Business Travelers Beware
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA -- I am a frequent business traveler and have stayed at many Marriott hotels over the course of the last year. I have generally had good experiences with Marriott but at the Marriott Courtyard in Fairfax (Dunn Loring), VA., the hotel staff's assistance fell short. I returned from work on 12/07/06 to find my laptop stolen from my room. I immediately informed the staff who consoled me about "my loss" (I should have suspected something was up from the beginning...). I insisted that the laptop had been stolen and not "lost". I was referred to a claims section and waited for almost two weeks before I was told that I would receive no compensation as I could not "prove" that the laptop was stolen.
In a sense, despite my long association with Marriott, I was being called a liar -- and worse. I strongly suspect that the hotel staff opportunistically used the open door of my room to lift the laptop while the maid was cleaning. However, there is little that a traveler can do to prove this. As Courtyard advertises itself as a hotel for "road warriors", their handling of this theft leaves much to be desired.
I recommend that all guests check in their laptops while staying at this hotel as theft would seem to be a problem. As there is room for only a few laptops in the hotel safe, the care of 50+ laptops or more might be impossible and fully contradicts the image of Courtyard as a place to do work while in the room. As well, this would seem to repudiate the whole idea of having high speed internet in the room. It seems that Marriott would like for you to be able to work, albeit at your own risk.
After this wakeup call I will be much more vigilant about laptop security at least within a Marriott hotel. I encourage others to be careful and cautious when staying at this location. I suppose that I most troubled by Marriott's attitude by which it was almost expected for this type of thing to happen with the hotel staff mildly concerned at best. I note that although hotel laws (VA) state that "valuables" should be deposited in the hotel safe, these were written in 1982, well before the advent of laptop computers. I wasn't even aware that the safe deposit boxes behind the front desk could accommodate a laptop PC (they will but most can handle just three or four in total). I would like to be compensated, at least in part but Marriott tends to take a hard line with regard to theft. I encourage that guests be warned fully of the risks associated with leaving laptops in hotel rooms when they depart.