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Luggage stolen at Hotel Amiral, Nantes, France

Hi all! This is probably a travel 101 faux pas, but my luggage mysteriously disappeared from the luggage storage at Hotel Amiral, Nantes, France, and I wanted to share the unbelievable attitude of the manager-on-duty.

We checked out early morning and went for breakfast and a stroll. When we came back, one of our bags was gone. The staff claimed that they were at the desk at all times and the only people passing through were the other guests (a quick phone call with them revealed nothing). I went to see the manager at his office. He sat at his desk typing away at the computer, completely ignoring my presence. After standing there for a while, I asked him about my lost bag. Without acknowledging my presence or looking up, he said, "I didn't handle your bags, I don't know." I stood there, gaping, and then responded "For a situation as serious as this, you seem like you don't care." He then said, again without looking up: "Are you sure you left bags with us? Perhaps you are imagining that you did?" He continued to type away. I left fuming. Pretty damn unbelievable.

The staff at the desk was terrified, apologized for not giving us luggage tags ("I had too many customers to take care of at the time, so I didn't give you the tags"). He then directed us to the police, where we filed a report.

The manager didn't come out to address the issue and we never got an acknowledgement/apology from any other upper management. We left bad reviews at various travel websites, but that's the most we could do.

Posted by
2834 posts

This was terrible and I certainly don't condone the manager's lack of concern, but if you didn't get the bag check tags, he's right that there is no proof they were left there. It does make me wonder the real reason the desk staff didn't give you bag check tags.

Posted by
2978 posts

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm not a trusting soul, so I probably wouldn't have left our luggage if it would be stored in such an unsecured area (from reading your other thread). Hopefully, since you have a police report, you'll be able to claim your luggage loss through your travel insurance. I'm glad you are posting this on other forums - I can see the one you posted on TripAdvisor.

Posted by
5686 posts

Luggage tags? When a hotel as a courtesy lets us leave bags before check-in or after check-out, I don't remember ever getting a check ticket.

Posted by
672 posts

My thought was the same as Laura's. We've never been given luggage tags in that situation. What a terrible experience. Thanks for the warning.

Posted by
208 posts

Gee...we've never received tags, either. I've always just felt grateful that they e allowed us to leave them there! I'm so sorry this happened to you.

Posted by
26011 posts

I've never had tags either - that's a good idea. Shame you didn't get any. Sorry for your troubles.

Posted by
4941 posts

I've always almost always received luggage tickets when checking stuff before or after check-in, in many different countries, over 30 years.

Posted by
8293 posts

...... and I never have, in over 30 years, for whatever that is worth. But I must add that the bags have always been stored in a small room or closet near the desk, not out in the open.

Posted by
3511 posts

I'm very sorry that this happened to you and that you received such a poor response from the manager. The risk is always there when luggage is not secured in a luggage room. Many small hotels do not have such facilities so the option becomes to take the luggage with you or take a risk leaving it in a reception area. Most of us opt for not taking it with us. Your post reminds everyone to remember that this option is not without risk.

I've received luggage tags many, many times, but only in hotels with actual luggage storage facilities. Never for hallway storage.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for your thoughts and good wishes! Three days after, I finally heard back from the hotel. This is their email in full:

Good Evening,

Sales Manager will contact you beginning of August, she’s currently
absent and we working now on your file with our hotel union.

The person you met in the desk is the Administrative Officer, he does
not manage customer relationship and he was really surprise to see you
coming in his desk without authorization.

We’re sincerely sorry for this really bad situation. We’re also victim
of what happened to you and we do not deserve your fury on the web
which is really unfair. We are not responsible for theft of your bag.
We invite you to see our future replies to your advices…

Regards, Julien (Collaborator of the Sales Manager)

My reactions:
(1) So they have no manager for customer service for most of the summer. I confirmed with the clerks at front whether the guy in the office was their manager. They said yes. They probably didn't have enough English vocabulary (nor did the Admin manager) to say that the guy's not in charge of such things. But then again, who was I supposed to talk to? This explains the manager's attitude though, but probably doesn't excuse the hotel from not being able to adequately respond to the situation.

(2) I'm glad that after all this pressure (from booking.com specifically, and the internet comments as well) they finally responded. I look forward to their ultimate response.

(3) "We are not responsible for the theft of your bag". This is the first time they told me throughout the entire ordeal, but I already know that in most places luggage storage is "at your own risk," even with luggage tags (luggage tags would probably just prevent them from gas-lighting me and from other customers from taking my luggage).

Ultimately, I was stupid for leaving luggage at the hotel, period. I won't do this again!

Thanks so much for your support!

Posted by
26011 posts

that's twice you have used the term I've never heard before - what do you mean by gas-light?

Posted by
8954 posts

I've always almost always received luggage tickets when checking stuff
before or after check-in, in many different countries, over 30 years.

Same deal with me, hotels I've stayed at always give me check tickets.

Posted by
2751 posts

I, too, have never received luggage tags, and have often wondered about the security as I walk away. It's a risk I take to be able to move around without my luggage for a few hours. I take that risk, but whether arriving or departing, I don't carry anything I can't afford to loose in my personal item and keep that with me.

Posted by
332 posts

Every time I've ever checked bags like this I think I received tags. But I usually try and see where they're going to be storing them. I know in New York City it seemed they left them right in the lobby behind the desk where anybody can get them. I didn't feel comfortable with that. In New Orleans they had a secure area that I actually felt real comfortable with. Others always seem to place them behind the desk into another room. Never feel comfortable

What a terrible customer service response. They had the balls to come back and say that it wasn't just you that suffered here...... they actually are claiming their own distress because of the reviews you put out there!! They are a victim!!?? Holy crap. That is just awful.

Not only that, they're not going to even look into it until August? What a joke I think I would continue to bash them on social media and travel forums and sites.

I would also make sure if they have a corporate office that it goes all the way to the CEO that he sees how they've treated you. Unacceptable

Posted by
332 posts

Also, in their letter they mention a hotel Union that they are working with on this matter. I would work to find out who and what this actually is and I would raise holy hell with them.

I would hope that a union organization would take this even more seriously than these clowns are

Posted by
2312 posts

That was a fun article about "gaslighting". I'm going to find opportunities to say: “Don’t disingenuously contest this matter of factual record” whenever I can!

Posted by
7684 posts

Happened to us in 1981 in Cordoba, lost a valuable souvenir. Lesson learned.
Tough lesson.

There was no reason for you to check out unless your breakfast was at 11:00. It's too much responsibility for the staff, who you said were terrified about this. Vick called them clowns; I'd call them concerned employees who didn't know what to do and could only apologize. Awful for you and them. The union may be working to protect them from being fired and to get you compensated.

Glad the hotel responded. I wouldn't raise holy hell as suggested, but work calmly and persistently. Do you want compensation? Do you want to warn people about leaving luggage in unsure situations? Do you want to get back at them with your social media reviews? I saw that both of you left reviews saying the same thing. If you are working with them, you need to know what you want from them.

This was a terrible situation for you, and no one there was trained how to handle it. In fact, someone's job may be on the line because of this. Actually, what could they do once it was gone except go outside to see if it was left in a close by bin or alley? And the desk staff did show sympathy, as well as terror.

Posted by
16866 posts

I appreciate Bets' assessment of the situation. I think the people who you were supposed to talk to were the desk staff that you did talk to. If it were their company's protocol to escalate claims to a manager, then they could do so. Advising you where to file the police report was the right action for the hotel to take. You might also have asked the desk attendant(s) for a brief written statement that they did remember you leaving a specific number of bags. Or perhaps the police called the hotel for corroboration.

This loss could covered by your homeowner's or renter's insurance, or travel insurance, with associated claim paperwork. Value assessment is always tricky. If the hotel were to offer you some courtesy reimbursement, that would be at their discretion and perhaps also dependent on whether they have relevant insurance coverage.

If a thief intruded onto the hotel's private property, stole something from that property, and abused the trust of its staff and customers, with or without a resulting loss of reputation, then the hotel is also a victim.

Posted by
4524 posts

I'll weigh in on a few things:

I rarely get luggage tags, but sometimes. A major, corporate type hotel is more likely to give me a tag. Most small hotels do not.

Sometimes luggage storage is in a special room and sometimes it is tucked away behind the desk. I've seen very crowded conditions where a lot of people have checked out and left their bags and they are piled up in a corner of the lobby. A small hotel may not have much space or a specific space for storage.

I suppose that leaving your bags is a risk, and some hotels may explicitly state doing so is at your own risk (most probably don't have any such policy). I've never thought much about it and you certainly shouldn't blame yourself for doing it. Most hotels will store your bags before or after check-in as a courtesy and it can be very helpful.

The customer service you got was very poor. Some may have been a language barrier, and in many ways there is little they could do. But you were absolutely right to post the review online.

Posted by
362 posts

How awful that this happened to you!

I have never once received a luggage tag in Europe or the US when leaving a bag before I check into the hotel. I didn't even know that was an option.

I hope that they are able to make the situation right for you! I also agree with the poster above who says to have ready what you want - money, a free night, etc., but when dealing with a customer service situation it generally works best to be able to state your wants clearly and in one sentence.

Posted by
297 posts

So sorry this happened to you. You might check your homeowners insurance or travel insurance to see if you have any coverage because it doesn't sound like you're getting much compassion from your hotel. I hope you can remember what was inside. I had to itemize several suitcases loaded with ski clothes that were stolen out of our car that was parked in a hotel parking lot. It's amazing how quickly the amount of your possessions adds up. I will be leaving luggage with a hotel in London in September. I guess I need a bag check and/or receipt. I hope it works out for you.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks so much for helping me assess the situation, esp. the very good advice that I need to be clear about what I want at this point. I was mad at their attitude and wanted their acknowledgement and apology. I don't see how they have the means or responsibility to compensate in any way, however. So I'll be content with an official acknowledgement and a plan from them to prevent future incidents for other customers.

The desk clerks were indeed mortified by the situation & indeed helped direct me to the police after I asked them to. They did all that and I don't want them to lose their jobs. I was set off by the lack of concern of the higher management, whom, as they now have explained, turned out not to be the right person to approach. The way the admin manager dismissed me, and the way the clerks swore nobody's been around the front desk, also made me jump to the suspicion "inside job." That definitely didn't help with the frustration and the rage.

I've always thought issues like these would and should eventually go to higher management. Not being heard at the time, not being promised to be heard in the future (the clerks did not mention that they would raise the issue to their higher-ups), as well as not hearing from them afterwards... it just left me in an empty and angry spot.

I'm glad the discussion about baggage tags was helpful for your future considerations. You've been most helpful to me as well! I now consider the bag lost forever. I don't expect much from my home insurer, but I'll try!

Posted by
332 posts

Unless you are talking a pretty high value in property that you lost, I would not under any circumstances turn this into your homeowners insurance. Just trust me in saying that in today's Marketplace it might not turn out well in the end. They may not give you a rate increase right now but all the sudden you have a roof claim or a water claim, that is 2 claims.....then if you have something else......you might get canceled amd have a hard time finding affordable (if any) coverage.

It's not necessarily this one claim that's the issue. It's the bad luck of possibly having multiple claims that could Doom you.

You're going to have a deductible as well so in the end unless you're talking a really large dollar amount I would just eat it

Posted by
2945 posts

Wow, I've left luggage and all kinds of places for 7 years now and the only time I think I've ever received a ticket was just a couple weeks ago at a travel agency in Athens that charges for it. We often leave our luggage in hotels, at one point a fairly dodgy place in Romania we weren't even staying at, and have never had an issue so I can sense your frustration!

How large was the hotel? We tend to stay in smaller places so we're usually getting our luggage back from the same people we dropped it off with, sometimes they even remember which bags are ours. I suppose some random person could have come from outside to grab your bag, but that seems like a weird form a theft. If you travel smartly, no items of great value are likely to be in your luggage, just clothes and toiletries, generally, right? It doesn't seem like the risk/reward is so high for an outside person which would also make me consider if it was an 'inside job'. And I'm not paranoid - we leave our passports and items of value unsecured in our room all the time (hey, if someone steals it, we know it's the hotel, but nothing has ever happened) but this does seem fishy and even if the "manager/not manager" you were arguing with wasn't to blame he could have handled it better. I still think this falls on the hotel to some degree to be honest.

I almost wonder if the most likely explanation was a case of mistaken baggage - someone grabbed your bag, thinking it was theirs, and found out too late to find a good way to return it/didn't care (although in that case they would have had a bag left behind at the hotel). I've seen people grab my bag off the carousel/train enough times because my bag is really generic - almost lost one that way once.

Regardless while French customer service is not as good as it is in the US regarding matters like this, the hotel should have and could have handled the situation better. I think the negative reviews are pretty justified. Even without luggage tags perhaps hotels who offer this service should at least check to make sure that you stayed there the previous evening before admitting you to the luggage storage area.

Posted by
7684 posts

With 10% unemployment in France, no one is going to risk their job stealing a backpack or bag. I seriously doubt it was an inside job. It's very difficult to get a permanent job in France, and an "incident" could affect these low-level employees. Most people are hired on limited-term contracts, which have to be renewed or they need to find another job when the contract ends. Some of the employees could have been hotel/restaurant school interns hoping for full time permanent jobs when they get their diplomas. There is no way they would steal a bag.

Another traveler probably picked it up, which is what happened in my case. The third possibility is it was lifted before it was put into the storage room because the OP was told to leave it in a corner.

So with desk staff helpful and concerned, the problem boils down to the attitude of a man at a desk unsuited to deal with human problems. Knowing both US and French cultures well, the interchange between the victims and the manager was a cultural misreading, as well. He was shocked at their entering his office, his space, without being invited and they at his huffy attitude. Americans are taught to be forthright and track down a problem and solution; French are reserved until you have established a relationship, and are taught to wait for permission and to follow established protocol for solutions.

Posted by
2163 posts

I have left my luggage a few times over the years--always upon arrival, never at departure-- but never received a tag. I stay at 3-4 star hotels and they've always put it in a locked cupboard or storage room, and I always lock my bags--not that that would help if they were stolen. Considering the attitude you received I don't blame you for writing about it on public review forums, that's something I'd like to know if considering staying there.

Posted by
395 posts

Thank you for getting the word out about this hotel. A couple of years ago in Sirmione, Italy, the front desk clerk, who I believe was also the owner, seemed put out with us because we would not leave our bags in the corner of the open lobby that she pointed to. She said they had 'never had any problems'. We didn't mention that the night before we had wandered in through the unlocked front door, encountered no one at the front desk for a substantial amount of time, and seemed to have access to much of the hotel including the keys to rooms that were kept on the wall behind the desk if we had wanted to. We didn't want to start an argument with her over the security of her hotel so we left the area earlier than planned that morning with luggage in tow. Sirmione is a busy, touristy place; it's difficult to say which one of us was not evaluating the risk of theft realistically, but we decided it was her.

Posted by
395 posts

Perhaps your theft is covered under your credit card or trip insurance. I think Chase Sapphire has an allowance for lost luggage, as an example. At least in that case your 'rates' would not be affected as in home owners insurance.

Posted by
2945 posts

Bets, you make a good point about the cultural differences here. And it's such a strange case that I do think another traveler picking up the bag by accident is entirely probable, although that person would've been a huge jerk for not contacting the hotel upon realizing their mistake. But it's entirely possible and the most "Occam's Razor" explanation.

That said I don't think it's too crazy to consider an inside job just given the circumstances. It's certainly as plausible as a random theif coming into the hotel to grab a random bag which is what the hotel itself is alleging happened. Both explanations seem unlikely but could have happened.

I generally think American travelers overstate the risk of scams and being taken advantage of but it DOES happen, I've seen it happen in front of my eyes and in just a few cases, to me personally. It's usually a middling amount but I've been ripped off by taxi drivers and bartenders in my own city, where I can speak the language well enough to argue with them, and despite my best arguments I just get a shrug of the shoulder in response. And a clear expectation to just deal with whatever is on offer, which in the OP's case, was nothing. Here we jokingly refer to it as the "Ami tax" and deal with it in stride but there are some unfortunate situations in which people will try to rip off/steal from tourists because it's, well, easy. I'm not saying the hotel did - that is pretty unlikely - but how the hotel dealt with the situation was also unacceptable from an international tourism standpoint.

At the very least, the hotel should have been willing to reimburse the OP for a few outfits/toiletries from her bag so she could enjoy the rest of her trip. OP didn't mention the cost of what was lost so I assume she had the funds to replace her items without much difficulty but I just met two 22 year old girls on their first trip to Europe, backpacking for 2 months on a tight budget. If one of them lost their bag in this way it would be a disaster! I told them this story as a cautionary tale because when you're young, independent, and broke, this would be a trip-ruining experience.

Even if it's not technically the hotel's fault, the hotel should have taken some degree of responsibility, and offered to pay for a portion of what was lost. Had they done so, OP probably would have written glowing reviews of the hotel thanking them for their generosity and help even if it was a hassle - instead the hotel feels "victimized" and the OP actually was.

I'm usually one arguing that Americans need to chill and understand that European customer service is not the same as the US, but this is a case where I think the OP is largely justified in her frustration.