When traveling for business or for pleasure, a hotel stay can make or break our trip. Traveling can easily throw off our systems, and as a result, choosing a hotel room that helps us get a solid night’s sleep is crucial to our ability to be productive, to overcome jet lag, to limit stress and ultimately, to stay in balance.
As a frequent traveler, I’m a bit picky about where I crash for the night. I’ve racked up millions of points on various hotel brands, and as a result, have come to realize that there are certain musts in getting assigned to a hotel room to ensure sound sleep.
- Floor Level: First off, it’s important to choose the right hotel room location. Certain locations will most definitely be noisier than others and the last thing you want is to be awakened at 2am by noisy guests in the room above yours. When possible, choose a hotel room on the highest floor of the hotel. The benefit of being on the top floor is that you won’t have anyone above you making noise during the night. If the highest floor isn’t available, try to get on a floor that is a concierge or suite level. These levels tend to have higher ceiling heights, which can be good for buffering noise levels from an above room. Whatever you do, avoid a hotel room on the first floor. Not only are these the loudest due to outside traffic, but rooms at the ground level are less safe and are more easily accessed for potential break-ins.
- Floor Location: Choose a hotel room that is located a good distance away from the elevators and service elevators, ice and vending machines, exit stairs, and the linen and housekeeping closets. More often than not, most of these things are located within close proximity of one another. Each property, however, is configured slightly differently, so if you haven’t stayed at the property before, ask the check-in staff for a hotel room away from the elevators, as their loud machinery can be heard through the walls.
- Renovations: When hotels go through renovations, they do so in stages. They usually renovate one floor at a time, which means that the property may have newly renovated hotel rooms, as well as old, stinky, worn-out ones. Always ask for the most newly renovated, as they will be cleaner, less smelly, and have newer linens, all helping you to feel more comfortable during your stay. That said, make sure that your floor isn’t above or below a floor that is currently under renovation, otherwise you may hear noisy construction during your stay.
- No-Smoking Rooms and Hotels: If you are sensitive to smoke, stay in smoke-free hotels. Although some hotels have non-smoking floors, there are many smokers who do not abide by these policies and will smoke anyway. When this happens, housekeeping staff will do their best to cover up the smell, but can often make it worse by drowning the hotel room in air-freshener. Lastly, even if your hotel room is clean and smoke-free, there is no guarantee that the other guests on the floor won’t smoke. Smoke-free hotels, however, see much less of this and are often sought out by non-smokers who share your preference. Most Marriott properties are smoke-free.
- Curtains: Your hotel room will most often come with two or three sets of curtains: “Blackout” curtains, sheers and decorative curtains. “Blackout” curtains, in particular, are vital to a good night’s sleep. As their name implies, they blackout your room so that light from outside cannot penetrate and disturb your sleep. Using them will ensure that you won’t be woken up by car lights, billboards, lights from the parking lot or an earlier than optimal sunrise.
Do you have any requirements of your hotel room to ensure a good night sleep? Have you had any bad experiences when you couldn’t sleep or were woken up, only to not be able to go back to sleep?