At least in the US, air conditioning / heating tends to be on the loud side, since the AC unit is mounted directly inside the room. Often times I resort to turning it off for the night to make sure I can get some quiet sleep. This is an issue in both cheap and middle class hotels - not sure if 5-star places have the same noise problems.

What's the reason behind this frequent problem? Is there a general expectation that such noise would not be an issue for most guests?

Pictures were requested in the comments, so here's examples of what I'm talking about: one, two.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Willeke Mar 2 '19 at 18:09

The "mini-split" units which are more common in Europe, where the compressor is outside the unit, are much more expensive up front than the cheap window units or floor units found in typical midrange or budget American properties. They also cost more to install.

  • Window unit: $150
  • Wall unit: $450
  • Mini-split: $600 for the dead cheapest, plus likely drywall work.
  • 4
    Your numbers are off. The typical American unit is called a PTAC, packaged terminal air conditioner, and a 9,000 BTUh unit is around $750 from a quick search. A similar 9,000 BTUh heat-pump mini-split is about the same price. – user71659 Feb 27 '19 at 23:41
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    6000 BTU window unit (enough for a budget hotel room) is $176 at Home Depot, retail. – Andrew Lazarus Feb 28 '19 at 0:28
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    Chains don't allow the cheapest window unit you can find, by standard. Never saw one. They're always PTACs. Not to mention that that's an air conditioner only and they're always heat pumps in hotels. There isn't a single region in the US that doesn't need heat. – user71659 Feb 28 '19 at 0:50

Well this is an air conditioning issue: cheap hotels use mono block air conditioning units, as it's cheap!

You can use also the double block air conditioning (or mini split), which is more expensive compared to the mono block and in this case you need to drill a big hole in the wall.

The five star resorts use central air conditioning: a big unit outside the building that provides cooling for the whole building (more expensive and requires high budget and maintenance).

Bottom line: mono block is cheap. (ref: Sylvane.com: Types of Room Air Conditioners)


One more reason that wasn't yet mentioned:
if you mount a monoblock A/C outside, it will disappear quickly - they are relatively cheap, but still worth stealing.

  • 1
    Re. quickly: You can just swap out a window/wall unit in a half hour. With a broken split system, the room could be offline for days. – Mazura Feb 27 '19 at 23:34

It depends on the position of the unit. High class hotels give special attention the the house while middle class hotels might not have sound proofing it take the sound into account.

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