A Shunyi mom has contacted beijingkids with a frightening story of a holiday incident, which reminds us that however safe and crime-free China might be for the most part, we still need to be vigilant to ensure our safety and that of our family.
Polina Savelyeva-Gumbu, originally from Russia, has been resident in Beijing for nine years. This summer she traveled to Sanya with her husband and four-month-old baby, for what she hoped would be a relaxing vacation. However, it turned out to be a terrifying experience.
The family checked into the Holiday Inn Resort Sanya Bay Hotel on 14 August. Savelyeva-Gumbu noticed that one of the hotel staff was particularly attentive, carrying their bags up to their room and showing them all the facilities. She thought his behavior was odd, but was preoccupied with settling her baby.
Before going to bed that night, she locked both the room and the balcony doors. At 6am, she woke to nurse her baby as usual, but noticed that the balcony curtains were blowing in the wind. She called her husband, who confirmed that he hadn’t opened the balcony door. They looked out onto the balcony to find their belongings thrown there.
They had been burgled. Their money, passports, and wallets had been taken. Perhaps most frighteningly, a mobile phone had been taken from under the pillow on which Savelyeva-Gumbu’s husband was sleeping.
They notified the hotel, and the security manager came to the room. After taking some pictures, he advised them to wait for the police. He then went and knocked on the room next door, which is when Savelyeva-Gumbu realized the family staying there had been robbed as well. The burglar had apparently crossed from one balcony to the next.
Savelyeva-Gumbu told us that she was very unhappy with the hotel’s response. The family were moved to another room, though reluctantly, she says. However the hotel manager did not come to see them throughout their stay, despite repeated requests.
After they had returned home, they were contacted by a regional manager for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which owns the Holiday Inn chain. He apologized and gave them some insurance forms to complete, but said he could not offer them any compensation other than money-off vouchers. They would need to wait for the insurance claim to be processed, which could take up to six months.
Recently, Savelyeva-Gumbu was contacted by the Sanya police who advised her that an arrest had been made. She believes it possible that an employee of Holiday Inn may have been involved, but the person she suspects continued to work at the hotel throughout their stay.
IHG were invited to comment on this story, but to date have not responded. However, there is a happy ending of sorts: within a few hours of us contacting them, the insurance company notified Savelyeva-Gumbu that her claim had been accepted, and she would receive full compensation.