Hotel peephole doctored for easy removal and spying

Last week, as Kent Brewster was leaving his hotel room in the morning, he found a small piece of crumpled paper on the floor of his room; he realized that this had been used to plug up the peephole in the door, which had been doctored to allow people in the hallway to spy on the goings-on in the room. Says Kent: " The hotel manager took care of me--and was just as freaked as I was, and instantly sent housekeeping to check every room--so I don't want to call them out by name ... but still ... brrr! Creepy!"

Check your peephole when you check in! (Thanks, Kentbrew, via Submitterator!)


  1. Regarding the admonition to “check your peephole when you check in,” I would like to refer you to the excellent post, “Checklist of Fear,” on

    We’re told that the equation goes like this: You just have to do this one tiny thing to prevent this other huge thing. But I don’t think the statistics stack up that way. The reality is that you have to do this HUGE mental thing in order to prevent a probably-will-never happen. Plus, you get co-opted to be a criminal against yourself. Now not only is your pharmacist out to get you, YOU are out to get you. If your pharmacist doesn’t steal two pills from you, you will surely take up the slack by stealing away your own time, your peace, your faith in the goodness of the world, your relaxation, the very safety of your mind.

    And once those little nuggets of cultural-wide fear-balm are in your brain, they’re hard to forget. I never put paper down on the toilet seat, never walk with my keys in hand, I take drinks from strangers, and I trust that the bank and my pharmacist haven’t shorted me. And yet these warnings cross my mind anyway, much as my mother’s voice looms up in my brain to convince me I’ve sinned, when I haven’t believed in sin for 15 years.

    Fuck. That. Shit.

    I wish I could start a global movement to ridicule people who pass off these little nuggets as must-haves for your daily itemized to-do list.

    1. Me like. I like to think that I don’t do a lot of things there because of my (sorely tested, on occasion) faith and optimism in humanity.

      The only thing that I do that’s a little like that is check that my front door’s locked a lot, due to a violent robbery a year ago and the fact that my memory sucks huge balls. I’ve managed to stop doing it as much on the basis that it’s always locked when I check it, and the reason I don’t remember locking it is that it was done out of habit.

  2. There’s a $75 peephole reverser at that apparently has the mechanical optical effects built in to allow reversal with no door modification–intended for law enforcement (i.e., illegal warantless surveillance?).

    I had no idea such an idea existed. A little tape should take care of that creepy problem. I suspect it’s widely used by thieves, not peepers. Never know, though.

  3. Perhaps the little ball of paper was intended to block the peephole to begin with.

    We had peepholes in the doors of our college dormrooms where I went to school, and it was common practice to turn them around on people as a prank. Sure, you could have used it for creepy purposes, but it was most often done to mess with someone.

    In a hotel setting, it’s a little more worrysome, but you have to remember that to do this, you need access to the inside of the room. I’m pretty sure the hotel staff who earn peanuts have better things to do with their time. Moreover, the sight of someone peering the wrongway through a hotel room peephole is likely to attract suspicion from even the most jaded traveler.

    Most likely explanation for this: Some fiddlefingers removed the nut-type fixture on the inside of the door in a moment of idleness and this is a one off thing.

  4. I used to be Concierge in a 5 star in London – this looks like a temporary house keeping fix. These peep holes used to separate regularly and we’d lose the parts. Obviously if the internal bit is missing you can see into the room. The most private temp fix was a bit of tape, but this was very obvious to the guest and drew attention to a damaged part of the room. The way to keep the room in use discreetly was to jam the hole with a bit of paper. This looks like a chain 4 star to me and I’d put money on it being housekeeping. This is a bit of an over reaction. Paranoid much?

    To be fair we used to get irate guests reporting similar things, after a while we learned to ask around before getting all righteous, but we had to experience it a few times before we could temper our response. :-)

  5. Knock on the door and watch the peep hole. When it goes dark from the shadow of someone stepping in front of the door or looking through it, kick the door in.

    I knew cops that would do this when serving warrants. Ever since I have kept a piece of paper in the peep hole or a piece of tape over it at home and on the road.

  6. I’m quite paranoid in that respect while on hotel rooms. Usual chores while setting in include checking for cameras in AC vents, fire detectors, lamps, TVs and wall decors, and of course on the bathroom fixtures. Black tape is handy for the peephole and other suspicious gaps. And of course, besides the useless chain or door lock hingey-thing in most doors, I always leave a chair wedged against the door handle/knob during the night. No need to say this can be a bit infuriating for other users of the room, but hey, better safe than sorry.

    And don’t get me started on bedspreads or remotes…

  7. There was a lawsuit years ago, against a motel in Coralville, Iowa. Seems one of the “special” rooms—huge bed, hot tub, you know what I’m talking about—also had a two-way mirror near the bed, and a video camera behind the mirror. When it became clear the hotel staff knew all about it, the verdict was 7 figures.

    What feels gross is the fact that I stayed in that room BEFORE the camera was discovered.

  8. Instead of being creep’d out and paranoid all of the time, I rest assured that I will hand out an epic ass whooping instantly to anyone who assaults me or anyone near to me.

    1. Thank you! I’ve been trying to convert my girlfriend to this philosophy.

      I said, “Don’t constantly worry about someone on the street raping you; now you know exactly how to gouge out their eyeballs and rip their earlobes off!”

      She’s coming around, a little at a time.

  9. Loraan —

    You’ve never sat down on a public toilet seat and gotten your ass wet? Damn, where do you live that the other people around you are so hygienic and well-mannered*? Around here, putting the paper on the toilet seat isn’t a paranoid thing guarding against something that never happens, it’s a perfectly pragmatic thing to protect against something that happens fairly regularly.

    And trying to imply that counting one’s change means that one is paranoid… my Yankee ancestors are laughing into their beards. And I’d bet that the cashier to whom I returned the extra $10 they’d accidentally given me in change last week thinks you’re wrong too.

    *Actually, that’s a bit of an unwarranted slam against my neighbors. Part of the problem is that many low-flow toilets get around the low water flow issue by pushing it through at high velocity, and it’s common to get droplets sprayed up on the seat. At that point, however, I really don’t care that whether the droplets are straight urine or just toilet water — I’d rather not have that touching my skin if I can avoid it.

  10. When you check into a hotel room, your privacy is your responsibility first, and the hotel’s second. Why didn’t he notice that when he checked in?

    Actually by peering very carefully into peepholes, I can usually see into the hotel room anyway. Have you ever tried that? Just darken the area around the peephole carefully with your hands when you peek inside, and you can get a pretty clear picture. Move your eyeball forward and back until you get a good focus.

    So the moral of the story is: Duct tape. Take it with you and use it for all kinds of things, and not just when your peephole is broken, but when it’s working as intended as well.

  11. I never heard of a reverse peephole viewer until my landlord came over and installed Secureaview peephole covers on all of our doors. He said that there are perverts everywhere and he wanted us to be safe.

  12. Two things: Normally, I’m too short to even use a peephole, so I don’t even notice if there is one to begin with.

    And, I’m not the type to run naked around my hotel room, so they won’t see much anyway. :)

Comments are closed.