Ever checked out of a hotel, travelled home, and then realised you left something behind in the room? An international sampling of 500 hotels has uncovered the oddest things left behind. While nearly 25% reported finding more and more forgotten iPads, laptops and smartphones, 10% of European hotels claimed an increase in abandoned x-rated items. Like adult toys and performance-enhancing drugs. Phew!

Among the oddest items recovered was a bag full of live snails in Budapest, a traditional Japanese Yakuza sword in Istanbul and a live snake in Washington. Still in Washington, $10,000 in cash was discovered concealed in different parts of one hotel room while in New York $20,000 in a suite. How on earth could anyone be THAT forgetful?

Easy is the answer! What about the New York couple who arrived home following their wedding, then realised they’d forgotten something. The bride’s dress…

And the cop who left behind in his Las Vegas hotel his badge and gun? And the hotel in Milan where housekeeping staff found a gun locked and loaded. Another in New York where they found bullets and yet another in Barcelona police ID badges. Surely enough combined props here for a TV cop series!

In fact, hotels around the world regularly encounter really strange and bizarre items left behind by guests. From life-sized teddy bears to diamond-encrusted jewellery, these odd finds can range from heart warming to outright bizarre. Here are some of the more unusual items that have been left behind.

A hotel in California found a life-sized teddy bear in one of its guest rooms, a bear so enormous it took three people to carry it out. A hotel in New York found a $10,000 diamond-encrusted ring that it was able to return to its grateful owner. And a hotel in Australia found a human skull which turned out to be a medical prop used for educational purposes while a hotel in England found a pet goldfish that hotel staff took care of until its forgetful owner returned to retrieve it.

One hotel in Germany found a vintage car left behind in one of its parking lots. Though the car was in great condition, its owner never returned to collect it. A hotel in Paris found a $100,000 painting that was eventually returned to its owner while a hotel in China found a human tooth whose owner claimed it fell out while brushing his teeth! A hotel in the UK once found a wedding dress still in its original packaging that a woman (stood up at the altar?) eventually came to collect.


And, not to be outdone, a hotel in the USA found an exquisite, multi-layer wedding cake left behind in one of its kitchens. The cake was still in excellent condition and, needless to say, the hotel staff soon finished the whole thing off…

These are just a few examples of the strange and bizarre items that have been left behind by guests in hotels throughout the world. While some of them may seem odd, they serve as a reminder of the unexpected and often quirky experiences that can – and do – occur (and surprise staff!) when we travel.


Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers ( all available online including eBooks (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.

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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.