Hotels Travel

Premier Inn: Surprisingly good, I’m really enjoying staying with them

I have long been interested in the delivery of service in a hospitality environment — principally hotels. My interest was piqued when I started providing web consultancy to a hotel staff training company when I was a student. I remember being fascinated by some of the policies and procedures required to deliver top class service. Witness, for example, one hotel chain’s approach to total guest satisfaction: They give every team member a personal budget to fix anything. So if a customer complains of not having packed the right adapter for their Mac, you don’t smile pleasantly and respond with, “awwwh shucks!” No. You get out your hotel credit card and sort it with the concierge and then delight the guest 60 minutes later. 

I also do a lot of consultancy nowadays for the Connections Luxury portfolio of events. My role there is to provide perspective, insight and some demonstrable live examples of how technology is changing (and will change) the hospitality industry over the short and long term. I also do a lot of research and blogging for the portfolio. 

So I am regularly interacting with some of the world’s top luxury brands. It’s a fascinating experience. It’s equally nice being on the sharp end of this as a consumer — because I am required to travel to some of the best places! The last Connections Luxury was at the fabulous Conrad Algarve. The next one is at the Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi (with a dinner at the stunningly opulent Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi). 

I write these paragraphs first to give you some context as to how I would traditionally react to a no frills hotel experience. I’m a luxury fan. I don’t mind paying for seriously good service.

I do, however, have an affinty for expertly delivered expectation. 

If you can meet my expectations — every time, and without exception (or with minimal exceptions) — then I am likely to respond positively.

Which is where I am with Premier Inn.

I’ve been having to travel regularly for the main consulting work I’m doing at the moment, principally to Edinburgh and London. Although I can commute in and out of London, the workload often requires me to stay in London to work into the small hours. 

I’ve therefore been using the big corporate account to book hotels. When I’m traveling on behalf of the client, that’s fine, that’s expensed. In London, it’s my own choice though. 

I have historically had a great experience at the Montcalm in the Brewery on Chiswell Street next to Moorgate. However the place gets rather booked up, very quickly, so it’s quite difficult to plan. 

With the current contract I’ve shaken things up. I’ve been trying out Premier Inn. 

My previous defining experience with Premier Inn was staying for roughly £80 one night in Windsor with my wife — and both of us being absolutely frozen. Not a great start. It turns out, however, that this was a Travel Lodge. I just looked it up! This does highlight the dangers of incorrect brand association. 

So with this negative (and unfair!) experience informing my expectations, I clicked on “Premier Inn” and select “book” a few weeks ago and made sure to bring a sweatshirt in my bag to stay warm. 

The sweatshirt wasn’t needed. I was pleasantly surprised. The thing about Premier Inn is that in order to achieve the returns they inevitably demand, they have to get efficient. Which means they’ve given a lot of thought to the end-to-end experience.

First, the prices — they’re generically reasonable. Book way in advance and you can often get some wickedly good deals, even in London. Up in Scotland, I often find prices in the 70s and 80s (pounds per night) which is exceptionally reasonable for the service level they deliver.

You pay up front when you check-in (unless you’ve paid in advance). They assign you a keycard that’s slotted into a bit of card that usually contains a prompt for their £6.95 breakfast. Good thinking that! There’s a little white circle printed top right for them to write in your room number. 

Arriving into the room is an exercise in expectation delivery. First impressions are universally positive for me. I’m not expecting miracles at £80/night — so when I find the place tidy, clean and spotless, I breathe a sigh of relief again. 

I’m sure problems do occur, however the operations teams at Premier Inn are clearly doing a great job to try and minimise the opportunities for failure. 

For example, there’s no little soap to unwrap in the en suite. There’s no array of frustratingly small conditioners, body and hair shampoos. No. In fact there’s nothing by the sink apart from a push dispenser on the wall for some generic soap. Job done, thank you. You therefore have a choice — if you want lotions and potions, bring your own. If you want soap (yes) then press the dispenser. 

It’s the same deal in the shower/bath — if you bring your own, great. If you don’t bother (that’s me) then there’s some generic shampoo in the shower dispense. Ideal. 

There’s one ‘bath towel’, a mid-sized towel then a hand towel. They’re ‘good’. We’re not talking top quality Egyptian cotton. At least it doesn’t feel like it. They are, again, a bit generic. They are fine for the job. 

Perhaps the best feature of the Premier Inn experience is their Good Night Sleep Guarantee. That is, they’ll give you your money back if your sleep is interupted (by, I imagine, anything that’s under their direct control). This means they’ve given quite a lot of thought (either directly or subconsciously) to making sure the whole experience is geared toward this. For instance, the room front doors don’t close with a flipping great crash as many other hotel rooms do. 

The beds they’ve chosen are particularly comfortable. The bed clothing is geared for comfort. The light switches next to the bed are obvious (there’s no 5 minute hunt trying to switch all the lights off). There are two types of pillow provided. If you prefer slightly firmer, you can find those by the open wardrobe. There is a helpful little plastic sign placed on the left pillow to let you know. 

The air con/heating worked nicely and, I think I’m right in saying that all hotels offer independent room heating. At least the ones I’ve visited do. 

The shower experience, by the way, is universally positive. In my experience the water pressure is one notch below “Blow your head off” if you turn it all the way to 10. The shower controls are simple — on/off and temp. No messing around.

All of the Premier Inns that I have visited have had a “Thyme” restaurant and bar. This is one of the best features. The menu is excellent in the context of a large corporate doing its best to cater for all generic tastes. The food is, again in my experience, well prepared. I’m never expecting Haut Cuisine. At the same time I reckon the experience compares well to the likes of a TGI Fridays. Burgers, Hot Dogs, steaks, french fries, chicken-this, chicken-that. Pretty good quality. Perhaps not the healthiest choice in the evening, however if I’ve had a really busy day and eaten nothing, the prospect of a visit to Thyme is actually quite appealing. I’m sure you could order something other than a burger though 😉 

For the busier locations it’s actually worth booking a table because the restaurant is actually a genuine alternative to going out for most guests. 

Attached to Thyme is the Premier Inn bar — the Merlot is decent and quaffable. And I can get a big bottle of water to take to the room. Don’t underestimate just how important a nice selection of well executed food dishes along with a nice choice of drinks can be to your general wellbeing. 

When you combine all this into one experience, the summary for me is excellent. I’ve had my fair share of rubbish hotel experiences and I have to say the prospect of a stay in a Premier Inn is now a very positive highlight  in my schedule. 

I think the Premier Inn team has struck the right balance of efficiency, service and value.

Highly Recommended Travel

Why you should definitely get a Cabana at CenterParcs

I write this, dear casual reader, in the hope that I can spread some additional satisfaction and quite possibly a small amount of joy in the world. 

Yes, I have rented a Cabana at CenterParcs. And yes, I’d be delighted to tell you how the process works along with the pros and cons. Because sadly, no one on the CenterParcs website bothered to detail the experience beyond the usual holiday-brochure-style single paragraph description. 

I didn’t have much luck hunting about on TripAdvisor, Mumsnet or anywhere else that the Google results threw at me. I mostly came across mentions with a few, “It wasn’t worth it,” or, “It was too expensive for what you got,” negative statements. A few folk were mindful enough to recommend it, but without bothering with any details.

So let’s get started. You’re thinking about CenterParcs and you’ve probably got children, right? If you don’t have children, that’s ok, but the largest plus for a Cabana is reserved for families. 

You book the Cabana through the unwieldy CenterParcs online booking system. Or I imagine you can do so via the physical booking points in resort, although be warned, the Cabanas book out quickly. Very quickly. 

Cabanas are located within the huge swimming pool complex. You’ll have seen the single brochure photo of the Cabana — that does it justice. I was going to take some of my own until I recognised there was no point. They look as expected. They’re basically wooden huts large enough to sit about 8 sun-lounger-style seats, centred around a huge widescreen television.

There’s a small wine cooler style refrigerator stocked with 6 bottles — 2x water, one tango, one regular Pepsi and 2x Diet Pepsi. Enough to get you started. 

And there’s a safe. It was easy enough to operate. Stick your PIN in twice and bang, it’s yours — a little like those safes you find in hotels. This is a rather useful plus. We stuck all the important stuff (phones, wallets, keys) in there. 

The safe is an important feature because your Cabana is essentially open. Anyone could theoretically walk in — because there’s no door. Instead there is a piece of orange material that forms a door. Any toddler can escape if not observed continually. The walls of the Cabana are see through — indeed, instead of walls, think ‘wooden fence’.  If any of the passing folk on the way back from the water park section cared to stare hard enough, they’d probably be able to see you changing. To be clear, the walls are comprised of spaced vertical pieces of wood just like a fence. There’s enough foliage surrounding the Cabana that, when combined with a degree of awareness from the person changing in or out of swimsuits, modesty is easily preserved.

Getting to the Cabana

This was perhaps the worst part of the experience. We had no idea what to do. Yes we’d booked it… and… well. We just presumed you have to turn up to the swimming pool complex… and… This is the massive, massive failing of CenterParcs. It’s perfectly fine if you’ve been there and found out how it all works. But it’s a bit bewildering if you don’t know how to ‘do’ it in the first place. And nowadays we all want to know. I take absolutely zero pleasure from ambiguity in this context. This is something CenterParcs would do well to consider for new customers. 

We took our bags and the children to the swimming pool area and looked for some signs saying, “Cabanas, this way,” or similar. Nothing. I ended up asking one of the cleaners passing for some assistance. He nodded and helpfully took us through a warren of changing rooms to the disabled entrance/exit to the pool complex. He then pointed us to the Swimming Pool reception. 


Right. That’s how it works. 

When we arrived at the reception — and remember, this is *IN* the pool area now, there are folk everywhere in swimming costumes having lots of fun. So you look like a right plum standing there in full outside regalia. The chap at reception took our villa number and looked up the Cabana we’d been assigned. He then led us for a few minutes up one way and another. As we walked, we passed lots of people on the way to (or back from) the water park section of the complex. All of them in swimming costumes. Yes, we felt and looked stupid.

The worst thing? Our shoes/trainers. This was an unintentional mistake.

The cleaner chap had negated to suggest we put those little blue covers over our shoes, meaning that we were getting hundreds of dirty looks from people. You are not supposed to wear outdoor footwear inside the complex you see. The reception chap didn’t bother telling us either. 

Don’t make this mistake. Quite a few folk actually pointed at us, muttering about ‘outdoor shoes’. That wasn’t a brilliant experience.

I should be clear that luckily it wasn’t a very muddy day. However I didn’t want to be spoiling the area either. 

Inside the Cabana

Once we got to the Cabana, things improved. It was great to see the towels ready — I think there were 8 towels. Very handy indeed. It was really, really good to have a spacious area to set about changing the boys (they’re aged 3.5 and 2). Previously it was a seriously frustrating experience messing around with lockers and ultra-small changing rooms. My wife and I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to calmly change the boys (and ourselves) and to get the various things (arm bands, etc.) sorted and ready for deployment.

We put on the television — a huge widescreen — and that kept the boys entertained.

If you’ve got older children I reckon the Cabana would also be seriously, seriously useful as a hangout place for those wanting to rest while everyone else is busy enjoying the facilities.  

The next time

The next morning when we were due to visit the pool complex, we knew what to do. We confidently strode through the melee of the main changing rooms, put on our blue shoe covers and exited through the disabled door. Now we knew what to do, the whole process was much smoother and much more relaxing.

The cost

We paid £60 for about half a day for the Cabana on Saturday and then the same again on Sunday. That got about 4 hours usage of the facility. When you book, you choose the the available time slots, e.g. 10-1pm. We just scheduled our trips to the swimming pool complex around the availability of Cabana. I recognise that £60 is rather expensive. I’m sure I’ve seen them costing around £30 per session, but it was quite late when we came to book. My view was we were on holiday and that I wanted to avoid the absolute riot in the main changing room area so fundamentally that’s how I justified the expense. I won’t do another CenterParcs experience without making sure we’ve got a Cabana booked. 

If you’ve any questions, go ahead and ask. I’ll get the notification by email and try and respond as soon as I can.


Part 2 of the Center Parcs Experience: Booking items ahead of time

Continuing the Center Parcs experience here on The Pursuit of Quality, it’s time to focus on the pre-arrival booking aspects.

Everyone that I’ve spoken to about the destination has emphasised how much you need to book ahead. Indeed, some have suggested to me that you effectively “need to book everything” because it gets so busy.

For example, if you’d like to participate in an Archery club or get a back massage, you need to book those before you arrive online.

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The wealth of activities offered by Center Parcs is ridiculously comprehensive. I’d seen a few options for toddlers that caught my attention including the ability to create a handprint in some pottery. Something I’m sure they’d enjoy messing around with and something we could “take home”. There was even the opportunity to arrange some photography sessions for the family and/or the children.

However everything of relevance was already sold out. This is fair enough given that we booked the weekend about 2 weeks out.

If you recall I paid for the bikes when we booked. My wife and I decided that this was a good idea. But we were not able to add any extras during booking. So I logged in and booked two cycle seats (for the boys) and 4x cycle helmets.

This was straight forward. I had to use my booking reference and the arrival date to login and then I went through the convoluted menus. It’s from 2002. Not a single user interface expert has cast their eye over this process. It’s fine, but by way of example, you have to click on an item. That gets you the description. Then you have to click for more details to actually see if it’s available. Stupid. Because you can’t tell what’s actually available and what’s booked out without having to click-click-click-click everywhere.

The process does work, though. But as someone who appreciates simplicity and elegance, it was like pulling teeth.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of the whole item booking process is payment. It’s as though Center Parcs don’t know who I am.

Well, they don’t.

I paid.

And then I have to pay again for ANYTHING else I add to my “experience”. Each transaction is treated as a completely standalone happening.

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What’s astonishing is that, at the credit card payment page, they can’t even be bothered to remember or suggest my address.

I had to do a completely new transaction with the credit card. Laborious, but it worked.

And interestingly… notice that the start date and expiry date on THAT form is arranged correctly, unlike the main holiday booking system.

Right. Next up: I’ll tell you how we got on actually *in* resort.


So, talk to me about CenterParcs… What’s your view?

My impressions of CenterParcs are not entirely positive. They’re formed over a lifetime of experience — and before I go any further, I should point out, I’ve never been. What follows is an entirely ignorant perspective based on what other folk have told me.

For a while my parents muted the idea of going.

I think we, the children, were privately horrified at the idea.

All the stories I’d heard from friends of mine at school who’d gone, especially from the European locations, were shocking.

It sounded like camping — but worse. Or ‘Camping Lite’. You get a chalet. There’s some big swimming pool dome thing. There’s a rubbish shop on-site that sells over priced Cornflakes. There’s often hot water. You can hire rubbish bikes. What else? Oh yeah, and everyone wears sandals.

That last bit was the nail in the coffin for myself and my brothers. Sandals? Euuuugh.

For the longest time, CenterParcs has been completely off my radar.

When it comes to holidays or vacation, I want quality.

The last decent break away was business class and first class all the way. Think: Maldives, island hotel, ridiculously brilliant service.

I am not at home, traditionally, to a damp weekend in Wiltshire.

Apologies to the brand manager at CenterParcs. Stay with me, there’s a pivot point coming shortly.

This viewpoint changed dramatically when a colleague — a senior, senior executive at one of the companies I’m working with — explained that he and his wife regularly take the children off to CenterParcs.

I began to evaluate the brand somewhat differently as a result.

Our children are aged 2 (almost) and 2 months. At a Christening this weekend my wife bumped into one of her friends who’s going to CenterParcs with their 2 year old. They’re regulars as well.

I think that clinched it for us.

We looked up the website when we got home.

We began thinking about the whole experience in more positive terms.

I have just returned from a transatlantic visit to Orlando (visiting BlackBerry World) and I can tell you that from direct experience, taking children on planes and doing the hotel thing doesn’t really look that fun at all. My experience stems from sitting witnessing screaming, tired, upset toddlers not really handling timezones, 30,000ft flights or confined spaces very well.

Put bluntly, taking children abroad for a traditional hotel experience at ages 2 and 2 months seems a bit … limited.

There’s two off them. They can’t really interact much. The 2-year old can just about get a few words out. He’s into mummy and daddy and a bit of lego. He can’t exactly run off and play on the beach for hours on end. The 2-month-old is obviously joined at the hip to either me or my wife. So. Limited value, I feel, in heading to some luxury island in the middle of nowhere.

CenterParcs all of a sudden sounds sensible.

You get your own chalet/apartment. Your own space. So the children can scream and run about as necessary. You can cook whenever you want. Or you can access restaurants immediately. There’s shops. Or, er, a shop. That’s apparently pretty good.

At this point I don’t give a hoot about cash. Not when I was previously evaluating whether or not little Archie should have his own business class seat. Yeah. I know.

If the Corn Flakes are an extra 50p in the CenterParcs shop, I really don’t care. It’s all about utility.

My wife is relishing the opportunity of being able to take little Archie on a bike ride. In fact we can take both of them on a bike ride through ‘the forest’. Presumably. That sounds promising.

Then there’s the water dome thing. Theoretically Archie should want to spend hours there. The little one — Freddie — should quite enjoy the water too.

I think that’s about it so far. Maybe Archie might like the animal things you can do — apparently there’s the ability to get up close to an Owl. This, coincidentally, is one of his new words.

So the whole CenterParcs thing is growing on me.

The ability to ‘chuck everything in the car’ (as my wife’s friend described her approach) and avoid the mundane annoyance of airport security etc., is highly appealing.

I’m not sure if my wife and I will be up for I term as a proper holiday (6-star luxury, somewhere shockingly nice) for a long time.

It is all about the children, you see.

I don’t want them staring at the wall whilst my wife and I enjoy the opulent surroundings and service of [insert venue name here]. I want to make sure they’re having fun.

If anything, the ability to plug Archie (and Freddie) into a series of activities that, come 7pm, result in both of them being absolutely shattered and sleeping through until 8am… yeah, that’s definitely the way ahead.

My wife and I were on the website earlier.

I did my usual quality barometer approach — and insisted she look for the most expensive option.

Sold out over the bank holiday weekend. But you know, that’s not a killer. We could go another time.

The best accommodation appears to be a ‘treehouse‘. Looking through the promotional photos, I thought to myself, “Err, yes, time to update my image of CenterParcs”. The treehouses do look rather amazing. They’re described as delivering the ‘ultimate CenerParcs experience’ and feature:

  • 4 Bedrooms with en-suite bath/shower rooms
  • Fully equipped kitchen with dishwasher
  • Open plan lounge
  • Games den with pool table, bar and games console.
  • Sauna
  • Outside hot tub
  • Daily maid service
  • Free WI-FI

Now then, now then. Sauna? Hot tub? Come ON!

Here’s a photo (more of the treehouse below):

I had a look on the site and couldn’t find some example pricing for a treehouse. The ‘New Style Exclusive Lodges‘ look nice too. They seem to be about £1,000 for the week (based on 2 people). So that kind of pricing region.

I have to say that after spending a little while perusing the CenterParcs site, I’m rather impressed at the features and possibilities. I think I need to seriously update my ‘brand image’ for them.

So. CenterParcs. We’ve never done it. We’re total newbies. Any suggestions? Any alternatives we should be considering.


A 20-second wait at Gatwick Immigration

I’ve been watching the storm-in-the-tea-cup panic across the national press about immigration delays with interest.

I travel frequently and ever since I can remember getting back into the UK has been nothing but a hassle. Heathrow is my local airport so I’ve more experience there, however I’ve also regularly arrived into Stansted. At both airports I’m never surprised to find hundreds of people in front of me and I always aim for at least an hour’s worth of standing around queuing.

Stansted has routinely been a shocker for me. Tens of desks with only 3 officers working on them. That sort of thing. I’m only pleased that since I’ve a British passport I can avoid the extensive ‘alien’ queue that the poor Americans have to join. It’s immensely frustrating coming off a 300-passenger plane and finding — as I say — 2-3 immigration officers manning the desks when five or six planes, each with a few hundred passengers have clearly just arrived.

I’m always moved to wonder what idiot planned the resources. It’s not as if arriving planes are a surprise and that the waiting team is therefore taken by surprise. I’m always left to conclude that it’s deliberate. Or unintentionally unhelpful. Or, deliberately unhelpful.

Give them more money and more resource. It’s a simple calculation. The country looks rubbish.

That said, America’s immigration queues are legendary. I always expect at least 90 minutes being spoon-fed the ‘welcome to America’ promo video in the various immigration stations at America’s airports. Just this week I landed at Orlando and was seriously unimpressed to be repeatedly reminded that I had ‘entered a federally secured area’ and that I wasn’t allowed to use my mobile phone. For 60 flipping minutes.

Luckily I came prepared. I took a copy of The Week magazine with me especially for this purpose. I’m pleased to say that almost exactly 60 minutes after being warned to put away my mobile, I’d finished The Week and been summonsed to give my fingerprints and mugshot at the desk. Quicker than many UK experiences I’ve had though.

I haven’t got one of those Iris scan things. I am always envious of those folk who can breeze through. Although I have seen it fail as many times as I’ve seen it work.

I also need to give some thought to getting my passport renewed so it comes with the chip or whatever — as that queue at UK immigration always seems to be much shorter.

In the end though I suppose this issue is all about timing. Arrive into the UK at 6pm on Friday and I reckon you should probably expect delays.

Me? Well I was lucky (?) enough to arrive at Gatwick yesterday at 645am and as a result I waited about 20 seconds to get through immigration.

If you have any tips please do let me know. I’m considering signing up for that American ‘world travel’ thing that gives you speedy immigration. Is there anything else I should doing?


Do you buy a First Class rail ticket? Or just standard?

Now and again I am required to commute back and forth into the city for extended periods of time. For instance the projects I’m working on need me to be in Richmond-Upon-Thames daily. Our recent house move made the commute rather simple: 30-odd minutes on a train that typically 90% full.

On the way back in the evenings at peak time I don’t usually get a seat until a few stops have come and gone. This is entirely doable. And it’s all standard class.

A couple of chaps I know don’t stand for this. They always travel first class. There’s certainly a cost differential, but in the fullness of time and on the basis that you can (in many respects) offset the expense against tax if you’re a contractor, these chaps think it’s a good deal — they always get a seat.

I’ve no trouble with paying for first class. If I’m traveling on a long train journey — to Newcastle, Manchester or somewhere, I always book ahead and always select first class.

But day-to-day? I’m not sure if I see the value for a 30-minute journey.

The one guy I know who always travels first class explains to me that he simply doesn’t want any hassle at all. He likes the idea of never, ever having to stand. He regularly reads and sometimes does the crossword and occasionally he’ll use his laptop. However the value for him is the more or less permanent service level: A seat is virtually guaranteed. (On his line, I should point out). He also travels about an hour each way.

I’m typing this on my MacBook Air on one of the seats in the ‘quiet carriage’ on the South West Train service from Reading and I have to accept that I’m reasonably content. This morning I’m not traveling at peak time either so it’s nice and easy for me to use the laptop. At peak times it might be a little more difficult.

In terms of cost for me, the standard return journey is £14.40. First class is £24.40. An extra tenner.

And what do you get?

On this train line, you just get a dedicated seating area and, I imagine, less turnover of passengers so there’s less disruption if you’re trying to work.

I’m not sold on the value, I don’t think.

[And then my train stops at Staines and fills up with what feels like 100 chattering school children everywhere!]

What’s your view — if you commute, do you do standard or first class and what’s the cost difference?


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.