Hotels' Strangest Forgotten Items
False teeth, weird costumes, bags of drugs…these are just a few of the mislaid possessions
hotel staffers have discovered left behind.
The internationally famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma has stayed in hundreds, perhaps even thousands of
hotel rooms during his three-decade-long music career. So there was nothing immediately unusual
about his visit to New York
City’s Peninsula Hotel on
October 16, 1999.
Nothing unusual, that is, until the taxi Ma had taken to the hotel after an appearance at Carnegie Hall pulled
away—with his irreplaceable $2.5-million cello in the trunk.
“I made a stupid mistake and I just left without it,” Ma explained sheepishly the
next day to tabloid reporters, who had jumped on the story in a New York minute. In the meantime,
though, Peninsula Hotel staffers had put on their own virtuoso performance, contacting officials
all over town in order to track down the missing instrument (which was safely returned to Ma
Not every left-behind item requires quite the level of panic that Ma’s forgotten cello
created. But hotel staffers around the world have all had to figure out how to reunite mislaid
possessions—sometimes truly strange ones—with their owners.
While many of us who travel have probably left behind our house keys, umbrella, or scarf at
least once (and blamed jet lag—or just being “in vacation mode”), how many people
do you know who have left an entire haul of neatly wrapped Christmas presents in their hotel room?
Or, for that matter, a cheeky French maid’s costume? Or a briefcase full of cash?
No matter how bizarre their findings, however, hotel staffers are professionally trained to keep
their judgments in check. Amy Finsilver, the general manager at Boston’s XV Beacon Hotel, says she
demands that her employees adhere to a strict policy of discretion. “Nothing that ends up in
our lost and found—short of a space alien—shocks us,” Finsilver says.
“We’ve seen it all.”
From a sea of forgotten toothbrushes and cell phone chargers, we’ve collected the
strangest found-item stories from hotels around the world. Here’s hoping yours don’t
ever make the list.