I'm writing a story about people being stuck in a large hotel. One character wants to call a loved one, but I'm trying to think of a reason that they can't. My initial thought was that the front desk line needs to remain open for communication with authorities, but I don't see a reason why they wouldn't just use their room's phone.
My research so far has indicated that phones work even during power outages. Is there a reason that the main desk phone would work, but a hotel's room phones wouldn't? Most hotels I have been at require you to dial "9" before calling out. Could this play a factor?
I'm also open to suggestions on how the hotel management could communicate with local government without phones, if I had to completely "cut the wires".