What To Do When There’s Construction Near A Hotel?

Let me say upfront that I didn’t complain and have no intent of complaining after the fact, but figured it was an interesting question.

I recently spent a few nights at the Grand Hyatt Muscat, which was absolutely lovely. Oman is gorgeous, and truly what one would assume the Middle East “should” be like. I can’t recommend it enough, but more on that later.

Grand-Hyatt-Muscat

Before I get too much into that, my room at the hotel faced nearby houses, and for the last two days of our stay they seemed to be demolishing the building right next to the hotel. Like, the building was literally in one piece when we arrived, and looked like a bomb went off inside it when we left.

Hotel-Construction

For those days from 9AM till 5PM our room was as loud as you could imagine, even with all the doors and windows shut. I usually nap during the day in the Middle East (since I somewhat try to stay on US east coast time due to work), and obviously that wasn’t possible.

I wasn’t sure how to handle this. I didn’t complain or make the hotel aware of the situation, and certainly wouldn’t complain after the fact either.

But it did make me wonder, when there’s construction near a hotel, does the hotel have any obligation to guests?

  • Should the hotel send guests a memo informing them of the demolition? (then again, would the hotel even know in advance if there’s a demolition happening nearby?)
  • Is it reasonable to request a change of rooms?
  • If a change of rooms is requested but isn’t available, does the hotel owe you anything?

Again, entirely a theoretical question; I’m curious where you guys stand on this. I could go either way. On one hand it’s not the hotel’s fault when there’s construction nearby. On the other hand, as a guest it’s really not my fault if there’s construction nearby which disrupts my stay.

What do you think: for nearby construction, does the hotel have any obligation to guests?

Comments

  1. Change rooms if available, and hopefully something on the other side of the hotel is better.

    Hotel at a minimum lets you out of any cancellation penalty so you can move elsewhere.

    Not hotel’s fault, but they’re unable to provide you what you’re paying for.

  2. Agree with @Gary, I paid for a hotel room that should be reasonably quiet for me to rest, and you can’t really relax or rest when there’s so much noise.

  3. The new Hyatt in Portland, ME has so much street noise (late night bar crowd), that on check in they let you know and have noise machines in the rooms.

  4. i stayed at a hotel in Washington, D.C where middle of the night street repair work disturbed my sleep. I complained to front desk and was moved to a room away from the source of the middle of the night noise. Otherwise, get out those noise defining headphones!

  5. It’s not their fault and therefore they shouldn’t be compensating you (or prioritising you) in any way. If you’re on a turbulent flight, you don’t complain or ask to change seats as they have nothing to do with it. If there are, however, any free rooms, I don’t see why they don’t move you to them.

    If they are notified about it, I guess they should notify the guests, but by no means make an exception!

  6. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say for me it partly depends on the price. If I’m paying $50 a night for a place in Asia, I don’t expect as much consideration from a hotel as I do when I’m paying $250. For the latter price, yeah, I kind of do figure the hotel owes me something – a room change or as Gary suggests no penalty if I want to change hotel.

  7. When there’s noise like that, I call the front desk, and indicate that the noise is a bit of a nuisance, and ask if they can move be elsewhere.
    It wasn’t construction, but I had a similar situation in San Fran when there was a labor strike protest at the hotel next door – the drums were a ridiculously loud distraction in the room. The front desk moved me to the other side of the hotel.

  8. I had a similar issue at the Westin in San Diego except I was not trying to nap. They are building a new court house and were just working on the foundation on Saturday. This is a very long term project. The noise did not bother me as I was up and out of the hotel all day. The hotel up sells the view of the bay on the other side of the hotel. I stated in my hotel survey that the noise should be mentioned at check in and they should stop the upsell for the other side of the hotel away from the noise. I received 500 SPG points in my account with no explanation.

  9. I agree with Gary. Though there’s a big difference between noise during the day and noise at night. 9am – 5pm seems like a legit time for things in the area to be done, and it’s clearly outside the hotel’s control. If they’re nice, they let you out of the cancellation policy or commitment, and helps you find other accommodations nearby. Maybe even the other side of the hotel. I don’t think they have an obligation though to accommodate you though, since it’s not their construction.

    Different story if it’s their construction.

  10. @L Is this Westin San Diego or Westin Gaslamp? Would like to know which one to avoid on an upcoming trip.

    I think a hotel should have visible info on their web page about construction noise like this. Especially if it is potentially going on during the weekends. I do not care if does not start until 9am on a Saturday, it is very likely that I have paid for the stay in order to sleep as long as I want….

    @Lucky It is great if you could include more info about noise issues in your hotel reviews. For some us this a very imporant – I cant be the only extreme light sleeper that love your blog!

  11. While I don’t think you should have “complained,” per say, asking to be moved to the other side of the hotel (away from the noise) would have been perfectly in order, in my opinion.

    As for the hotel’s obligations, I think that it depends. When there is a long-term project going on nearby or if the work is INSIDE the property then, yes, the hotel absolutely has the responsibility of advising customers of this. It should be posted on the website, advised to travel agents, and included on the confirmation emails.

    If the work is short-term (like a residence being torn down as it appears form the pictures) or sudden (like a work crew responding to a broken water pipe or whatever) then there’s not much a hotel can do to advise customers in time.

  12. You can always ask to be moved–it’s not an unreasonable request. You should ask as soon as you realize this might be an issue–others will be asking the same question and the early bird will get the worm.

    I set my expectation accordingly–last summer I spent some time in a hotel in Vancouver BC next door to a construction site. The rates were lowered and I was happy to stay there–the noise wasn’t an issue for me (my room faced away from the noise, but you could still hear a bit of the building next door) and I was happy to pay significantly less for my room.

  13. Requesting a room change is totally reasonable. If that’s not possible and the noise is unexpected, I don’t think there’s much more you can do aside from getting out the earplugs.

    During a recent stay in Mexico City, an external alarm for a neighboring building went off right below my window—all afternoon and night, for 16 hours straight. The hotel couldn’t do anything about it and didn’t have another room to move me to. Earplugs it was! Fortunately the rest of the stay was great and made up for the noise.

  14. “@L Is this Westin San Diego or Westin Gaslamp? Would like to know which one to avoid on an upcoming trip. ”

    Henning it is the Westin San Diego. I also stayed at the W and it is also across the street from the construction. The construction I believe is between W B St. and W C St. and State and Union St.

  15. I’ve been the quite “It isn’t too bad” person too many times. We were staying at the La Concha Key West (IHG Crowne Plaza). They upgraded me to a better room because of Plat status (from CC). However they were renovating the rooftop and the elevator for supplies was right outside our room. I went to hotel manager and was told they had no other upgraded rooms but he would credit 1/2 of the points we used for the stay back to our account. Good save but the locals were all very pissed at the hotel because the construction was going on for over a year and there was no mention of it on the hotel website. The construction also closed the hotel pool and the main entrance of the hotel forcing guests to enter/leave through the Starbucks. Your case is different because it is out of the hotels direct control but still it diminished the value of your stay and therefore the value of staying at the hotel. Maybe an offer of a credit or something for a future stay would be warranted. You won’t get anything if you don’t ask.

  16. This is a pet peeve of mine. If there is long / planned construction near a hotel that will affect guests then the Hotel is obligated to disclose this, and not just in a letter in the room when you arrive (how many times has that happened!) and cannot really do anything. They should do it at time of reservation or list it on the web site. As is say, this is in the case of a planned noise issue if they done tell you then I think the hotel has taken the reservation under false pretenses, knowing you will be inconvenienced but only giving you time to address the issue once checked in, long after you were able to make an informed decision at reservation. In this case though, I agree the hotel cannot be liable but I would have raised it with the Duty Manager and politely requested a room move as some other guests may be out of the room all day for work – unlike you who will be in the room during the day

  17. Over the last year, we have had 3 stays at the Ramada at Park-Maingate near Disneyland. They have been going through a fairly extensive renovation , so much so that even the current lobby is a trailer.

    I personally was not bothered by the noise of construction as we spent the day in the parks but I noticed that some of the other guests complained in on line reviews that they were not informed.Judging from the on line replies from the management, it appears that they were only given an standard apology and not any tangible form of compensation.

    For me, unless I was legitimately bothered by situation I wouldn’t complain to either just make myself heard or to try and seek some form of compensation.

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