Why don’t hotels have ceiling lights? [A Quick Guide]

hotels with no overhead lighting

We’ve often get sent questions by our readers, but one has come up time and time again and seems to be puzzling many - why don’t hotels have lights in the ceiling?

It’s something you don’t notice, but as soon as it’s pointed out to you it’s hard not to notice - where are all the overhead lights?

In this article, we look at the three main reasons behind this weird phenomenon, as well as explore the benefits it brings to both the hotels and you as the guest.

Let’s take a look.


Reason 1: Most hotels don’t have a drop ceiling or ceiling cavity to put wiring for ceiling lights in.

The first reason is the most straight-forward of them all - there’s no space to put the wiring!

To maximise revenue, when designing hotels the architects and designers will not add space between the ceiling of one room and the floor of the room above - it is usually just one solid slab of concrete separating the two.

To be specific, by eliminating any unnecessary space between floors, over the course of a tall building it allows the hotel to fit more floors in. And the more rooms you can squeeze in, the more money can be made. 

In addition, building the hotel this way makes the building of the hotel both fast and  extremely economical.

So, because there is no space through which you can feed electrical wiring, most hotels are simply forced to use wall lights (like our Hotel Style Wall Light), desk lamps, and floor lamps to light each room.


Reason 2: Ceiling lights are much more difficult and time-consuming to maintain and replace.

For the few hotels that do have drop ceilings or a space for electrical wiring, there are other reasons ceiling lights are generally avoided. 

For one, when the light bulb needs to be replaced, you’ll need to use a ladder, as most hotels have slightly higher than average ceilings. And even for regular height ceilings, you’ll need a chair (at the very least) to safely replace the bulbs.

This then makes lightbulb replacement a maintenance issue, rather than something that housekeeping can do when they’re doing their usual rounds.

On the other hand, wall lights and sconces do not need ladders or chairs in order to replace the bulbs, because they normally hang at or around eye level.

This means that not only are they much simpler to replace, but the replacing can be done by housekeeping.


Reason 3: Unnecessary inconvenience for hotel guests

Finally, the last reason has to do with the inconvenience changing/fixing ceiling lights can have for hotel guests.

Unless you’re literally just changing out the bulb, for ceiling lights to be fixed/replaced you’ll need to shut the power off to the whole circuit. And while this doesn’t sound like a big issue - you may do it yourself at home all the time - you need to remember that this is a hotel.

As such, each circuit could be a few rooms at best, but potentially a whole floor at worst. Meaning, shutting off a circuit to fix the ceiling light in a room on the first floor could mean shutting off power to the whole first floor.

You can imagine how this can lead to some angry customers.

In contrast, wall lights can be isolated per room, and most hotel wall lights are simple plug-in lights anyway. This massively reduces the hassle when in-depth repairs for lights are needed.

In summary then, wall lights are much simpler to replace and get working again when serious fixes are needed when compared to overhead lights.


Closing remarks

So if you’ve ever wondered why hotels don’t have overhead lights, now you know. 

Now go forth and share your newly learnt trivia!