2 Nov 2018
A word of warning for anyone leaving cash in a hotel safe and a heads up for anyone considering staying at the Noble Boutique Hotel in Hanoi..
We are currently in Vietnam and stayed in Hanoi for our first night before heading off to Sapa, where we found that $1400 AUD had been stolen.
We arrived in Hanoi and checked into the Noble Boutique at around 12pm. Upon check-in we were given a very informative chat by the girl on reception. One of things she mentioned is that the streets of Hanoi can be unsafe and there are a lot of pickpockets, so it is best to keep passports and cash in your room safe. I was carrying aussie dollars to last us the trip and asked where I could find a money exchange nearby, she said that the hotel can change at a good rate.
I had 3 envelopes in my passport wallet with $1000 in each. I took $300 from one envelope and then locked the passport wallet in the room safe. While doing this, I made a combination error on the safe and one of the bellboys/maintenance guys came to the room to reset the code for me.
When we returned to the hotel that evening, I changed the $300 to dong in hotel reception as the rate was reasonable and I couldn’t be bothered looking for a money exchange.
The next morning, we checked out and headed out for the day before heading off to Sapa that night. We had the passport wallet in a locked bag that whole time.
When arrived in Sapa and I opened the passport wallet to take some more money out to change. There was now less money in each envelope. Two envelopes had $400 in each, one had $500. ($1300 total).
$1400 in total had been taken from the envelopes and then put back in the passport wallet.
Coincidence or not? We were advised to leave our money in the room safe. Someone from the hotel needed to come and reset our safe code and saw the passport wallet, iPads and phones in the safe. The reception staff knew we were carrying cash. It is possible that some random broke into our room and cracked the safe code, but why wouldn’t you take all the cash and the phones and iPads? By taking only half the cash from each envelope, I guess even if we did check the envelopes before we left, we may have been tricked into thinking the cash was still all there.
I phoned the hotel and they asked me to put the info into an email so the manager could look into it. After several follow ups and no reply it wasn’t until I suggested a bad review on social media that I got a reply. However the reply only pointed blame back at me and suggested that it was illegal to carry that amount of cash in Vietnam and that I failed to provide sufficient information for them to be able to investigate the matter further.
The moral of the story…if you travel with cash, count it before checking out of your hotel.