Have you ever checked into a hotel, eager to get some rest on your trip, only to end up tossing and turning all night? You’re not alone. Noise is one of the top complaints among hotel guests. But with the right information, you can find hotels that actually live up to the promise of a peaceful night’s sleep.
In this guide, we’ll break down the real deal on soundproofing in hotels. You’ll learn what makes some rooms quieter than others, get tips for picking the best room, and find out which major chains really deliver on noise reduction. Think of it as your insider guide to getting the Zzz’s you deserve on vacation.
First, let’s take a quick look at why soundproofing matters in hotels and the key things that affect it.
What Makes Some Hotel Rooms Noisier Than Others?
When it comes to blocking out sound, not all hotels are made equal. The level of noise you’ll hear in your room depends on a few key factors:
Location, Location, Location
It probably won’t shock you to learn that hotels in busy city centers tend to be noisier than resorts out in the countryside. Urban hotels have more traffic, people, and city sounds to contend with. Those idyllic rural retreats, on the other hand, offer a quieter, more peaceful atmosphere.
Proximity to highways, airports, and train stations can also impact the amount of noise you’ll hear. The closer the hotel is to these transportation hubs, the more likely you’ll hear rumbling traffic or even plane flyovers. Of course, hotels right next to major noise sources often install extra soundproofing features to help block it out, which brings us to our next point…
Building Materials Matter
Ever heard the phrase “they don’t make ’em like they used to?” Well, in some cases that old-school, rock-solid construction is actually better at blocking noise.
See, those thick concrete walls you find in older hotels do a much better job absorbing sound than flimsier drywall partitions. Same goes for small details like double-paned windows, which help prevent noise from leaking in.
Newer hotels can compensate through good soundproofing design using special acoustic insulating materials. But generally, the more mass a wall has, the more noise it can block.
Room Location Is Key
Where your room is located inside the hotel can make a big difference. For the quietest sleep, request a room on an upper floor, away from elevators, ice machines, and other clatter-prone areas.
Corner rooms tend to be quieter than rooms sandwiched between others with potential noisemakers on both sides. Connecting rooms that share an inside door are also less ideal if you want peace and privacy.
The Noisiest Spots in Hotels (And What Causes Them)
Hotels have many potential weak spots when it comes to noise insulation. Here are some of the most common sources of sound that can disrupt your beauty sleep:
Bustling Lobby Life
Lobbies are meant to be social hangouts, so don’t expect hushed library voices here. You’re likely to hear lively chatter and laughter, especially at times like breakfast when everyone congregates. Plus, lobbies have large windows and doors that let in outside noise.
Even on the quietest floors, you can pretty much always hear housekeeping carts rattling down the hall. And drunk patrons returning late at night aren’t exactly stealthy about swiping their key cards. Pro tip: If you’re a light sleeper, bring a white noise machine to mask hallway noises.
Neighborly Noise Bleed
The annoyance of noisy neighbors extends to hotels. Some causes of noise bleed between rooms include:
- Thin walls/floors
- Connecting doors
- Loud kids next door
- Cranking the TV
- Ahem frisky couples
To avoid noise bleed issues, request a top floor room or corner suite further from others.
Early Morning Housekeeping
You’re deep in REM sleep when suddenly there’s loud knocking or vacuuming right outside your room. Early bird housekeepers can unintentionally disrupt guests trying to sleep in. Ask the front desk for late checkout and hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign.
No one wants to be awakened at midnight by flushing sounds from the room upstairs. Or even worse, loud gurgling in the bathroom pipes. Alas, plumbing issues leading to noisy pipes are an unpleasant reality at even high-end hotels.
Honking horns and sirens can easily penetrate windows in city hotels. Even rural hotels can experience noise from nearby highways. Double-paned windows help dampen street sounds, but some still creep in. Try using a white noise app to drown out the urban hum.
Tips for Choosing the Quietest Room
Armed with knowledge of what affects hotel soundproofing, you can make informed choices to minimize noise during your stay.
Do Your Homework First
Before booking a room, read reviews about noise levels from past guests. This gives you an honest sense of potential sound issues.
Also call the hotel directly to ask what soundproofing features they offer. Some good ones to ask about include double-paned windows, acoustic insulation, and white noise machines.
Seek Out Quiet Floors
Many hotels now offer designated quiet zones or floors, specially soundproofed for noise-sensitive guests. They limit housekeeping disruptions and discourage groups from booking rooms.
Get Away From It All
Request a corner or suite on the top floor, away from elevators, ice machines, pool areas, and other commotion-prone spots.
Dodge Connecting Rooms
Never book rooms with a shared inside door. Noise easily transfers between them, and you won’t even get hallway sound buffering.
Use Sound-Masking Amenities
Pack a white noise machine or download an app to help mask unwanted sounds like hallway noise. Some hotels also provide sound machines or earplugs. Utilize them for a peaceful night.
The Best and Worst Hotels for Noise
If you want to sleep soundly, which hotels boast the best soundproofing and which ones are notorious noise traps? Let’s name names.
Quiet Leaders: Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt
Among major chains, Marriott is the gold standard for soundproofing. Their premium “quiet rooms” feature extra amenities like:
- Double-paned windows
- Acoustic tile ceilings
- White noise machines
- Carpeted floors
Experts agree Hilton also prioritizes noise reduction, with room upgrades like sound-absorbing curtains and insulation.
Hyatt doesn’t have an official “quiet room” tier yet, but insulation and other soundproofing features are a construction focus for new locations.
Noise Havens: Older Hotels and Motels
Venerable institutions they may be, but older hotels often have the worst noise issues, especially in city locations. We’re talking creaky elevators, dated heating systems, and paper-thin walls.
Motels built decades ago were designed for convenience, not serenity. Don’t expect much beyond a thin drywall/stucco barrier between you and rowdy Route 66 road trippers next door.
Pro tip: Pack earplugs and white noise apps if staying at an aging hotel. You’ll need the auditory reinforcements.
Airbnbs: Mixed Bag
Since Airbnbs are individually owned, soundproofing quality varies dramatically. One advantage is having more control over noise factors. But thin-walled apartments with noisy upstairs neighbors are certainly a risk with Airbnb stays.
Read reviews carefully, and don’t assume staying someone’s home comes with hotel-style sound insulation. Manage your expectations.
Your Guide to a Peaceful Hotel Stay
While no hotel room can be 100% soundproof, following these tips will lead you to quieter accommodations:
🔈 Ask detailed questions when booking about soundproofing
🔈 Seek corners rooms or suites away from elevators and ice machines
🔈 Stay on designated quiet floors if available
🔈 Avoid adjoining rooms sharing a door 🔈 Consider bringing your own white noise machine
🔈 Hang up the “Do Not Disturb” sign for uninterrupted sleep
A perfectly silent hotel room is rare. But with the right strategies, you can minimize noise disturbances and finally get the well-rested vacation you deserve. Here’s to your next great night’s sleep away from home!
Are Hotel Rooms Soundproof? Frequently Asked Questions
Still have some lingering questions about soundproofing in hotels? Below are answers to some of the most common queries:
Can you soundproof a hotel room yourself?
Unfortunately no – as a hotel guest, you can’t access the walls or make structural changes. The best you can do is use amenities like a white noise machine or earplugs to help mask noise inside the room during your stay.
Are airport hotel rooms more soundproof?
Sometimes – hotels located right by airports do tend to have extra soundproofing built in, like triple-paned windows. But it depends on the age and construction of the specific hotel. Don’t assume all airport hotels have superior noise blocking.
Does it cost more to stay in a soundproof room?
Not always – it depends on the hotel’s policies. Some chains include enhanced soundproofing features in all rooms. Others designate select “quiet rooms” with an upcharge. But there are affordable ways to reduce noise too, like choosing a top floor corner suite.
Is it possible to completely soundproof a hotel room?
Rarely. With enough acoustic treatment and design upgrades, rooms can become significantly quieter. But preventing all noise transfer is extremely difficult, especially external sounds from busy urban areas. The goal is noise reduction to comfortable levels, not total silence.
The Takeaway on Hotel Soundproofing
After reading this guide, you now know what impacts noise levels in hotels and how to choose quieter accommodations. While no room will ever be completely silent, careful planning can lead to a peaceful night’s rest during your travels. Here’s to sweet dreams far from home!