Why Hotel Internet Should Be a Utility (or the 25EUR ripoff)

I’m writing this and I’m pissed off. So why, given I am only on day five of my month-long holiday, and enjoying a beautiful morning coffee in Milan, am I possibly pissed off? Because I am spending over 220 Euro/night for a hotel room at UNA Maison Milano and they have the audacity to ask me to spend another 25 Euro/night to access the internet. I don’t get angry often but this one has really pushed me over the edge. And this is why I’m writing in a café and not my beautiful room’s balcony (this is our balcony view!).

Transient

To start, let’s take a step back. I am staying at a fantastic hotel, Una Maison Milano, which is only steps from the Duomo in Milan. The staff are incredibly friendly, the room is fantastic, and the balcony overlooking the street adds an amazing bit of charm. It is the perfect room. BUT, I try to connect to the hotel Wifi when we arrive and find it’s
asking for a code. No dramas, most normal hotels these days do this to keep the random passerby from using their bandwidth. So I call the front desk and am told I have a 1 hour, 2 hour, 4 hour, and all-day option for internet access, priced up to 25 EUR/day.

I don’t know about the rest of the world but I remember a time when you would drive past a hotel/motel and there was a sign proclaiming, “Free Color TV!” Soon thereafter, you would see the signs that said, “Free Cable TV!” These days, I would be hard pressed to search the modern globe to find a hotel that doesn’t offer colour TV and cable (or satellite). Fact is, these days, these things have become utilities. Imagine checking into a hotel only to find that the TV doesn’t work – you call the front desk and hear, “You have a one hour, two hour, and all day option to view the TV.” It just
doesn’t happen. It would be one step from charging additionally for power and hot
water.

In any case, hotels need to realise that in this day and age internet access is as much a critical utility to the modern traveller as hot water, power, and TV. This is particularly true when we are traveling internationally. We need access to maps, email, Facebook, Twitter, reviews, itineraries, etc. And it’s time that these laggards get pulled forward
from the early 2000’s to 2013. High speed internet access should be ubiquitous
and free in hotels where it’s readily available. Don’t insult us by adding on the cost, you should build it into the room cost. These days, you can get business grade DSL for a full office for 100EUR for a MONTH and you have the audacity to ask a single room to subsidise 25% of that for a single day?! Those days are numbered.

When I return from Europe I am going to create a name-and-shame list of those properties that still think they can act this way and we will make it clear that we will accept this no more. Please jump in and let us know which backward hotels are stuck in the wrong decade and we will let them know to either change or face a quick decline in their key clientele – savvy holiday guests and business travellers. Enough is enough!

I've been contemplating the creation of a set of modern hotel connectivity standards, which would include power options, entertainment, internet access, etc. Guess this proves that it would actually be helpful to have a universal gauge for which hotels are ready for guests in 2013.

(don't even get me started on their "policy" to not provide clothes irons to their guests as they have an ironing service - 40EUR later to iron one shirt, one suit jacket and pants, and a dress...)

UPDATE: We have now stayed in four other hotels in Europe thus far and NOT A ONE has charged for wi-fi. Quality might be spotty but it's free - everywhere. Get with the times...