Trapped in a Hotel Bathroom – What To Do If The Door Is Locked

Updated on August 31, 2017

window help me Hotel Bathroom

Have you ever been locked inside a hotel bathroom? And I don't mean Escape Room. We got trapped in the bathroom during a stay at the Sheraton Poznan, Poland.

First some questions and answers:

Why would you get locked in the hotel bathroom? Good question. Perhaps the lock is just stuck or broken in the locked position. Why lock the bathroom it in the first place? What do you mean – you don't lock the bathroom door? Of course, If you are alone there is no need to lock it.  And… If you are not alone, your travel partner/spouse/friend could probably open the door from the other side. Or maybe both of you are in the bathroom and someone just decided to lock the door. Force of habit I suppose. Now what?

What worked and what didn't

  1. Wiggle the door and lock mechanism. The lock sounded like it successfully  disengaged but door still won't open.
  2. Is there a phone in the bathroom? Yes! I call the front desk for help. This is an awkward phone call. “Hi, I'm locked in the bathroom. Can you help open the door?” They say they'll be right up. A few minutes later, I hear the door open and a metal thud. Shit. Is the front door security lock on?  Yep. Now what? Maybe they will have to take off the front door then help open the bathroom door. After another phone call, I am told a technician needs to be called to remove the lock, which will take at least 30 minutes, but I'm still not sure how they can open the security lock. Would removing the lock allow them to reach their hand into the room to open the security latch? Now this would be embarrassing if they break into the room then break into the bathroom…then I guess try not to laugh as they opened the bathroom door and tiptoe back out of the room.
  3. Ok, time to put on my MacGyver hat. Maybe I can lift the entire door and maybe the lock will release. Nope. This door was a heavy s.o.b. sliding door on a floor to ceiling track. It would not budge.
  4. What else? I looked for something to wedge between the door or to use as leverage in the handle to lift the door near the lock. I was able to unscrew the sink faucet handle which was a skinny piece of metal and tried to push it into the door cutout but it did nothing. There was no space under the door to fit the tool either. The metal faucet handle was too thin to give me any leverage (like pushing a 2 inch long pen). The toilet brush handle was another possible tool that caught my eye but I didn't find a way to use it.

    Sheraton Poznan Trapped in Bathroom - Faucet

    The faucet I tried to disassemble

  5. Lockpicking? The front desk confirmed that the horizontal position was the unlocked position. Is there any way to unscrew the lock? No. I tried sliding the lock to the locked position and unlocking/locking it many times. Fast a few times then slow. Didn't work. I could hear the lock disengage but it would open – must be stuck. Again and again. Damn it! I locked it tightly then unlocked firmly then tried again softly. I locked it and pushed the door towards the closed position then tried the various methods above then and pushing the door towards the open position to put tension on the lock mechanism. Back and forth with some more pressure and… boom the door burst open. SUCCESS!

At least it was a nice bathroom…

Sheraton Poznan Bathroom

Sheraton Poznan Poland - Bathroom

Why did the lock get stuck?

The lock was a metal hook inside the door. The edge of the hook had a fairly sharp end (like a claw) which may have been stock at the edge. Lifting the door could have helped if it wasn't so heavy or so tightly installed touching the rails without any wiggle room. Fortunately, I was able to do it myself without the assistance of the hotel staff, although they did try to help.

Have anything like this ever happened to you? What did you do?

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  1. when I was in college living in the dorms that happened to me. I banged on the wall for a while and eventually someone heard called maintenance. Since then I don’t lock bathroom doors.

  2. Could easily happen to me. I m always locking myself from the inside from the fear that someone walks in to my hotel room while i m sleeping.

    • I definitely lock the security bolt every time. I recall on more than one occasion someone trying to open the door while I was in my room. Turns out the front desk assigned the room to more than one person!

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