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laptop hotel room bed womanHey, hotels — are you listening?

Earlier this week, we threw out a question to our followers on Twitter and Facebook: What’s one amenity that you wish all hotels would start offering?

While we got several creative responses — @PatWoods1 asked for bidet toilet seats, and a hungry @TwavelTweeter longed to indulge his sweet tooth with “in-room hot and cold running chocolate” — there was one answer that kept coming up over and over again: free Wi-Fi.

“Remember when hair dryers weren’t in all rooms? That changed. [Free] Wi-Fi should be ubiquitous, too,” said @karasw.

“[It] could be as little as 60 minutes per day, or free all day,” said @seaescapetravel. “This is huge. Today is all about connecting.”

“Free Wi-Fi. Seriously,” @thegeekTicket concurred. “Why do expensive hotels charge for it? It’s ridiculous.”

This last response highlights the primary Wi-Fi frustration for many travelers — that all too often, luxury hotels charge guests for Internet access, while budget properties let you connect for free. If you’re paying $400 a night for a hotel room, why should you have to shell out another $19.95 a day just to get online? Is the hotel trying to chase us out to the Starbucks down the street?

I’ve seen properties where the Wi-Fi is complimentary in public areas but not in individual guestrooms, which seems almost more obnoxious. If they can offer free Internet in the lobby, they could clearly offer it everywhere else — but instead they’re making us put on shoes, leave our comfy rooms and crowd into a noisy lobby with all the other Internet addicts. Thanks a lot.

Our readers aren’t the only ones to get hot under the collar about this issue. Gadling.com recently finished a March Madness-style bracket tournament involving the biggest hotel pet peeves. The worst offender: no free Wi-Fi.

Which hotel amenity is most important to you? Leave a comment below or vote in our poll.

— written by Sarah Schlichter

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35 Responses to “The Hotel Amenity Travelers Want Most”

  1. Jenn says:

    I completely agree- paid wireless (or worse yet, free wifi in lobby but paid wifi in rooms) is a complete nuisance, especially in a luxury hotel where you are paying an arm and a leg anyway. My favorite boutique luxury properties give that (and more) away for free- for example, Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel in NYC and Opposite House in Beijing both offer free wifi and free minibar snacks. Taking away the “nickel and dime” mentality of charging for everything makes for a much more relaxing stay and keeps me coming back.

  2. Absolutely correct. In today’s world of constantly needing to be connected, WiFi is the first amentity I require to book any hotel business and pleasure. Often I would prefer to stay in a four star hotel but after already paying a premium, I have to budget in another 10 – 15 bucks per day for WiFi. I always end up staying at a lower ratedhotel that offers free WiFi.

  3. Pat W says:


    1. Correction: In Twitter, I said bidet toilet SEATS (big difference)
    2. I agree with free WIFI

  4. BJ Vallier says:

    I agree. Why do the fancy big-bucks hotels charge you for breakfast, wireless computer use? I will always choose a free good breakfast and free wifi at a moderate hotel then any fancy Name hotel and spend a heafty amount of money for the privilege of staying there.

  5. Michael H. Casey says:

    Can’t say I care much about WiFi, but my wife certainly does – or the wife I had before I gave her a laptop a couple xmases ago. I know she’s still around, I hear the keyboard clicking.

    The stupid little thing I wish all hotels had is a nightlight in the bathroom. They’re always pitch black at night, and your half asleep and in a strange room. A nightlight makes it easier to find and easier, for males anyway, to use.

    • Jo Anne says:

      Michael, I agree with you. We pack a night light when we travel for hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, and even to the home of relatives.

  6. Fred says:

    $30-50 a day for parking in a luxury hotel is another mindless grab for money!!!!

  7. Reinaldo Luis Andujar says:

    The WiFi policy in those high end hotels forces me to either hang out in nearest Panera bake shop/coffee shop till closing or wake up very early to use the common areas found in the lobbies. I only use these hotels when the conference I am attending is being hosted there. Otherwise I look for the nearest, available Holiday Inn Express or equivalent.

  8. Geni Chariker says:

    Having just spent a few nights in a hotel, I would have to rate noise control high on the list. At one pricey hotel, the next room’s TV was mounted directly opposite my bed. This hotel neighbor was a channel surfer and a night owl. Very annoying. However, I understand he/she had paid for their room and should stay up as late as they want and surf away! The hotel should have taken this into consideration.

    All chains should have an “app” where you could access information – rates, acceptance of pets, meals provided, etc. That way you know what you are getting when you are “on the road.” I have paid for amenities I do not need just because I was tired.

  9. Barrance says:

    My favourite had to be the (claimed) four star hotel in Agadir that charged the equivalent of GBP300+ for two people to use the Wi-fi anywhere in the hotel.
    The solution was to buy a couple of cellphone dongles for GBP30 for two with a 3 month no call charge incentive. Get home throw them away.
    Problem solved!

  10. Barrance says:

    I should say that the GBP 300 was for two netbooks for three weeks

  11. Marti Mayne says:

    More than 92% of inns and B&Bs offer free wi-fi access to guests according to BedandBreakfast.com surveys. Add in the free breakfast, free parking, complimentary refreshments and evening desserts, complimentary coffee and beverages 24-7 and you’ve got about $125-150 in added value. Now, add in more than 140 gas-saving and eco-driving reward packages at BetterwaytoStay.com and you’ve got tons of added value just by choosing a B&B. Forget the rake-you-over-the-coals-with-added-fees hotels. Today’s inns and B&Bs are the better way to stay. Great post, Sarah!

  12. Laurel Parrott says:

    There really is a better way to stay—Why not try a bed and breakfast inn? You’ll find that most B&B’s provide not only an amazing free breakfast, but also free WIFI and free parking. And don’t even mention charges for movies, beverages and snacks! At our B&B, the WIFI is fast and it’s available not only in the room, but in the public areas and on the porches. There is a DVD library, a 24 hour complimentary beverage station, and cookies and milk before bed. Why not check out the amenities at the B&B’s in the areas where your travels take you?

  13. Laurie says:

    FREE WIFI! Just got back from a 5* resort in the Mayan Rivera and was really irritated that I had to go to the lobby and connect! Yet if you book into alot of the 4* resorts you get it in your room! Definitly one feature that should be added to all hotel rooms.

  14. Mary S. says:

    I agree with everyone re free Wi-Fi. However for luxury hotels located on the beach, beach chairs & umbrellas should be part of the package also. One should not have to pay $25 per day for chairs and then more $$$$ for an umbrella. If they must charge perhaps $25 for the use of the chairs for a week would be more appropriate and include the umbrella too!

  15. Liz Hamill says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I despise the luxury hotels that charge $15-$20 per day for wi-fi. I regularly skip logging on in my room, and haul my laptop down to the nearest cafe that’s got a free connection.

    That’s particularly hard for me sometimes, because (as my web site hints) I suffer from chronic pain. A big Net surcharge will drag down my opinion of even the nicest property, because it literally hurts me to go find someplace not to be gouged for something as simple as Internet access.

  16. Hope non of you respondents ever go cruising! They rip you off blind.

    • Irene Roque says:

      Oh, yes they do! but go ashore at the ports and most have internet cafes where you can do an hour’s worth for $3-5…they are usually close to the ship’s port and within walking distance…and as far as the cruise industry goes, I would rather they up the price and include wifi than charge me for wifi…their plans are ridiculously expensive…

  17. Kathy says:

    Just returned from Vietnam. Not only did all hotels offer free internet access, but two of the properties provided your very own in-room PC with no charge. The room rates at these hotels were both less than $70. This is one area where this country is leading the way in hotel perks. The rest of the world should be ashamed about their wi fi policies and fees.

  18. Irene Roque says:

    when I pay MORE for a hotel room, they CHARGE $15/day for wifi. If I choose a less expensive hotel room, they have FREE wifi. Guess where I am booking my stays…4 & 5 star hotels better get with it…they are losing customers, starting with me…

  19. Bill says:

    Free wi-fi may be fine, but I would like hotels at which I continually stay to recognize and acknowledge that fact and give me priviledges in their club room, even if I am not paying the room price that gets one into the club room. Also wi-fin is free in the cllub room.

  20. Andrew says:

    I definitely agree here. I really appreciate free wifi, and it makes such a huge difference in having a satisfactory hotel stay. In our modern society where everyone is so connected, being connected at one’s hotel is hugely important.

  21. Craig says:

    I second that! Internet connectivity is a must and free WiFi service should just be the norm everywhere. If Best Western can do it and make a profit then why do the 4 star places have to gouge for internet service? Its just a cheap shot. I prefer nicer accommodations but if I have to choose then I’ll downgrade and stay where I don’t feel like I’m being ripped off.

  22. L. Miller says:

    I always ask for a low floor no matter where I’m staying. Mostly this is due to my fear of fire, but it has an added benefit; if the hotel offers free WiFi in the lobby, you can connect there, then leave your laptop lid up (i.e. don’t disconnect!) and head to your room. Depending on how far your room is from the lobby, and how strong the lobby WiFi is, you can often maintain the connection all the way up to your room and, voila’!, free WiFi in your room. Sneaky, but it works!

  23. Victor Lazlo says:

    In Europe high-end hotels pass off internet service to companies like Swisscom that charge $27/day or more. This is a complete ripoff even if the connection speed is 2x what it is in the U.S. I have complained repeatedly to hotel management about this when I travel for work overseas, but so far nothing has been done. It’s as I always say, the more expensive the hotel, the more you’re nickeled and dimed to death. It’s highway robbery, pure and simple.

  24. I agree, many hotel goes want the extra amenity to what they are use to having. I think some of the best is WiFi, breakfast, Gym etc. These distinguish guest from visiting and home. Everyone wants a bit of home.

  25. cheap hotels in nyc says:

    Hey There Independenttraveler,
    I know what you mean, Millions of travelers look forward to their “stay away from home” and an important part of the enjoyment can be what hotel amenities are found in a room. A lot of thought also goes into what items are put into a room by the hotel purchasing staff to ensure items meet their quests expectations.

  26. motorcycle traveler says:

    Complimentary coffee and free breakfast makes it so much nicer when travelling. No hunting for a coffee shop or restaurant late at night or early in the morning when you want to just get ready and go.

  27. Sarah Lee says:

    Bidet – the very first hotel amenity I look for. While I also want to have a free WiFi, a clean and comfortable bathroom is still my utmost need. :)

  28. Hotels should take a leaf out of the Las Vegas hotels’ book.

    They do everything they can to encourage you to spend as much time in the hotel as possible – cheap meals, promo offers etc.

    Maybe hotels could have a free wifi bar or cafe. That way you can get your free wifi, but you’re likely to be spending money while you’re surfing without feeling cheated by the hotel.

    Nice site by the way.

  29. D. Hill says:

    My most longed for hotel amenity is: late checkout! I hate getting up early in the am, especially if I have no plane to catch. Let me sleep later, please!

  30. Emily Stone says:

    Hotels should do all that they can to cater for their customers, their requests should take priority.

  31. Sue says:

    Not sure where y’all are staying, but I haven’t paid for WiFi in, well, years. And I’m not just staying where I have a loyalty programme. Some places are luxury hotels and some places are not so much, but I always get free WiFi. One of my pet peeves is towels… I’d like to get out of the shower and have a towel that can pretty much cover my body (and I’m not a big person, I’m quite small). I’d also like the option of feather pillows in my room (I don’t want to have to call down to the front desk to ask). Free bottled water, at least one bottle a day, would be lovely (how often do YOU drink out of the glasses in your room?). As for bathroom amenities, maybe offering some of them when you check in (like a check-in kit?). I never use the shampoo/conditioner — one bottle isn’t enough for waist-length hair); and one bar of decent soap would work for both sink and shower. A good shoe shine station in the lobby in place of the “mitt” or sponge (a station such as the self operated ones such as they have in Europe). And always, a chocolate in the room. Doesn’t need to be for turn down. Just one chocolate on the desk. So I can have it when *I* want it! :-)

    Another is in-room coffee, and you

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