What’s with light switches in hotels?

2 04 2009

The only annoyance in our room suite at The Westin Seattle was that a power outlet’s ability to work was reliant on a light switch being turned on! I’ve had this once before, in a cheap motel somewhere in the US, but it was the last thing I thought of when the power outlet next to the desk stopped working and thus stopped charging my laptop etc.

There were lots of power outlets and light switches in this suite, but for some reason the one near the desk was chosen as the one to be linked to the light switch near the main door — some 10+ feet away! Go figure. You had to turn on the light switch for the power outlet to work…

How did we find this out? After the first night, I realised my laptop’s power light wasn’t on and nor was the light on the power board. So I tried the power board in other outlets around the suite and it worked fine. It just didn’t work in the power outlet near the desk. The top outlet was connected to a power board that ran the router, desk lamp etc, so I couldn’t swap it out. Anyhow, I called maintenance and the very nice man said that probably at one stage a lamp was connected to that outlet that turned on when you came in the door and turned on the light switch (one of TWO) near the door. Well, the lamp is no longer there, and there are PLENTY of other lights in the room. So why are these things still connected. You’ve got to think that they get regular complaints about this, so how come they don’t fix it?


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2 responses

6 04 2009
Craig

Ahhh… It’s the same in a lot of older houses too.
The reason is this (I asked about it as it drove me insane too)…

Most houses and some old hotels use those power outlets as lamp points, so when you enter the room and flick the switch the room lights up. Lots of older style houses don’t have any ceiling based lighting, it’s all floor lamps.
Very annoying! Especially if you’re trying to charge something and not aware of it. We’ve still got several points in our house to rewire because of it, and there’s one switch that as far as we’ve identified, does nothing at all, other than look “switchy”.

15 01 2016
John lewis

That outlet was designed to plug in a table lamp so when you turn the switch the lamp comes on with the main light

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