By Terry Trucco
This was a good week for those who believe WiFi is no different from hotel basics like sheets, towels and a shower with running water and should be included free of charge in the price of a room.
Mandarin Oriental announced that its hotels will offer their “exceptional” high-speed internet service on a complimentary basis. Guests will be able to connect up to six wireless devises free of charge.
But unlike LaQuinta, EconoLodge and Holiday Inn Express where wireless access comes automatically with your keycard upon check-in, there’s a small hitch. Mandarin, where rooms are priced from $600 and up, requires that guests create an online profile and book through the hotel website www.mandarinoriental.com. The perk extends to guests who book through selected travel agency partners. No more Expedia deals if you crave a WiFi freebie, in other words. And Mandarin Oriental gets to learn a bit more about its guests (hello, Big Data).
Still, it’s a welcome step forward and about time Mandarin Oriental joined other plush properties like the Peninsula Group, Gansevoort Hotels, Standard Hotels and Andaz. Can Four Seasons, Fairmont and Ritz Carlton be far behind? And will the four-stars like Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott and Intercontinental get the message at long last, too?