Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Internet blackout

I had to attend a funeral in southern New Jersey near Philadelphia on Wednesday. We stayed at the Westin Hotel in Mount Laurel. It's a wonderful hotel with excellent facilities, a convenient location, nice people, and there's no charge for having a dog in our room (for which other hotels charge as much as $100). We even got a coupon for a free breakfast, which saved about $16.

Because of our accumulated points from using our Starwood American Express cards, the room -- which normally costs over $200 -- was a freebie. So far, so good.

I took my iPad with me for blogging and Facebook. Unfortunately the hotel charges $9.95 a day to provide Internet access in my room, and I thought that was a bad deal, since so many hotels have free Internet service.

I was briefly thrilled to see that the Internet fee for the PC in the "business center" was just 49 cents per minute (I could have done what I had to do in about three minutes). And then I found that the minimum charge was five bucks.

Altho I am not Mitt or Newt, I can certainly afford $5 or $9.95 (especially with a free room); but I resented having to pay for what other hotels provide for free, and what is likely a high-profit item for the hotel. I decided to follow Wikipedia's example with a one-day blackout.

I was able to use my smart phone for a one-line blog entry ("Not today"), but the tiny screen would have made my normal work/play miserable.

There is no excuse for a hotel
to charge for Internet access in 2012.

It's a basic service, as necessary as running water -- and much more important than the minibar, in-room coffee maker, in-room safe, 2-line cordless phone, bathrobe, pile of five pillows, free mouthwash, 250-thread-count sheets and a free copy of USA Today.

I'm not cheap or ungrateful. I tipped the bellhop and the maid. I'm thrilled that Starwood properties have an enlightened pet policy. I just hope that this blog post will encourage management to realize that, in 2012, Internet access should not be an extra-cost option.


1 comment:

  1. Most major resorts in Las Vegas charge for in-room Internet access because they're a casino first and a hotel second. They want you in the casino gambling and not in your room with your nose in a computer. OTH, I've stayed at hotels in L.A. and Boston where I had to pay upwards of $30.00 per day to park or valet, even though I was staying at the hotel. In Vegas only some small downtown hotels charge for parking --none of the major ones on the Strip do. Even valet parking is free, although tips are appreciated.