You're not imagining it.
It’s not you: your hotel room thermostat really does have a mind of its own. According to a Wall Street Journal report, hotel thermostats often aren’t under the control of the guests, even though hotels like you to think otherwise.
Recently, travelers have become less willing to take these imposed temperature settings lying down. Now, fed-up guests are scouring thermostat manuals and sharing bypass instructions online. From Tumblr accounts to Youtube videos, the Internet is full of resources all dedicated to outsmarting Big Brother. In some models it’s as simple as holding down Display, tapping Off, and then tapping the Up arrow. This puts the unit in VIP mode, giving control back to the the guest.
Although hard to believe, hotel thermostats are smarter than ever. Most now have infrared heat and motion detectors wirelessly networked into building controls. WSJ reports that this helps cut costs by reducing energy consumption. Many are tied to even door switches, and switch off when guests leave the room or open a window or balcony door.
Trouble arises when sound sleepers fool these sensors, and erroneously shut off air in the middle of the night. Hotels acknowledge this happens, and apologize for causing you to wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. They also say lack of cleaning and maintenance can render many hotel thermostats inaccurate by as much as 20%.
Overall, hotels say these fancy new systems increase guest comfort and reduce costs. Not only that, but limiting how far guests can push thermostats reduces maintenance expenses (sometimes making a room too cold can damage air-conditioning condensers).
So yeah, it’s definitely not you.