Triskadekaphobia and ancient hotels

I’ve noticed a number of older “high-rises,” expecially hotels, which go up only to the 12th floor. Instead of going from the 1st floor thru the 13th floor, they go 1st, Mezzanine, then 2nd thru 12th floor–which is actually 13 floors.

So. . . just in case evil forces noticed that building planners were weasel out of using the number 13, when you actually had 13 floors, you typically had a basement and/or street level, so that you actually had more than 13.

The question: Was going no higher than the 12th floor done because of superstitions, or just a matter of practicality? Or maybe there were just a lot of superstitious planners in my area way back when.

I think it’s probably just a coincidence that you’ve noticed many buildings with only 12 floors. There are a large number of taller buildings which simply skip the number 13.

I recently lived in an apartment building with ‘16’ floors (people lived from the second on up). It completely skipped 13.

Residential building tend to skip the 13th floor, since people are a bit reluctant to rent on floors with that number. The same for hotels.

OTOH, commercial building usually have a 13th floor. The Empire State Building, for instance, has one. There are currently at least three rental properties available on it.

It’s been a couple years since I worked in that building, but if I remember correctly, the Mayo Building at the Mayo Clinic has 19 floors reachable by elevator, and they do have a 13th, but you can’t reach it from the staff or patient elevators, only by the freight elevator, and it’s used for storage only.

I found in some places in Asia (most notably in China) the 4th’s floor is skipped. I believe this is partly supersticious relating to the number 4 being phonetically similar to the word death on one of the many languages/dialects. In fact a hotel i stayed in in Hong Kong had no 4th, 14th or 24th floor although the top floor was around 32.

The building I stayed in in HK had no 4th, 13th, 14th or 24th floors. It’s just superstition, better to slightly piss off 20% of the people than to lose rentals from 0.1% of people.