Until recently, it had been several decades since I saw the inside of a hotel room. When I was growing up, my parents typically spared the expense of staying in hotels the few times we’d travel or go on vacations, instead opting to either sleep in the old minivan at rest stops or at whatever relative’s house we happened to be visiting. I remember a few occasions when we stayed in musty old motel rooms and I have a distinct image in my mind of at least two separate motel rooms that had air conditioning systems that were connected to the entire building. There was a single temperature for the entire dump, and you could barely breathe in the waves of second hand smoke fumes choking out the rooms as the AC would cycle throughout the night. When I took my wife and kids on a vacation last week, we decided to stay in a fairly nice hotel for a change. I noticed the air conditioner attached below the window and the air register on the opposite side of the room connected by a single duct running overhead behind the panels in the ceiling. I asked my wife if this was common and she was shocked by my incredulousness. She said that nearly every single hotel she had ever stayed in had rooms with their own air conditioners and thermostats, even if most of them didn’t have added registers on the opposite sides of the rooms above the doors. Not only is it more sanitary–especially in flu season, for instance–but you’re also not smelling other guests while you’re trying to sleep and you can set the temperature to exactly where you want it. Now I know how important it is to have HVAC zone control in hotels and shudder to think what I was breathing when I stayed in places without it..