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Best WiFi Hotels 2008

May 5, 2008 at 12:41 PM | by | Comments (12)

A HotelChatter Exclusive

We kick off the first-ever WiFi Week with the Best WiFi Hotels of 2008. As we mentioned, there hasn't been much movement on the Hotel WiFi scene since last year. So rather than round-up our old standbys for the third time, we wanted to take a broader look at the smaller hotel chains that are offering complimentary WiFi to their guests.

These are hotels that we have personally visited ourselves over the past year and know for a fact that the WiFi is working, free and spectacular. We call these hotels Ready & Willing.

We've also listed a group of hotel chains that we've overlooked in past reports, either because they didn't offer free WiFi at one point or because we weren't sure how well their WiFi worked. But thanks to tips from readers we now know these WiFi truths to be self-evident. We say take a chance on them.

Lastly, we aren't going to let you peruse this list without telling you who has consistently been topping our Best WiFi Hotels list. These are our Tried & True hotels, places we book when free WiFi is a must.

So get in there, start reading and let us know what you think.

READY & WILLING
· Thompson Hotels

In the past, we have largely overlooked this cooler-than-thou boutique hotel brand from the Pomeranc brothers, at least when it came to WiFi. But Thompson has always had free WiFi in its flagship location 60 Thompson and when it opened the Hollywood Roosevelt (above), the WiFi policy remained the same.

Now the small hotel group is aggressively expanding their locations. Soon there will be five Thompson Hotels in NY. There's already two in LA, one in Sonoma, plus the just-opened Donovan House in D.C. and locations in Toronto and Las Vegas are on the horizon. And as far as we know, complimentary WiFi is in each new location.

· Marriott's Courtyard, Springhill Suites, Fairfield Inns, TownePlace Suites and Residence Inns

Residence Inns have always made our Best WiFi Hotels list so we were stoked to hear that Marriott was going to get jiggy with free WiFi at their smaller, biz-traveler-oriented brands in the U.S. and Canada.

The one downer is that at some properties the WiFi is only for lobbies and other designated public areas. Up in the guestrooms, the internet is still free except it just might be broadband which means you'll be tied to your desk as opposed to surfing from the comfort of the bed.

And when we've seen free WiFi in the rooms, the connections have been spotty so we usually end up using ethernet cables anyways. Still, this is a huge step for Marriott which usually charges for internet at its flagship brand hotels and its Ritz-Carltons.

· Personality Hotels


San Francisco is easily one of the best cities to get free WiFi in your hotel room. But believe it or not, there are plenty of hotel chains charging for internet access. Personality Hotels is not one of them.

This small San Francisco-only collection of hotels around Union Square was one of the first make internet free for all guests in-room and in-lobby. Fellow SF-based hospitality groups like JDV and Kimpton Hotels then followed. Personality also has themed lounges on each floor at Hotel Diva where there are desktop iMacs available with a wired connection.

Ironically, this is the only place in the hotel where the WiFisignal was the worst, i.e. kept dropping us from the network.

· The Gansevoort Hotel Group

Right now the Gansevoort group is limited to just its NYC and South Beach properties but both of them have free working WiFi in every nook and cranny. We recently got word that the managing director of the hotel recently went around to all 22 nodes on the property testing the WiFi signal which really warmed our hearts.

And imagine this: you can party by the rooftop pool, take pictures of your friends and upload the snapshots to Facebook, all from your pool deck chair.

TAKE A CHANCE ON THESE
Here are some other random hotel chains that are offering free WiFi.
· Four Points by Sheraton: One of Starwood's only brands to be completely free throughout the lobbies and in-rooms.
· Hyatt Place: This spin-off from Hyatt Hotels is a select service/extended stay/boutique-imitation style hotel. But unlike some boutique hotels we know, Hyatt Place has put free WiFi in the guestrooms.
· Carlson Hotels: Radissons and Country Inns and Suites all offer free internet but WiFi access varies from property to property. However you get your internet at these hotels, it's still free.
· Choice Hotels: All of the Choice Hotel brands offer free internet. You are probably familiar with the Comfort Inn and Quality brands but the Cambria Suites brand is more tech-savvy and typically offers wireless access.
· Apple Core Hotels: Another group of Manhattan hotels that offer free WiFi. It's a hodgepodge collection of five hotels with different brand names but they stand united in free WiFi.

TRIED & TRUE: These hotels have always offered free WiFi for its guests. Some require guest codes or room numbers (Kimpton, AB Hotels) and some are just hop on and surf (JDV and Jeff Klein.) Take a look at our previous WiFi Reports (also listed below under Related Stories) to see just how these hotels do it.
· Kimpton Hotels
· Best Western
· Holiday Inn
· Omni Hotels
· JDV Hospitality
· AB Hotels
· Jeff Klein Hotels

Know of a hotel that has free working WiFi in the U.S.? Let your fellow hotel guests which hotel and where.

Comments (12)

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Re: Best WiFi Hotels 2008

I would love to see something like this done on Europe hotels--though I get it might be a big project. But I can't tell you how many times I've been at hotels in Europe claiming to offer free wifi, only to find that it takes an hour to load a page, or that I have to meander down to reception to get the password.

Re: Best WiFi Hotels 2008

Motel 6 deserves to be given an honorable mention (I know, I know - my coolness just went down a notch or two), but the MAXIMUM you will pay for 24 hours of unlimited WiFi at a Motel 6 is $2.99 a day! Not only that - but alot of properties even have free wifi in the rooms.

The fact that the countries least expensive hotel chain is able to do it for free or very cheaply just makes everyone else look bad..


Re: Best WiFi Hotels 2008

Hotel Giraffe on 26th street offers complimentary wifi throughout the hotel.  Infact, they even offer complimentary access to meeting attendees.

Re: Best WiFi Hotels 2008

Actually Motel6 was in the list of contenders but we just don't really know anyone who's stayed there. No just kidding.

Interestingly Motel 6 is part of the Accor brand which has the Sofitels and Novotels. Sofitels are pay-for WiFi because they are chain's luxury brand. Novotel is sometimes free, sometimes not so it varies from location to location.


Re: Best WiFi Hotels 2008

Aloha,

I just wanted to point out that all Aqua Hotels & Resorts hotels (12 properties in Waikiki) have free high-speed (wired) Internet access and the following hotels have free WiFi throughout the entire property:

Aqua Coconut Waikiki (opening June 1)
Aqua Continental
Aqua Palms & Spa
Aqua Waikiki Wave
The Equus - an Aqua Boutique hotel
Hotel Renew - an Aqua Elite hotel

Mahalo!

Amber Record
eCommerce Manager
Aqua Hotels & Resorts
Website: www.aquaresorts.com


Best WiFi Hotels 2008

Lets not forget when the wifi is free its usually the worst connection and speed ever.  I have traveled a lot and even at the main stay hotels that offer free wifi you get the worst connections and speeds ever.  I wouldn't mind having to pay as long as they guarantee me great coverage.  Also keep in mind that the wifi is regulated by the ISP and for hotel settings they provide the smallest amount of bandwith possible.

Wi-Fi Hotels with Great Connection

Hotels that deploy Xirrus Arrays have great connection and spead. You can compare it to wired connections. Heres a few of the hotels that deployed Xirrus Wi-Fi Arrays

*    Sim-patia in Italy
*    Hotel Villa Ricci in Italy
*    W Chicago Lakeshore Hotel
*    Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotels
*    Westin Chicago River North Hotel
*    Westin Diplomat
*    Westin Michigan Avenue
*    Westin O'Hare Hotel
*    Westin Times Square Hotel


Certainly should be mentioned...

One of our partner's (InnFlux) clients, the Beverly Hills Raffles L'Ermitage, seems to really get 'it' and deserves to be mentioned on this list of Best WiFi hotels.  

We receive only compliments on their Internet service there and it seems they have truly adopted a modernized mentality: "our guests pay enough already, why charge them for Internet?"

I've had the privilege of spending a few nights at this hotel and let me say that I was blown away by the intelligence, attentiveness, and forward thinking of the staff.  

Raffles: well done!


I toured Italy

When I was on tour with Synyster Gates we stayed at a few of these hotels.  Bottom line:  No matter where you are in Italy...it is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Wifi Hotal

There's a lot of things you can in life. And it's always important to prioritize things. Great page you've got here. indeed. thanks for sharing. Testking

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I find that paying for internet is really not acceptable anymore. Hotels earn a lot of money with this. http://www.ebook-store.eu and http://www.fullebooks.com

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