Archive for January, 2013

Dining Out? Check Your Phone with Your Coat

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

We’ve all be there, done that – gone to a restaurant only to find the quiet ambiance disturbed by obnoxious ringtones, text message buzzing, and loud voices. Oh, and let’s not forget the constant camera flashing since no one can eat out without taking pictures of their food these days.

According to, many restaurants are torn when it comes to dealing with these noisy distractions. On the one hand, they could ask customers to stop taking pictures or using their phones in the dining room. On the other hand, they could do like Chef David Bouley and actually invite the amateur critics into the kitchen to see the place in action.

So here’s the question. What would you do if you walked into a restaurant and were asked to check your phone at the door? I, for one, wouldn’t mind putting my phone aside for an hour, but I can also see how diners with children at home or with babysitters might worry a bit. Still, they can check on their children without being distracting, too.

So how about you? Would you stay or would you leave? How connected are you?

Why Aren’t Hotels Soundproofing?

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Despite advances in soundproofing technology, we’re always astounded to hear horror stories from individuals who have visited different parts of the country – or the world – only to have bad experiences in noisy hotels. Hotels are constantly upgrading and renovating, so why haven’t they caught on yet?

Case in point. Nancy, a reader, spent three nights in a hotel near the Philadelphia, PA airport. The hotel is part of a large chain and the first two nights were fine. The last night, a Friday night, was a nightmare. The hotel had a celebrity-like guest and the entourage was incredibly loud. The atrium-style center that all of the upper rooms could look down on suddenly became a funnel for the noise.

Another reader, Aaron, had a bad experience in what he thought was an upscale hotel in China. They happened to book their stay while China was celebrating Oktoberfest and a band began playing on the street outside of their 12th floor room. While the hotel wasn’t soundproof enough to accommodate the noise outside, they were kind enough to switch Aaron to a room that was closer to the interior of the hotel and away from the streets.

Two horror stories; two sleepless nights. But why? Are hotel maintenance staffers unsure how to soundproof rooms or do the hotels just not care? Are the patrons not complaining enough to make the problem a concern for management?

If you ever have a bad experience in a hotel, make sure management knows about it before you leave – and write a letter to the head of the chain. Sometimes (just sometimes), they don’t realize they have a true problem until people start telling them.