WSJ: “It’s Not You: Hotel Thermostats Really Are Rigged”


WSJ ran a piece last week about the thermostats at hotels and how they are sometimes “rigged”. You may think that you are controlling the temperature when in fact you are not.

Hotel Thermostats

Some hotels have started to control the room temperatures centrally giving guests zero choice even when they try to manually change it to more comfortable.

You can access this WSJ article here (may require subscription) of which below is an excerpt:

Hilton’s goal is for simple, passive control so guests will be comfortable without playing with the thermostat.

The New York Hilton has a system that keeps unoccupied rooms at 78 degrees and then automatically sets the thermostat to 74 when a guest checks in.

Hotels are retrofitting wireless wall thermostats and door switches in some rooms now that devices are cheaper to buy. The advantage us that they can be centrally controlled. Guests may still fiddle with old knobs on the PTAC units, but it won’t get cooler or warmer.


The problem here is that there is no right or wrong temperature. Some find warmer temperatures acceptable while others don’t. Personally, I cannot sleep well if it is more than 20 to 21 Celsius. Limiting my choice to 23 means that I won’t have good night sleep. Period.

Luckily, I rarely stay at hotels (or motels) that have those old window units that are often way too loud and blow the cool or hot air directly to the bed.

I have never understood hotels that keep their public space way too warm during the winter months (thinking of Japan) that makes check-in uncomfortable.