We are planning on converting several of our private rooms into dorm rooms. In the past we've only had private rooms (2,3, or 4 people) but since the 4 person rooms were often going unbooked we figured it would be better to convert them to dorms. They are pretty much already set up as such with bunk beds, but I'm wondering about lockers. We have no room to install any even if we wanted to. Now of course I've stayed in plenty of hostels without lockers and while it wasn't ideal it wasn't a major problem, especially as our dorms will be small (4 bed). I wouldn't want to stay in a 16 bed dorm with no lockers.
However, I seem to remember most hostels that didn't have lockers did have some sort of secure deposit boxes in the office for small valuables like passports, credit cards, ipods etc.
So my questions are... are we required to offer somewhere safe for guests to store valuables? If someone has something go missing from their dorm, can we be held liable? From my experience hosteling, people who sleep in dorms generally understand the risks and take certain precautions (moneybelt in the pillow case etc.) but then again it would be the less experienced hostelers who might not take these precautions, wind up having something taken, and then raising hell.
So what is the liability for a hostel? If we offer somewhere to store valuables (a safe in the office) and someone does not take us up on this offer and has something nicked, are we absolved from responsibility?