When we travel in the U.S., we stay in mid-budget motels that are clean and comfortable and in safe locations. Doors are opened with a plastic card with a magnetic strip we think is secure.

But on our trip to Bohemia this month, we were amazed the newest door locks are completely different from what we’re used to. We haven’t patronized 5-star hotels to know if they are as advanced as the ones we encountered on our tour.  Our tour company had reserved rooms for us in luxurious 5-star hotels, most likely owing to the slower spring season that got them good rates, so it was our chance to learn how advanced their door locking systems were like.

At our first hotel in Prague, we were given a magnetized but otherwise blank card. At our room, there was a strip about 4 inches on the wall near the door that we had to rub in a circular fashion till the green light came up and we heard a CLICK, at which we merely pushed the door open without turning a door knob.

The next hotel  gave us a plastic card with a meal dot on it, and it was much easier to make contact with the metal dot on the wall strip adjacent to the door. Again, we just pushed the door open as soon as the clicking noise sounded.

At the last hotel, the challenge was more demanding.  We were given a heavy plastic rectangle twice the size of a credit card. The strip was above the door handle, and there were two knobs below it.  When the card made contact with the strip, there was a CLICK and a green light, and we had to turn one of the two knobs below to the left or the right to push the door open.  Our friend who had the room next to ours never managed to open hers without help from my husband or the guide.  Her knob turned right while ours turned to the left, and luckily my husband is technically more adept than I and quickly learned how to open ours and our friend’s.  Had it been left to me, I’d have stood outside our door until someone who had mastered how to quickly turn the knob quickly after the green light flashed and there was a click could open the door for me.

So while traveling is fun, there are challenges even to open doors equipped with modern security devices!



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