July 12, 2006 - No Wires At The Inn
You can get free wireless Internet at a bunch of coffee shops in town. And you can get it at the library. But in hotels and motels, built on the model of charge a lot for everything, getting free Internet access isn’t a certainty. What we’re talking about are businesses that still think it’s enticing to advertise free local phone calls in the era of “anytime minutes” and “voice over IP”. It’s where a breakfast of fruit, coffee, and toast often costs more than $10. When Internet access burst onto the scene a couple of years ago, hotels saw it as another in-room honor bar – and we all know what a bargain that is.
Many hotels, particularly the big chains that emphasize service, still charge for access to the same exact Internet given away free at the library.
But, as the dedicated staff of edhat.com found out yesterday, most of the hotels (suites and inns as well) in our area provide wireless Internet free of charge. That’s right. At most hotels in Santa Barbara, people with laptop computers can read the Edhat archives until the wee hours without spending a dime. Talk about a great vacation!
Yesterday, the dedicated staff talked to phone answerers at 30 different hotels in town, from Montecito to Goleta and all points in between.
“Hello, we’re doing a survey of local hotels in town, and I was wondering if your hotel has wireless Internet.”
“Yes” was the most common response, almost always followed by, “We have high-speed wireless Internet”, as if they were reading from the same cue card. And then, many times before we could ask “how much”, they would say, “It’s free”!
A couple of times – just to be troublemakers - we pressed for more details. We found out that “high-speed” wireless is a particular type of wireless
that is faster than other not-so-fast types.
After making our thirty free local calls, we had found twenty-one hotels offering free wireless Internet from the comfort of their rooms. They are:
Bath Street Inn, Best Western (upper Bath), Cheshire Cat Inn, Coast Village Inn, Eagle Inn, El Encanto, Harbor View Inn, Holiday Inn Goleta, Hotel Mar Monte, Hotel Oceano, Hotel Santa Barbara, Montecito Inn, Pacifica Suites, Parkside Inn, Pepper Tree, Ramada Inn, Santa Barbara Inn, Spanish Garden, Upham, San Ysidro Ranch, and West Beach Inn.
The nine dissenters are:
No Internet Access (3) - Kings Inn, Inn by the Harbor, and Super 8
Internet only available in the Lobby (1) - Sandman Inn
Internet for a fee (5) - El Prado ($5.00), Fess Parker ($9.95), Four Seasons Biltmore ($10.00), Hotel Andalucia ($10.00), and Lemon Tree ($7.50)
As you can see, some of Santa Barbara’s top stars are on the not-for-free list. Defying all logic, this means that the more expensive the room, the greater the chance you’ll have to pay extra for Internet.
The correct answer in yesterday’s contest was that 78% (21 out of 27) of hotels providing in-room Internet provides it free of charge. And, the average price of Internet in places that charge was $8.49. The winner of the contest was Jolinda with a guess of 78% and $8.00. Jolinda gets a free high-speed Edhat t-shirt.
We want to hear from you ... tell us what you think of this tidbit
Want to get instant fame and cool prizes? ... enter today’s contest