Why rooms 420 and 13 do not exist in the vast majority of hotels?

You have surely noticed during your business or leisure trips that certain rooms, such as 13 or 420, are often absent from hotels. But why is there no room 420 and 13 in some establishments? Let’s dive together into the reasons behind these curious disappearances.

The fear of bad luck: room number 13

The number 13 is considered by many cultures to be a sign of bad luck, which largely explains the lack of rooms with this number in hotels. This popular belief stems in particular from the fact that Judas, the traitor who delivered Jesus to the Roman authorities, was the thirteenth disciple to sit at the table of the Last Supper.

Why are there no rooms 420 and 13 in hotels
Why aren’t there rooms 420 and 13 in hotels?

Triskaidekaphobia: the irrational fear of the number 13

Many people suffer from triskaidekaphobia, a phobia linked to the fear of the number 13. To avoid causing a feeling of unease in their customers, many hoteliers choose to simply remove room 13 from their establishment. Some even go so far as to also remove the 13th floor, sometimes replacing it with a mezzanine or a relaxation area.

The legend of room 420

If the absence of room number 13 has its roots in religious beliefs, that of room 420 is linked to a completely different legend. Indeed, the number 420 refers to the code used by a group of Californian friends in the 1970s to signal that it was time to get together and consume cannabis. Since then, the term 420 has become an international symbol of marijuana use.

Room numbers that do not exist in hotels
Room numbers that do not exist in hotels

Prevent damage and theft

To prevent customers from being tempted to steal or vandalize the signs indicating the number of room 420, or even to organize illegal activities there, some hoteliers simply choose to ignore this number. Thus, they avoid potential problems with the law and preserve the tranquility of their establishment.

Other missing numbers: superstitions and traditions

In addition to rooms 13 and 420, there are other numbers that may be deliberately omitted in hotels depending on cultures and traditions.

  1. Number 4: In Asian countries, especially in China, Japan and South Korea, the number 4 is considered unlucky because its pronunciation is very close to that of the word “death”. It is therefore not uncommon for hotels located in these regions to avoid using this number for their rooms.
  2. Number 17: In Italy, the number 17 is associated with bad luck because of its resemblance to the word “VIXI” in Roman numerals, which means “I lived” and can therefore be interpreted as a premature announcement of death. Italian hotels often prefer to avoid this number, just as some airlines refuse to allocate seat 17 to their passengers.
Missing room numbers in hotels
Missing room numbers in hotels

When hotels play the originality card

But faced with all these superstitions and legends, some establishments choose to fully assume these controversial numbers and even make them tourist attractions in their own right.

Themed rooms to stand out

For example, there are hotels where room 13 is decorated on the theme of luck, with lucky objects or inspiring quotes. Other establishments have chosen to furnish their room 420 as a veritable cannabis temple, offering murals, accessories and books on this plant.

These daring initiatives allow not only to play with established codes, but also to attract curious customers eager for original experiences. Thus, far from representing a curse, these room numbers can become a real asset for hoteliers who dare to stand out.

Photo of author
About the author, Kate Williams
I always dreamed of becoming a journalist but life wanted it otherwise. As soon as I have some time to myself, I share here my discoveries and information that I find interesting.
Home » Tips » Why rooms 420 and 13 do not exist in the vast majority of hotels?