WAIT! Better make sure there's no hidden charge for that mint first.

We don’t very often get to stay in fancy hotels. Higher end places are often quite posh and offer a very comfortable stay, but generally we feel a bit out of place among the guests. We prefer to stay in places that are, while maybe a little further down the star-rating scale, more charming. Not dives, mind you – we’re well past our student days – but more boutique and less large-chain. Hotels with character.

And yet, through Hotwire.com, we’ve wound up booking a room at a high-end chain hotel for an upcoming overnight in Montreal.

Sadly, we both find it’s the higher-end hotels that tend to overcharge – not just for the room, but for every single service they offer. Free amenities are just not done.

I’m not referring to the minibar – that’s perfectly understandable and expected. Go out to the nearest S’Leven if you want reasonably priced soft drinks and peanuts.

But I can’t abide when a hotel charges for the two bottles of water on the nightstand. Providing that as a complimentary gift – something not uncommon among budget hotels – would go a long way towards cultivating a return clientele. Same goes for offering free local phone calls.

Free WiFi?
I realize that more and more people are downloading larger and larger video files – and really, what else is a business traveller going to do while sitting around a boring hotel room in the evening? The number of NetFlix subscribers with laptops and tablets must be playing havoc with hotel WiFi usage! So a small charge is perfectly understandable (even though most budget hotels manage to provide free in-room WiFi).

But $15 a night is just excessive! And yet, that’s what our hotel is asking.

Wow. We could get nearly a month of service for that amount from any provider in Canada. It just seems counter-intuitive when everyone from McDonald’s to Starbucks to FedEx is offering free WiFi – especially given the amount they’re charging for the room!

Guess we’re lucky we both have good data packages on our phone plans.

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2 responses »

  1. I felt the same way when we stayed in a fancy hotel in Vegas, my first time in one so expensive (we got a deal because of a conference Steve was attending). What got me more than the not free water or expensive internet, was that they were charging a fee to provide a coffee maker in the room! I can only guess that this was because there was a coffee shop on the premises. We did end up paying the outrageous internet fee (Steve needed it) but boycotted everything else. At least they had high-end products in the bathroom.

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