David J. Danto
thoughts in my own, personal opinion
ddanto@IMCCA.org Follow Video &
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The Story With Hotel Air Conditioning?
This week’s blog is not about
bashing United Airlines. I mean, I could easily choose to talk
about how my latest round trip on United’s “Premium Service”
last week was miserable, with IFE systems not working, internet not working,
and even the Jetway not working. Yup, that last one was a new curve ball, when
at LAX (a United hub) they couldn’t figure out why the Jetbridge
was not working, were incapable of repairing it, and couldn’t manage to park
the plane at a gate with a working Jetbridge. So instead of any of that they wheeled a
1960s staircase up to the 757 and walked passengers down stairs onto the tarmac
- and up stairs onto the plane – in the pouring rain –
because that’s what the incompetent management at United think qualifies as “Premium Service.” But again, none of that is the subject of
this blog. Instead, this blog is about
the hotel experience I had between those two “Premium Service” flights, and a
question about what’s going on with hotel air conditioning in general.
specific property I stayed at for a family party weekend – a Doubletree in the usually
rock-solid-reliable Hilton chain – was clearly in poor shape. We had to move rooms four times in three days
to try to get a room where the air conditioner actually cooled the room (and
yet still couldn’t get a room that wasn’t falling apart.) This is the first time in about three decades
that I had to write to Hilton to ask for a full refund (and to their credit the
good Hilton people immediately agreed and issued the refund.) The situation raised the question in my mind
if I’m asking too much of the properties I stay at in the air conditioning
expect any hotel room to be able to cool down to at least 65 degrees (Fahrenheit),
and have a cooling system that maintains some airflow (circulating fan) at all
times. I often have to run back to a
room and shower and dress in suits and ties, and if the air conditioner can’t
dissipate the bathroom shower’s humidity as I dress it can be unnecessarily
uncomfortable. I also prefer sleeping in
a cool room with a blanket / comforter keeping me warm. I can’t believe those needs are unique or
unreasonable – yet it is sometimes difficult to find properties that meet those
everything these days, the lower down you go in the portfolio of hotel
properties the more quality and services you get at no cost. The Hampton Inns (Hilton’s bottom brand) almost
always have great air conditioning (along with great free internet, great free
breakfasts, etc.) As you move to more
upscale properties in Hilton and other chains (and stand-alone properties) the
services begin to get worse and more costly.
you stayed at a casino hotel in Las Vegas recently? In that city – where temperatures can easily
climb to over 100 degrees outside – most air conditioning in rooms is
terrible. At the lower-end properties (such as
the Orleans) the room cooling systems are so ineffective that for the few times
I have to stay at them I carry a small electric
hand-warmer to place on the wall thermostat so it thinks the room is hotter
than it is and keeps the AC on. (I now
keep that charged hand warmer in my standard carry-on tool-kit for the many properties
that skimp on room-cooling.) At the
high-end Bellagio (and many of the other MGM properties) the air conditioner is
programmed to shut-off if no one is in the room. When I complained to the Bellagio front desk
that I didn’t want to return from my meetings to a 100 degree room and have to
wait an hour for the room to cool, they told me they’d place the room system
into “VIP Mode” that would allow it to run when I’m not there. One apparently needs to be a VIP to have a
cooled-room when it’s 100 degrees outside.
Also, if you’ve never tried it, the next time you’re at a mid to
high-end property in Vegas try checking out on the room TV or on-line when you’re
ready to leave the room. The second your
check-out is registered it sends a remote command to shut the air conditioning
down. I respect the desire to conserve
energy, but not the driving reason of trying to squeeze every penny out of the
property at the guest’s expense.
don’t understand the design of hotel room air-conditioners. Physics dictates that heat rises, so a
properly designed AC return (the thing that draws in air to cool) should be mounted
high in a room. Instead, neither of the
two most popular hotel air conditioning units do that. The most common unit sits at the
bottom of the windows, drawing in air from near the floor (the coolest air, not
the hottest) and manages to blow artic cold air right onto anyone sitting at
the room’s desk (another design feature I don’t understand.) The second most common unit sits in the wall next
to the windows, drawing in cooler air (again from the bottom) and blowing
cooled air out the louvers located over head height. These louvers are often aimed completely away
from the rest of the room, and it takes about five minutes of work to bend each
one individually to steer the air to the bed and other parts of the room where
people actually are.
ever do the AirBnB thing, apparently all it takes for
one of their properties to be listed as having air conditioning is for the
property to have a single window air conditioner. An AirBnB condo I
stayed at in Hawaii was listed as “air conditioned,” but it turned out to have one
tiny window unit in the living room.
Using a series of fans (the owner left) to circulate the air through the
apartment - for about six hours - I did manage to get the bedroom temperature
down to 75 degrees – but in my book that is not a space that can be fairly
listed as air conditioned.
think that cooling-down hotel rooms would not be as difficult as it seems to
be. I wish there were an honest rating
source for room air conditioning like there is for hotel WiFi, but I am not
aware of one. Until then, all there is
for the frequent traveler is hoping…and sweating.
a note if you have any notable stories or opinions about hotel air conditioning
and I’ll gather them all into a follow-up blog.
This article was written by David Danto and
contains solely his own, personal opinions.
All image and links provided above as reference under
prevailing fair use statutes.