What Prompts You to Switch Rooms at a Hotel?

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Ideally, guests are assigned a room in a hotel that satisfies their needs and they stay there. Sometimes a hotel has a specific person that takes care of the room assigning, carefully matching needs and elite status with room types starting several days before arrival. This is a great way to ensure that if a top tier elite shows up at 11pm, they’ll still get an appropriate room rather than being delegated to whatever is left after the majority of guests have checked-in. Oftentimes, room assigning is done instead by the front desk staff and adjusted as the day goes along.

Especially when a hotel is fully committed, things get trickier every minute once check-in time starts and modifications are needed. Much like a puzzle, not every piece fits exactly how it should every time and someone ends up stuck in the tiny, noisy room with the view of the mechanical equipment. A room reserved with a single bed won’t work for the family of four that shows up, someone with allergies requests a hypo-allergenic room and gets one that just had a dog in there, a door handle malfunctions and the room has to be taken out of inventory, and someone that recently underwent knee surgery requires an accessible room.

Then there are people that want to switch rooms because of preference. Although I try not to be a demanding guest, sometimes I request room changes.

If I don’t get a King bed and I’m traveling with my husband, I don’t hesitate to ask if a King bed room is available. Same goes with any rooms that I find are next to an elevator, so I don’t hear the DING! every time the door opens or the WHOOSH every time the elevators goes up or down.

I’m pretty picky about the temperature of the room too as I prefer a cool sleeping temperature, so if the A/C is broke and the hotel cannot fix it by sending up one of their engineers I ask for a different room.

If there is an extremely loud party in the room next door, I’ll give it a little while before calling down to the front desk. Someone on the staff will then call to the room or go knock on the door to ask them to lower the noise level (I know, I’m such a party pooper!) but I don’t ask to switch rooms unless the noise doesn’t stop.

Although I’ve found odd things in my hotel room I’ve never found anything gross enough to prompt me to switch rooms.

Some rooms have amazing views while others leave much to be desired. If I get to the room and there is a disappointing view, I typically won’t ask to switch rooms. It depends on how busy the hotel is though. If I know the hotel is at 35% occupancy and I really really want an oceanfront view, I’ll ask and figure the worst they can say is no.

At least the bed was comfortable
At least the bed was comfortable

I’m curious what reasons readers have for switching rooms. Do you have a fear of heights that prompts you to switch if you get a top floor room, or are superstitious and won’t stay in a room that has the number “4” in it? What does it take for you to ask for a different room than what you were assigned? Are you sometimes picky like me or just go with whatever you are given?

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  1. Given how little time I spend in the room itself- most of my travel is for work so it’s not like I have a great deal of lounging time- there’s only a handful of things that will make me request a change of room.

    The first is the air conditioning not working. That’s a deal breaker. Full stop.

    Second is being given a ground floor room. I prefer to be between the fourth and seventh floors to maximize the safety of the room but still be low enough to get rescued if there’s a fire. I don’t mind being higher up- especially if there’s a great view- but it’s not a priority.

    The final and, sadly, the most common reason is the room smelling funky. Either from cigarettes or just not being “fresh”. It’s pretty odd that this is my biggest pet peeve given that I work in disaster forensics so horrible smells are not part of my day to day routine. That said, I don’t want my refuge from work smelling like body odor or a cheap bar.

    1. @Steve I’m with you in that a strong smell instantly transforms an otherwise lovely room into a much less desirable space. Sounds like an interesting job you have btw.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. If my room is undesirable I will ask to move to a better one, not expecting an upgrade but a better room in the class I booked. Same if I’m led to a bad table in a restaurants when it is obvious plenty of better ones are empty, I will point out the table I want instead.

  3. Usually the A/c..if too hot esp in florida i hate the auto-controls that shut down if u do not move around or if u leave the room..Then it takes hours to get cool again..and the humidity does not help the mold situation.. mold the other reason to move ..At the new ritz in orl a few years ago our whole bathroom and closet ceiling had black mod..but we were on the 6th floor corner they wanted to move us to a smaller room in middle so i kept getting them to get the cloroz up there and find out what was happening on the above floor!! a real problem and they were not cooperative!!

    1. Sounds icky, Dotti Cahill. I can picture all that black mold, and it seems the hotel just didn’t want to investigate further which is always a bad sign!

  4. I cannot stand and I am allergic to the smell of cigarette smoke and, no matter how nice the room is, I request to change it. Unfortunately I found that many guests do not respect the “no smoking” room designation, especially overseas. So I made it a habit to go check the room as soon as it is assigned, even before the bellmen takes my luggages up to it. This way I avoid having to unpack and re-pack.
    I travel extensively and have status in most chains. I have yet to find a hotel that does not respect my allergic condition.
    Besides the smoke, I usually expect to get the room that I pay for (ocean view, high floor, etc.).
    And yes, the a/c is important too.

  5. Room switch considerations for me:

    1. Have I already unpacked? I will still move after unpacking, but it will take a higher level of consideration to get me to move.

    2. How may nights am I staying? If only one night, unlikely to switch. Also, if the annoying thing – like a loud HVAC unit – seems fixable, I might tough it out for the first night and hope they can fix it the next day. If it’s late, the last thing I want is a maintenance guy knocking on the door. I’ll complain on the way out in the morning, and hope its fixed by my return.

    3. Resort rooms – not what I reserved. Oceanfront, Ocean View, Partial Ocean View, Garden View, etc. We have a pretty good idea of what to expect. If I don’t get it, I will request a room change before I unpack. And I may ask for a higher floor or whatever at check-in, but if I don’t get it, it still meets my expectations. If it is a different class, then I complain.

    The reality is that I don’t remember changing rooms after unpacking…

    1. I agree Ken. Once unpacked, it is indeed a bit of a hassle to put everything back together and schlep over to another room especially if just for one night.

  6. Many years ago I stayed at a Howard Johnsons in Florida and the air con was broken. The engineer came to look at it and advised that it was the fan and not the cooling unit. He arranged for an enormous fan to be sent up and positioned it in front of the aircon unit. Papers flew everywhere – the fan was like one they would use in a movie for wind effects.
    I called the front desk and advised that this wasn’t going to be suitable and could I move rooms. They replied that the hotel was full. While I was talking to them, I saw a card that said “If it’s not right, it’s a free night” and mentioned that to the desk. They were really unhappy and said I’d need to speak to the manager the next day – which I did and he reluctantly gave me the free night.

    1. That huge fan must have been almost comical Paul Feagan, after the fact of course. I can picture it, with stuff blown all around and the hotel engineer thinking it was a good solution. Ha! Glad you saw the note about the free night, as I’m sure it wasn’t a good night’s rest.

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