Syfa & Ganjar

How to Use An Elevator in Hotel and High-Rise Building

Written by Syfa

Using an elevator in a hotel or high-rise building for the first time can feel like a thrilling, sometimes nerve-wracking, experience. My personal memories of my first elevator ride are hazy, as it happened during my early childhood.

Back then, I remember feeling a curious mix of fear and fascination whenever I had to ride an elevator. I'd cling tightly to my mother or father, trying to quell the weird sensations of dizziness and a fluttering heart. The whole process seemed inexplicably complex, especially when I thought about tackling it alone.

Using Elevators

So, with a view to sparing others that same confusion, I've written this handy guide on how to use an elevator, specifically designed for first-timers who might find the array of buttons bewildering. Here are the steps, so please read on!

1. Locate The Nearest Elevator


Your first task is simple – make your way to the elevator. In vast hotels or multi-storey buildings, elevators are usually found on every floor, often in multiples.

For instance, my husband and I live on the tenth floor of an apartment building, where three elevators are at our disposal. Additionally, there's a distinction between passenger and freight elevators, effectively doubling the total number of elevators per floor.

This provision is highly convenient, allowing for the simultaneous movement of people and goods. Can you imagine the inconvenience of having to use the stairs in such a tall building?

2. Choose the Appropriate Elevator

pilih jenis lift
Lift penumpang dan lift barang

Once you've located the elevators, your next task is to choose the right one for your needs. Hotels and high-rise buildings often feature multiple elevators, and it's essential to pick the right one.

Each elevator usually has a label indicating its type, located above the door or adjacent to it. Here's a brief overview of the different types of elevators typically found in these buildings:

  • Passenger Elevator

This is your standard elevator. If it's not among other types of elevators, it likely won't have any specific label. It's your best bet if you're not carrying any large or heavy items.

  • Freight Elevator
lift barang
Barang bawaan di lift barang

Ideal for those lugging around hefty items, like laundry or water gallons, the freight elevator boasts a larger space and capacity. While you're not prohibited from using it without carrying goods, it's preferable to leave this elevator free for those with heavier loads to prevent crowding.

  • Special Elevators for Certain Floors

Some buildings have elevators that don't service all floors. There might be ones designated for odd or even floors, high floors, or low floors.

If you encounter such an elevator, ensure it stops at your desired floor before boarding. Should you face any confusion, don't hesitate to consult building staff or security.

3. Press the Up or Down Button

tombol naik atau turun

Once you've identified the right elevator for your needs, press the corresponding up or down button. It's crucial to be aware of your current location and destination floor, given the buttons' overlapping positions.

If you're on a higher floor and wish to descend, press the down arrow button. Conversely, if you wish to ascend, press the up arrow button. Ensure you press the right one! Once done, watch the elevator indicator to discern the direction the elevator will move.

4. Pay Attention to the Indicator

lihat indikator
Arah panah pada lift sedang bergerak ke bawah

After pressing the up or down button, your next task is to observe the floor number and the direction indicated by the arrow. Wait for the elevator to reach your floor and check the arrow indicator.

If you're planning to ascend and the arrow points upwards, feel free to enter since the elevator is headed in your desired direction.

However, if your intention is to go up but the arrow indicates downward movement, it's best to wait. This means the elevator is set to descend first to accommodate other passengers. Although you can choose to enter and ride it down before going up, it might add unnecessary travel time to your journey.

5. Board the Elevator

Once the elevator doors open, it's recommended to enter promptly as these doors operate on automatic systems and can close swiftly. Therefore, whenever the elevator isn't overly crowded, step in as quickly as you can.

In case you're yet to board and the doors begin to close, pressing the up or down button should trigger them to reopen. However, it's essential not to obstruct the closing doors using your hands, body, or other objects due to safety concerns.

6. Use Your Access Card (Optional)

tap kartu
Tap kartu akses

Once inside the elevator, you may need to use an access card in buildings that maintain high-security standards, like hotels, apartments, or other high-rise structures.

For instance, in my apartment, all residents and tenants receive an elevator access card. The card only permits access to the specific floor where the holder resides, limiting movement to other floors.

This measure is common in many hotels, too, where guests use a card to access the floor of their room, which often doubles as a room key.

You'll need to tap or attach this access card to a device known as an elevator access controller. Its design can vary, but it's generally located near the floor number buttons. The controller usually provides some auditory or visual confirmation once the card is successfully read.

Following this, you may press the button corresponding to your destination floor. Note that this step isn't mandatory as not all elevators have an access controller. In those that do, remember to tap the card before selecting your floor.

7. Select Your Destination Floor

tekan tombol nomor lantai tujuan

As mentioned earlier, you can directly push the destination floor button if no card tap is necessary. Once you do this, the elevator doors will automatically begin to close.

While all elevator doors are designed to close automatically, if you wish to hasten the process, you can press the 'close doors' button, typically depicted by two arrows or triangles pointing towards each other.

8. Await Your Floor

tunggu sampai lift berhenti di lantai tujuan
Menunggu sambil megang paket dan makanan
inside the lift

Once the elevator doors close, the car will start moving towards your chosen floor. Keep an eye on the floor number indicator inside the elevator to track your progress.

When the elevator isn't too crowded, you'll likely reach your destination swiftly. However, in fuller elevators with several people selecting different floors, you might need to exercise a little patience.

While awaiting your floor, you could occupy yourself by reading any notices or advertisements displayed inside the elevator. In the absence of such distractions, like in a freight elevator, the journey might feel a little long or even unnerving for some people.

9. Exit the Elevator

Sampai di lantai tujuan

Once the elevator arrives at your destination floor, an indicator sound usually precedes the automatic opening of the doors. At this point, you should exit promptly to avoid the doors closing prematurely. If necessary, you can press the 'open doors' button—indicated by two triangles or arrows pointing away from each other—to keep the doors open a bit longer.

Upon reaching your floor, there's no need to press any buttons. Simply step out of the elevator and proceed to your destination. And there you have it—a complete elevator ride. To return to your original floor, simply follow these steps again. Here's wishing you a smooth ride!

Decoding Elevator Buttons

Navigating elevator buttons can be quite the maze for some, especially when the design or labeling is ambiguous. Let's dive into an elevator 101 to clear up the confusion and ensure you’re pressing all the right buttons.

1. The Floor Number Button

tombol angka pada lift
numeric buttons

Upon entering the elevator, you’ll typically find round buttons, each labeled with a number or a combination of numbers and letters. These represent the various floors in a building:

  • Numeric buttons: These directly correspond to the specific floors in a multi-storey building. For instance, pressing '5' will take you to the fifth floor.
  • Buttons labeled with letters or alphanumeric combinations: These refer to special floors that don’t follow the typical numeric sequence. Some common ones include:
    • G, GF, and 0: 'G' stands for Ground or Ground Floor (GF). This level is at or parallel to the ground level and is distinct from the first floor. Some European countries often use '0' to represent this floor.
    • LG: This stands for Lower Ground, denoting a floor below the ground level. There can be multiple Lower Ground floors, often labeled sequentially like LG1, LG2, and so forth.
    • UG: UG represents Upper Ground, a level right above the ground floor. There may be more than one UG level, but usually no more than two, labeled UG1 and UG2.

In a typical multi-store setup, the sequence could look something like this: LG, GF or 0, UG, 1, 2, 3, and so on.

2. Door Control Buttons

tombol buka tutup lift

Below or near the floor selection buttons, you’ll find two arrow or triangle-shaped buttons:

  • Closing Door: An arrow symbol where the points are facing each other signifies the button to close the elevator doors.
  • Opening Door: Conversely, an arrow symbol where the points are directed outward indicates the button to open the doors.

Although these symbols might look cryptic initially, a closer look should help you discern their functions.

3. Emergency Button

tombol emergency lift
Emergency Button

Safety first! Every elevator is equipped with an emergency button situated close to the number buttons. This button is a lifeline during unexpected scenarios, like power failures or mechanical issues in the elevator.

In case of emergencies, hitting this button alerts building security or management. Some elevators have an intercom system—typically located above the emergency button—allowing you to communicate directly with assistance. An operator or attendant will guide you through the next steps.

Elevator Etiquette

Elevator rides might seem straightforward, but a dash of etiquette ensures a smooth experience for all:

1. Exit First, Enter Later

It's a simple rule yet often overlooked: always let exiting passengers out before entering the elevator. Stand to the side of the elevator doors while waiting to board. If you’re anxious about doors closing prematurely, you can always press the up or down button as a precaution.

2. Respect Capacity Limits

While it might seem like an unspoken rule, it's vital: if the elevator looks crowded, wait for the next one. Most elevators have a capacity limit of approximately 20 people or 1350 kg (around 2976 lbs). Overloading can lead to safety risks and operational issues.

3. Use the Right Elevator for the Right Purpose

di dalam lift

Freight elevators are built robustly, designed to transport heavy goods and the people accompanying them. On the other hand, regular or passenger elevators are engineered for transporting individuals and should not be burdened with hefty items.

This ensures longevity and safety. So, the next time you have a large parcel, search for a designated freight elevator or use staircases if it's feasible.

4. Take Turns Pressing Floor Buttons

In a full elevator, consider pressing the floor buttons in sequence. This small gesture contributes to an organized flow and helps avoid any button-bashing chaos. Don't fret if you're the last to press; the elevator will get to your floor eventually. It’s all about ensuring everyone gets to their destination with minimum fuss.

5. Be a Door-Holding Hero (But Not for Too Long)

Should you be the first one in, and you see someone approaching, do them a solid and hold the door open. The door-open button (often the arrow pointing outwards) should do the trick.

However, if the elevator's bustling and your friend's taking their sweet time, it's polite to proceed without them. Holding the door for an extended period (beyond 15-20 seconds) can be an inconvenience for others already aboard.

6. Keep the Volume Down

Common courtesy applies everywhere, including in elevators. Given the confined space and close proximity to others, being excessively loud can be especially jarring.

This includes loud phone conversations where everyone ends up knowing your weekend plans. Pro tip: elevators aren't the best places for phone calls, given their notoriously patchy signals. So, maybe save that chat for when you're out in the open.

7. Respect Personal Space with Your Eyes

A smile or a casual greeting upon entering the elevator is perfectly fine, even appreciated. However, continuously gazing at someone can be unsettling and make fellow passengers uncomfortable.

Once you’ve pressed your floor button, consider stepping back and facing forward. It’s a small step in respecting personal boundaries in such close quarters.

8. An Organized Exit Strategy

Exiting an elevator can sometimes feel like a game of Tetris – you don't want to wait too long and risk the doors closing, but neither do you want to charge out and collide with someone.

The solution? A swift, yet orderly exit. If someone's in your way, a simple "excuse me" should suffice. Avoid the temptation to push or shove – it’s just a few extra seconds, after all.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Having laid down the essentials on elevator usage and etiquette, let's plunge deeper and address some often-wondered questions concerning the use of elevators.

  • What's the deal with elevator mirrors?

    The elevator mirror is not just for checking out your reflection, though we've all taken a moment to fix our hair or adjust a tie. The real purpose behind these reflective surfaces is more functional than you'd think:

    Distraction from Claustrophobia: A small, enclosed space can intensify feelings of claustrophobia. Mirrors provide a visual expansion of the space, helping alleviate feelings of being trapped or confined.
    Safety & Surveillance: Elevator mirrors allow occupants to subtly observe their surroundings, offering a passive way to deter unsavory activities like theft or harassment.
    Aid for Mobility Devices: Individuals using wheelchairs may find mirrors especially beneficial. Navigating in tight spaces can be a challenge, and mirrors help these passengers safely exit without having to awkwardly turn their chairs.

  • Why are some floors in malls named differently?

    If you’re eyeing a store on the 6th floor, you might rethink the trek up. By cleverly using terms like LG (Lower Ground), GF (Ground Floor), and UG (Upper Ground), followed by numbers 1, 2, 3, and so on, malls create the illusion of a less daunting vertical journey.

  • The curious case of missing floor numbers: 4 and 13.

    Ever noticed these numbers often skipped in elevator panels?
    Number 4: In Chinese culture, the word for the number four ("shi") sounds eerily similar to the word for death. As a result, it's considered unlucky and is often excluded from building floors, especially in regions where this superstition holds sway. It's not just the fourth floor – numbers containing '4' like 14, 24, and so on might also get the axe.
    Number 13: Superstitions around the number 13 aren’t unique to any one culture. Deemed unlucky by many, you'll find that high-rise buildings, especially in Western countries, may dodge the 13th floor. The workaround? They might label it as 14 or use designations like 12A.

We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

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We are a newlywed couple who loves to eat and travel from one place to another. In this blog, we will share our favorite experiences when visiting various tourist attractions and tasting the delights of good food!

More about Syfa & Ganjar →
Syfa & Ganjar
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