Why are hotel bedrooms so hot?

As an eco-architect it is a source of immense frustration when on the rare occasions that we get to stay in a top class hotel, everything is perfect down to the last detail except the ability to get a good night’s sleep. Why? Because the room is too warm.

Which is kind of incredible when you consider what a hotel’s primary function is. They spend so much money getting the food right, the look of the room, the comfort factor of the bed, the service, the stylish bathrooms. And then after you are fed and watered and have been pampered in the spa, you retire for the night and what happens? At about four a.m. you wake up in a pool of sweat, with a dry throat and have to get out of bed to open the windows. At which point, an icy gale whips in and you are caught between a rock and a hard place. Or you swallow your environmental pride and put on the air conditioning, knowing that the heating is still on, so you are using energy to chill the space that you are using energy to heat. And still the temperature is all wrong.

And the solution? Well I would of course start with insulation and triple glazing, a facade designed to prevent summer overheating and a stable winter temperature. And that would probably just about do it. It is incredible that in Ireland with our mild climate and huge tourist industry, that no hotelier has yet built to the passive house standard. This is the only way to guarantee comfort. Given the huge air-conditioning costs and infrastructure required to attempt to control comfort in hotels, it would be cheaper to omit the air-conditioning and just built properly in the first place. I challenge any hotel developer out there to let me sort this out for them… or at least let me explain to them in more detail where they are going wrong.

I have just gotten Lascar dataloggers which measure humidity and temperature, and when I go to hotels in future I am going to track internal and external conditions and publish my findings.. Should be interesting.

So what about a survey of hotel comfort based on experiences?

Let’s start with 5-star hotels only. In the last couple of years we have stayed in two, one was great and one was terrible. We will rate thermal comfort as a percentage of satisfaction, and note the time of year.

Both were FANTASTIC in every other category, location, food, service, finishes, etc

Monart Hotel. Enniscorthy. December 2011 Mild weather. All other amenities 100%. Thermal comfort 100%.

Europe Hotel. Killarney. June 2013. Fair weather. All other amenities 100%. Thermal comfort 0%.

I would like you to use the comment facility below to send me your experiences, let me know which hotels have thermally comfortable bedrooms and out the offenders! I will put up a list and see if we can persuade the hoteliers of Ireland to get with the programme and build comfortable hotels!!