No one wants to be aware that the guests in the room next door are um. loudly enjoying their hotel stay. Neither do you want to hear someone else’s entire phone conversation, a revving motorcycle from the parking lot below, nor the pounding of little feet and shrieking high-pitched voices from down the hall. After pulling the covers tighter over your head at 2am and thinking about the fact that you have to wake up in just 3 hours to get to your meeting or the airport, it is enough to put anyone in a grumpy mood. Would earplugs help?

I stayed at the otherwise fantastic Park Hyatt Chicago and gave the stay low marks simply because the hotel is set in a busy area downtown that translated into my hearing way too much noise from the city streets below.

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.58.02 AM

Some hotels have issues with the property itself. Thin walls, old doors that slam, single-paned windows and noisy air conditioners.

Other hotels may be a perfectly lovely setting, but the guests are noisy. This can be a hotel’s nightmare, because there are always modifications to the building structure that can be made but guests are well, guests.

Some properties have taken to leaving a set of earplugs in hotel rooms for their guests. They may be quietly tucked in with the cotton balls and bathroom amenities, or carefully laid out on a table with a welcome note.

I had a discussion with a hotel manager who said that just because they provide earplugs to guests does not mean that the property has a noise issue. They’re just trying to ensure that guests sleep well, and the earplugs may help. Some guests may sleep at home with earplugs and find it a nicety that their room has a pair, much like Q-tips. Many hotels now offer extra little amenities to guests in case they have forgotten something at home.

DSC05597Amenities at Ritz-Carlton Bali

It may be just a kind gesture, but if I was at a property and saw that earplugs had been left for me in the room I would immediately question what was wrong with the hotel. I’d start wondering if there construction going on or if the walls were thin and they’d received so many complaints they decided to start leaving earplugs. Maybe my thinking is faulty though.

If you found earplugs in your room, would your expectations be lowered? If you knew in advance that a hotel you were going to stay at left earplugs in guest rooms would you still stay there?