Hotel Etiquette – Should Hotels spell it out for you?

Over the past couple of months I haven’t traveled as much as I usually do, but the few times I have stayed in a hotel, have been really surprised from a few aspects.

Hyatt Chesapeake Bay

Having stayed at the Hyatt Chesapeake Bay a few weeks ago, I was surprised to find quite a few signs laying out the proper etiquette, from how to act in your room, to hallways, to the Regency Club Lounge. For example: The hotel had a “The Good Neighbor Policy” sign on the back of the door.



I totally get the value of being a good neighbor, and perhaps just putting that on the back of the door, is a reasonable thing.

But, then you walk the hallways, and see signs like this:


Ok, I get this one too, often times, I’ll be woken up by people walking in the halls. But I’m not really sure that the sign actually stops anything. I mean, most people hear people talking in the hall as they pass their room, right? So, logically, if you don’t appreciate that, you just speak quietly or not at all when you walk in the hallway to or from your hotel room, right?

This next one threw me for a loop. I’ve never seen anything like it before:

Mind you, this is plastered on both the inside and outside of the Regency Club Lounge’s door. Now I often see statements (usually in letters provided to those who have Club access), stating the appropriate attire (e.g. no bathrobes, and if you’ve ever seen someone in the lounge in a bathrobe, you would agree that the “no bathrobes” rule is a good one). But I kind’ve feel they went a little overboard.

Hyatt Crystal City

Now cut from a few weeks ago, to this past weekend, where I was for Frequent Traveler University (FTU) – Advanced. I don’t recall seeing any signs about common courtesy, and until about midnight Saturday night, I didn’t feel like there was any need, because people acted normal. Mostly.

Until about midnight Saturday night. I get that people party, its a weekend night, you know, loosen your tie, let your hair down, and have some fun. Most folks do that in the bar, or at a club, or, if they’re going to party in their hotel room, they usually have the common courtesy to get a suite, where there’s at least a buffer from other guests. Not Saturday night. No, the room directly next door (and as one of 51 Diamonds at the hotel last weekend, I was not in a suite), was party central. My first clue was that I could hear them halfway down the hall, the second clue, was that they had the bar/chain lock keeping the door open.

Normally, I just kind’ve grin and bear it. I really don’t like to create conflict, but, it happened that I had to get a good nights sleep, because I had to be up at 8am. So, I called the front desk and asked nicely if they could resolve the noise. They explained their process: They send security up, the first time is a warning, the second time, the party gets disbanded, third strike, they empty the room. It sounded very logical to me. Of course, an hour later, the party was still going on, so I gave up and found some earplugs.

Wrapping up

Having just stayed at two hotels, one that clearly lays out how you are expected to act, and one that doesn’t. I’m left with the question: Is hotel etiquette a foreign concept? 

11 thoughts on “Hotel Etiquette – Should Hotels spell it out for you?

  1. I would bet that anyone who has spent more than a few nights in a hotel has war stories about noise, rude fellow guests, and/or jerks in the premium lounge.

    From my five years of business travel, I must say that business MEN are the most obnoxious in the lounge. From hitting on the wait staff (many of whom could easily be these creeps daughters or granddaughters, to general “I’m important, I deserve to have the biggest table in the place all to myself” attitude, it gets old.

    But my personal favorite noise issue was the time that I had meetings on both Friday and Monday, and spent the w/e in a hotel in the area. There was a little girl’s beauty contest, AKA pageant, in the hotel that w/e. From the moms yelling at their daughters as they walked down the halls, to the teenage continent partying in nearly every room in the hotel, it was a horror.

    Calls to the front desk yielded visits to the offending rooms–I could hear the security people’s voices–and quiet for all of 10 minutes till the noise started up again.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t have earplugs.

    The problem with the signs, alas, is that the people who need them will assume that they’re for other people.

    • Hah! I completely agree about the war stories. I’ve stayed at hotels that kids hockey teams were staying at, playing hockey down the hall, but I suspect the beauty contest was magnitudes worse! I do recommend traveling with earplugs at all times, you never know when you might have a need, and they come in most amenity kits.

  2. I guess the part that seems most useful to me is the times of day listed explicitly. i.e. someone is generally courteous, but to them 10PM isn’t actually late. It might jog in their mind, that hey, quiet time starts at 9 or 10 (as the case may be per hotel). I also like the schedule for the club to be listed in the club, but that’s because I’m always losing the little card that tells you when they put then snacks out etc. As far as the attire, well if you don’t know that going to the club in a bathrobe is not cool, I guess a sign is helpful?? or maybe it’s just hopeless at that point

    • @Jamie – I can see your point on the club times, but usually they are still displayed, just at like a desk inside. I just felt like it was very “in your face.”

      • Yep, card on the desk is definitely sufficient. A Discrete sign outside (think half sheet to sheet of paper sized) where you can see the hours if there are times of day that it’s locked is a plus. Giant sign inside and outside probably crossing the line into the tacky zone.

  3. Man, I would have been calling the front desk every five minutes and then insisted on either the party being moved or ME being moved or a complete refund and a free night. Not to mention going down to the party room and confronting the buttholes myself. I ain’t shy and would have loved that little confrontation a lot!

    • @Carl – Based on the folks and some of the language I heard through the wall, I figured being non-confrontational was a better approach… But yes, I probably should’ve been calling more frequently.

      • When I’m in a situation like that, though, I’m often thinking that getting up and calling the desk is going to wake me more fully. Or if there happens to be someone else in our room who is magically sleeping through the ruckus (especially a baby or child), I don’t want to wake them by making a phone call. It’s just an all around crappy situation to be in when there’s a loud party going on in your hallway.

  4. I totally get that they shouldn’t HAVE to. They shouldn’t HAVE to put no smoking signs on gas pumps either! However, you know some moron just had to have his fix…

    Been on both sides of this one. My kids have not only “hotel manners” but also “5 star hotel manners” which they get is a whole ‘nother level. (Deal Girl also puts on this really affected accent, but that’s another story). They enjoy pointing out transgressions of others.

    However, last night I had 5 kids here for a sleepover. I’m sure the room next door was not feeling the quiet time no matter how hard I tried!

  5. If you see signs like those, you’re staying in a crappily managed hotel – it’s sheer laziness by management to post such signs and usually means poorly trained staff/understaffing or both.

    Nobody pays attention to signs anyway – especially the people for whom they are meant for.

    Pretty sure I’d find another hotel if I had more than a one night stay.

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