easily replaceable.

Reader should also leave appropriate feedback with one or two star on TripAdvisor to warn other guests that are considering to stay at this hotel.

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  • Ast

    What do you think travel insurances are for? One should always purchase their own insurance.

    • BatSheva

      Most travel insurances don’t cover anything like $6000 and certainly not for high value single items. I would definitely give this hotel a miss. I don’t expect to be robbed on the 16th floor of a hotel. Unfortunately most hotels try and exclude any and all liability for theft on their premises unless items are put in their own hotel safe, not even the room safes.

      • It really depends on the policy. One can usually choose the amount of coverage for items they carry. Need to read the exclusions as well when it comes to high value electronics.

  • Danny

    Some credit cards like AMEX cover theft of your purchased items. I would check into that. I hope you get some recourse from Hilton.

  • Robert Kennedy

    Some of the police in Cartagena are corrupt too which does not help. There is a well known issue with police planting drugs on backpackers. I am relatively young and myself and my boyfriend were approached by three shifty Policemen in the backpacker area on a deserted street. They were behaving strangely and asking odd questions. They asked what hostel we were staying in. Only when I explained we were staying in a hotel, did they pause, look at each other uncomfortably and then reluctantly wave us on. I imagine the fact that we were sober and not typical hostel-staying backpackers, made them decide not to try anything on.

    Cartagena did feel pretty safe though for latin America and we had no problem walking all around the city center day and night. I would recommend a visit. Corrupt police and petty crime is an issue in less developed countries but I would never let that stop a visit (plus tbh it makes the places a bit more exciting).

  • Joe S

    I am surprised the hotel is not that helpful in terms of relief. I would think they would not want this to get out. I mean if you can get robbed by a criminal team in the lobby, up on the 16th floor, what does that say for overall hotel safety?
    The hotel should want to resolve this rather than get a big hit on reviews, regardless of their liability. I mean if they say they are not responsible, not sure I would want to stay there.
    It’s not like this was a random crime of opportunity. These guys staked it out/had a plan.

    • They should have someone at the street level screening guests and have the elevator access by a valid key card only.

  • PayItForward

    If one was robbed in the lobby of a museum, cinema, hospital, restaurant etc, will anyone consider going after these establishments for the theft? If a guest punches another guest in a property, is the property paying for the medical bills? This sucks and I will most likely give this property a miss but expecting the property to cover the lost would be too optimistic. That say, property could offer possible relieves such as (without placing themselves in a position of inferred liability)
    (1) waive charges for the registered stay
    (2) bonus points
    (3) future stay cert