hotel peepholes too high for short people

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Mar 18, 2016
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#1
My husband have travelled widely, in both US and overseas. Something has bothered me for some time, and when I asked a hotel manager what to do, he offered a novel, but strange, solution.

I am 5'3" tall, and am unable to see through the peepholes in most hotel doors as they are placed way too high for me. I would need a step stool in order to see out. As I have gotten older, and the world more dangerous, I am more concerned for my safety. Should I be alone in my hotel room and someone knocks claiming to be hotel staff, what should I do? I can't avail myself of the peephole to see who is there: actual hotel staff or intruder. Opening the door, even with the chain or somesuch engaged, allows for potential push in robbery, or worse.

When I recently asked a manager at a Hyatt Regency hotel what to do, he suggested I book an ADA room as that would have an extra peephole at wheelchair height. I am not disabled, just a bit short. It seems wrong to book an ADA room that might be needed by an actual disabled person. What to do?

Is there any regulation, or hotel association standard, for the height at which peepholes are placed? Please realize that a taller person can always bend down to use the peephole. A shorter person needs a chair or step stool.

Are there other shorter people out there who are also concerned by this? By the way, we stay at four- and five-star properties. Mostly Hilton, Hyatt, Priority Club, Starwoods and Marriott. Many thanks for your input nad ideas.
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#4
To my knowledge peephole height isn't addressed in the national building codes anywhere other than ADA compliant rooms, which as johnbaker noted is 43". Some states have more stringent requirements, though.

You could do several things like book an ADA compliant room or ask for a stepstool to be provided. But my suggestion - and this is good for any solo traveler and regardless of peephole visibility - is to not open the door to anyone you're not expecting. If you do get a knock at the door from someone claiming to work for the hotel, ask them to wait a minute and call the front desk (or appropriate department) and ask them to verify the person and their name that has been sent to your room. If it's a stranger, ask them to meet you at the front desk in 5 or 10 minutes. Then call down after that time has elapsed and ask them to see if there is someone waiting for you. Ask delivery folks to leave the item at the front desk, etc.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#5
Why don't you just tell them you are shorter and ask for a step stool to use in the room? That way you don't take an ada room but can reach the peephole, high shelves, etc.
 
Likes: jsn55
Aug 28, 2015
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#6
I don't think I ever knew hotel rooms even had peepholes. If I ordered room service I open the door. If I didn't call anyone for any reason i call out no thank you or just leave it and don't open the door. Also 5'3.

Or just put on the do not disturb, problem solved.
 
Likes: divinemsmstl

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#8
There are no regulations about peepholes but this is a complaint many people have. My wife sometimes can't see who is knocking so she puts the chain on the door and opens it a tiny bit with her foot on the bottom of the door. Which looks silly to me when I am standing behind her.

I think you should post this information on hotel Facebook and Twitter pages. It can be a safety issue for anyone who is short or the in a wherlchair and is something hotels should consider. If you rattle some chains, who knows?
As far as asking for an ADA room, if the room is empty, why not?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
Honestly as a female that travels a lot and alone for work I do not rely on peepholes. It is too easy for someone to stand to the side or for someone to hold up an "official" looking fake id (ie anotjher photo pasted on top). Please listen to the other posters in terms of unexpected knocks; call and check with the front desk. There was a group of criminals where I live doing push in robberies and they got people to come to the door claiming they were utility workers -- held up fake ids to peepholes.
 
Nov 3, 2015
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#10
As someone who travels often with a disabled family member and has been skunked on availability of ADA rooms, I'm going to suggest throwing this back on the hotel management -- that peepholes need to be lowered and/or doubled in doors.

And in the meantime, consider the other suggestions. Credentials can be slid under most doors; the front desk can verify if that person is on duty, and anyone else can meet you in the lobby, where you've been escorted by verified member of hotel staff. Or you can just stick with "no thank you", my standard answer as a woman traveling alone.
 
Sep 6, 2015
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#11
After ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews won her lawsuit against Marriott over someone videotaping her through the peephole on her door, I'm surprised hotels aren't removing them, rather making them easier to access. When I am traveling alone, I won't open the door unless I either have advance notice that from the hotel or I have gotten verification from the front desk.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#12
After ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews won her lawsuit against Marriott over someone videotaping her through the peephole on her door, I'm surprised hotels aren't removing them, rather making them easier to access. When I am traveling alone, I won't open the door unless I either have advance notice that from the hotel or I have gotten verification from the front desk.
So glad you brought up that story. That was terrifying. I still can't even fathom how the hotel put this man next to her.

A great rule of thumb is just not to open the door unless you are expecting someone. I liked @Christina H 's idea about verifying with the front desk, if you feel unsafe. Listen to your gut and just bc someone knocks doesn't mean you have to answer. Sometimes women worry, man may too but I can't speak for them, that it would seem impolite to ignore a knock or refuse to get in an elevator alone with a stranger. Most of us have had those moments but err on the side of caution.
 
Sep 1, 2015
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#13
As others mentioned, there is no national standard for peephole height in the US. ADA contains "guidelines" but unlike grab rails, door clearances, etc. there are no strict, measurable specifications for peephole heights. That said, many states and large cities have codes that provide requirements. Since you also travel internationally, some countries may have strict codes and others may have none.

I agree that you should not rely on the peephole anyway. After getting an unexpected knock on the door, you see a dark and distorted image of a man in a white dress shirt through the peephole. He says he's housekeeping, maintenance, etc. You really don't know.
 
Likes: AMA and jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#15
And here I go around, grumbling that everything is waist-high and I have to bend over too much. The most important part is DON'T OPEN THE DOOR. Just don't do it, ever. There are many ways to handle someone at your door, and my colleagues have laid out many excellent suggestions.
 
Mar 18, 2016
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#17
Why don't you just tell them you are shorter and ask for a step stool to use in the room? That way you don't take an ada room but can reach the peephole, high shelves, etc.
And how many stepstools do you think hotels have on hand? Not many, I'm sure.
 
Mar 18, 2016
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#19
To my knowledge peephole height isn't addressed in the national building codes anywhere other than ADA compliant rooms, which as johnbaker noted is 43". Some states have more stringent requirements, though.

You could do several things like book an ADA compliant room or ask for a stepstool to be provided. But my suggestion - and this is good for any solo traveler and regardless of peephole visibility - is to not open the door to anyone you're not expecting. If you do get a knock at the door from someone claiming to work for the hotel, ask them to wait a minute and call the front desk (or appropriate department) and ask them to verify the person and their name that has been sent to your room. If it's a stranger, ask them to meet you at the front desk in 5 or 10 minutes. Then call down after that time has elapsed and ask them to see if there is someone waiting for you. Ask delivery folks to leave the item at the front desk, etc.
Dear techno..guy: don't you think it would be better if hotels would just put those peepholes lower down on the door?
 
Likes: Neil Maley