What Happens When You Try to Check Into a Hotel Without Your Passport?
Ever done this? Shown up at an international hotel without your passport?
I was staying with friends in Delhi, India for a week and we decided to make the 3 1/2 hour drive to Agra to see the Taj Mahal (which was not as fun as I had hoped). To help decompress the trek I offered to put us all up at the local Starwood property, the ITC Mughal, for the night. And because we were planning on visiting several rural temples along the way I opted not to take my laptop or travel wallet since the security of our car would be an issue.
We pull up to the hotel, and as I’m grabbing my overnight bag from the car, I realize that my passport is still safely in my travel wallet, 3 1/2 hours away. Well, this was going to be interesting.
We go up to the main reception desk to check in, my Platinum status is immediately recognized and we’re escorted into the special VIP Club room to finish the process. We’re seated, served beverages, and then I sheepishly confide that I’ve forgotten my passport in Delhi, but if they can grant me access to the business center I can print out a scanned copy from my email.
The agent’s demeanor got much colder. I could tell he didn’t want to help me. But I was a Platinum and I wasn’t being overbearing, I was apologetic about the situation and sweetly hoping SPG could help. An impasse. I was informed I could only get an internet login once they checked me in, and they couldn’t check me in without my passport. I suggested checking my friends in to the second room because they did have their passports. The agent didn’t want to do that (my friends had been more forceful), but after much back and forth, I finally had an internet log in.
I ran to the business center, pulled up my passport file, which fortunately I could access online, and printed it out. The atmosphere thawed, they mentioned I’d been upgraded to a suite, and then I was asked for a copy of my India visa.
Yikes! I hadn’t even thought to scan a copy of that, which was safely glued to a page in my passport, 3 1/2 hours away. At this point the agent just wanted it all over. He asked if I had stayed at any other hotels in India on this trip, perhaps they had a copy. Whew! Park Hyatt Chennai to the rescue. We called them, and after I verified my identity on the phone they promised to find the copy, scan it, and email it to me. It would probably take a few hours, but at this point the ITC Mughal staff just wanted it done, so I was checked in with the promise I would email them a copy as soon as I had it.
Travel Lesson Learned: Keep a copy of your passport on you at all times when traveling abroad, and keep an online copy in a secure location as well. If you’re traveling somewhere that needs a visa, make copies of that as well!
Incidentally, this was about a year ago and though the lobbies of the ITC Mughal were quite nice, to be a Luxury Collection Hotel, the rooms and hallways desperately need a renovation. Though as a Category 2, still a bargain on points.
The wallpaper in my suite was peeling, things generally looked worn, and the refreshment center/bar didn’t even have a bottle opener.
The spa looked amazing though and the restaurants were good but expensive.
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