Soft-close hotel doors, please

During a recent stay at a major hotel in Chicago, my wife and I were headed to slumberland when we heard it. If you’ve stayed in a hotel, you know the sound.

*click, THUNK*

Photo by Kent Kanouse. And not our hotel, but close.

It’s the sound of hotel doors closing. Heavy hotel doors with cumbersome entry handles. The ones that are swipe/insert, or recently, keyless. They are clunky things meant to give you a feeling of: SECURE!

Here’s that sound, a little more subdued in the video over the narrator, but on a quiet night, it’s significant.

As we learned that night in the hotel that happened to have a large event or convention happening, and plenty of people getting to their rooms late, those click-thunks start to add up. They started to grate…and awake.

It made me ponder: why isn’t this heavily addressed? Hotels love to sell you on the benefits of their experience, and so it feels like a miss to not focus on soundproof walls and floors (don’t get me started on hotels we’ve stayed in that have wood or concrete floors — the click-clack-thump of heels and boots), but peace and quiet should be a goal and metric for customer experience and happiness.

I think of the advance in kitchen drawer easing technology — soft-close drawers. They move fast, but then slow just before the end, and lock into a resting position, nice and easy.

Hotels need soft-close doors.

Now, let’s watch that video again.