An exploration of sleep and insomnia, with a single destination in mind:
a good night's sleep.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep in a Noisy Hotel

By Bill Adler

Hotels can be wonderfully relaxing and restful places. A good night’s sleep at a hotel can rejuvenate not just your body, but your spirit, too. Soporific mattresses, sleep inducing pillows, and soft starlight through the windows can turn a hotel room into a sleep wonderland.

But hotels can be a sleep lover’s hell. Noise from hall talkers, slamming doors, elevator chimes, chatty housekeeping staff, the room next door, the room above, construction from outside, a rattling or overpowered air conditioner — these can all turn your hotel room into a nighttime torture chamber.

Noise is a big problem for hotel guests. A Tripadvisor survey found that noise bothers 31 percent of hotel guests.

There’s a huge range when it comes to noisy versus quiet hotels. Here are some questions to ask before you book your hotel.

1. Read the reviews on Tripadvisor and Yelp. I didn’t do that once, much to my regret. I stayed at a lovely, old hotel in Prague, but the hotel was on the main path from Prague’s best bars to a major street. It was an all night carnival. I won’t make that mistake again.

2. Call the hotel and ask if there are any parties, special events or construction happening in or near the hotel. It’s especially important to ask about parties if you’re staying over a weekend, when it’s more likely that there will be some people who are enjoying themselves too much after that reunion or wedding. Tell them that you’re a light sleeper. You’ll get an honest and valuable answer back because as much as the hotel wants your business, they don’t want an unhappy, complaining guest.

Pro sleeper tip: Airport hotels are generally quiet hotels because they have to be. Airport hotels deploy a lot of soundproofing and sound absorbing material.

3. Long hotel hallways are guaranteed to be noisier than shorter ones with turns. Guests are going to talk as they walk to their room, but if the hallway has twists and turns, those guests’ voices won’t carry as far. Ask the hotel what kind of hallways they have.

4. Request a room far away from the elevator. Make that request when you book your room and repeat it when you check in. Marriott and other hotels charge more for these “corner rooms,” but the more distance between your room and the elevator, the happier you will be.

Pro sleeper tip: If you book through a website that’s not run by the hotel, you’ll have less sway with the hotel than if you book directly.

5. Search for a room on Quiet Hotel Room’s website, which lists rooms that meet certified quiet standards. Some hotels are known for having quieter spaces than other, and some hotels actually have quiet zones.

And if your room is too noisy, immediately complain. You won’t be the first person at that hotel to complain about noise and the hotel already has a battle plan in place to deal with that noise.

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