I am an American professional woman living in Brazil. I have stayed at the Hilton chain various times in the past at various locations around the world. My partner and I traveled from Brazil and were in the Westbury Hilton for 2 nights for the sole purpose of his sitting a professional exam that took place at the Prometric Testing Center a block away from the hotel. Because this exam started very early and finished at 3:30pm, I asked if we could have a late check-out until 4pm. This was not granted-we received a late check-out until 2pm so I did all the packing for my partner as he was in his exam all day. I did not realize that he had placed our travel money ($2,000 in cash) in a plastic holder along with his plane ticket in the bedside table and I, unknowingly, left these items in the room when I checked out at 2pm. We had a flight out of LGA at 7:30 pm that evening and his ticket indicated this.
At 2pm I asked for all our bags to be placed with the concierge (storage closet) as we were not scheduled to leave the area until 5pm for our flight. I then left the premises to go shopping. Upon completion of my partner's exam, we realized that the money had been left in the room. We immediately and frantically called and asked that the inside of the bedside table be checked while we made our way back to the hotel. At this point, I spoke to the Front Desk Manager, Ms. X, on the phone and she had someone check the room. She informed me that there was nothing in the bedside table and that NOTHING had been found by housekeeping. We frantically made our way back to the hotel to try to find out what had happened to these valuables and to collect our stored baggage. Ms. X's manner and attitude towards us when we arrived was extremely blunt and unhelpful. We demanded that housekeeping be contacted so that they could be questioned over the lost items. Instead of understanding our desire to retrieve the items before our international flight to Brazil, Ms. X seemed to interpret our anxiety as an indictment of her housekeeping staff although we never accused them of anything. We were more than happy to hope that they had placed the items in the trash or had recognized them as valuables and put them with lost and found. Ms. X said that our ONLY option was to fill out a form for the general manager and then it would have to be addressed with him/her and we would have to await a response (this would take days as he/she was not on site.) With the clock ticking down to our flight to Brazil, we meticulously went through all our baggage to ensure that the items had indeed not been packed. As we were not offered an area to do this, we went to the end of the hallway, away from the reception area, to do so. At one point, Ms. X complained that we were doing this in the hallway when she had other guests coming in. I reminded her that we had also been paying guests for 2 nights. I asked her if she could offer us a room or conference area in which to further check our luggage and she replied that nothing was available for us. (At one point, our limousine driver arrived and asked where we were as we frantically went through our bags, and she replied, "Why don't you go find them yourself-they're down the hall!") We continued searching and determined that our valuables had definitely NOT been packed. Ms. X suggested that our items may have been thrown in the garbage by the cleaning staff and we were 'free' to go through the dumpster. She pointed out the dumpster to me --about 10-20 metres from the hotel in the cold and the dark--and told me I could go search through it. I was shocked to be going through the Hilton Westbury’s dumpster trash without the offer of ANY assistance or even a flashlight, but we were DESPERATE to find our money and catch our flight. After 2 attempts in these conditions, I amazingly found our room’s trashbag! In the trashbag, we found ALL the items from our room that had been discarded, including the magazines that I had purchased that had been left ON TOP of the bedside table in which we had left the money. Unfortunately, our money and the plane tickets were not in the bag. At this point, our cab/limo had been waiting for 20 minutes and we were in danger of missing our flight. We informed Ms. X that our trashbag had been found and yet she still seemed unmotivated to make our search a priority. (although she got very angry when we tried to bring the plastic trashbag inside so we had to keep our only 'evidence' outside the backdoor in an area we found.) As my only option, and knowing that we might miss our flights if we waited, I decided to call the Westbury Police and asked them to urgently arrive to the Hilton Westbury so that I could file a report as we could only assume at this point that the items had been stolen and we were not receiving ANY assistance to help us determine otherwise. I asked Ms. X for the number of the police. I received this from her after she again shoved the general manager report in our faces to be filled out. Instead of offering to dial the police for me, I had to make an international call using my Brazilian cell phone to call the LOCAL police. My partner filled out the report as I rang the police and I immediately sensed a lot more movement at the front desk. I could tell that Ms. X was now anxious and was making phone calls. The police arrived very quickly and as the police officer stood in reception amidst new arriving guests, I began to explain our dilemma. He agreed that a report should be filed and that they would have to investigate. Amazingly, WITHIN 2-3 MINUTES of the police arriving at the hotel, Ms. X suddenly rushed over to us with the money and the plane tickets. Her explanation was that these items had been in a housekeeping trash bag on the 4th floor that had yet to be taken out to the dumpster and that was the reason they had not been included in the other trash. Overjoyed and still in shock from the whole situation, we rushed out the door with our bags and valuables as we were about to miss our flight.
On retrospect, although we are happy to have our valuables and I realize that I had accidentally left them in the room, I know that the ONLY reason I have them is that I made the decision to call the Westbury Police which made front desk manager, Ms. X take our situation seriously. After over an hour of searching on our own with NO assistance, it seems that the appearance of the Westbury Police motivated the staff at this hotel to assist us in our search. Another matter that is bothering us is that my partner forgot to mention that he was missing his plane ticket (we were focused on the cash). It was indeed the 2nd item in the bedside table but we did not ask anyone to look for this. It does seem strange to us that the ONLY items in the bedside table (including one that had not been reported missing) seemed to be so easy to retrieve from a DIFFERENT trashbag upon the arrival of Law Enforcement at this hotel.
We were shocked by our treatment in every respect by this major International hotel chain. We averted a major crisis by continuing our search at the risk of missing our international flights while being repeatedly 'discouraged' and rudely treated by Ms. X. I filed a complaint with Hilton International but only received a ‘condolence’ type response from a person at the hotel. Although this incident occurred in 2007, I felt compelled to report this event on tripadvisor as it is by far the worse experience I have had at ANY establishment that provides accommodation. This is significant as I have lived abroad for many years and traveled to 4 continents. I would not advise ANYONE to stay here and we, of course, will never be staying with any Hilton establishment ever again.
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Garden Inn Westbury Hotel Westbury
- Westbury Hilton Garden Inn
- Hilton Westbury