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Want free wifi? Book a cheap hotel

Posted by on Nov 7, 2012 in Moneyville, Quality of Life | 0 comments

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October 24, 2012

The Holiday Inn spent $20 million renovating the 513 rooms at 30 Carlton St. Rooms feature iPod docking stations and a pillow menu. Guests will also have daily turndown and laundry service for their bedding.
The more you pay for your hotel room, the more likely you will be charged for in-room internet access.

We recently traded a week at our shared ownership house in Muskoka for two rooms at the Hyatt Olive 8 in downtown Seattle. I decided to turn off roaming on my BlackBerry for a week and use wifi wherever possible because I have yet to find a cheap, dependable data solution for cross-border travel.

But I was not impressed when I discovered there was free wifi in the lobby, but in-room connection costs $9.95 or $14.95/day depending on the level of service selected.

It was even more irritating to find that the lobby wifi extended to the coffee bar but not the sit down restaurant. Luckily the waiter kindly agreed to carry my full restaurant breakfast to the coffee bar so I could read the morning papers online at my leisure.

Then my sister and her boyfriend who came with us took a side trip to Portland, Oregon for one night. They got a room with breakfast and free wifi included at a Days Inn 25 minutes from Portland for $55.

That made me wonder about the internet policies at Toronto hotels. So I did some research and made a few phone calls, requesting  the price of a room with a queen size bed for Monday November 12th plus any additional charges for wifi.

Here’s what I found:

  •  Days Inn, Toronto Airport: $79 including free in-room wifi.
  • Holiday Inn, Bloor & Yorkville: $133.99 including free in-room wifi.
  •  Ramada Plaza, Carlton & Jarvis: $103.55 including free in-room wifi (CAA rate).
  • Intercontinental Hotel, Front Street: $199 plus $13.95/day for wifi in the lobby and in guest rooms
  • Westin Harbour Castle: $189 plus $14.95/day in guest rooms. Free in the lobby
  • Fairmont Royal York: $189 plus $15.76/day for wifi in the lobby and guest rooms but wifi is free to members of the Fairmont Loyalty Program. Anyone can join the first time they register.


The more expensive the room, the more likely that the hotel tacks on extra fees for internet use.  Marina Savokina, sales manager at the airport Days Inn, says the company offers free wifi as a perk for guests.
Yola Marshall, director of sales and marketing at the Intercontinental said, “There is a real cost associated with providing wifi and it is part of our business culture to charge for the service.”

We had a great time in Seattle and I found open wifi networks everywhere from Starbucks to restaurants in the Pike Place Market. Just not in our hotel room.

Related: 5 ways to surf safely at a wifi hotspot

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