Rented a room for a night - woke up at 2.30am and unable to sleep again due to noise from air con system


I spent a night at an otherwise lovely place - the Jack Duggans Irish Pub now called the Commercial Hotel in Bathurst on Tuesday 20 September 2022.

I was given a double economy room for $79.00 for the night instead of the usual $119 for one person they would have charged according to their website.

I am on the Aged Pension and really appreciated the woman giving me that discount. She and the staff behind the counter at the pub were lovely to deal with.

It was about 8pm after a long day’s worth of travel from Sydney to Bathurst via train.
I dropped of my luggage in the room and headed down to the pub for a lemon lime and bitters.

Spent some time down there listening to their quiz going on and ppl having a lot of fun. Unwinding and chilling out.
Next quiz was identify this music by name - the guy played about 30 excerpts from songs which we enjoyed. Had fun about. I even got up and did a small bit of movement to one of them for fun.

After that the staff were wiping down the tables and it looked like it was getting towards closing time. I also felt my weariness again after the music bit was over so headed up to hit the sack.

I turned on the tv as I was undressing as haven’t watched a tv for a long time. Once I hit the sack I flicked between channels for a while to see what was on these day, then just slid off to sleep - turning it off before I went all the way down.

For some reason I woke up at 2.30am - went to the bathroom, and on return back to bed, noticed a noise that appeared to be coming from just outside the window from behind the building.

Like the sound of a front loading washing machine on the spin cycle.
A soft thump-thump - thump thump - thurmp thump.
Sound and soft vibration.

I got up and walked along the back wall of my room
Out into the hall where there was a back door directly on my rhs and long corridor on left.
Could hear it coming from behind there.
I was in Room 6.

I even went out front of the building after heading downstairs to see if anyone was there who would know.

Place was empty, locked up and no after hours number anywhere.

Back to room and just pulled out laptop as a distraction to help me get drowsy again. Didn’t happen.

The thump-thump was too much. Turned on tv again and SBS Chill saved my night by helping me turn off the sound of the thing. Between focusing on laptop stuff and music in background I eventually was able to filter out the sound, but not go back to sleep - noise was too much.

I looked at my receipt and was wondering if I should call the number on there, but was not wanting to wake anyone up. Their needs ahead of my own. Turns out they do that too, their needs ahead of mine.

The next morning I went down to reception a few times till someone actually was there - the door of the pub was slightly ajar.

I asked the staff member who I could talk to and she phoned Christopher Bell. He sounded like he had had a heavy night and we had woken him up. Strong sound of resentment in his voice. Said he would deal with it some hours later - maybe in afternoon - too late for me and after I was due to leave the place.

He agreed to meet me around an hour or so later at 10am when I was due to leave - their requirement of you to leave by 10am plus my train due to Dubbo.

I used that time to go outside to the back of the building to see where the sound was coming from.

It turned out to be an air con system right below the back door and a few feet below the back door of the place - right next to the entry door to my room.

I told him what had happened and he said it was my fault for not letting them know before 10pm.
Obviously had not listened to what I had told him about 2.30am

He said no one else has ever complained about it.
I said maybe because they are all drunk and I am not a drinker.

Said it was my fault for not letting them know before 10pm so they could put me in another room.

Even after I reminded him it was at 2.30am. Had not noticed it before then.

So was either not listening, wanted it over, half asleep, or ignoring what I was saying.

He said it was my fault over and over again.
I asked him why he wasn’t addressing the situation - a customer was letting him know that the hotel was apparently knowingly putting people in a room with issues.

He said no one else had ever complained about the room.

He said should have told them before 10pm a few more times - it was my fault for not doing that . . . said I hadn’t noticed it before then - may not have even been happening, not sure.

I asked him for a $39 refund of the $79 I had paid, as I have at least gotten some sleep.

He phoned someone - owners he said - and they said no, no refund because I hadn’t told them before 10pm so I could be put in another room.
Total waste of my time as I had to head to the station now asap.
Asked him for his name - Christopher Bell, he also gave me the email address of owner Corrina.

I have been doing a lot of research today into Young Hotel Group who bought this place.
Wanted to make sure no one else has this experience.

Phoned the hotel again today on 02 6331 2712 to talk to someone - said I had decided to swallow the $79 repayment as I had been given a discount up front but just wanted to know that they would not let that room again without doing something about the noise issues.

Was put onto Christopher Bell again - and he said there is nothing they can do.

I said sound insulation.

He said that they DID have an aircon thing behind there.
Would warn people who they let the room to in future about that noise issue.

As if . . . .

I said, ok looks like I have to do something about it from my end after all.
Contact local council, consumers orgs etc.

He then feigned good wishes before I hung up.

So here we are . . . what’s the answer

REALLY welcome some inputs as willing to spend the time doing what needs to be done

Cheers and thanks for your time reading this


1 Like

An interesting story, mostly irrelevant to the issue of a/c noise, and as a practical matter what would you have anyone do at 2:30am?

Would a partial refund have made you sleep better (on the train out)?

It would have been a nice gesture if they had but you wrote you already had a discounted room.

FWIW many hotels/motels give their best room to full rack rate paying customers and as the discount rises (excepting for their regulars/club members) one often gets the room(s) closer to the A/C plant or closer to the lift that goes bing to announce itself on each floor, or to the bar/venue; sometimes when a hotel/motel is booked out (or even if not) it is first in best dressed.

How do you think any of them would respond to a once off noisy hotel room complaint? The best answer is to move on and have a lesson learned to always ask for the quietest room available.

Hi Phil

Wonder what you would have done in that case?
Just say "ah well no sleep for me . . . " ??

Felt like I was going to have a heart attack when stepping out of cab at my house in BH
After being awake since 2.30am and 12 hour on train/coach. Tried to sleep but kids etc too noisy

  • You: FWIW . . . . . best dressed
  • There WERE other rooms available at the time
  • The room was discounted because I turned around to leave after woman told me the $119 price
  • You: Just put it down to paying for the lower end of their accom?
  • It is an obvious abuse of your customers whatever you pay
  • And normal to return products that don’t do what you pay for
  • Ask for your money back

As a long term biz owner I really get that we need to deliver or be answerable/refund

  • You: As a practical matter what would you have anyone do at 2:30am?
  • At 2.30am I wanted to be able to sleep for the rest of the night
  • They needed to make that possible - it’s what I paid for
  • But I didn’t do it - cared for them more than myself, and no after hours assistance available as there is in YHAz


  • I usually stay in hostels
  • I am almost 70 now and been using YHA and similar since I was 18.

Backpackers have an after 10pm quiet time rule

You can be thrown out if you don’t do it.
They care about you getting a good nights sleep


  • If a room has stopped me from getting what I paid for
  • I don’t want others to experience the same
  • Without trying to do something about it

I care about this
Hence my m’ship of Choice
And using my time to help fix stuff if I can

" . . . a once off noisy hotel room complaint"

  • The complaint reflects an ongoing issue about the room - and how do we know it’s one off?
  • The owners of this place - the YOUNG HOTEL GROUP - are super wealthy owners of multiple such places
  • I may even contact them myself
  • They could easily afford sound insulation of both room and air con

So sorry but your “best move” is not in keeping with who I am, but thanks for your time and offerings
It’s not all about me but about others too
I’m an activist



It sounds like the noise would not have been sufficient of itself to have awoken you if you had not needed to go to the bathroom.

Over the course of many years I have had rooms next to lift shafts (lifts went all night); above a canyon alleyway where all the surrounding buildings as well as the one I was in stored their rubbish skips - bin truck started at 4am; motels near train lines and highways, etc, etc. I have even been in hotel rooms where the aircon in the room was so noisy it woke us up and it could not be turned off. It is all part and parcel of travelling. When travelling alway carry ear plugs!

We have learnt, and for years when we travel we inspect the room first to make sure it is suitable for us before accepting it. Did you do that?

If you continue your ‘activism’, what do you expect to happen? Even if the owners are ‘super wealthy’ as you claim, the hotel will not rush out and noise insulate the room just because you have complained. It may also be that

you heard was vibration transmitted through the floor. Aircon plants need to comply with noise restrictions, so it is likely that it is quiet enough, and already vibration dampened.

Depending on the size of the aircon plant, it may be a huge task to further dampen the noise and vibration transmission. So even if lots of people have complained, they only may include noise/vibration upgrades into a rolling maintenance plan that could well cover a span of years.

On the other hand, if you annoy them enough, they may black-list you and you will be excluded from any of their

it is a thing that happens as I have seen such lists. They may also pass on your details to their affilliates and associates who may do the same. Is that a risk you are willing to take?


It appears your real issue is their refusal to refund 50% of your bill, not that it would have changed anything about your overnight experience, but may have allowed you to move on.

Your having taken a number of discrete possibilities and discounting each as if the others (nor ones not enumerated) do/did not exist for the purpose of making your stay bad suggests you might stand back for some reflection. Do you think they purposely put you in a room they knew to be noisy? Perhaps it was clean when you checked in and others were not. Perhaps it had nicer furniture or a newer bed so they unwittingly assigned it? Many possible reasons including random chance.

Although a case of one issue you appear to have many of the characteristics of an activist, but your cause is singular to your one experience. I doubt anything I could add would assist you.


The other thing to consider is sleep can be disturbed by new noises, even if these new noises aren’t loud or would normally cause disturbance if one us used to the noise.

Just because one hears a new noise when awake, also doesn’t mean it was the noise which caused one’s awakening. It could be a natural reaction to say having a full bladder, from one snoring or dreaming.

Being curious about a noise which one hears in the middle of the night can also increase focus on the noise, leading to lower likelihood of being able to return to sleep quickly.

While an accommodation provider should try an provide comfortable stay for their guests, they can’t be responsible for noises which may be seen as reasonable, either in amplitude or in nature. Air conditioners make noise, and unless the noise was extraneous indicating a fault, then the noise could be seen as being reasonable.


As mentioned, in the end I told them I was not worried about the refund due to the initial price reduction (which they offered as I was heading for the door when they told me it would be $119.00 for the night).

But I AM concerned for others being rented the same room going forward. As a pub probably a lot of their customers are drunk so would not notice it/wake up during the night and then notice it.

But others like me have and probably have in the past and will in the future. Respect. Honour. Care.

1 Like

Why have you not published my full reply above here? Cut it down a loooot. ?

My reply addressed the issues and points you have made since my last input and those and other info have been edited out. ???

Here is full response again in case it was an error

Hi Meltam

I didn’t think it was the noise that woke me up, but it did keep me awake.

I was shown the room first, but the noise/vibrations were not apparent standing at the doorway looking in.
They were apparent once you were lying on the bed.
Hence my rave re what I did when I went to bed initially with tv on.

I don’t agree “it is all part and parcel of traveling”
I am nomadic by nature and have traveled A LOT and ended up working for accom in a lot of places along the way

Mainly with YHA
They are responsive to you letting them know issues.

The places I have stayed where I have raised such issues, they FIXED THEM - YHA

I was a frequent visitor at some of them - it’s in their interest to do it if they are honourable and care about their clients. I am amazed that someone who is a Consumer Defendant would give the reply you just gave me.

If you are ok with companies treating their clients badly that’s your choice - staying in rooms such as you describe should always be reported to the appropriate people for correction

Would you buy a place next to a loud noise source and convert it into a place where people come to pay to sleep?

I was given the email address of the owner so I could contact them when I requested that
They had said no to a refund because I didn’t report it before 10pm
What crap. They must know that their aircon is noisy

I will be putting this info on Trip Advisor and other such places to help others avoid staying there in Room 6.
Not the whole place which is really nice.

I liked the place that is why I put so much detail in my initial submission to Choice.
Like an ad for them, just don’t stay in Room 6 till they fix it.

I forgot to mention that it was not as noticeable till you were on the bed
I stood in the doorway to see why I hadn’t noticed it after I did notice it
It was much softer but still there

I don’t care about being “black listed” by people who exploit others
They should be reported and fix it - you appear to be saying it’s just part of traveling, right?

You have traveled a lot and been in places that exploited you and thought it was part of traveling?

I am not ok with that
Hence Choice membership and - petitions for change

Choice is about activism isn’t it?


For clarity

Nothing has been edited out. You may be confusing how Discourse allows quoting part of someone else’s post with the full context of your own original? Any post that gets edited shows the image symbol next to the time posted.

There is no history of a reply to @Meltam prior to your above post.


The persons attitude seems pretty poor since you are the customer. Maybe they had forgotten that. I certainly would be forgetting tp revisit that place quickly. I would nearly want to leave. Seems it topped a good evening off in a bad way


I stay in 3-4 star level hotels a lot for work. I never travel without my sleeping mask and earplugs. I find Mack’s brand silicone plugs the best.
Earplugs might make a good Choice test.


I’d add ear muffs to that incase the noise can still be bothersome with only ear plugs. I use both when napping sometimes, incase a lawn mower starts up or barking dog. I can sleep comfortably for over 2 hours wearing both, lying on my back. Ear plugs are pretty average at blocking sound. I’m getting old, and am a light sleeper. Had no probs when I was young.


I’m interest in the ‘tell them before 10 pm’ condition. Apart from the fact that in this case you didn’t know before 10 pm that you had a problem, how were you supposed to be aware of that? Fine print in the receipt? Common condition of renting a room? If their office closes at 10, it makes sense, but it doesn’t seem to be stated anywhere. But yes, I agree with others that you may have to just move on.

1 Like

They possibly don’t have a 24 hour reception (like many accommodation providers) and the 10pm may be a reasonable hour to entertain contact/enquiries from guests. Most guests are also likely to be tucked up in bed or within their rooms for the night.

1 Like

There are some risks to wearing ear plugs, such as wax build up and infections, and when coupled with earmuffs the biggest risk is not being able to hear a fire alarm, a carbon monoxide detector, our alarm clock, or simply a knock on the door to alert to danger.

For our own safety we should make sure we can hear those before using noise reducing devices.


As a world traveller at every different standard of accommodation level (and now 68) I have learned d t listen to music :musical_score: n my iPad to fall asleep too.

If an air conditioner rattles inside my room, I have complained and been moved or the repair person has managed to fix it somehow.

If the noise is outside, yes I have heard it before 2.30am and if need be contacted the desk.

However the low thump the writer heard is part of travelling and if she really does travel often she most definitely would by now have either used ear plugs available in any chemist for $2.00 or fall back asleep with other diversions such as her SBS chill.

Do not waste Council time with such a minor complaint.

My gosh dear letter writer you were given an extraordinary cheap deal and plenty of entertainment.

It’s just too minor in the scheme of annoying hotel experiences. Being obsessed over a minor issue does not an activist make


I am a light sleeper and my home is very quiet at night and I am used to that now. I would not go to a country pub and expect it to be that quiet, nor expect to be given 24 hour response for $79 (or $119) a night. You can get that at big city pubs for $500 a night. I can’t see them satisfying all expectations no matter how hard they try.

People have different expectations of the hospitality industry. I have had hearty recommendations from friends who told me one of the local watering holes was under new management and now had great food. It was ordinary pub/club food, plenty of it but straight from the freezer to the deep fryer, little fresh and no imagination. I didn’t complain that my expectations were not realised as they were doing something that many would find acceptable if not good.

There are times when you just move on and try not repeat experiences that you didn’t enjoy.

1 Like