2. Omni Hotels
Omni is the Godfather of hotel wireless Internet access. Omni is reportedly the first chain to offer free wireless access in both the lobby and the guest rooms (though not every guest room at every hotel), but somehow they get overlooked. Well if free, working wireless access is near the top of your hotel checklist you need to take a close look at the Omni properties. Furthermore, many Omni's have great lobbies for congregating, meeting, and checking email, and many of these lobbies have restaurants that are also hooked up with excellent wireless access.
If you are looking for reliable free wireless from a popular hotel brand, the Omni should make your short list.
Helpful staff, free WiFi in the lobby, and a great place to surf the `net, send off an email, or check your favorite sites. Marriott Residence Inn does a great job of making folks feel comfortable in their lobby, which goes a long way when a guest wants to tap into the free wireless access. The rooms, however, do not all have free wireless, though they are all equipped with high speed Internet. If your room tethers you to an ethernet cable, the staff is usually good about getting you a cable, if you don't have one, oh yeah, and the wired access is free as well.
4. Best Western
Best Western boasts free wireless in both the lobby and all of their guest rooms. Back in January Tom Higgins, CEO of Phoenix based Best Western stated "High-speed Internet for free is going to be where it's at". Right on, my man. The best part is Higgins went ahead and wired all the Best Western hotels in US, Canada, and the Caribbean.
The service is reliable, of course, as is usually the case with "in room WiFi" Best Western is not promising a signal in every room, but they will guarantee you will have some sort of free Internet access in every room, whether through the WiFi router, or through a hardwired connection. Oh, did we mention the Internet access is FREE. Yah, that is what counts, so you might have to struggle a bit to get a signal, at least they are attempting to give you the service for free.
"Hidden Gem", isn't that what all those guidebooks like to say? Well that is the case at most Holiday Inn's, if WiFi is a priority for you. Sure you are going to get a basic room, but usually at a low price, and if you throw in free wireless then most people can be happy, at least for a night. Most, not all (check before you go) Holiday Inn's have free wireless in the lobby and some sort of free broadband in the guest rooms. Depending on the Holiday Inn you may run into port blocking, and in general, a good rule of thumb is expect most of these free Internet services to come with some sort of limitations.
Tomorrow, we will follow this story with a story on the worst hotels for WiFi access.
· Worst WiFi Hotels 2004 [HotelChatter]