HotelChatter Annual WiFi Report 2010

HotelChatter Annual WiFi Report 2010 :: Best :: Worst :: International :: FAQ :: Chart

JW Marriott at LA Live started offering free WiFi in its lobby but the connection was iffy at best.

Worst Hotel WiFi 2010
While we've practically acted like a Justin Bieber fan over the amount of new hotels with free WiFi that are out there, the truth remains that the hotel WiFi world is still confusing, incongruent, and unreliable.. Brand inconsistency (meaning it's free at some hotels and not at others, even though they are the same brand) and worse, bad WiFi reception is still prevalent--even when you've ponied up the money WiFi. We've even heard of hotels that promise free WiFi but then telling you to run across the street to the restaurant to get it, or asking you to crowd around and old iMac in the lobby to tap into "free WiFi in the lobby".

We've also identified an entire city where you are constantly struggling to find acceptable WiFi--Las Vegas. (But we do know of a few places to get it free.) Yet the biggest offenders on this list remain the hotels who repeatedly refuse to get hip to free WiFi, are charging up the wazoo, and more importantly charging inconsistently for what can be unreliable service. Again, let's go on a perp walk.

1. W Hotels: Dear W Hotels, we're really excited about all your cool new properties lined up for the next decade but you know what's not cool? You're schizophrenic WiFi policy. Wasn't it free in lobbies a few years ago but pay-for in the room? We haven't been able to log on in a W hotel lobby in a while and we've balked at paying the $15 daily fee in-room. You often refer to your properties as "cool" (colonial cool, cowboy cool, congressional cool, etc) but we think cool is understanding that the types of people who like your design, style and location also like free WiFi. And not just Platinum SPG members. So why not get cool to this already?

2. DoubleTree Hotels: Doubletree may have sumptuous free cookies but their pay-for-WiFi policy depresses and confuses us, especially now that they've begun to snap up cool hotels like theWit in Chicago and The Curtis Hotel in Denver. (theWit is pay-for while The Curtis is free.) Also confusing is the fact that some Doubletrees are free in the lobby and others are not. If you want to bill yourself as a "business friendly" hotel, then it should be free throughout, cookies be damned.

3. Four Seasons Hotels: This is our sixth annual WiFi Report and the Four Seasons Hotels group is on the list for the sixth time! What does it take to win such a prestigious award? Forcing your already high-paying guests to fork over at least $11 a day year after year to access this new-fangled contraption called the World Wide Web. Congrats FS!

4. Marriott Hotels, Flagship & High End properties: Bill, please don't be mad at us! We love you and your secretary's internet-savvy ways but the fact remains that WiFi is confusing at your hotels. JW Marriott, Marriott, Renaissance and Ritz-Carlton all still charge guests and at varying prices. And when we asked our Twitter audience for stories on egregious hotel WiFi many reader responses involved Marriott hotels. Now we know you are about to start offering free WiFi for Gold and Platinum members of Marriott Rewards but reaching that level takes a lot of nights sleeping with you -- don't follow Starwoods Platinum lead on this one. Please say that when Edition Hotels start opening later this year, that you will come through with the promise of free WiFi.

5. Mandarin Oriental Hotels: Mandarin has flown under our radar in previous years but this year we've noticed some outrageous WiFi charges at MO Hotels like £15 a day in London and $18 a day in Vegas. The MO hotels in NYC, Boston and Miami charge $15 a day for in-room access and there is no free WiFi at any of the other international locations, although some do have it free in the lobbies. This is some serious Four Seasons territory we are getting into here as Mandarin rooms are notoriously expensive. Is free WiFi not a part of Eastern philosophy?

Still Charging for In-Room Internet
· Hilton Hotels: Hilton has a bunch of lower-priced brands that do offer free WiFi for guests but their flagship Hilton brand, Conrad Hotels and Waldorf-Astoria Collections are all charging for them. And there doesn't appear to be an incentive for high-status HHonors members either.
· Westin Hotels: Westin is all about renewal and relaxation but it's kinda hard to block out life's daily frustrations when you're asking us to pay a daily rate for WiFi.
· Other Starwood Hotels: The rest of the Starwood Hotel brands like the Luxury Collection and St. Regis Hotels are still charging for internet. Starwood has offered it free to Platinum members of their SPG program but that is a super tough level to get to if you're just a regular traveler and not Ryan Bingham.
· Thompson Hotels: The price varies from property to property but the cost typically start at $10 a day.
· Morgans Hotel Group: Internet charges start at $10.95 a day.
· Kor Hotels: Most Kor Hotel brands charge for internet in-rooms but there are some exceptions like the Viceroy Miami, The Viceroy Palm Springs and The Tides Zihuatanejo. So you can't be sure of what you'll get.

Think logging on in the U.S. is confusing? It gets worse overseas. See our hit list of Best and Worst internationally right here.

Have you logged on in a hotel recently? Let us know your Best and Worst Hotel WiFi Experiences Here.