Home Tips and Tricks The Hotel Thermostat Hack That Went Horribly Wrong

The Hotel Thermostat Hack That Went Horribly Wrong

by SharonKurheg

Joe and I have been friends with Stephan and Emilio for years. But besides the friendship, Stephan, in particular, has been a longtime reader of Your Mileage May Vary. He’s mentioned here and there how some pieces of our advice have helped them with some of their travels. He’s also told us that our list of hacks of how to override electronic hotel thermostat settings has been of particularly good use, here and there.

I was text messaging with Stephan the other day. He and Emilio are going to Hawaii next month, and Stephan was telling me how he got round-trip flights (they live in southeast Florida) and a week at the Royal Hawaiian for $2500. “JetBlue standard to LAX with points. American First to HNL with points/travel bank. Then Delta ONE for the return on points (through JFK). Yay miles/points!” was his exact quote. Yeah, he did a good job. 🙂

After I suggested they try to get reservations at the place that may have been our best meal of 2022 (it’s in Honolulu), we started reminiscing about the time a couple of years ago they were staying at a hotel in Central Florida and essentially broke their hotel room, thanks to some advice I had given. 😉 I posted about this in the past, but it’s a good story and worth repeating, so…

The two of them were staying at a Marriott property. Stephan and I were texting back and forth about some people we mutually knew, when the conversation took quite the turn…

To make the above a little more clear: when he said the room was too cold, I told him to check out our post about how to hack hotel thermostats. Our list doesn’t include every single thermostat out there, but it has a lot. Unfortunately, it apparently didn’t have the one he needed, because when he sent me a pic of the thermostat in his room, I could see it wasn’t on my list.


So I did some Googling, found a video to override it, and sent him the link:

But then he said:

Well, I’ll tell you what happened. Nothing good.

About 5 or 10 minutes later, Stephan wrote back:

He was only saying that in fun, but I still felt guilty for bringing him down this path to begin with. Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap…

And then came the moment of truth:

(and a blog post he has now become, albeit several months later LOL)

Anyway, Stephan was quiet for a while and then wrote back:


And then an update!

Hooligans indeed. And never trust fly-by-night travel blogs 😉

About an hour I got one more message from him:

They checked out the next morning, using the app. They didn’t mention the issue. As Stephan said, “I broke it, it fixed itself. ‘Even Steven’ in my book.” They never heard anything from the hotel about it, either.

But it just goes to show you – even though there are directions on how to hack a thermostat, even if there are links that tell you exactly how to go it, even if they’re FROM US (or some other fly-by-night travel blog) ;-), you’re ALWAYS doing it at your own risk.

Fortunately, Stephan and Emilio did not go to hotel jail. But we do thank them for their friendship and for allowing us to share their (edited for blog use) story.

Feature Image: Telkonet

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


derek March 28, 2021 - 3:42 pm

I would have moved to another room because the “engineer” may have been a Covid carrier.

I need and/or want to travel, some of it very important. However, because of the pandemic, I have only traveled once by car and used extraordinary precautions, like bringing my own food and water to avoid restaurants and minimize rest stops. (I admit I used the bushes of the rest stop for, in Mexican lingo, #1).

Even if vaccinated, you have to be very careful. Don’t think you are being safe but actually are not. The problem with Covid is the chance of death, even if small. After all, drunk driving is banned even though it is not that dangerous. If drunk, usually the most that happens is a dent in the car or a mailbox knocked over. Death from drunk driving to anyone, pedestrian or driver, is less than 1%. (disclaimer: I condemn drunk driving!)

Ghostrider5408 March 28, 2021 - 7:23 pm

If the engineer was carrying Covid and they came into close contact with him as he was working on the thermostatic it would have been too late in ask probability. I have found if you call the front desk they can send someone up to adjust the room temp, many systems today they can do via software from engineering. Thats the problems with hackers they what happens

"Stephan" March 28, 2021 - 9:42 pm

These guys sound bonkers and I want to be their friend. 😂

Clyn6 March 29, 2021 - 2:19 pm

A Most excellent post! Thanks for the chuckles!

Alan McKenzie October 6, 2022 - 11:30 am

Often times, the hotels will ‘switch off’ the heat portion (or cooling portion) by season to save them money. They usually do this at the point of the units on the roof (remotely even). They will turn off heat during summer months because nobody SHOULD need it and they don’t want someone to set it to ‘sauna’ on their way out… Same goes for the winter, they will shut down the portion of the unit to ‘cool’ the air so some idiot doesn’t crank DOWN the thermostat to, say, 60 degrees… I work at a college and we do that every seasonal change as well… Of course SOMETIMES it gets forgotten about or the weather changes rapidly in fall/spring… Not much you can do unless you can get roof access and know a lot about HVAC systems…

kbelkin January 7, 2023 - 8:52 pm

I carry a mini screwdriver. If a vent is too cold/hot or just too noisy, I stuff it with towels. Remember to remove lest they think you stole the towels/

SharonKurheg January 7, 2023 - 9:00 pm

Good idea! But what if the vent is up by the ceiling???

StAugustine January 8, 2023 - 11:30 am

I stayed in the HIX in Oneonta NY recently and they had a diagram above the thermostat explaining what each button did and how to turn the temperature up/down. Never seen that before. Very helpful.

SharonKurheg January 8, 2023 - 11:36 am

That’s cool! There are some hotels that are very cordial about the whole thermostat thing – they don’t mind if you make the temperature you want, instead of what they’d prefer to help them save money. Good for them, and lucky you!


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