These hotels could care less about how much you are paying for the night, they ain't giving WiFi out for free.
· Four Seasons Hotels: The Four Seasons is a regular on this Worst WiFi Hotels list so that's nothing new. What is new this year is an explanation that we received from a general manager at a Four Seasons hotel that was sent our way by a guest upset over a WiFi charge of $10 for a connection that didn't even work.
Basically, the Four Seasons blows a lot of hot air about how it is necessary to charge for internet access. Here are just some of this GM's "reasons" for doing so:
· Four Seasons' hotel IT staffs or designated personnel are the first line of support to assist our guests. These employees will call the appropriate internet service providers on behalf of our guests to resolve their issues. During non-business hours, hotel IT staff can be paged to resolve emergency guest connection issues.
· In Four Seasons hotels, guests can request higher bandwidth or setting up a virtual private network for their colleagues who stay in the same hotel. As well, Hotel IT staff will trouble-shoot guests' laptop PC configuration to resolve the connection issue. In hotels who provide free HSIA, no personal services will be offered.
You can read the rest of the letter here. The Four Seasons chain obviously subscribes to the school of though that if you can afford the hotel room rate, what's another $10 a day for internet? And they are not alone in this thinking.
This is the first year that we've ever put a destination or a city on one of these lists but we had to do it. Even though most of you hit up Sin City to drink, eat, gamble and dance, remember that Las Vegas does serious convention center business. Meaning a ton of people are traveling to Las Vegas with their laptops and are arguably looking for some loving of the wireless kind.
They won't find it in any of their casino hotel rooms that's for sure. The casino hotels have largely moved onto wireless access which is a plus but it's going to cost at least $9.99 a day.
Our worst WiFi experience in Sin City came at the Bellagio which only offered ethernet for $12.99 a day and if you didn't have a cable you had to buy one out of the mini-bar for $10.99. However, there are some places we have heard of with free WiFi like: The Food Court in the Venetian, The Fortuna coffee shop at the LV Hilton and all terminals of the McCarran International Airport.
Fairmont set off our Hotel WiFi radar this year, practically breaking it, when it took over the newly renovated Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. The hotel had promised to offer free wireless in their $800+ per-night rooms but then reneged simply because their competitors were charging hotel guests for internet access.
Most other Fairmont properties are offering fast-working wireless at a price of $12.95 a day. Grrr....
We didn't want to bag too much on Ritz-Carltons this year because we have to begrudgingly respect their effort to start offering WiFi in newer hotels, although the act is about four years too late.
Of course, the hotel chain is still charging guests for that internet access, typically on average of $12.95 a day. And keep in mind that Ritz-Carltons are part of Marriott Hotels which offers free wireless in their extended stay/select service/budget brands like Residence Inn.
Despite repeated showings on our Worst WiFi Hotels list, these hotel brands aren't budging on their WiFi policy.
· Intercontinental Hotels: It's free at the Holiday Inn but at some Intercontinental Hotels its only free in the lobby and in your rooms there's a confusing pay-for-internet plan.
· Morgans Hotel Group: These hotels are in every major city and usually have the hottest and hippest clientele but going on the web will cost you at least $10.95 a day.
· Kor Hotels: Kor Hotels is rapidly expanding its Viceroy and Tides brand across the globe but no matter where they are, they will always charge you for WiFi. One exception? The Tides South Beach.
This is the most frustrating group of hotels. Most of these chains are offering it for free in their budget brands but refuse to give it up anywhere else.
· Hilton Hotels: The Hilton brands have managed to stay under the radar in previous WiFi report years. This may or may not be a good thing. It could mean that the hotel's WiFi policy is not too painful or it could also mean that no one we know is staying at a Hilton. However, we stayed in the Waldorf-Astoria this past year and it was ethernet only at $12.95 a day. This is true for the upper echelon of Hilton hotels like Conrad and the flagship name. Meanwhile, the Hilton Garden Inn brand has free internet all over.
· Starwood Hotels: True, Starwood has a lot of brands under its umbrella but not only is the corporate WiFi policy inconsistent and confusing, the same holds true across the brands. We can hardly keep track anymore of what Sheratons, Ws, and Westins offer free lobby WiFi and which ones make you pay for in-room WiFi. All of this makes it very confusing for the hotel guest to know what's what. There is one constant, the luxury properties of Starwood (St. Regis, Le Meridien, Luxury Collections) will bill you for internet.
· Marriott Hotels: Marriott's budget/business traveler brands made our best list but they can't seem to get their act together with the flagship brand with some places offering ethernet, some offering wireless and all charging a fee.
· Hyatt Hotels: We don't mind the T-Mobile Hotspot that Hyatt uses in almost all of its hotels. If you have one already then it's almost like free internet. Plus even if you don't, the connection is steady and fast. What we do mind is that Hyatt Place offers it free throughout their properties. So why not at Grand Hyatts, Hyatt Regencies and Park Hyatts too?
Got a Worst WiFi Hotel story that you wanna share? Drop it in comments below.