No Rest for the Weary: How to Deal with a Noisy Hotel Room
By Matthew Greenspan | March 16, 2017
The first day of any vacation is never easy. By the time you arrive at your destination, you may have woken up at the crack of dawn; contended with heavy airport traffic; and stood on airport security screening lines that are longer than those at Disney’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (one of the most popular attractions in the park).
Added to those hassles, you may have been squished into a middle seat on the plane—or worse yet, assigned the last aisle seat adjacent to the lavatory. If you crossed time zones while traveling, your head might be feeling fuzzy and your body fatigued.
Breathe deep. You’ve accomplished all the hard work of getting to your hotel or resort. You can finally unpack, relax and unwind. Totally exhausted, you check into your guest room and flop down on your bed—craving sleep. But like the children’s classic, Things That Go Bump in the Night, you’re distracted by noise, lots of noise.
Unfortunately, the more you travel, the more likely it is you’ve encountered at least one noisy hotel room. I asked some fellow travel bloggers about their experiences with noisy rooms. Here is a sample of their reports:
On a road trip with her parents, a blogger’s room adjoined another occupied by two foul-mouthed guys who were drunk.
In a hotel in Seville, a blogger and her husband were assigned a room directly above a bar that opened its doors at 11PM.
When a blogger booked a hotel in Miami Beach, the pounding music from the all-night pool party within earshot of her room was deafening.
In London, another blogger’s room was next to one with a screaming child whose parents were constantly scolding her.
When a mom blogger settled in her room with her two kids, the family was met with the resounding noise of people having “very loud sex” next door.
I’ve had my own experiences, too. At a hotel in Barcelona overlooking a church courtyard, chatty street cleaners came to hose down the area with noisy equipment every morning at 5AM. At an elegant resort in Los Cabos, with a swim-up pool that extended the length of the building, a very loud and inebriated group of swimmers with beer cans frolicked in front of our patio during the daylight hours.
Having the bad luck to score a noisy hotel room is common but savvy travelers can take some steps to avoid getting those rooms or plot an escape from them.
Before you go
Before choosing a hotel, check out its location. You may want to rethink your choice if the hotel fronts onto a very trafficked street or is located in an area known for partying (e.g. Bourbon Street in New Orleans.) Read up on the neighborhood; sometimes, Google Maps’ street view can help you better see the precise location of a property.
Scan TripAdvisor reviews to see if prior guests have mentioned noise as a problem at a property or have left comments about particularly noisy rooms.
After you’ve booked a room, call the hotel’s front desk and tell them you’re a light sleeper and would like to have an interior (rather than street-view) room, perhaps one at a quiet end of the hallway. Make sure your room isn’t located next to the elevator.
Prepare ahead for the worst by bringing earplugs for sleep. You might also download a white noise app on your smartphone.
When you arrive
Remind the front desk that you had requested a quiet room when you booked.
Ask to see the location of the room that’s been reserved for you before you check in and unpack.
If your room turns out to be a disappointment
Call the reception desk as soon as you identify the problem and request a change of room. If no other room is available, ask if you can be moved the next morning. Ask the person you speak to document your request (since another person may be on duty).
Leave it to the hotel management to intervene if neighbors are rowdy. To avoid an altercation or jeopardize your own safety, don’t take it upon yourself to quiet excited partygoers. (Sometimes, over-exuberant guests don’t even realize they are bothering other guests.)
If the noise suggests that another guest is in potential danger (e.g., someone is being abusive or out of control), contact hotel security.
When checking out, speak to the person in charge of the front desk or the hotel manager to express your disappointment over your stay. If you get no response or the response you get isn’t satisfactory, follow up with a personal note to the hotel manager asking for some remedy for your disappointing stay.
Pay it forward. Write a fair and honest review of your stay on TripAdvisor or the hotel’s website. These reviews will not only warn other travelers about noise but are often seen and responded to by hotel management.
—Good soundproofing in hotel rooms is one of those things that you only notice when it is absent (The Economist, January 20, 2016)
Do you have any coping tips to share for dealing with a noisy hotel room?
Matthew is a travel expert, writer, editor and digital marketer. He lives for seeing new places, learning new cultures and surfing new waves. He is based out of Toronto but travels the globe in search of the best travel stories and biggest waves.
View all posts by Matthew Greenspan