In my travels, I’ve often been lucky to get amazing views from my hotel room. Sweeping ocean vistas, picturesque mountains, entire cities, etc.
I’ve also had some pretty poor views. Sometimes the room overlooks a dumpster, some mechanical equipment or simply just a wall.
I was in New Orleans this weekend at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans and had lovely views stretching all the way to Jackson Square.
My professional photographer friend was staying at a nearby resort though and lamented the fact that they didn’t have any windows in their room. At first I thought they meant there just wasn’t one in the bedroom, but perhaps in the living room or bathroom instead. Nope, they said. No windows to the outside at all.
Curious and a bit puzzled, I had to see this for myself. Their room was on the 5th floor, and in the middle of the hotel was a courtyard. The courtyard had a skylight with natural light that came in, but their room wasn’t across from the courtyard so it didn’t receive much of that light.
Instead, it was down a hallway where there were two “windows” but they just faced an interior blank wall. There were no windows to the outside in the bedroom, living room, or even a tiny one in the bathroom. None.
Studies have shown that natural light in the morning is beneficial to our health and weight, and without it people tend to feel sluggish. Since my friend was visiting from another time zone the lack of morning light made it even more difficult to adjust. This was their view –
The bright spot is that because there were no windows in the bedroom it made for a great, dark sleep. No light peeping in from under the door or bursting through curtains that didn’t close fully.
The next thing I wondered was why it was even allowed for a hotel to not have windows to the outside (excluding pod hotels in airports).
I found that in order for a hotel to be AAA approved, the guest room must only have a viewport or window near the door to an outside area. This place satisfied that requirement since there were two near the door.
Hotels that don’t have windows in guest rooms typically occupy buildings that weren’t originally built as hotels. They started out as factories, warehouses or just businesses and were converted later.
Hotels without windows in guest rooms are also in older buildings which skirts the issue of fire safety since hotels that are built after a certain year are required to have windows in guest rooms.
I don’t recall ever having stayed at a place without any windows, and don’t think I’d like it. Those who love a super dark room for sleeping might enjoy it, but readers who are claustrophobic might have difficulty.
How do you feel about not having windows to the outside world, and would you stay at a property that didn’t have them?