Finding a place to stay is one of the most important and constant concerns while traveling.  After being on the move and changing accommodations every night at times in New Zealand, I was ready to relax in a single place during my week in Nouméa.  Sometimes you just want to unpack all three pairs of underwear (…or maybe I would be wearing one)!

Noumea 5-star hotel

Ms. HalfEmpty crashing the 5-star resort

While in New Zealand, we used Skype to call our travel agent in DC and discuss lodging options for our next country, New Caledonia.  He gave us three options — least expensive in the city, and the other two in the beach area.  The most expensive one was double the price of the cheapest and was a 5-star resort.

After researching them for ourselves online and reading reviews, we opted for the middle priced hotel, which seemed like a great deal.  What we didn’t know while booking was that the hotel was under construction.  Perhaps that’s why the rate was so reasonable.

Le Surf show

Ms. HalfEmpty enjoys dinner and a show in the pool area of our hotel.

The construction noise wasn’t too bothersome because we were usually out during the day.  But the construction workers were adjacent to the pool area, which always made me feel watched if I decided to lounge there.

Le Surf statue

Ms. HalfEmpty analyzes a statue in our hotel. Is this typical New Caledonian art?

I’m not sure if it was related to the construction or not, but during our first night the electricity went out.  Not once, but twice.  Each time I called the front desk and tried to explain in French that we didn’t have electricity.  Eventually, we went to sleep because it was dark, so there wasn’t much else to do.

At 11 PM, the front desk called the room and woke us up to ask if we wanted to change rooms.  I said we would change rooms in the morning because it wasn’t practical to pack in the dark.  (Of course, they didn’t offer to bring us flashlights.)  But they informed me that the person who could fix the electricity would be there in the morning so there was no reason to switch rooms the next day.

Actually, there was reason.  That wasn’t the only night the power went out.  Eventually, we learned that we couldn’t have the air conditioning and the TV on at the same time in our room.  That discovery was a process of trial and error throughout the week.  But the maddening thing was that our room was above the red neon casino.  That place was rocking all night every night.  Why didn’t their power ever go out?

Casino Royal

The brightly lit casino entrance directly below our hotel room.

We could look out the window of our room and see the lights of the casino and feel the bass underfoot.  The parking situation for that place was crazy.  We didn’t rent a car so it wasn’t a problem for us, but it was quite a sight to see.  Cars were double and triple parked in the tiny parking lot.  Plus, the road out front had two lanes in each direction during the day, but at night the center lanes became a parking lot with double parked cars.

Le Surf statue

Mr. HalfFull is impressed by the defined derrière on a statue in our hotel.

The other really fun thing about this hotel was our next door neighbor.  There was a group of three teenage boys, who each had their own hotel room.  The one right next to us would often play his guitar out on the balcony.  This wasn’t a problem when we had electricity overnight.  But when it went out, we would have to open our balcony door for air circulation and were awoken at 2 or 3 AM by electric guitar.

Through repeated banging on the door of the room next to ours, we learned that our next door neighbor was named Séamus.  The noise went something like this:  knock, knock, knock, BANG, BANG, BANG, “Come on Séamus, we have to go!!!” BANG, BANG, “What are you doing?!?” BANG, BANG, BANG, “We’re going to be late!”  There were various expletives scattered throughout those words, but you get the gist.

Tattoo area

The night of the show, they set up a makeshift tattoo parlor in the basement of our hotel. Scary!  (I think Séamus' friend got a tattoo.)

Between the banging and the guitar playing in the middle of the night, I was fed up.  So one night after they had gone out to party, I left a note addressed to “Séamus and Friends” about being considerate of their neighbors.  I actually heard him discover this note and read it aloud in the middle of the night.  The noise level did not change.

One night when the electricity was out and our balcony door was open, Séamus brought home some girls who were out on the balcony with him.  Ironically, I heard him lecture one of the girls on being nice.  I think he actually said, “You have to treat others the way you want to be treated,” with his obnoxious accent.  I just about fell on the floor.  Finally, Séamus had met his annoying match …and I felt rather half full about it.

  • Have you booked an accommodation that varied greatly from your expectations?
  • Would you change rooms in the dark if the electricity went out?
  • How do you deal with noise disturbances while traveling?
  • Would you leave a note on a neighbor’s hotel room door?
  • Was it wrong of me to feel half full about Séamus’ unfun night?


Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!