It’s especially annoying when almost any budget hotel will throw in free Internet, while the nicer properties can and do sometimes charge ridiculous rates — as much as $10 an hour in my experience, although the daily rates are less.
Fairmont hotels give free Internet to members of their frequent guest programs, which anyone can join. Omni and Kimpton Hotels have free Internet for everyone.
Some independent deluxe hotels will not charge for getting online as well (Red Carnation Hotels in London, the San Regis in Paris, the Villa Magna in Madrid and Peninsula Hotels, for example). But, the big chains — Westin, Marriott, Hyatt, Sheraton, etc. — still charge, with few exceptions.
Putting as positive a spin on it as possible, I understand hotels need to make money somewhere and the lucrative in-room telephone business is just about gone, as even children have their own cellphones. So I complain, but I should be resigned to paying an access fee.
Many hotels offer both free access and paid access — free WiFi in the lobby and public areas and they charge for it in the rooms.
Many business travelers travel with their own portable WiFi access. Plus, many who don’t can at least expense the cost to their companies.
There is no rhyme or reason. It’s maddening.
However, there’s one charge I have a very hard time accepting from hotels — a WiFi charge PER device. Many solo travelers have more than one device — a business laptop, a tablet and a smartphone.
One family I sent on vacation last year told me they had seven devices between them. While that may be overkill, it’s reasonable to assume one per person. That means a family of four signing onto the Internet on WiFi networks that cost per connection can easily spend $100 a day on Internet.
Personally, my husband has a portable WiFi access device our family can use when together, and when I travel with my son or a friend in those situations we usually end up sharing my computer to limit our connections. But it’s a silly rule.
If it were just a matter of not overloading and thus slowing the system, I could understand if a hotel put in a “one device per person” rule. But as is, the separate charges are about one thing: money.
Hotels are always looking for an edge in marketing. At one point it was beds, at another point high tech showers. Which chain wants to step forward and introduce, if not free Internet, some sanity into WiFi pricing?