Last weekend I was awakened at 1:55 AM by screaming at my house. Home invasion? Kind of. My college son had arrived home with two friends. They were on Spring Break and had landed, after a long evening, at our house to play NHL on the X-Box in the den. Now, I have nothing against college kids having fun, especially on break. But when they are back home, they need to adjust. So after realizing that the screams were competitively induced rants after a skillful slapshot, I made my way out to the den. "Did you see your fraternity letters on the front of our house when you walked in tonight?". "No". "That's correct. That's because this is not your fraternity house, it's our home. We frown upon screaming at 1:55 AM. Please keep that in mind". With that, I went back to bed. But it made me think about several hotel visits recently.
I was in a room at the Plaza Hotel in Boston not too long ago. I got in around 11:30 PM, and there was clearly a very small, reasonably well contained party going on in the room next to me. It sounded like 4 or 5 people, max, and they were not loud. I thought I would turn on the news for a bit while they wound down their gathering, then time for bed. Silly me. They were ramping. By 12:30, there were probably 10 people there, and music had started. The more they drank, the louder they got, and the more impressed they became with their clever, loud storytelling. Then somebody called security. The knock on the door. The admonishment. The sincere, apologetic response. A couple leave. Relative quiet. 10 minutes. Maybe. Then the voices begin to rise. More people show up. Then more. About 30 minutes later, another visit from security. It's now about 1:45. Now the security guard is less cordial. The people in the room are really, really sorry. All good. 10 more minutes. Building steam again. Now the music starts again. Louder still. I break down, and this time, I call security. I never do that. Buy hey, enough is enough. By the time security gets there, they are as loud as they have been all night, and one guy, apparently not content with the music, and overly blessed with liquid induced confidence, decides that singing is on order. So the security guard arrives and insists they call it a night. Many file out. I am now thinking we are done. It's about 2:35 at this point. Almost done, but not entirely. Three of four remain, and keep going, this time trashing the people that had just left the room. How nice. I thought about calling security again. Instead I took a Melatonin and fell asleep. (incidentally, I find melatonin, which is a natural sleep hormone, helpful in falling asleep, but it does not really keep you asleep like an Ambien or Sonota would, so they are great in instances like this where you need to get up in a few hours).
More recently I was in Barcelona with business colleagues a a conference. We had a late dinner with customers. Dinners in Europe are often epic in nature. It's kind of like a marathon. Anyway, we got back to our hotel and I noticed that my colleague, who should really know better, was talking to me as we were in the hallway walking to our rooms, pretty much at full volume. He would say "I COULDN'T BELIEVE WE WENT ON FOR THREE AND A HALF HOURS", and I would basically whisper in response, hoping to make the point "yes, it was really long". "I HOPE TOMORROW DOESN'T GO THAT LONG". "yes, me too, good night".
The most basic rule of travel etiquette is to be respectful of people around you. This rule is broken all the time. Seldom is it malicious. The people in the room next to me in Boston were clearly young, probably at a training seminar for a company and just out of college. They were not mean, except to each other behind their backs, but they were just stupid. They probably knew better, but did not think. I am sure my colleague knew better, but he wasn't thinking either. Recent college graduates don't have a monopoly on this.
In the end, you could probably be inconsiderate, loud, and carefree about how you carry on in hotels. Almost nobody would really know.