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It’s a class or a convention of some kind, right?
This was the scene that greeted us when we went into the Ace New York last Saturday and took this (really crappy, sorry) photo. Not a seat to be had in the lobby, whether at the official computer tables or in the chairs. Surely, we thought, there had to be some kind of event going on?
No, they said in the Breslin as we shamefully had lunch, mortified that we only had a smartphone. No, they confirmed today when we called to make entirely sure. There are events going on all the time at the Ace (many of which are open to the public) but that’s normal. “We have free WiFi and we’re open to the public,” we were told. Come in this afternoon and it’ll be even busier.
Free WiFi=Poolside selfies, according to Hilton Hotels
We reported on this program benefit back in March with an estimated roll-out date of August but it looks like they've released the perk a little earlier than expected.
There are a couple of catches--you need to be a Hilton HHonors member, and you need to book directly with Hilton. Also, the free WiFi is just standard WiFi. If you'd like premium internet, you'll need to be a HHonors Diamond member for that.
Still, this is a big step for Hilton as they join the other hotel brands that have already freed their WiFi for their loyalty program members. Hopefully, this will get them some new "likes."
[Screengrab: Hilton HHonors]
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Spending time not paying attention to your significant other just got that much better in paradise, as The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort has flipped the switch for complimentary WiFi all across the resort. Of course we’re kidding, no one would ever take a Facebook or Instagram break while on their honeymoon; however, if an exception ever arose this hotel has you covered—ha!
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It's been broughten.
Hilton Worldwide will begin offering ALL members of their HHonors program free WiFi starting in August. Additionally, HHonors Diamond members will receive premium WiFi complimentary starting in the second quarter of this year.
Currently, only gold and diamond members of HHonors can receive free standard WiFi. Average WiFi rates in-room at Hilton are about $12.95 a day while premium WiFi is $16.95 a day.
Hilton finally joins the ranks of Starwood, Marriott, and Hyatt who began freeing the WiFi for their loyalty members late last year. (But if you're keeping score, IHG was the first to do it for real in July 2013.)
You will have to book your room with Hilton to get the free WiFi and obvi, you need to be a member of HHonors but Hilton has also made the WiFi free for members who book through corporate travel partners, an advantage over other hotel brands.
Let the countdown to August begin!
The W London Lounge
Last week, I found myself in central London with a colleague, with an hour to spare between meetings. It was lunchtime. We both had work to do. We’d been out and about all morning.
We were near Covent Garden. My colleague suggested a restaurant. I mooted the Lounge at the W London. I won.
But when we got there, he was shocked. It was so fancy! All the staff were so beautiful! Everyone around us was so… rich looking! “Do you have to be Scandinavian to work here?” he asked me. He called his wife to marvel at the “eurotrash” and the “too beautiful” people surrounding us. He brought it up in the meeting we went to afterwards. The other meetingees were equally baffled and entranced by the idea of going to this insane, snazzy, eurotrashy hotel, when we could have gone to Starbucks.
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Ah, Monaco, a place so ridiculously, frivolously expensive that most of the hotels expect you to pay for WiFi. Pay for WiFi? Well, not if you use their basic service, of course – but if you want something that does more than pull in a single email every hour or so, you usually have to pony up for a faster connection (notable exception: the Fairmont, which gives free WiFi to members of its Presidents Club).
So huge news from Monaco this week with the news that the Columbus has become the first Monegasque hotel to offer free, highspeed WiFi to all its guests and visitors. It’s a 50MB connection, with an auto-login – so no annoying passwords to re-enter, and your login lasts a month, so if you only stay a night, you know where to hit up the bar for some work time.
And if you really can’t believe that no hotel in an entire country has done this before,
then you haven’t been to Monaco this is what they say:
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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!
The Sentinel Hotel in Portland
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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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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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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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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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]