Travelling in peace, or the search for a silent minibar

So, hands up, who can’t wait to book their next holiday? At this point even a night away from home would be amazing! Many of us have had to cancel trips this year and looking at the travel advice updates there isn’t a lot of certainty about when and where we will be able to travel. But, if you’re like me, you’re probably already looking online for your next escape.

I love to travel and I really love hotels. I don’t understand people who say, “it’s just a place to sleep.” Ok, sure, if it’s an overnight stop on the way to your destination then a motorway motel will probably be ok. But if I’m spending more than a night there then I need comfort, quiet and at the very least a rain shower. The key word there is quiet. A hotel can be the fanciest place, in the hippest new destination but if they have noisy lifts or a humming minibar, then I’m out of there.

So here are my tips to help you find a quiet hotel room:

  • Look at TripAdvisor. Honestly, I take many of the reviews with a pinch of salt – one person’s too-hard bed is another person’s best sleep ever. But one thing that stands out is the complaints about noise. From paper thin walls to slamming doors to the bane of my life, the humming minibar, you can guarantee that someone will have mentioned it.
  • Ask if the hotel has a quiet zone – some of the bigger chains have been introducing these.
  • Or if they don’t have on ask for a quiet room. And this is where being extra polite can help. Even when booking online I become the nicest person in the world (I’m quite nice anyway, but I really dial it up a notch) putting lots of pleases and thank yous in the comment/ request box.
  • Ask for a high floor – although do check if the hotel has a rooftop pool or bar – if so, you might be better off with a room on a middle level. High floors aren’t a guarantee of quiet but especially in cities they can put a few more metres between you and people and traffic on the street.
  • Ask for a room that is away from reception. You might have a bit of a hike with your luggage but a room further away from reception should mean less footfall going past your door. Corner rooms are quiet for the same reason – and less likely to have a lift nearby.
  • Big one – ask for a room away from the lift. Lifts are noisy – beeps and dings and creaking doors, and they are an area that attracts people; and depending on the speed of the lift can leave those people standing in the corridor, repeatedly pushing the button and loudly discussing what they want for breakfast.
  • Do you really need the stunning view? Especially if between you and it there is a four-lane highway or trams that run until 2am? If you prefer peace over mountains or sea, why not opt for rooms at the back or facing over the courtyard? Bonus – these rooms are normally cheaper.
  • After doing all this, make sure you get what you asked for. When checking in mention (again, be super polite) that you requested a high floor/ away from lift/ quiet room, etc. Sometimes requests can be missed on booking and this gives the receptionist a chance to help you out and save you and them time.
  • And, finally, if you get to the room and it is noisy, ask to move. Hotels don’t want unhappy customers writing bad reviews so most will move you – and sometimes you even get an upgrade!

Here is my standard request when booking a hotel room: Hi, please can I request a quiet room on a high floor and away from the lift. Many thanks for your help and I’m looking forward to staying with you. And remember if the room isn’t quiet or there are annoying noises, report it to the hotel first and give them a chance to rectify the issue.

TripAdvisor and other review sites are great sources of information so please help your fellow quiet travellers and write a review – good or bad – to let them make the best choice. I’m going to commit to writing reviews that highlight noise (or lack of) in the title so you can spot them easily.

I hope these tips help you when you book your next holiday. Happy travels!

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