The days of charging for Wi-Fi in hotels is over or at least that is what so many of us believe. In reality though there are still a number of hotel chains that charge for Wi-Fi, a fact that is surprising considering it was nearly eight years ago that Starbucks started offering it for free. What is more surprising is that these hotels are generally the more luxury hotels, and in fact the budget hotels most always offer it for free. Although 2015 seems to be the year of free Wi-Fi for hotels, these five brands are still staying strong and insisting some guests still pay for it.
1. Fairmont Hotels
It is true that you can get free internet in the Fairmont Hotels, as long as you don’t mind using it in the lobby or the lounges. But if you want to have free Wi-Fi in your room, count on being a member of Fairmont President’s Club, or staying in a Fairmont Gold Room. Rates vary by location and hotel and work off a 24-hour period. Guests of this hotel chain should be aware that many of the hotels charge per IP address as well as per 24 hour period which can double or triple your cost, depending on how many devices you are using. For such nice hotels that literally charge hundreds of dollars a night, we think they should just throw in the Wi-Fi free of charge for all guests.
2. Hilton Hotels
On the homepage of their main website, it becomes clear to all users that Hilton Hotels are offering free Wi-Fi. But guests who plan on spending a night at any one of these hotels should be sure to read the fine print on the free Wi-Fi rules. First up you must be a Hilton Hotels Honor Member, which doesn’t cost you anything, but you can be sure to receive email from them at least once a week. That isn’t the only thing you will need to do though to ensure you get your free Wi-Fi. Don’t plan on booking through an external site such as Expedia, as you must book direct to receive the promotion. After all of this, guests here can sometimes get free Wi-Fi, depending on which hotel they are staying at. But don’t expect the really fast internet, as that is going to cost you to upgrade. In fact, many guests just choose to pop over to a nearby Starbucks who always has fast and reliable internet.
3. Marriott Hotels
Marriott Hotels came under fire in early 2015 when it paid a $600,000 fine for blocking guests personal hotspots. The chain originally tried to claim they were only blocking Wi-Fi devices within business and convention centers but eventually raised the white flag in defeat. Although they will no longer block Wi-Fi devices in their hotels, they will still charge guests if they want to use the hotels internet. Once again though, like many hotels, Marriott requires that guests hold a loyalty card with them, and require you to book directly through them, instead of using a third party. Non-members of this hotel chain can expect to pay anywhere from $12-20 a day for Wi-Fi throughout its numerous hotels.
4. Ritz-Carlton Hotels
Guests can use the free Wi-Fi in the lobby but once they hit their rooms will have to pay anywhere from $10-20 per 24 hours depending on the hotel. If you do want free in-room Wi-Fi, you have to be a Ritz-Carlton rewards member, and book directly in person, by phone or online. There is a mammoth list of exclusions for these properties in which it doesn’t matter if you are a member or not, there will not be free Wi-Fi including Protea Brand hotels, the Marriott Hotels in Vail Colorado and more. It is best to check ahead of time and make sure to read the fine print.
5. Starwood Hotels
If you have something against joining a hotel loyalty program expect to shell out some cash in order to use the Wi-Fi at most Starwood Brand hotels. Many of these hotels start the Wi-Fi costs at $12.95 a day and can get up to as much as $25 a day, depending on where you stay. This is one brand that charges more for a higher level of luxury hotel. Starwood is also notorious for charging per IP address; which means if you are using three or four devices, you could be spending up to $100 a day in Wi-Fi charges. You can always join the loyalty program and get free standard Wi-Fi, good enough for checking emails, but don’t plan on downloading any large files or streaming any Netflix.