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London hotels most expensive for Wi-Fi

Hotels in the capital are charging the highest prices in Europe for Wi-Fi access
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Last week London was named the most expensive city in Europe for Wi-Fi access in hotels. And with some guests in the capital paying £10 for every half an hour they're online, it's easy to see why.

Posing as a potential customer, ZDNet UK's sister site, silicon.com, contacted 20 of the capital's top hotels and found a range of charges, from free Wi-Fi access for guests at the £265 per night Draycott Hotel in Chelsea to £10 for just 30 minutes of Wi-Fi access at the £455 per night Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge*.

Of those business-traveller class hotels we contacted, only four offered free Wi-Fi access, while the majority are charging — a practice recently branded a "rip-off" by readers of silicon.com.

Among the others we found huge disparity in how they charge for Wi-Fi access and a range of pricing models. For example, some hotels charge for half an hour, others for two hours or 24 hours, while some charge a flat rate for the duration of the guest's stay, making it difficult to compare and contrast.

Similarly there were major differences in the kind of service offered. For example, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel, while charging £10 per half-hour, told us the Wi-Fi access is only available in the lobby.

The Trafalgar Hilton meanwhile charges £15 for 24 hours' access but at least promises Wi-Fi throughout the premises, including in guest rooms.

The Four Seasons, Canary Wharf, charges a flat rate of $28 (£14.75) and offers Wi-Fi throughout — a deal that becomes relatively cheaper the longer a guest stays. The Dorchester meanwhile promises a similar level of coverage but its flat rate is £50.

London hotels offering free Wi-Fi **:
  • The Draycott
  • The Lanesborough
  • Radisson Edwardian Hampshire
  • Radisson Edwardian Mayfair
Hotels offering Wi-Fi throughout the premises:
  • The Dorchester: £50 flat-rate
  • Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf: $28 (£14.68) flat-rate
  • Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park: £15 for 24 hours, £75 for 7 days
  • Marriott London Grosvenor Square: £5 per hour or £20 for 24 hours
  • The Park Lane Hotel: £16.50 for 24 hours, £5 for one hour
  • The Ritz Hotel: £20 for 24 hours (no hourly rate)
  • The Royal Garden Hotel: £5 for 2 hours or £20 for 24 hours
  • The Trafalgar Hilton London: £15 for 24 hours
Hotels offering Wi-Fi only in public areas, not guest rooms:
  • The Bentley: £4.99 per hour
  • Four Seasons Hotel London: $22 (£11.53) flat-rate
  • Intercontinental London Park Lane: £5 per hour, £15 for 24 hours
  • Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel: £10 for 30 minutes (only in the lobby)
  • Le Meridian Hotel Piccadilly: £8 for 3 hours, £12 for 12 hours
  • London Hilton Park Lane: £6 per hour or £10 for 24 hours
  • Marriott London Park Lane: £15 for 24 hours
  • The Savoy: £9.95 for 24 hours

The investigation also revealed a number of large names, such as The Adelphi, Claridges and the Waldorf Hilton, are yet to roll out any Wi-Fi access for guests.

*Per night room charges based on the cost of one adult staying for one night in a double room on Wednesday 22 November, 2006
**Based on 20 business-traveller class/5-star hotels contacted

Silicon.com's Gemma Simpson contributed to this report

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