In the U.S. you generally check into a hotel, provide a credit card, and many guests don’t check out. It’s polite to let the hotel know you’re leaving so they can clean and turn over your room for the next guest as early as possible. However about the only selfish reason to check out usually is to make sure you get a copy of the bill.
In many parts of the world, including Asia, checking out is far more customary and can take a surprising amount of time. They’ll run your credit card again with you present and insist you sign before leaving.
Last year when departing the Conrad Bora Bora Nui the hotel’s credit card system was down as I was trying to depart. They couldn’t get their link to process Amex cards to work, which caused me to miss out on a Hilton Amex offer. I eventually had to pay with a Visa in order to leave and took up the discrepancy after making it back home.
A Japanese man’s hotel scheme shows why the American model of ensuring payment up front matters. A 23 year old unemployed man spent 15 nights in Shima City in Central Japan. He ran up a bill of 5 million yen (US$48,000).
Police said Koki Taketoshi, of unknown address, was arrested on Tuesday and has admitted to staying in the hotel, even though he didn’t have enough money to pay for it.
According to police, Taketoshi checked into the hotel on Oct 18 and stayed until Nov 2 without the intent or ability to pay. He also invited some friends to the hotel restaurant.
…On Nov 2, a hotel employee took Taketoshi to Toba Police Station, where they learned that he only had 140,000 yen in his possession.
There are better ways to approach this for someone who wants to run up big hotel bills and not pay. One strategy is not actually checking in, just pretending to be with previous guests who’d left and billing their room. Another is not actually checking out, climbing out the hotel window and onto power lines to escape the bill.
He should have just charged it to the Underhills.