Is It Safe to Use a Hotel Room Safe? [2022]

Should you use a hotel safe or are you better off hiding your valuables somewhere else?

In this article, I’ll give a breakdown of just how secure hotel safes are (or aren’t) and give you some tips and considerations to think about.

Is it safe to use a hotel safe?

Generally, a hotel safe is a safer place to store your belongings than open areas in the hotel room but they are not 100% secure.

Below, I’ll cover a lot of the risks and other considerations you will want to think about when storing your belongings.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

hotel room safe
Hotel safes are not 100% secure but they do help protect your personal items.

Are hotel safes really needed?

You might first be wondering if hotel safes are really needed?

Well, I would say yes they are needed based on some of the data.

There are studies out there that show that one in three housekeeping workers confessed to seeing a coworker steal cash on the job.

The study also shows that 16% said they were guilty of taking jewelry out of a guest’s room during or after their stay and “more than 27% witnessed a co-worker pick up jewelry they ‘found while cleaning.'”

Those statistics are much higher than I imagined which means that getting your items stolen or “found” by housekeeping is not an anomaly.

Hotel housekeepers should not have direct access to your safe (that should be reserved for management) so this means that placing items in your safe should at the very least make your items harder to steal from housekeeping.

The other threat comes from “door pushers.” These are thieves known to frequent places like Las Vegas and they walk through hallways trying to find doors that are not locked or shut.

So your first line of protection against these people will be locking your door and putting your valuables in a safe will be another level of protection.

Related: 11 Ways to Get a Free Night Stay at a Hotel

No hotel safe is 100% reliable

Master codes/keys

Just about every hotel has a master code or a master key that allows the hotel staff to open up a locked safe. This is because many guests will inevitably forget or lose their combinations to unlock the safe.

Hotel staff employees may have access to this code and also can probably easily get into your hotel room.

What is even scarier is that sometimes hotels will not change the default override code, even though such codes can often be found on the web, on forums, etc.

This means that any random person or someone knowledgeable about lock picking could find the default code and potentially access your safe if they enter your room.

So it is really important to always operate with the mindset that somebody could get to your belongings, even if they are located in a safe.


It does not take long when researching to find multiple ways to crack or hack hotel safes.

Some of these methods require a bit more sophistication but others are pretty simple like using a pinhole to access a safe. Some experts have shown how to crack a safe with just a paperclip and pocket knife and it’s probably easier than you imagine.

It would be impossible to cover all of the different ways to crack a hotel safe in this article but the key take away is that many hotel safes can probably be hacked with minimal effort/resources.

Low batteries

Another risk that could occur is that the hotel safe is running on low batteries.

A low battery safe could be disastrous because if it dies it could prevent you from accessing the safe which could be a major inconvenience, especially if you are on a time crunch.

You will likely have to contact the hotel maintenance staff to assist you with opening up the safe and depending on the aptitude and familiarity of the maintenance staff, that could prove to be a very time-consuming ordeal.

Even if they have a master code, a dead safe could present unexpected issues so one drawback to using a hotel safe is that they could introduce additional headache.

Related: Ultimate Late Check-Out Guide for Hotel Stays

Testing the password strength of your safe

Before you ever place any object in a hotel safe, you might want to check to see if the default password has been changed.

On some popular safes such as Saflok safes, the default password might be “999999.”

So if you created a pass code of something like “312879,” you could then test to see if the safe will open with default passwords like 999999, 111111, 222222, etc.

Sometimes you might have to hold the lock button or hit a button before inputting the master password such as the “#” or “*”button twice.

For illustration, here’s an example of someone hacking a Safemark hotel safe.

To test this, you can simply find the manufacturer/model of the safe in your hotel room and then a quick Google search might yield results for the default password.

Belongings to put into the safe

There are a lot of common items that people like to put into hotel safes. I’ll cover a few of these below and present you with some alternative ways of carrying or storing these goods.

How to think about a hotel safe

Before jumping into the items that you would use in a safe, it’s a good idea to think about the reasoning for using or not using a safe.

Some people think of a safe as just a way of making it harder to access your valuables rather than a sure fire method of preventing anybody from getting to them.

To them, putting valuables like a passport or cash in the safe is just making it one step harder for housekeeping/common intruders to take their goods.

On the other hand, a safe is also a place where sophisticated thieves will know to look when it comes to taking valuables.

If they know the master codes, chances are they could get into your safe and out in seconds and may not want to mess around with searching other random areas of the room.

This means that you could be better off finding a really good hiding place for your valuables and relying on stealth for your security.

If you want to really take your security to the next level, you could always put “lesser” valuables in the safe to throw off a potential thief and have your true valuables hidden elsewhere in the room or on your person.

For example, if you had $10,000 in cash on you, you might put a few hundred bucks in the safe and the rest of the cash in some type of hidden compartment within your luggage or belongings.


A point of debate is whether or not you should place your passport in the hotel safe.

Some travelers prefer to keep their passport on them at all times. This allows them to know without a doubt where their passport is located and if they ever need to use it when out and about they can easily do so.

The drawback is that you could misplace it of course or it could get stolen if it is contained within a bag that gets taken from you.

If you’re not sure the best place for your passport, you can always consider getting a (legal) duplicate passport and keep one passport in each location when traveling.

Duplicate passports usually are only valid for a couple of years so this is something you would have to do on a recurring basis.


Jewelry is another common item that people think about putting in the safe.

It is not recommended to wear expensive or flashy jewelry when visiting certain destinations known for petty theft so the hotel safe is a logical place to put those belongings.

But my recommendation would be to just always avoid wearing your fancy jewelry while traveling.


Cash might be one of the most common items that travelers will put into a hotel safe. It’s also the most commonly stolen item by housekeeping according to the survey above.

For that reason, putting your cash in the hotel safe is usually a way to decrease the odds of someone stealing your cash.

I would generally avoid traveling with large amounts of cash because it is so much of a security risk and it is so easy to just rely on a credit/debit card.

With that said, cash can be hidden on your person pretty easily with certain types of lanyards or belts.

It might be a good idea to diversify where you store your cash so that you could have cash in the safe, hidden in your luggage, and on your person.

Laptops and electronics

A lot of people traveling with expensive laptops such as MacBook Pros or electronics like fancy Canon cameras, tablets, headphones, etc. might consider putting them into a hotel safe.

These are all worthwhile items to put in a safe but some of them will not always fit.

If you are not able to carry these with you in a backpack as you travel then you might also consider hiding them in your luggage bag.

Just make sure that you also hide the charger and cords so that you do not give thieves any hints as to what type of electronics might be in your room.

Reception area safe

Some hotels have hotel safes located in the lobby area or perhaps behind the check-in desk.

These might appear to be safer but the same risks might be involved when using these safes since hotel management and others will likely have access to these safes.

Hotel liability

Hotels are generally not liable for your lost goods.

Typically, they will have some sort of disclaimer posted somewhere that explains that they are not liable for items left in hotel rooms.

In some cases, this disclaimer could exclude objects stored in a hotel room safe but generally the disclaimer covers objects not placed in the safe.

If a hotel has a broad disclaimer then one of your only routes for getting a hotel to be liable is to prove some type of negligence. For example, you might be able to prove that a hotel room safe was defective.

There is often a lot of difficulty with proving that a hotel staff member stole an item so sometimes these cases can be uphill battles that may not be worth the time and energy required to pursue them, especially if you were talking about a lower amount of money or valuables.

For that reason, I would not rely on a hotel liability policy to get reinstated for your lost items. You are much better off being proactive and trying to wisely choose what items you bring with you and how you store them.

Remembering to check the hotel safe at check-out

A lot of travelers don’t like to use hotel safes because they forget to check the safe before they check out.

They may not remember that they placed valuables in the safe until they are boarding their plane at which point it is too late to run back to the hotel.

You can always set reminders on your smart phone to remind you to check the hotel safe around the time you were checking out but sometimes your checkout time might change or your reminders may not trigger properly.

So my favorite low-tech method for remembering to check the hotel safe is to tie a piece of string to the safe from your luggage bag.

This serves two valuable functions.

First, unless you completely forget to take your baggage with you, you will always be reminded to check the safe before you depart and pack up your bag.

Second, if you pay close attention to the placement of the string and even snap a photo, you will be able to tell if someone has entered your room and perhaps tampered with your safe.

My (anecdotal) personal experience

I have done extensive traveling over the past seven years and stayed in a lot of hotels in different types of countries (first world and not so first world).

I’ve used hotel safes on occasion and other times just placed my belongings in my luggage bags while I am away from the hotel room.

Other times, I have left items in plain sight on the nightstand or some other type of hotel room furniture.

I’ve never had an item stolen from a hotel.

Obviously, my experience is anecdotal but I just wanted to share that it is perfectly possible to do a lot of traveling and never encounter any issues with theft from your hotel room.

Of course, I should probably knock on wood now.

Hotel room safe FAQs

Can a hotel access your hotel room safe?

Yes, hotel staff members likely can access your hotel room safe by using a master code/key that can override your personal code.

Should I put cash in the hotel room safe?

Traveling with large amounts of cash is generally not a good idea and should be avoided. However, cash is one of the most commonly taken items by housekeeping so placing it in a safe could be a good idea.

Does housekeeping steal items from hotel rooms?

On occasion, yes. One survey revealed that 43% of housekeepers reported stealing personal items from hotel guests.

Can you have money stolen from a hotel safe?

Although it is not a likely occurrence, there are reports online of people having money stolen from the hotel safe.

Is my passport safe in the hotel room safe?

Your passport is usually safer in the hotel room safe than it would be just lying around the room. However, some people prefer to always keep their passport on their person when traveling.

Final word

A key take away here is that hotel safes can make it one step harder for people like housekeeping or intruders to take your items.

However, if someone has access to the default/master codes they will be able to access your safe and many hotel safes are not that difficult to hack.

So you should never think of a hotel safe as a 100% secure way of storing your goods.

Instead, you should put a lot of thought into what type of objects you need to travel with and what type of alternative storage methods you can use that might be more secure.

A Review of the Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort in the Algarve Portugal

Hotel Review Portugal Algarve
Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort

We recently explored the Algarve in Portugal for a weekend and decided to base our stay in Albufeira. It was right in the middle of the different districts in the Algarve so it seemed like a great location. During our stay we stayed at the Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort. It touts itself as a five star hotel which seems like a bit of a stretch when compared to five star hotels in other cities like Las Vegas. However, even if it does come a little bit short compared to Las Vegas five-star standards, we still loved this place and would recommend it to anyone.

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Hotel Review Portugal Algarve

Location: B+

The location for hotel is okay. There are some restaurants and bars in walking distance but the most interesting part of the city, which is Old Town Albufeira in my opinion, is about a 45 minute walk. There’s a shuttle bus that runs from the hotel into the town center so that helps but if you stay at this hotel and want to have a good night out with a couple of pitchers of sangria, your best bet is to rely on a cab to get back because it’s going to likely be a long walk.

Hotel Review Portugal Algarve

Service: A+

Extremely friendly, helpful, and courteous. They also all spoke great English and seemed to go out of their way to make sure that everything was okay for us.

Cleanliness: A+

This was probably one of the cleanest hotels we’ve stayed at in any European country to date.

Rooms: A+

The rooms were huge and our studio came with a microwave and stove top and plenty of dishes. The bathrooms were pretty spacious as well. We decided to save some $ and not go with the ocean view rooms but I’m sure those would’ve been great. If you’re coming from the United States, this is the type of room size you come to expect but have a hard time finding in Europe for any kind of reasonable price, so it was great to finally have a room where we had plenty of space to put out our belongings and move around.

Hotel Review Portugal Algarve

Beds: A/B

If you love firm mattresses then you will be in heaven here… however, if you’re like me and prefer a softer mattress it will take a little getting used to. Still, there were plenty of soft blankets and pillows to help out so I slept every well. Also, the beds are huge! I think our bed may have been a California king or something because it was one of the biggest beds I’ve ever slept in.

Hotel Review Portugal Algarve

Bang for Buck: A+

We were able to use an Expedia coupon and get a $50 discount on our hotel so we only paid about $75 for two nights! Compared to other hotels we’ve stayed at in Amsterdam, Paris, and Madrid, this was an absolute steal!  Even without the $50 discount it still would’ve been a great deal for us, given its great location, spacious rooms, and amazing service.

Hotel Review Portugal Algarve

Overall: A

Overall, I highly recommend this hotel and would definitely consider staying there again for our next stay in the Algarve. If you’re interested in staying at this hotel click here to find the latest deal!

Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort in the Algarve Portugal FAQ

What restaurants are at Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort in the Algarve Portugal?

You can find the following restaurants:

Real Cozinha Restaurante
Real Bar & Steakhouse
Atlantic Restaurante-Bar

How far away is Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort in the Algarve Portugal from Lisbon Portela Airport?

The hotel is approximately 2 hours 19 minutes from Lisbon Portela Airport by car.

What is the phone number for Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort in the Algarve Portugal?

The phone number for Grande Real Santa Eulalia Resort in the Algarve Portugal is +351289598000.

The Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls: Best Hotel at the Falls?

If you’re looking for a reasonably affordable, yet luxurious experience when staying at Niagara Falls, the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa may be a great choice for you. Here’s a review of my recent stay at the Fallsview Hotel and some photos to go along with it.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Location: 5/5

I started my hotel search for Niagara Falls by looking for the hotel with the best view of the falls. That was really the most important factor to me and I was willing to shell out a little extra if needed. I did some research and found articles that consistently listed the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa as one of the best (if not the best) hotels for a great view of Niagara Falls.


I was not disappointed whatsoever with the view from our hotel room. It was really the perfect height. We were on floor 16 and didn’t feel too removed from the falls so that it was hard to appreciate its immensity but definitely high enough to appreciate both the Canadian and American sides of the falls. The photo above, taken around sunset, was taken from the window in our hotel room.

It takes about 5-10 minutes to get down to the actual falls area from the Fallsview Hotel. There’s a back exit that you leave out of that will shoot you right to the walkway where you can head to take the Niagara Falls Funiculars to get down to the falls quickly. (If you’re staring at the Starbuck in the lobby then head left along the back wall until you arrive at the back exit.) Alternatively, it will take you about a 10-15 minute walk to head down to Murray St where you can make your way down to the falls for free. It’s really about as close to the falls as you can get.

There are a number of restaurants around the area at pretty much every corner. Clifton Hills is about a 20-30 minute walk from the hotel and it is the hub of all things touristy for Niagara but you can still find plenty of places in the direct vicinity of the hotel. Do some research ahead of time and you can discover cool little restaurants  like Zappi’s Pizza that can add a bit more to your experience than just eating at the big chains. Other nearby attractions include the Skylon Tower and the Niagara Casino.

Service: 5/5

The service at this hotel was top-of-the-line. From check-in to check-out, the attendants were polite, professional, and always seemed eager to help us out.

There were some complaints in online reviews about this hotel taking a long time for the valet service to get you your car ready but they took all of 5-10 minutes to pull out our vehicle when we needed it. I suspect this can get much slower during peak check-out hours (e.g., 11am to 1pm on a Sun), so I think the key is to just try to avoid peak hours when getting your car out of valet. By the way, the parking is expensive at $35CAD daily. It’s a bit steep and you can find parking in nearby lots for cheaper but if you really value convenience (and not lugging your bags around in the cold), then it might be worth it. (I honestly don’t think the price is that outrageous for a completely touristy area when compared to some other parking rates found at similar tourist meccas, at least not with the current exchange rate.)

In addition to the parking service, the room service was very prompt as well. This was one of the first times Brad and I actually took advantage of room service at a hotel so I don’t have too much to compare it to but the fact that they were very professional and quick seems like enough for me. We ordered their brownie cheesecake (pictured below) and it was verrry good… we also ordered their crème brûlée the next night but it left a little to be desired….

Amazing cheesecake!
Chocolate Strawberries1

Since it was Brad’s birthday, I surprised him with chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. It was a bit of a splurge but it was worth it for the experience. The room service guy even offered to pop the top on the bottle and pour our first glasses for us. The strawberries were rich and fresh and I thought the bubbly was okay, though Brad wasn’t huge on it. Still, the combo of chocolate-covered strawberries + champagne + hot-tub on a cold December day at Niagara = a pretty unforgettable experience.

Chocolate Strawberries2
Chocolate Strawberries3

If you do want to surprise your S.O. with something like strawberries they typically deliver the goods about 45 min – 1 hour after you check-in. The front desk will ring you and let you know that a delivery is on its way so you can be ready. So make sure that you’re ready for it and if you’re planning on it being a true, live surprise (i.e., your partner doesn’t know what’s going on until you open the door) then make sure that you answer the phone when they call your room and think of a good excuse as to why they are calling so your partner won’t suspect anything. For example, when they called up our room to confirm delivery, I feigned a conversation about “fixing the wifi” to throw Brad off the surprise scent and it worked. If you really want to be slick I guess you could always just call ahead some time that day and tell the hotel to deliver everything without calling your room.  Whichever way you choose to go, the chocolate strawberry + champagne is a great option that adds a lot to your experience at the hotel.

Facilities: 4.5/5

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to check out the gym or spa at this hotel  so I can’t comment on those but as for the overall lobby, hallways, etc., everything was very clean and kept up. The interior of the public areas didn’t exactly blow me away so I’m giving it a 4.5 but I don’t have any real complaints about it.

One great thing about this hotel is that there’s a Starbucks located in the lobby. I think it’s an actual Starbucks and not just a “we proudly brew Starbucks” cafe. Although I much prefer Tim Horton’s over Starbucks while in Canada, it’s always nice to have something right there that’s super convenient.

Rooms: 5/5

We went with the bi-level loft (with fire place and whirpool) and it was really one of the coolest rooms I’ve ever stayed in in a hotel. First, it’s just really cool to have two floors in your hotel room, especially when one side of your room is a giant glass wall overlooking one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world — Niagara Falls. That’s what you can expect with the bi-level suite.


As stated, we were located on the 16th floor — a perfect floor for admiring the falls and a pretty good vantage point for the firework show they put on every Friday night.


These bi-level suites have two full bathrooms, two fire places, two tv’s, a king bed, and a giant hot-tub! The hot tub is pretty huge and is the perfect way to relax after journeying around in the cold all day around the falls and Clifton Hill. I honestly didn’t feel much heat from the fireplace but even if it is there for mostly show, it’s still a nice cozy addition to the room.


The window in the room only opens up about 5 inches for safety reasons. It’s quite a small opening but enough for you to stick your camera or phone through and get some good shots. The room also comes with remote-controlled curtains for the top window (point your remote at the little white, fire-alarm looking thing in the corner of the window to get it to work properly).


The room had an empty refrigerator, a sofa that pulled out to a bed, and these cool lamps/alarm clocks that had outlets built into them so you didn’t have to fool around with searching for outlets behind your night stand. The bed was comfortable with medium softness and came with some very comfy pillows. I wasn’t crazy about the interior design and furniture of our room and felt like they were just lacking a little bit of sleekness that would’ve gone better with the overall vibe of having a bi-level loft, but I really don’t feel like it took away from our experience at all.


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Internet: 5/5

The internet was free for us since we are Marriott Rewards members and the speed was pretty good. I forgot to test the internet speed while I was there but at one point I was streaming some ESPN (which usually requires a decent connection) and the stream was coming in just fine. Thus, I think whatever the connection speed was, it was good to excellent.

Bang for Buck: 4.5/5

The rates for this room can vary depending on the season. For example, the rates for a night in the middle of the summer of 2016 as of right now (December 2015) are for $399 CAD per night. We payed about $50 CAD less than that. One thing I’ve noticed by scanning through the rooms is it seems there’s limited availability for these bi-level lofts so you want to try to book as far as ahead as possible. If the price is a bit high for you, this hotel has plenty of cheaper options closer to $199 CAD per night (or even less). So unless you’re really trying not spend much money at all, you should be able to find a room for your budget.

Overall: 4.8

Overall, I really enjoyed every second of my experience in this hotel. I will definitely consider staying at the Marriott Fallsview again whenever I return to Niagara, it’s simply a nearly perfect hotel that has everything I like about hotels (great location, views, service, comfy bed and hot-tub, etc.). The rooms could use a slight upgrade when it comes to furniture but if you get a room with a whirlpool and a good view of the falls you won’t even be thinking about what color your sofa is so it’s really a moot point.

Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls FAQ

How many points are needed for a free stay at Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls?

Prices may vary based on the type of room and season but you can find standard room redemptions for as low as 50,000 points.

What restaurants are at Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls?

You can find the following restaurants:

Morton’s Grille Steakhouse
Terrapin Cafe
Lobby Lounge

How far away is Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls from Toronto Pearson International Airport?

The hotel is approximately 1 hour 11 minutes from Toronto Pearson International Airport by car.

How much does an Uber cost from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls?

You can find Uber rates from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls for as low as $113.

What is the phone number for Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls?

The phone number for Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa at Niagara Falls is +19053577300.

Grand Colony Villas Hotel at Ambergris Caye, Belize Review

The Grand Colony Villas Hotel at Ambergris Caye, Belize, is definitely one of my top hotels I’ve ever stayed at. The service was phenomenal, the room exceeded expectations, and we enjoyed having a spacious and beautifully decorated room to “come home” to each night we were there. Here’s a review of the Grand Colony at Ambergris Caye in San Pedro, Belize.

Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Location: 4/5

The hotel is located right on the beach and many of the rooms have beach front views. The beaches on Ambergris Caye aren’t the most stunning (it’s really all about the reefs there, in my opinion); however, the beaches are still great for lounging around and you can easily rent kayaks or go for a dip to take advantage of your close proximity to the ocean.

The hotel is located about a 5-10 minute taxi ride south of “downtown” San Pedro, which means that the you’ll have to get up in your golf cart or a taxi each time you want to venture into the heart of downtown or settle for about a 30 minute walk (taxi rides to downtown from here are $5USD one way). However, there are a number of places to eat and stores just a few seconds away from the hotel so you can definitely get by without venturing into downtown if you don’t want to. While it’s a little inconvenient to be away from downtown, if you’re looking for a quiet area to stay at, this area definitely fits the bill.

One thing I really loved about this hotel was that it was located right next door to the Belize Pro Dive Center, whom we did an amazing intro scuba dive with. The dive center was great and having them located about 60 seconds away from our hotel was even better. However, even if your dive center’s HQs are located on another part of the island, they’ll usually come by and pick you up from the nearest dock anyway.

Service: 5/5

The service was absolutely great at the hotel. The main desk is located in a little building on the other side of the street from the entrance and there is usually someone there from  about 8 to 5 pm (you can inquire with the neighboring hotel’s front desk if outside of those hours).

Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony
The main desk

As soon as we checked-in a staff member took our luggage up the three flights of stairs for us and we were given a walk through for our rooms and shown all the features. They were very helpful with booking tours, recommending places to eat, offering to make restaurant reservations, and helping us book taxis. Basically anything that we didn’t know or wanted to know, they would help us out in finding the answer.

What I really appreciated the most from the staff is them allowing us to have a late check out at 2 pm. Because of that we were able to fit in some more diving on our last day, which really completed our experience at Ambergris Caye. Talk to the staff about a late check out – as long as they don’t have any guests coming in that day, they will probably let you do it.

Facilities: 4/5

There aren’t any facilities at the hotel besides the pool area, which is really nice as you can tell by the photos. The landscaping is pretty stunning as well. However, there’s no lobby or bar or restaurant located in the hotel so I gave it 4 stars. This wasn’t a big deal since we could have all of those things by simply going next door and I’m pretty sure they could even charge our meals to our room number in the Grand Colony.

Rooms: 5/5

Our room was basically an apartment, and a very spacious one at that. The walls and ceiling were beautifully decorated and the furniture and decor had a very relaxing, amber tone.

The main bedroom had a comfy mattress and pillows and came with a huge bathroom that contained a large tub and a nice shower.

Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony
Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony
Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony

Another bedroom had two twin beds that could be pushed together and had its own bathroom with a shower as well.

Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony
Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony

There was a nice living room area with a tv, comfy couch, and relaxing decor.

Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony

The kitchen was fully equipped as well. It had multiple sinks, plenty of counter space, a full-sized refrigerator and freezer, stove, microwave, toaster, trash compactor, etc. It had everything. We even had a washer and dryer!

Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony
Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony

Outside, there we had a balcony overlooking the pool and with a pretty great view of the ocean as well. (If you’re on the first or second story you probably can’t see the ocean from this part of the hotel and you’d want to look into booking the beach view rooms.)

Ambergris Caye Hotel Grand Colony
The view from the balcony!

I really think the hotel is perfect for families looking to stay longer (4-7 days). In that case, you could load up on groceries and enjoy cooking yourself a few meals without any issues, take advantage of the washer/dryer machine, and have plenty of room to relax and not feel confined to a small hotel room.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

Internet: 4/5

When we first arrived the internet was basically non-existent but it did pick up later on and actually worked quite well. Ambergris Caye is definitely not some place where you want to spend all of your time on the internet so the slow-speed wasn’t too bothersome but it was nice when the internet picked up its speed for us.

Bang for Buck: 4/5

For peak season (Jan 3 to May 1), this 2 bedroom villa is $599 per night and in the low season it is $499 per night. It’s a bit on the pricey side and although we booked it with points, we still thought that the value was good considering how spacious the villa was and how excellent the service was.

Overall: 4.3

Overall, this hotel is great for families, small groups of friends, or for couples looking for a luxurious and open room layout for their stay. This was a little bit of a splurge for us since we were there for my birthday weekend but I definitely enjoyed having such a nice and open room for my relaxation. If you’re a budget traveler, there are plenty of cheaper options you can search for here, but if you desire a bit of luxury then you might want to give this place a shot.

Grand Colony Villas Hotel at Ambergris Caye, Belize FAQ

What is the phone number for Grand Colony Villas Hotel at Ambergris Caye, Belize?

The phone number for Grand Colony Villas Hotel at Ambergris Caye, Belize is +0115012264270.

Intro to Hotel Loyalty Programs

This article is part of the multi-part MTH (“Make Travel Happen”) series designed to provide beginners with all the information needed to reach their travel goals. 

Most hotel loyalty programs have a tiered loyalty system where you are given more perks and benefits as you spend more nights at their hotels and are awarded higher tiers of status. Some of the loyalty programs have 3 tiers, while others have a 4-tiered system. Many of the benefits are standardized across tiers but some of the programs offer certain benefits that others don’t at similarly ranked tiers. Here’s an overview of the different tiers offered by five of the major hotel programs and a look at how you could earn status with these hotels.   

Entry-level tier

Typically, the first tier is “earned” as soon as you sign-up for the loyalty program. It’s a sweet deal because just for the few seconds it takes to put in your contact information, you can get benefits like free internet, 5th night free benefits, and sometimes even late check out. The free internet and 5th night free benefits can be quite valuable especially when you consider that you’re getting those benefits just or signing up with the program. 

Example of entry-level tiers include:

  • Hilton HHonors Blue Member
  • Hyatt Gold Passport Member
  • IHG Rewards Club “Club” Member
  • Marriott Rewards Member
  • SPG Preferred Member

As I’ve stated before, another benefit of signing up for these programs is that you might become eligible for targeted credit card offers, so it’s always a good idea to sign-up. 

First tier

The next tier is the first “true tier” since it will actually require you to have hotel stays at the hotel. These tiers typically require around 10 stays to qualify for them, although some programs like SPG don’t even have an easily obtainable first tier. On occasion, you might get randomly granted first tier status, as last year IHG randomly bumped me from Club to Gold Elite after I had transferred points and made a booking with IHG (but hadn’t stayed a single night). 

These benefits may include:

  • Priority check-in/late check-out (as opposed to guaranteed)
  • Bonus rate of earning points with reservations (around 15 to 20%)
  • Discounts on certain bookings, gift shops, etc.
  • Complimentary internet (usually standard speed)

Example of first tiers include:

  • Hilton HHonors Silver Member — 4 stays or 10 nights 
  • Hyatt Platinum Membership — 5 stays or 15 nights 
  • IHG Rewards Club Gold Elite Member — 10 nights 
  • Marriott Silver Elite Member – 10 nights 

Credit cards that will automatically offer you these statuses include: 


The mid-tiers are those levels achieved just before you reach the highest level. At this level, the benefits start to become much more attractive. This is the level that I think interests the average traveler the most since there is usually good value in the benefits and the tiers can often be obtained automatically with credit cards (with no stays or nights required). 

These benefits may include:

  • Complimentary breakfast for you and your guest
  • Lounge Access
  • Late check-out (up to 4pm)
  • Upgrade eligibility 
  • Gifts/bottles of water
  • Enhanced (high-speed) internet
  • Bonus rate of earning points with reservations (around 25%)

Examples of mid tiers include:

Credit cards that will automatically offer you these statuses include: 

Highest Tier 

The highest tiers offer enhanced benefits from the mid-tier levels, but many times the benefits aren’t necessarily going to blow you away compared to what’s offered by mid-tier status.  

These benefits may include:

  • Guaranteed reservation if made before 48 hours of booking
  • Better or more frequent room upgrades
  • Complimentary gifts
  • Increased bonus rate of earning points with reservations (50% to 100%)
  • Dedicated reservation lines
  • Complimentary status with airlines (Marriott and United)

Personally, I find that the value to obtaining the highest status to only be of high value when the benefits serve a specific purpose. 

For example:

  • If you’re a frequent business traveler the increased bonus earning rate of up to 100% can create substantial additional earnings over time.
  • If you frequently find yourself in positions where you’re attending events last minute and struggling to find availability at hotels, the guaranteed room benefits can be invaluable.
  • If you frequently fly with an airline like United then the complimentary Silver status can provide you with many potential upgrades on your flights. 

Of course, it’s always nice to have a better shot for better upgrades and the little gifts or exclusive deals that are offered at times due to your status, I’m just not sure that these benefits would motivate me to obtain elite status without an additional specific benefit. 

Examples of top tiers include:

  • Hilton HHonors Diamond Member — 30 stays or 60 nights 
  • Hyatt Platinum Passport Member — 25 stays or 50 nights 
  • IHG Rewards Club Spire Elite Member – 75 nights 
  • Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite Member — 75 nights 
  • SPG Platinum Member — 50 nights 

You’re probably not going to be able to find a credit card that will offer you automatic top elite status. Instead, credit cards will usually offer you “elite credits” that can be used to jump-start your way to top elite status, or in some cases, they’ll allow you to earn top status by spending a substantial amount of money (like $40,000 annually) on their card

If you don’t travel all the time for leisure or for business, spending 50 plus nights at a hotel is not easy and it might seem impossible to ever obtain top status with many of these hotel chains. The solution is usually to get on board with a credit card that offers you mid-tier status and then use hotel stays or status challenges/matches to reach top status. 

Status challenges

Status challenges are promotions that hotels regularly issue that will offer you an elevated status level if you stay in one of their hotels for X amount of nights or stays. Usually, they offer a sort of “fast track” to earn status so that you only have to stay around 10 or 12 nights to reach the next status level. Sometimes, the hotel will even allow you to experience the benefits of the elevated status tier while you’re working your way to complete the challenge.  

Status matches

Status matches are when a hotel program will grant you a certain level of status based on your existing status with another hotel loyalty program. Not every hotel (looking at you Marriott) will honor status match requests but it’s always worth a shot. Sometimes you can simply email someone at the rewards department of the hotel program you’re gunning for and request a match. Other times, you’ll utilize an official status match process that the hotel advertises. For example, you can read about our successful status match to get Hilton HHonors Diamond status here

Lifetime status

Finally, if you maintain elite status for long enough and meet a certain amount of stays within those years, many hotel programs will off you lifetime status! Lifetime status is often subdivided by tier, so for example you could earn “lifetime gold status” or “lifetime diamond status.” You’ll need to maintain status for anywhere from 5 to 10 years and accumulate a lot of nights (easily 250+) or a lot of points if you’re planning on earning lifetime status. 

These programs that offer lifetime status include: 

Final Word

If you get into MTH heavy you will no-doubt obtain a couple of cards that offer elite status and you might eventually work your way up the tiers for most (or all) of these programs if you play your cards right with status matched and challenges. Ultimately, you’ll have to experience the benefits for yourself to see if status is worth it for you but speaking from personal experience, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the upgrades, free breakfasts, lounge access, and complimentary internet at many of the properties I’ve stayed at.