In an effort to be inspired, I happen to be writing this blog from my hotel room so it seems perfectly fitting that I write today about Hotel Room Noise Isolation.  This is a bit of a tricky topic because there is a whole range of expectations that exist between the one or two star roadside motel and the 4-star hotel that I am currently staying in courtesy of our firm’s thriftiness and a sweet deal from  Of course, nobody checks into a hotel expecting to get a poor night of sleep regardless of the quality or star rating of the establishment.

I did, honestly, sleep great last night and that resulted from a few things that this particular hotel has done really well.  That’s not to say there were a few misses in the design either.  Let’s take a look at my specific room and go through some of the acoustic challenges faced…

First off – Location. My room is located on the 6th floor just a few steps from the elevators and directly across the hall from the only ice machine on the floor.  So, what was done right and what could have been done better regarding my room?

First, the door is a heavy wood door that is fitted tightly to the frame and threshold; while door seals are not used, the tight fit does go a long way in ensuring the constant drone and the noise of the drop of ice into buckets is muffled.

Additionally, the notification chime for the elevator arriving at our floor is muted and only operates at a level needed so that anyone standing near the elevators can be notified rather than the rooms some at the end of the corridor (loud elevator chimes is a particular hotel annoyance of mine).

The walls between rooms are very well isolated and I would suspect that the plumbing supply and waste lines are also isolated as I never heard the shower or toilet from the adjacent rooms.  I also never heard the television operating in either adjoining rooms (they are occupied, but they could also not be TV watchers).  In typical hotel layouts, the television is located on the headwall of the adjoining room resulting in you listening to your neighbor’s movie while you are trying to fall asleep.

The big swing and a miss for this hotel are the windows.  They have selected standard double hung windows and no additional efforts had been made to isolate from outside noise sources.  This is problematic for me when staying in a hotel on a busy city street.  I happened to hear every horn honk while in my room and a large group of young women walked by singing “When the Saints go Marching In” at around 11:30 PM… (maybe not so bad if you are staying on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but annoying anywhere else).

Based on my little exercise here I can attest that there are a lot of varying noise sources that need to be accounted for when designing the hotel room that will promote the perfect night’s sleep.  At Acoustics By Design we are passionate about your project, not just because we are crazy about acoustics but because we just might someday be staying in your establishment.  We use our everyday experiences in how we approach your acoustical design resulting in a more successful project for you and your guests.

ABD Engineering and Design

ABD Engineering and Design is one of North America’s leading independent acoustical consulting and AV design firms, serving clients across the United States and Canada, as well as other international markets from offices in Grand Rapids, MI and Portland, OR. Our specialized acoustical engineering and AV design practices help architects, building owners, engineers, facility directors, and municipalities design spaces, environments, and systems for optimal acoustical and audiovisual performance. Our consulting practice areas specialize in all aspects of architectural acoustics, environmental and industrial noise and vibration control, and audiovisual systems design.

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