This was a case about signs and how the content should be interpreted. One of the terms on the signs was an apparent agreement to reduce the guests expectations of the hotel's responsibilities - to the guest's detriment.
A notice posted in all bedrooms of a residential hotel contained the following clause: “The proprietors will not hold themselves responsible for articles lost or stolen unless handed to the manageress for safe custody. Valuables should be deposited for safe custody in a sealed package and a receipt obtained.” A resident left the hotel for a few hours, and following the custom usual in the hotel, she deposited her key on a key-board in the hotel office. During her absence an unauthorised person entered the hotel, took her key, and stole several articles of clothing from her room. In an action for damages against the proprietors:—
Held – (i) the notice, read as a whole, must be construed as referring to valuables, such as jewellery, and not to ordinary clothes.
(ii) there was clear evidence of negligence on the part of the proprietors in failing to ensure that no unauthorised person would be able to obtain possession of the key, and there was neither acceptance of the risk nor negligence on the resident's part in acquiescing in the system, and, therefore, the resident was entitled to succeed.
You can download a copy of the court report below