Tag: Hotel WiFi

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How Refreshing to Hear That 'WiFi is a Right' at Virgin Hotels

January 23, 2015 at 2:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

Nearly a week later, we ares still fondly remembering our time with the Virgin Hotel Chicago, the first-ever Virgin Hotel to open.

While wining and dining the Virgin was great, as was experimenting with new positions chambers, there was something that Doug Carillo, vice president of sales and marketing for Virgin Hotels, told us that has really stuck with us this past week. And that's Virgin Hotels commitment to free WiFi.

For us, it’s always been that we feel WiFi is a right, and we need it to live. If we don’t have it and its not working fast enough, then we are failing the guests.

Wow. It's only taken more than a decade but someone finally understands this.

Indeed, getting on the WiFi network at Virgin--whether a hotel guest or a visitor elsewhere on property--is effortless. Just find the Virgin Hotels network and hop on. It's that easy.

Because WiFi networks can be expensive to build and maintain, or rather, because hotels often use this as their excuse for charging for WiFi, we asked Carillo if maybe Virgin was bumping up the room rate to make up for the cost of offering unlimited free bandwidth to guests and pretty much anyone just passing through. Nope. Here's what he said:

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Cheers! Marriott Won't Be Blocking Your Personal Hotspot After All (And The WiFi is Free)

January 15, 2015 at 10:13 AM | by | Comments (0)

It's the first WiFi victory of 2015! Marriott International has abandoned its quest to block your personal WiFi hotspot at their hotels.

The hotel giant told Inc. (in an article which we also quoted in) that guests at Marriott-managed hotels will be able to use their personal WiFi devices, citing customer response. However, Marriott said they would "continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators can take to protect customer data."

That sounds a bit ominous but whatevs, your personal WiFi hotspot is safe.

Meanwhile, TODAY IS THE DAY that Marriott begins to free their WiFI for all guests. So long as you made your reservation through Marriott.com (or the mobile app or the reservation hotline) and you are a member of Marriott Rewards. Got those two things? Then WiFi is free. Whee!

Staying at a Marriott and reading this story using free WiFi? Let us know how it's going!

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Provenance Hotels Have Also Freed the WiFi for Their Guests

January 13, 2015 at 5:28 PM | by | Comments (0)

The Sentinel Hotel in Portland

We saw a bunch of hotels give up their WiFi charges towards the end of last year but there's one more hotel group that is now offering WiFi free and easy in 2015--Provenance Hotels.

The Portland, Ore.-based hotel collection has eliminated Wi-Fi fees for overnight guests at Hotel Max in Seattle, Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Portland’s Hotel Lucia, Hotel deLuxe and Sentinel, and Hotel Preston in Nashville. (Hotel 1000 in Seattle, which joined Provenance in July, already had free WiFi.) Even better, the company has spent the past year "upgrading the Wi-Fi experience at the company’s hotels with fiber optic internet to increase bandwidth, speed and capacity."

And when the group opens the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery in New Orleans later this spring, the WiFi will be free there as well. Really, there's nothing more to say except, "This is so awesome. Now, who's next?"

[Photo: Provenance Hotels]

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Everyone Chime in Now: Should Hotels Block Your Personal Hotspot?

January 7, 2015 at 11:29 AM | by | Comments (2)

Before the holidays, we explained that as hotels begin to make Wifi more available and, most importantly, free, they are simultaneously policing the use of personal hotspots on their properties.

Marriott is leading the charge in the crack down. When it filed a petition with the FCC to make its policy legal, a debate erupted. The two sides of the argument are pretty straightforward:

Team Hotspot Blockers as represented by Marriott: Cybersecurity. They're concerned that unauthorized access points will make it easy to hack into a hotel operator's network and threaten guest privacy. In addition, too many hotspots could clog up the network, reducing both personal and hotel Wifi performance and speed. And the resulting bad WiFi service could translate into bad reviews.

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Your Kind Spanish Room Mates Will Hook You Up with Free WiFi Around Town

Where: Spain
January 7, 2015 at 8:57 AM | by | Comments (0)

Free inroom WiFi is, of course, essential (we think) for a hotel stay. But free mobile WiFi to take around town? Now there’s something exceptional. But then, we always did think Room Mate Hotels were exceptional.

Travel journo and HC Twitter chum David Whitley checked into Room Mate Oscar in Madrid this week and found that it gives guests a free mobile WiFi router to take around town with them. Turns out that’s not just an Oscar thing – Room Mate has offered this service in all its Spanish hotels since July.

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2014 Must-Have Hotel Amenity: Free WiFi

December 30, 2014 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of year again: the 2014 HotelChatter Awards! Today and tomorrow, we'll be showcasing the best (and worst) of hotels over the past year. But we couldn't do it without you! Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or shoot us an email. And the Award goes to...

It’s almost as if they knew. We (and you) have long been advocates of free WiFi being essential to hotel stays; but many of the big chains didn’t want to know.

But the tide is turning, and 2014 will go down as the year the WiFi revolution really came to pass. In the last two months alone we’ve seen Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Sandals and Taj all announce they’re freeing the WiFi (with a couple of easily taken care of caveats from Marriott and Starwood). And free WiFi is the most important factor in choosing a hotel for British guests, according to a slightly-biased-but-we’ll-take-it-anyway survey for Amba Hotels, which is promising the fastest connection speed in the world.

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Hotels Giveth The WiFi But They Also Want to Taketh Your Personal WiFi HotSpot

December 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM | by | Comments (2)

We've been cheering a lot here at HotelChatter HQ about the recent developments in the hotel WiFi world with Marriott, Starwood and Hyatt Hotels now offering free internet to their guests (Marriott and Starwood want you to be a member of their loyalty programs and book directly through them while Hyatt is just totally free.)

But there is a darker side to all these developments. Both Marriott International and the American Hotel & Lodging Association have petitioned the FCC to clarify a ruling they made back in October when they fined Marriott $600,000 for jamming personal hotspots, like the ones on your smartphone, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville. Essentially, Marriott and AHLA are asking the FCC to allow hotspot blocking, whether through clarifying some existing FCC policies or by creating a new rule entirely that would address the situation.

Need some "light" Christmas morning reading? You can read the entire petition to the FCC right here. This was filed back in August, too.

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Starting in February, Hyatt Will Free the WiFi For All Guests

December 22, 2014 at 12:41 PM | by | Comments (2)

This room at the Hyatt South Beach will have free WiFi for all guests when it opens this spring

2014 is going out with a bang as far as Hotel WiFiis concerned. First came Marriott's news. Then Starwood and now, here comes Hyatt Hotels.

The giant hotel company announced that starting on February 2015, the WiFi will be free at ALL HYATT HOTELS. Previously, it was free for elite members of Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program.

And unlike other hotels WiFi offerings, the WiFi will be free whether you are a Hyatt Gold Passport member or not, and whether you booked directly through Hyatt or not.

“Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travelers’ daily lives and a basic expectation,” said Kristine Rose, vice president of brands for Hyatt. “Travelers shouldn’t have to remember which brands or locations offer it for free or the strings attached to get it.”

We kinda can't believe this. Even though we've been saying WiFi is as important as air conditioning and a toilet that flushes, for several years now, it feels strange that major hotel brands are finally coming around to it. But it is good news.

Now, we'll be scrutinizing the speed and quality of this free WiFi. Oh and on that note, where Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will receive a complimentary upgrade to a Hyatt Hotel's premium WiFi service.

So, what do you have to say, Hilton Hotels?

[Photo: HotelChatter]

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Well, It's About Time: All SPG Members Who Book Through Starwood Will Get Free WiFi

December 17, 2014 at 3:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Go ahead. Update your TPS report from your guest room.

The time we champions of free hotel WiFi have longed for has finally, FINALLY!, come. No longer do you have to put down the Snickers bar, hurriedly throw on sweatpants and scurry down to the lobby to access the free WiFi to answer an important work email at Starwood Hotels.

The company just announced they will be offering property-wide complimentary WiFi to all SPG Members, of all levels, starting on February 2. Previously free WiFi was only given to Gold or Platinum members.

But there is a catch. You have to book your stay through Starwood, whether it be the website, the mobile site or the SPG app. Which really you should be doing anyways so you can earn points to your SPG account.

We've been waiting for this moment for a long time, or well, since rival chain Marriott announced they would be giving free WiFi to all their Marriott Rewards members at least.

Now travelers looking to stay at Starwood Hotels, which include W, Westin, St. Regis and Le Meridien, will have to decide what's a better deal--the discounted rate on a booking site or a last-minute booking app or paying the rack rate on Starwood and getting free WiFi. We say, the latter. Always. We just hope the WiFi is fast.

[Photo: Starwood Hotels]

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Would You Pay $369 for 24 Hours of Internet Access?

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Cannes, France
December 8, 2014 at 9:25 AM | by | Comments (0)

There are WiFi charges, and then there are WiFi charges. And then, well beyond that, there are WiFi charges – utterly obscene, the like of which we’ve never heard of before. This comes under the latter.

A Telegraph reader was recently charged €300 for the high speed WiFi at the Majestic Barričre hotel in – where else? – Cannes. Yes, €300. As in $369 for 24 hours.

WiFi at the hotel starts at €9 for “low speed”, rockets up to €200 for “medium speed” and then goes utterly insane at €300 for high speed. That’s almost twice the cost of their lowest rooms, which cost from €163.

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Fast, Free WiFi Is How UK Travelers Select Their Hotels, Says Amba

December 5, 2014 at 8:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

The main reason we go crazy for free WiFi in hotels? Checking social media, apparently. The second? Getting directions. How very dull.

The research has been done by Amba, the “contemporary” (ie millennial) arm of glh, formerly Guoman. Amba Charing Cross, which used to be a Guoman itself, opened this month with what it’s billing as “the world’s fastest, free unlimited WiFi” (how much would we love to test that out?). There will also be Smart TVs in every room, USB sockets by every bed, and iPads on every nightstand.

Handily for them (but also totally believably), Amba found that 67% of the 1000 UK travelers questioned said free WiFi would make them more likely to select a hotel – even higher than location,at 65%. Specifically fast WiFi with unlimited downloads came in at 34%.

WiFi also came out as the most important factor in rating a hotel post-stay, with 60% of those questioned saying that was the most crucial – even more than those who rated getting a good night’s sleep.

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Chill Out, Sandals and Beaches Resorts Have Made The WiFi Free

December 4, 2014 at 11:30 AM | by | Comments (0)

In early 2013, when Sandals Resorts upgraded their WiFi networks, we were thrilled to hear that you could feasibly check your email by the pool. Not that we would recommend doing that on your vacation but just knowing that you could is always a comfort for the extremely connected like ourselves.

However, we were less than thrilled that WiFi was still an additional fee, usually about $14 a day, or $43 for the week.

But now, both Sandals and Beaches resorts are offering free WiFi to guests during their stay. The WiFi will be available in all room categories in all public areas. (Previously, if you booked a Concierge or Butler level suites, you could get free WiFi.)

Even better, there doesn't appear to be a device restriction so you can connect your phone and your tablet and your laptop and your portable game control. But come on, if you're traveling with all that, and you don't have kids or several members in your party, then maybe you should seek out a digital detox program instead.

[Photo: Sandals Resorts/Facebook]