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We've all been there: You pay $9.99 or whatever for wireless in your room, only to discover that the speed of the Internet barely allows you to navigate your favorite websites frustration free. Download a photo? Watch a video? Update your blog? Forget it.
As hybrid travelers who (for better or worse) need to be constantly connected on the road for business, we've found ourselves trapped many a time, tapping our fingers and wondering if there are any coffee shops nearby where we might be able to get some work done. It's an awful feeling, mostly because when we see that a hotel offers WiFi, we have the tendency to assume it's as hearty as our connection at home. This, unfortunately, is still not the case in 2013.
Plenty of hotels skimp on speed and reliability when it comes to Wifi, seemingly happy to simply add it to its list of amenities. Whether it actually works for anyone is a different story. It begs the questions: Should hotels advertise the speed of their Internet?
It's one of the most frustrating aspects of a hotel stay these days--busted hotel WiFi. Short of traveling with your own WiFi network, there's not much you can do when the hotel's network is down. But before you start raising hell to the front desk about how you can't get on the internet, make sure you really can't get on in the internet first. Here are a few fixes to try. Good luck!
1. Make sure you're connected to the right hotel network. A lot of fake or poseur networks will pop up as a way to entice naive guests into signing onto that network and unknowingly, give all their private information away. Sadly, these internet pirates are a way of digital life now. So be sure to find out the correct network to sign onto from the hotel. Most hotels will offer this information on a card placed near the desk or on the key card envelope giving at check-in.
2. Make sure you've entered the right password, name or room number. This sounds like advice from Captain Obvious but often times, hotel networks will ask for a combination of your last name, your room number and a special passcode. Make sure you've entered all three correctly and in the right boxes. We've been known to enter in the room number in the name box and vice versa. (But only after we've been raiding the minibar booze.)
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While Mandarin Oriental Hotels have an impressive collection of hotels that never fail to dazzle, we've always been a bit annoyed by their WiFi charges, especially since their rooms don't come cheap. For example, at the Mandarin Oriental Paris, rooms cost over $1,000 USD but the hotel also charges another $20 for WiFi. Mon dieu! However, that will now change.
Mandarin Oriental has announced that they will give its guests complimentary internet access to those guests who create an online profile and book published rates through the hotel's own website. A-ha, we see what you've done here.
You can create your Mandarin Oriental online profile here. It's free to do but it does require you filling out some personal information like your name, address and gender. This will no doubt means you will be receiving some marketing mail, both paper and electronic, from Mandarin Oriental.
However, Mandarin Oriental does stress that they will offer you the best rate on their site. And if you find a better rate, Mandarin Oriental will not only match the rate, but they will offer you a further 10 percent reduction. And once you make your reservation through Mandarin Oriental, you'll get free internet access for up to six personal devices.
That's pretty rad. We hate having to jump through this online profile hoop but it does seem like it will pay off during our next stay. Now, if only we can scrounge up a $1,000 for the Mandarin Oriental Paris.
[Photo of Mandarin Oriental Paris: JasonD/HotelChatter]
There are times when we truly feel there is much progress being made on the free hotel WiFi front, and we dare to dream of a day where we hardly remember it ever being any other way. And then there are moments that bring us right back down to earth, like at the Berlin Marriott.
It was over four years ago we first came across its costly WiFi options, running all the way up to €379 ($500+) for the privilege of browsing the internet for a month. 2013 it may be, but the Berlin Marriott is still living in 2009, with the exact same options today:
- €5.95 ($8) for an hour of in-room access
- €19.95 ($27) for 24 hours
- €99.75 ($135) for one week
- €379.05 ($510 in today’s dollars) for one month
That month-long option wouldn’t be far off a month’s rent for an apartment, this being one of the most affordable European capitals. Please Mr. Marriott, even Edition can offer it for free throughout the hotel, so could we move along with the times?
Hotel WiFi / Free WiFi / Accor Hotels / United Kingdom Hotels / Sofitel Hotels / Pullman Hotels / Mercure Hotels / Novotel Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
After a batch of 500 hotels last year, and upgrades in Latin America, Accor Hotels is taking another step towards its hinted-at group-wide free WiFi with the news that all properties in the United Kingdom will offer this gratis going forward.
That’s 194 hotels in one fell swoop, across ibis budget, ibis, ibis Styles, Novotel, Mercure, Pullman and MGallery brands. Pullman only recently entered the UK market amidst plans to double the number of upscale hotels carrying the name to 150 by the end of this decade. The three Sofitel hotels (London St. James, Heathrow and Gatwick Airport) already offer free WiFi today.
Accor Hotels is making good on their promises to deliver free WiFi to all their hotels around the world, by partnering up with Ruckus Wireless to standardize the free WiFi offerings at more than 100 Accor hotels in Latin America. Which is a smart move in anticipation of the crowds from the upcoming World Cup and Summer Olympics.
The Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi infrastructure will support Accor's free Wi-Fi available in leading brands such as ibis, ibis budget, Mercure, Novotel, Pullman, and Sofitel. Accor initiated deployment of its Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi networks last year, and has since completed installation of thousands of Ruckus ZoneFlex™ access points (APs) within these hotels.
And if you really want to get nerdy, here's exactly what Accor is deploying in their hotel WiFi networks: Ruckus ZoneFlex 7341 high performance, 802.11n mid-range indoor access points featuring Ruckus-patented BeamFlex™ adaptive antenna technology. Ruckus Wireless recently worked to upgrade the WiFi system for Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean.
Apparently, the new system is working well, really well. According to Accor, the new quality of WiFi service rankings with the new network have increased up to 65 percent. Which is kind of a no-brainer to us. If you can make WiFi free and fast, then you're gonna have happy hotel guests. We've only been saying this since like, 2004.
It's time for a walk down memory lane with a HotelChatter flashback!
Way back in 2004, HotelChatter put together its first ever WiFi Report. Check out who made the first annual Best and Worst Hotel WiFi lists.
· Kimpton Hotels (still doing it free for their InTouch members)
· Omni Hotels (still doing it free for their Omni Select Guest members)
· Marriott's Residence Inn (still free!)
· Best Western (still free!)
· Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express (still free!)
· Marriott Hotels (free in lobbies, most charge in-room, except if you are an elite member of their loyalty program)
· Fairmont Hotels (free for members of their President's Club)
· Hilton Hotels (free in lobbies, most charge in-room except if you are an elite member of their loyalty program)
· Hyatt Hotels (still charges for WiFi except if you are an elite member of their loyalty program)
· Any other hotel that charges for WiFi in the lobby (plenty of hotels still do this, particularly if you aren't a hotel guest.
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Is The Jade Worth Your Green? A HotelChatter Review
The other week, after a budget hotel gone wrong in Hell's Kitchen, we fled downtown to the Jade Hotel on W. 13th and Sixth Avenue. And thanks to HotelTonight, we paid just $260 for the night. But if we had to, we would pay more and here's why.
For starters, the Jade has an incredible location. It's close to all things in the West Village and it's just a few blocks away from the happenings of Union Square. But it's also one block away from a subway stop that will quickly take you out to the LES or Brooklyn. You can even go to Jersey on the PATH train. Second, the rooms are petite but heavenly with thoughtful touches like an intricate cabinet that hides the TV, a mirrored armoire instead of a closet and a working rotary phone. Most importantly, they are quiet, which was our number one request.
If only the internet had worked in the morning, we may never have left the spot.
Read on for the full review!
In our 2013 WiFi Report, we took a special look at what are considered good working WiFi speeds at hotels. (One to 5mbps is a fairly good speed that will allow you to get all your basic internet activities done.) We've since been keeping track of hotel WiFi speeds on this story here.
Courtyard has already recognized the important of free WiFi (which they've offered for years) but now they're implementing certain internet standards for their general managers to follow. These include implementing definitive internet strategies for each property and working with certified internet service providers. (Hopefully, that will eliminate such mishaps as this one.)
Word is compliance for these standards will begin in July so by next year, Courtyard will not only have super cool new rooms but (fingers crossed), super cool working WiFi as well.
Hotel WiFi / Hotel Technology / Dallas Hotels / ZaZa Hotels / Hotel Amenities / Free WiFi / → All Tags
Often times, when we plead our case for free hotel WiFi, we hear that setting up a network or upgrading an existing network is an expensive investment for hotels and in order to recoup the costs, they need to charge guests to use the WiFi.
Now, every hotel is different but there are plenty of hotels out there that have been updating their networks to provide faster speeds and more bandwidth to guests and they still aren't charging for WiFi.
For example, The Hotel ZaZa in Dallas which recently added a new fiber data network throughout the hotel. Hotel president, Benji Homsey, explained the reason for the network upgrade saying:
We designed this network with special attention to the increased presence of Apple iPad, iPhone and Google/Android users in conjunction with the typical laptop usage. We want every Hotel ZaZa guest to have the best, from coverage and access points to best of breed fiber data network to the newly installed bedside power docks in every room.
And the charge to access the internet? It's still totally free.
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We brought you the 2013 WiFi Report last week, and today we're here to tell you which hotels in NYC you can count on for free WiFi. Here are a few of our faves…
Indigo Chelsea: This isn't the kind of place you go for a buzzing lobby scene or super luxe rooms. However, with a super-friendly staff and great midtown location, you can't go wrong. Rates from $293/night.
Ace Hotel: Sure, there's free WiFi. But with all the action going on at this hotel (lobby bar, Breslin restaurant, shops, and basement performance venue), will you actually get any work done? Rates from $289/night.
Andaz Fifth Avenue: Fifth Avenue shoppers will love this WiFi-enabled gem, where you can spend the day hitting up Louis Vuitton and Bergdorf Goodman, and then come home and play with those awesome welcome amenities. Rates from $432/night.
With the release last week of our 2013 Hotel WiFi report along with our subsequent report on hotel network speeds, we were feeling pretty good about the status of hotel WiFi. After all, 64 percent of hotel brands have free WiFi and even when you did have to pay for it, you were at least getting your money's worth (i.e. a $25 resort fee at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas yielded blazing fast WiFi speeds).
But thanks to this recent article in the NY Times, we're not feeling so upbeat anymore.
The article highlighted the changing nature of in-room entertainment. No longer do guests look for the hotel to supply them with in-room entertainment (TV and movies); guests instead bring their own in the form of laptops, smartphones and tablets loaded with streaming entertainment subscriptions like Hulu and Netflix.
So the next logical step here is strengthening the WiFi networks for guests so they can actually access all their entertainment, right? Not necessarily. First, hotels are going to make you pay for bandwidth to do all of this streaming and then they are going to see where else they can charge you while sitting in a hotel room you already paid for. Here's what stood out for us:
Bandwidth capacity at many Marriott International hotels will need to be increased to support these services, an expense Mr. C. Scott Hansen, [director of guest technology for Marriott International] said would be offset by guests’ purchases of Internet access, commissions paid by services like Netflix for signing up new members and advertising revenue from companies that could use the TV or guest’s laptop or tablet screen for messages.