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Wherefore Art Thou, Free Hotel WiFi in Sydney?

Where: Sydney, Australia
May 5, 2010 at 11:55 AM | by | ()

Australia loves its tech. Aussies were drunk texting long before Americans, and now they're just as attached to their Blackberries and iPhones. But when it comes to Hotel WiFi? That's a whole other tragic tale ...

We thought what we wanted was simple: A nice hotel in the Sydney CBD for one night this summer. A place we could rest comfortably in between jaunts and get some work done—with free WiFi. We had heard horror stories of guests being presented with $300 hotel internet bills at the end of a stay but shrugged them off as urban legend. Sure, broadband internet access in general is a bit wonky in Australia—it's not as widespread, or as fast, or as affordable as it is in the States. But surely hotels were at the top of their game, no?


We already knew from right here on HotelChatter that the boutique Establishment Hotel on George Street has free WiFi. It was a good start. We've stayed there before and loved the decor and size of the rooms. But what else was there?

Shockingly, a quick search on TripAdvisor, using the "Free High-Speed Internet" option returned just seven options. (The Establishment was not one of them, however.)

Of these, two were at the beach—the Crowne Plaza Coogee and the Swiss-Grand in Bondi. Another was way out in the suburbs and one was a 2-star joint in Kings Cross. A fifth was a boutique hotel in Darlinghurst, which sounds ideal, although further research showed that the WiFi might only really be free in the lobby.

For this trip, we wanted to be in the CBD. There are lots of big-name hotels in the city but most of the major brands charge for in-room WiFi, or perhaps offer it for free in the lobby. And at many hotels, it's not even WiFi, only wired access.

But, without further ado, here is our So Short It's Sad Short List of Sydney CBD Hotels with Free WiFi:

· The Establishment: Cool decor, a convenient location, although rooms average around $300 a night.
· Shangri-La Sydney: Great service, ah-mazing views of the harbour, and a great location in The Rocks. Rooms run upwards of $350.
· Radisson Plaza Hotel Sydney: We feel bad that we didn't even think of Radisson when we thought Sydney. But this is in a lovely heritage building in the business end of town, and the rooms look tasteful. Rates start at $270 a night.
· Radisson Hotel & Suites, Sydney: Big suites, and close to all the deliciousness of Chinatown. Rooms from $260 a night.

Know of any others? We'd be more than happy to be called a curmudgeon for complaining about the state of hotel WiFi in Sydney, so if you can tell us of other properties with free in-room WiFi, let us know in comments below.

We'll add them to the list, and shout it from the rooftops!

Archived Comments:

Not at the Holiday Inn

It was something like $25 AUD per day. Or you could do a per-minute connection. This was in 2007 so hopefully they've changed.

But seriously, Sydney. Get it together!

Sort of at Quay West Suites

I regularly visit SYD.  Stayed there a couple of months ago and could get free internet from nearby Shangri-La by standing with iPhone held at window in certain angle.  Otherwise, only A$30/day wired wi-fi.  What a pain.  

Ended up spending a lot of time in front of nearby McDonald's to get their free and fast WiFi.

Aloha, Jeff


That's a lot of money! Are they really THAT addicted??  Anyway, I know there are still a lot of hotels around the US (some in LA and Vegas I visited recently) that don't have free WiFi, either.