Worst WiFi Hotels 2004

November 4, 2004 at 4:23 AM | by | ()

Hotel Chatter Exclusive

Where there is a yang, there is always a yin. So here it is, our list of the worst WiFi hotels circa 2004. Keep in mind this list is not comprised of singular properties, but instead, of hotel brands and chains, and WiFi access can most definitely vary from property to property. The most interesting part to us is how the list skews towards higer priced chains, while yesterdays list leaned towards lower priced chains. The compiled list is our opinion, and combines information from HotelChatter hotel visits, reader feedback, and independent research. If you have more information on hotels that should be considered for this list please let everyone know about it in the comments section. As we all know, hotels are constantly changing their WiFi and Internet capabilities and policies, so let's hope some of these hotels make corrections and leave this list in the future.

1. Marriott Flagship

How can Marriott Residence Inns possess a top-notch wireless service, while many of the Marriott flagship properties attach some of the most offensive charges to their wireless service? We don't know, but there is no doubt many Marriott Flagship properties got WiFi wrong, way wrong.

Marriott offers WiFi in their lobbies and common areas. Oh yeah, one catch, if you want access through Marriott's STSN WiFi deal you have to pay ~$3.95 for the first minute and anywhere from .25 cents to $1 for each additional minute (charges vary from Marriott to Marriott). In the immortal words of John McEnroe..."You can not be serious!". Honestly, this charge seems steep. We bet there are psychic hotlines that charge less per minute. Marriott is charging for a service that aches to be free, but it gets worse.

To add insult to injury, if you do scrap together the $4.95 for five minutes online you will not only have to race through your online activities in an attempt to beat the clock, but you will also have to contend with pop up navigation, and a terribly non intuitive interface. Oh yeah, and if you want to use the hardwired broadband line in your guest room, you will have to pony up more cash.

Thankfully, this type of bend-you-over-wifi-system is only installed at 370, or so, of the 2000+ Marriott properties, mostly the flagship properties. So call ahead and ask them if they have pay-per-minute wireless. If they do, and WiFi is important to your stay, you may want to bail on the hotel right then and there.

One last note: If you do get suckered into using the pay per minute wireless system, MAKE SURE YOU LOG OFF. Check out this poor blokes story.

(HotelChatter Worst WiFi Hotels 2-5)

2. Fairmont

Imagine this scenario: You choose to stay at one of Fairmonts 43 hotels, the property charges you $500 a night with out batting an eyelash, you cringe as you hand the desk clerk your credit card, and you ask, "Is there WiFi in the lobby." The clerk stares at you with one of those "service-with-a-smile-grins" and says, "Yes, that will be an additional $13.95 per 24 hours". Somehow, we doubt you will see this scenario highlighted in any Conde Nast Traveler feature on Fairmont hotels, but it is the type of scenario you may run into during your next Fairmont stay. When you charge as much as Fairmont does for a room, then you tack on one of the heaviest daily WiFi charges we know of, you come across as viewing your guests a bit like cash cows. Not a good thing. Wireless and Internet connectivity are very important to many travelers (business AND leisure), and how you approach this service is a direct reflection on your property, or in this case your brand.

Oh yeah, if you are a guest staying in a Fairmont Gold room, or a Fairmont President's Club Gold or Platinum member your Internet fees are waived, if that helps anyone out there.

At least you don't have to pay twice for Internet access. If you pay the fourteen bucks Fairmont will kick in Ethernet room access as well as lobby and restaurant wireless.

3. Hilton

So Paris can feel free to make all the porn she wants to, but if a Hilton guests want to surf a little porn their Internet connections can be suddenly shut down? Ok, so we don't know that porn is the issue, but readers are telling us Hilton properties are limiting customer WiFi and Ethernet connectivity in certain ways, and their wireless vendor watches traffic looking to boot out "offenders", though to date we are not sure what qualifies one as an "offender".

Hilton's are all over the board when it comes to wireless access at their hotels. Most properties have lobby WiFi, and some have in room wireless, and Hilton charges $9.95 per stay for access to the combo of WiFi and Ethernet.  Not bad price, all things considered (of course we feel the WiFi should be free, but we digress).  So where does Hilton lose points? Reports have trickled in that some Hilton properties have proxy servers, while other Hilton's mac filter, or allow individual users an invisible connection "cap" of some sort. Sounds a tad shady to us, so despite Hilton being middle of the road price wise, we put them on this list because of their allegedly bad connections. This is a problem Hilton can correct in the future (by removing the restrictions), so let's hope they look into it and takes steps to correct the issue. The good news? It seems like hotel management (at least at some Hilton properties) is working to solve this issue, let's hope they do so in the near future.

4. Hyatt

Hyatt makes this list because of their WiFi provider, Tmobile. Granted, Tmobile is one of the earliest wireless providers, and seems to offer some fair deals if you have a use for pay-for-WiFi services (reliability, etc).  However, it seems like Tmobile is a bit like Darth Vadar in Empire Strikes Back. They keep "altering the deal", and we "pray they don't alter it further". In general, having to sign up for a third party account just to get wireless access in a hotel lobby seems a bit much to us. This is a classic case of a hotel picking a WiFi vendor that may not match the clientele.  Sure if you are a Tmobile WiFi member and user you may not understand why Hyatt is on this list, however, if you are not a Tmobile member, the last thing you want to do is sign up for yet another credit card required membership account, just to download your email. Too bad Tmobile isn't on BugMeNot, if they were, Hyatt may make the other list.

5. Any other hotel that charges for wireless access in the lobby

Yes, we are aware this is a catch all. However, the hotels in this category don't necessarily do anything terribly wrong when it comes to wireless access, but they do all charge $9.95 a day for wireless access in their lobbies.

Wyndham, Four Seasons, etc. y'all wanna explain to us how Best Western , Holiday Inn, and other lower priced chains can manage to offer their guests free WiFi in the lobby (and sometimes in the guest rooms), but you guys need to charge 10 bucks a day? Let's hope some of the hotels in this section change their policy in the future, and at the very least offer folks free WiFi in their respective lobbies.

Related Stories:
·    Best WiFi Hotels 2004 [HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:

Side note:NWA's WorldClub

Must say that it annoys me that NWA's WorldClubs use a third-party WiFi provider that charges $20 a month on top of the $250+ a year that NWA charges. Idiots.


I just stayed in the Singapore and Sydney Marriotts - I paid extra to stay on the business floor and still got socked with a charge of about $20/day for in-room internet access. This is highway robbery - especially considering even the Singapore airport has FREE access. I think Marriott should reconsider the way they are treating their business travellers  - I wouldn't mind paying a one-time fee for the stay, but per day is crazy.

Dubai Hotels

Dubai's 4 start hotels and 3 star hotels use poor internet wifi services which are very expensive

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