July 9, 2005

Motels with WiFi.

Are there U.S. motel chains that consistently provide WiFi (or at least high-speed internet connections)?

I'd like to know, as I'm driving across the country, which brand names to associate with the internet access I simply must have when I stop. I consider this more important than a television, and of course, you take it for granted that there will be a television. If I knew a particular brand-name motel always had WiFi, I would keep driving until I got to one of those. So, if there isn't such a chain, this is just a suggestion: WiFi should become a standard amenity.

35 comments:

Earl said...
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Earl said...

Give it a whirl

Larry Riddle said...

I've had good luck at Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express. Each individual location's web page tells you whether or not they have wireless (occasionally) or wired (most common) networks. What I really appreciated was that there was no charge for the connection. Most other places I stayed wanted an additional $10.00 a night to turn the network on in the room I stayed in.

storkdoc said...

Each Hampton Inn that I've stayed at in the last 2 years has had wifi and free breakfast too

Ann Althouse said...

But does any chain as a chain make this a guaranteed feature?

Susannah said...

This site suggests that the Hampton Inn does have wireless at all locations. (I'm sorry, I don't know how to post a link without posting the whole URL.)

http://hamptoninn.hilton.com/en/hp/promotions/whatsnew/index.jhtml?adId=whatsnewhx,thingstodo,30

amy said...

I don't believe any hotel has WiFi at ALL their locations, but Hilton seems to be pretty good about it.

Crash said...

Most Best Westerns now are offering wifi and without the crappy password requirements to use. I've even parked outside of some of their locations when I've needed to shoot off a quick email. It's my recommendation.

Stormy70 said...

La Quinta has free wifi at most locations.

Crash said...

Not sure what Holiday Inns Larry has stayed at, but most Holiday Inns I have stayed required a charge for the wifi. I'd have to be pretty desperate to stay at a Holiday Inn.

Joel H. Seachrist said...

I think all of MicroTel's locations have wireless networks. I personally can confirm that for locations in Toledo, OH and North Carolina. It's not the Ritz Carlton, but I'd rather stay at a MicroTel if the alternative is to not have access to the web.

Megan said...

We just got back from a road trip out east, and it seemed like most places had it. You can pick up hotel guides at rest stops that have ads for the various hotels at each exit, and they'll tell you if they have it and if it's free. It really seems, though (and maybe this depends on the part of the country,) that most places have it now.

deignan said...

This may be of some help: Geektels

As a practical matter, it seems that any Comfort Inn level hotel has WiFi. Certainly, Hampton is in this category.

Rick Lee said...

Holiday Inn Express advertises free broadband (see www.hiexpress.com). Some I've stayed at have had wired and some wireless. It's been my experience that wireless is often crappy in some rooms. Wired is more reliable. I carry a Cat5 cable and coupler so that I can sit on the bed and use the laptop. I hate sitting at a desk using the computer.

It's ironic that most lower level motels now offer broadband free... but your nicer downtown hotels all charge 10 bucks a day.

deignan said...

BTW, speaking of WiFi, you will find open access networks are very common.

So, what are the ethics involved? I'll press this case for open access. Open networks are like having a well in the desert. For example, I was able to locate on the White Pages a fellow who had just lost his CDL (and credit cards, etc.) on Father's day and insure that he was able to retrieve them.

I can think of 100 other reasons why open access networks ought to be encouraged. Open communication is a good. But, perhaps I am a contrarian.

nina said...

Hampton Inn has never let me down. But if you are truly worried, you could sign up for Starbucks HotSpot, pay the huge monthly fee and be set for life. Imagine, every Starbucks (and Borders and a bunch of other places). That just gives you a million options (at least in cities) right then and there.

DNR Mom said...

All the Hamptons I stayed at Sept to Feb, from Madison to Alaska to the Keys & back, were connected. I think Rick Lee is correct about wi-fi dead spots in concrete bunker motel rooms. Wired is more reliable. Hampton is part of the Hilton Honors come-on that gets you a free night's lodging after every few stays + freq flyer miles.

Michael Pate said...

I have had good luck with Super 8. Whether or not they offer Wi-Fi or Ethernet seems to depend on the physical layout.

Michael Stiber said...

Every Country Inn that I've stayed at has had wifi; it may be that all of them have it. They're on the more expensive side, but you can find more reasonably priced ones away from big cities and resort areas. They also have those great waffle machines you can use to make your own waffles in the morning (I've got this thing for waffles).

Also, check out MetroFreeFi for lists of free wifi locations throughout the US, including lists formatted for downloading to iPods.

John R Henry said...

I generally try to stay at Hampton Inns. Good price, nice rooms and a great breakfast. It's been a few years since I stayed at one without free access. Most in the past year have been wi-fi.

It's hard to beat their breakfasts.

If I am going to be somewhere for 3 days or more, I try to stay at a Residence Inn. This lets me stay up late in the living area while my wife sleeps in the separate bedroom. They've all had access. SOme wired, some wi-fi. Also a very nice free breakfast.

I stayed at a Holiday in outside St Louis last September and they had Wi-Fi in the first floor (lobby, restaurants, bar etc) and apologized for being in the process of getting access to all rooms.

Courtyard used to charge extra for access and I don't know their chain wide policy. At least some have open access in their lobbies.

I think if you stick with the middle chains you will be fine. The higher end chains seem to want to charge. But then, even Red Rood Inns offer access in many locations so what do I know.

Enjoy your trip.

John Henry

josil said...

if you're in the area, the Bates Motel has wireless. however, the showers leave something to be desired.

Ann Althouse said...

Here"s a good Hampton Inn chart showing locations of their motels with WiFi. This is quite useful, though I note the dearth of locations driving west from Wisconsin on the northern tier of states: one in Montana, none in South Dakota.

leeontheroad said...

Here's a directory of hotel with wifi, which says all Holiday Inns have free wifi in the lobby. My own experience is with Holiday Inn Express, where I've had good success connecting an ibook to their network. This has been much better than when I traveled a few years ago with a Wintel laptop-- and rarely could anyone at the desk tell me how to wire into the network (despite advertising).

Miranda said...

When I drive through SD and MT, I give up all hope of finding decent coffee, soft towels, and music other than country. I always found the level of ammenities hit or miss when I travelled out West unless I were in a larger city.

Ann Althouse said...

To blog from the road, WiFi in the lobby is not going to cut it. That might work for people who are checking a little email, but it's ridiculous if you're trying to read the news and write and upload photos. Are motel lobbies in the middle of nowhere these days filled with people with their laptops? (I haven't done a road trip in a while.)

Miranda: That worries me. I want to do a road trip but I detest substandard motels.

leeontheroad said...

I didn't think the lobby was going to cut it for your blogging purposes, but it's the best gauarantee I saw.

twwren said...

Wingate has free wifi and is a nice hotel for the money. Everything works.

John R Henry said...

Once more on Hamptons:

They tend to have not only a lobby but also a dining area where they serve breakfast. Often free coffee all day.

The dining area, outside of breakfast when it can be crowded tends to be fairly quiet with not too much traffic.

I often work there because I like the tables better than the relatively small desks in the rooms.

It is certainly better than trying to work in a Starbucks or the like.

John Henry

Susan said...

All the Fairfield Inns I've stayed at have free wifi in the rooms.

k said...

We just got back from a quick trip from Missouri to Columbus OH for a family reunion ... had wifi in the little Amerihost we stayed in, and on the way to and from, I noticed that nearly every chain motel (and many little mom and pops) had hung big banners advertising either their "hi-speed internet" or "fast web access" (which I take to mean, fast dialup). My brother, whose room was upstairs and just a little farther from the lobby (where we assumed the router was located) complained that his signal strength was low. I had no such problem. A "help" card in the guest rooms said we could also use wired access, but I had so little trouble, I didn't bother even locating the plugin. I'd call ahead, but it sure looks like the movement toward "amenity" wifi has already begun

Ann Althouse said...

K: I like the idea that the signs visible from the road give this info.

Duke of DeLand said...

Ann,
Just returned to Tampa from a trip to Lake Geneva, WI (new grandson in Rockford).....Stayed there and back in Country Inns & Suites...
Blogged nightly from all their locations!

All had WiFi or High Speed....lovely places with a GREAT breakfast included!

$78 - $104 rates enjoyed....when you factor in a complete breakfast it is reasonable for two... and we enjoy the AARP discount (even if we don't enjoy the AARP politics!)

Duke of DeLand
http://pekinprattles.blogspot.com

Maggie45 said...

All the Country Inns have wi-fi. I stayed at one in Scottsdale with my sister a couple of weeks ago, for only $52 a night, double occupancy. Even had a microwave in the room. The breakfast was OUTSTANDING, and they have a bedtime snack, and 24/7 tea and coffee. And the staff was the nicest I've ever dealt with. Great energy about the place.

DNR Mom said...
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DNR Mom said...

Ann: Search hilton.com. Their western motels are often Doubletree, Embassy Suites, etc. In any case, you can scroll the amenities to be sure they have wi-fi.

As for mom & pops, BAD experience in British Columbia last fall. Motel sign listed high speed, but it was just connected in the lobby & available only when the motel office didn't need it for check-ins, credit cards, name it. Wondered if Pop even knew what it was for. . .