By Ken Hegan for MSN Travel

Pipe down, punters!

Premier Inn, a UK hotel chain, is installing noise-activated alarms in the hallways of over 600 of their budget hotels in the UK and Ireland.

According to The Daily Mail, the alarms work much like speed cameras. When guests talk / yell / beat each other too loudly, the unit flashes a warning at the hooligans. Reminds me of the emergency siren light that prisons flash at rioting inmates. The only difference is that Premier Inn offers arguably tastier mess hall breakfasts.

Premier inn at dusk_whitbread at a glance-hero

The purple-themed Premier Inn hotels are infamous for cheap rooms (£29 or $46 CDN/night) that attract budget-conscious ‘business travellers’ like beer-soaked soccer fans, austerity-minded conventioneers, and low-down cheating husbands who pay cash and then sneak out the back (Legal: I totally, absolutely, 100% made that last one up). 

A_good_night_guaranteed.ImageRef.defaultpromo.Single.ImageRefThen again, Premier has won “Best Leisure Hotel Chain” as well as the “Hotel Chain of the Year” (two years running) at the British Travel Awards. Which surprises me, given that Premier Inn is a low-dough chain. One reason they won is their impressive “Good Night Guarantee” which the hotel describes as “unique.” It’s where they give you your money back if your sleep was terrible and/or ruined by whining late-night murder victims.

When it costs as low as 29 pounds a night to stay there (and according to some online reviews, ceilings and walls are tissue-thin), you can imagine how many refunds Premier Inn has to shell out. According to the Daily Mail, the hotel’s CEO, Andy Harrison, said “the single biggest reason for giving refunds has been because guests do not get a good night’s sleep due to noise from other guests.”

Noise detectors weren’t the first solution they tried, either.

“We tried giving rowdy guests lollipops when they come into reception after a night out to keep them quiet,” Harrison told the Mail.

Genius! Seriously, lollipops are a great idea. Treat the guests like children and buy their love by sticking a lolly in their mouth to distract them from talking. Too bad it didn’t work.

So the hotel resorted to installing prison lockdown lights. Hopefully the inmates – I mean ‘esteemed guests’ – heed the light show and quiet down, instead of screaming “Last call for alcohol!”, “Woop woop is the disco call!”, or yelling “Wooooo, wooo, woooooooo” like a police siren, which is what I’d probably do.

What do you think: are hotel noise alarms a good idea?

— Ken Hegan

Read all of Ken’s MSN travel stories here  

Twitter: @KenHegan

Photos: Whitbread plc