Earplugs on the Nightstand – A Quick Poll

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Interesting fact #1:  The last two hotels I have stayed in have had earplugs strategically placed on the nightstand when I checked in.

Interesting fact #2:  I have ended up with disruptive noise from the room next door to me on my last two hotel stays.

Coincidence?  Or correlation?

In the case of the first hotel (a Westin, for those who are curious), the noise did not start until after 10 am and it was more environmental than guest-driven.  The walls of my room shook every time the next door neighbors seemingly moved, with loud slamming noises accompanying the opening/closing (I presume) of their bathroom door, the closet doors, and the door to the room.

Earplugs would not have fixed that.

In the case of the second hotel (a Hyatt, if you must know), the noise started at 2 am as its occupants returned from a night at the bars and got progressively louder despite (from what I could tell) other guests knocking on their door at various intervals and asking them to stop (which seemed to escalate to hallway arguing) and culminating with my 4 am phone call to the front desk to ask them to please send security up to address the issue (which they finally did at 4:15 am – the noise subsequently ceased).

I did not use the earplugs on either occasion as I had early morning alarms set on both days and was more concerned about hearing my own alarm than I was about preemptively blocking out potential noises.

My question is this….

If a hotel provides earplugs to guests, is that considered fair warning of potential noise issues that removes or reduces the hotel’s responsibility to control excess noise?

I’m curious to hear reader thoughts on this issue.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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  1. Of course it isn’t. Having free ear plugs available is the same as putting a toothbrush and comb in your bathroom, it’s a courtesy. In the first instance you should have informed the front desk staff and asked if there was anything they could to remedy the situation. If there wasn’t, the review that you leave on tripadvisor should reflect the fact that the rooms are noisy and aren’t designed well.

    In the second instance, you shouldn’t have waited two hours before calling security. I’d have also made a point of it during check out to see if there is anything they could do to remedy the situation.

    Have you tried putting your phone on your bed? I usually wear earplugs and the phone vibration is more than enough to wake me – maybe something similar would work for you. Sorry you had such shitty nights stays.

    • In case one, it was mid-morning and I was on a conference call so getting the front desk involved was not something I could do while the issue was occurring. As far as the middle of the night case, I’ve been there, done that before when noise crops up and then I call and then I’m up half the night dealing with the front desk calling me back to ask if the situation has been resolved, etc. It was not two hours of solid noise… it would get loud, someone would tell them to quiet down right about the time I was going to call, I’d fall back asleep, 30 minutes later it would get loud again.

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