Why does the star qualification of hotels not take into account the degree to which hotel rooms are soundproofed? How is it possible that there still are 4- and 5-star hotels where noise pollution is a returning issue? Follow us on the quest for quiet hotel rooms.

As a traveller, you may think that booking a 4- or 5-star hotel will ensure that you get not just a luxury room, great dining and excellent service, but also a quiet and restful night. Alas; you may be disappointed. It turns out that even some of the world’s best-known luxury hotels cannot guarantee their guests a really quiet stay. You only need to look at some of the comments on Tripadvisor or on http://travelcomments.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/18/practical-traveler-sound-proofing-hotels/ to realise how bad the situation is re soundproofing. And this while noise has been the No. 1 complaint among hotel guests in recent years. So what’s the story here?

Let’s have a look at hotel star ratings. To begin with, in Europe there is no single and consistent star rating system in operation; different countries and sometimes even regions have different systems and regulations. Likewise, in the US there is no single, coherent system; star ratings are conferred upon hotels by several organizations. To add to the confusion, consumer organizations and websites such as Expedia.com have now begun to apply their own rating systems. What most of these systems have in common, strangely enough, is that there is no specific mention of sound proofing measures in relation to star ratings. All together, the traveller on a quest for a high-quality, quiet hotel room is left in the cold.

An even more baffling issue is why hotels that do have quiet, soundproofed rooms rarely advertise these. It can’t be because travellers are not interested, because the opposite is true. So does the the hotels’ reluctance perhaps spring from the assumption that there is no objective measuring system to assess the degree of quietness, just as there is no really objective star rating system? If so, then here’s a piece of good news: since the end of 2014 just such an objective sound measuring system has come into being. It goes by the name of Quiet Room® label and has been set up by the Knowledge Centre Sound Insulation (KGI) in the Netherlands.

The Quiet Room® label aims to stimulate the creation of quiet hotel rooms and provide reliable information for travellers looking for quiet hotel rooms. Hotels that wish to acquire the Quiet Room® label have to meet severe standards and are thoroughly tested. KGI provides a 3-tier classification system for hotel rooms. Rooms which qualify are by definition built and sound insulated to a high standard. Travellers looking for a quiet hotel room can visit the label’s website, www.quiethotelroom.org/, which provides a dedicated search engine for hotels with certified quiet rooms and booking facilities.

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