Notes From A Recent Hotel Stay

I awoke to a loud female voice coming from the room next door. I couldn't tell if she was having a nightmare, having sex or singing. Then I realized she was singing ... The Star Spangled Banner. Maybe she was doing the other two activities too. Rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air and all that.

Some people would be horrified if they knew they could be heard by other guests in a hotel. I have often heard loud TVs, conversations about travel plans and other mundane things. Several times I have heard people having sex. I was embarrassed for them; they probably had no idea their private moment had an audience. Some of those moments were laughable, sadly, but one time I nearly cheered at one guy's stamina.

How would you feel if you knew someone heard your singing along or getting it on? Why are some hotel room walls so thin? The recent stay I am writing about was at a suburban Best Western near Washington DC; it is the top of the line for their franchise but my expectations are still fairly low at $80/night. But the last time I heard guest sex was at a $250/night Sheraton in Manhattan. I expect more privacy in that setting.

Speaking of New York, apparently bed bugs are a popular issue there. There are websites dedicated to bed bug reports at hotels. I have stayed in NYC hotels three times in my life, twice last April and once six years ago. No bed bugs.

Back to the DC suburbs … the squealing woman in the next room wasn’t the only sound that kept me awake that night. There were kids running up and down the hallways for a few minutes at 10:30 pm. And there was a party going on in another room, but fortunately I could only hear that when I went to the vending machine. If I had been next door to that room I would have reported them to the hotel desk clerk. By the way, I was alone so the only noise anyone would hear from my room would be me snoring. I hope the walls aren’t that thin.

Reporting noise doesn’t always work. One year a long time ago when I lived in Dallas, a girlfriend and I planned a romantic in-town evening at a very nice local downtown hotel. We had a pleasant meal and drinks, then went back to the room. We didn’t know when we booked the room that it was prom season. The first mood-spoiler was the noise from loud high school revelers shouting to each other in the hallway from various rooms near ours. Three different calls to the front desk resulted in ONE visit from security. The noise stopped for five minutes then resumed. That mostly killed our mood. The noise finally settled down around 2:30 am. Then a few minutes later we awoke to the sound of the high school couple next door having sex. Our fun was ruined but theirs wasn’t. Yet. I figured out their room number, waited another minute, then called their room. We heard their phone ring and their action stop. I hung up. A little while later we could hear them again and I dialed their room again. Their fun was done.

Anyway, remember some of this story next time you stay in a hotel.