Quality hotels should recognise that WiFi is like electricity: It’s a required feature

So I was in Barcelona this week for the EIBTM show. I was staying in one of the ‘congress’ hotels. It’s a rather funky affair, the Porta Fira Hotel.

When I checked in, the helpful chap behind the desk asked if I’d be wanting to use WiFi. This is normally the point at which they then ask you to part with something like 100 EURO for three days connectivity. To my delight, the chap just handed me a piece of paper containing some WiFi credentials.

When I got to the room, the first thing I did was activate WiFi on my iPad and then signed in.

Who else does this? I’m sure I’m not alone.

Anyway, I was a little annoyed at the rather strange ‘tower@hportafira’ username — if you’re going to use the ‘at’ sign, why not go for a full email address? That irritated me the whole week.

This is because EVERY FLIPPING TIME my device(s) rested, the WiFi connection would drop and I’d need to login again.

I don’t know specifically how WiFi connectivity works with my iPhone or iPad. I don’t care. I really don’t want to spend the time to learn, either. Suffice to say that, at some point, the iPhone recognises that once I’ve put it down and left it alone for a few minutes, it doesn’t need to keep connectivity open. So it shuts down the WiFi connection. Normally the WiFi router on the other end will remember the device identity so that when I pick up the phone a few moments later, it’ll log-on to the WiFi seamlessly.

Not at the Hotel Porta Fira in Barcelona, unfortunately. Their system forgets you every time.

I really do wonder when modern, business hotels are going to finally understand that WiFi is like lighting. I just need it. It’s not a question. It’s not an ‘if’, it’s not a nice-to-have. In order to avoid any annoying exceptions, it has to be as seamless as switching on a light.

I can live with a sign-on process once during my stay. Or once per device. But that’s it. That’s the limit.

I don’t mind a fee. Hotels have to make their money, yes — and I want the service to be highly reliable. So a sensible fee for a few days is ok. But don’t bill me for multiple device accesses. And invest in some decent infrastructure so that the average throughput to popular internet destinations (e.g. Apple/Google) for each user is at least 350-400k/second down and at least 200k up.

And don’t, on any account, implement a system that needs me to login 16 times an hour.

I’m off to add a TripAdvisor entry about this.

On the plus side, the shower in my room was one of the best I’ve ever experienced (beautiful monsoon style with a gauge that goes all the way up to ‘very hot’) almost rivalling those at Barcelona’s Hotel Olivia on Plaza Cataluña.

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