Do All Hotel Guest Rooms Have Windows?

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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.

W Fort Lauderdale

W Fort Lauderdale

I was in New Orleans this weekend at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans and had lovely views stretching all the way to Jackson Square.

View from Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

View from room at Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

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.

Courtyard

Courtyard

Skylight

Skylight

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.

Hallway and room

Hallway and room

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 –

View from inside

View from inside

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.

Bedroom

Bedroom

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?

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  1. DaninMCI
    Reply

    Not exactly but sorta related. Inside cruise ship cabins don’t typically have windows. Not a big deal but does feel somewhat strange.
    I also stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Little Rock recently that had windows but they only opened up to the inside atrium type deal. Not actually outside. I remember as a kid staying in the older Holiday Inn’s with pool side rooms facing the indoor Holidome pool area with no outside windows. Again sorta strange though.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      DaninMCI, that’s right! I’d forgotten about inside cabins on cruise ships. It’s a bit disorienting not to have a window. Interesting you had a view of the pool at the Holidome but it didn’t help with the strangeness. Thanks for reading!

  2. david
    Reply

    Odd you show a hotel from New Orleans. Every hotel I have been in has had a window to the OUTSIDE, however the French Quarter Hyatt had the same thing. Windows to the hallway. Very odd and creepy at the same time

    • Melinda
      Reply

      David, the French Quarter Hyatt can be an expensive place and I’m surprised that you didn’t have an outside window. Good to know, and I won’t stay there any time soon. Thanks for reading!

  3. brian
    Reply

    “The hotel with no windows” is a term used in the gay community to refer to a bath house.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      I guess I learn something new every day. Thanks Brian, I had no idea!

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