Travel advisory: do not text and ride the hotel elevator

I pay close attention to safety when staying in a hotel.


If the reception agent giving me my key announces my room number out loud, I reject that room.

I make sure to close and lock the door when in the room and never open it unless I’m sure I know who is outside.

And if someone follows me out of the elevator down the hall towards my room, I make sure they’re well down the hall before unlocking my door.

I’ve just heard too many scary stories.

But last night at the Island Shangri-La Hong Kong, where I have been graciously hosted the past few nights as part of a Cathay Pacific organized trip that began with a 777-300 ER delivery flight from the Boeing plant in Everett, Wash., I was the one who frightened another guest.

In my defense, I’d been up since 3 a.m. and had spent the day working on last minute entries for my new book about museums (details another day) and touring the city. I was exhausted and anxious about packing and finishing up some tasks before a 5 a.m. wake-up call.

And I was reading email and sending messages during the elevator ride up to the 53rd floor.

The elevator emptied out and, still reading my email, I followed the last passenger off the elevator and down the hall.

I noticed he was dawdling a bit and he stepped aside as I got to my room. I thought about turning back, but decided to push by him and get into my room as quickly as I could.

But my key didn’t work in the lock. I started to panic a bit and then realized he was behind me making some alarmed noises.

Turns out, I was at the right room, but on the wrong floor!

I apologized, finally looked at the panicked man, figured out he didn’t speak English, apologized again and ran.

It’s a fancy hotel – and in fact, I noticed today that there’s a security person stationed at the end of the hallway on my (real) floor.

I hope he’s not there to make sure I don’t hassle other guests. But if he is, I apologize again. And I promise to never again text and ride a hotel elevator.