A Hotel That Offers All Guests A Portable Wi-Fi Device

Filed Under: Hotels, Travel Technology

Hello from Hong Kong, where I’m currently staying at The Mira Hotel, a member of Design Hotels (one of the latest Starwood partners, though this particular hotel isn’t part of the marketing partnership yet).

I checked in this afternoon and can immediately say that this is one of the best city hotels I’ve ever stayed at. Design Hotels is comprised of “a handpicked portfolio of one-of-a-kind hotels” and the combination of design and functionality at The Mira is key.

The Mira Hotel Pool.
The Mira Hotel Pool.

Every detail has been considered and meticulously implemented to make the stay as seamless as possible. Along with this attention to detail came what could very well be the best hotel amenity ever. Here in Hong Kong many hotels seem to provide free Android phones for their guests under the name Handy. These provide unlimited data and free local calls, which is a brilliant amenity. As someone who has never used an Android, I found it a little hard to use and would have preferred to use my iPhone. It definitely came in “Handy” when I needed to navigate and make some calls, though. 😉

My "Handy".
My “Handy”.

However, nothing has ever come close to The Mira’s alternative to a Handy. They provide each room with a free, portable Wi-Fi device which you can use to connect to your own phone anywhere in Hong Kong.

The Mira Hotel Wi-Fi Buddy

I’ve been using it all evening and my phone has never disconnected. It works like a router at home – you simply connect to the network and enter the passcode. Personally, I find Wi-Fi immensely helpful when I’m traveling. I can buy 50MB of data on my phone for $6 while I’m abroad, but that can rack up pretty quickly.

Meanwhile, this router gave me unlimited data at high speeds (despite the 200MB high speed limit advertised on the information card). I could surf the web as if I was at home in Sweden! My friend could also connect and use the network simultaneously.

Wi-Fi Buddy Network

It allowed me to use Google Maps, make Skype calls and even Instagram with ease. Knowing that T-Mobile international data speeds can be slow, this amenity can even be of value to people who typically don’t “need it.”

Overall, in 2016 it’s hard to get by without Wi-Fi, especially in a foreign country. Numerous times per day when traveling I find myself searching for Wi-Fi to look up restaurants or check emails. With this device I can use Google Translate, post to social media, FaceTime my family and more on my own phone. It just makes life a whole lot easier. Assuming I used around 300MB of data today, this saved me $36 over my phone contract. Tourists rejoice — let us hope this catches on.

Have you stayed at a hotel that offers guests a portable Wi-Fi device at no additional cost?

  1. I typically use the Android device provided by many HK hotels for the same purpose (as a mifi hotspot for my phone and laptop). I just turn on hotspot mode for their mobile device and go.

    Either way, it’s very useful and pretty amazing that hotels offer this as part of the room rate.

  2. As Dylan wrote I do the same, use the Handy as hotspot and use it.
    The one good thing I took from the post is that The Mira is part of SPG which is great, Will use it next month when I am in HK…

  3. Many top HK hotels have been offering devices in all their rooms for at least the past 3 years. It’s a great feature that perhaps we may see one day in US hotels.

  4. I just checked oy of the mira yesterday so I was excited to see this article on it this morning. This is the infamous Eric Snowden hotel and when I checked in I asked for the “snowden” room. You can see the room in the movie citizenfour. The wifi buddy is indeed very useful and I look guard to more hotels providing them instead of a phone. Did you know that there was also a movie filmed at the Mira too? The most expensive item in the production budget was the room so take that for whatever you might.

  5. A portable wifi device was offered with my rental car in Turkey for less than $3/day. It was great! High speeds and good reception even in remote areas. Fantastic value, especially for a couple travelling together since you only pay for one device but can connect both instead of buying individual SIMs.

    I wish this would catch on soon in other countries, but I’m not holding my breath.

  6. I still prefer using a local sim card on my phone. A lot more data and cheaper. Then I just let my phone be a hotspot to my other devices. The danger of low amounts of data on a hotspot device is that if you tether to your laptop and your laptop does auto update you’re looking at several hundreds of megs getting chewed up immediately. And for you folks using hotel provided devices that accesses your email/google accounts you need to be VERY VERY VERY careful and be sure you purge your account from the device when you return it. There are people like me but unethical and will gleam the device for passwords that you have entered. And considering how easy it is to forget to wipe the device (you’re on vacation after all and there are 1000 things on your mind), I can’t think of a more horrifying thought than sitting on a plane thinking “what did I forget to do” and then realizing you left your account unlocked on a phone that is sitting overseas.

  7. In Miami Beach the Lord Balfour Hotel, managed by Room Mate Hotels (a Spanish company) offers the same. Apparently the offer the same in all their hotels worldwide (NY, Spain, Italy, etc)

  8. As others have mentioned the last time I was in HK I used the Handy phone as a hotspot with my iPhone. Worked great! Definitely an awesome perk, I hope more hotels worldwide do so.

  9. We stayed at Shangri-la Kowloon and got the wifi devices. They were the best. We stayed club level, and the hotel was fantastic.

  10. So much better than hauling a Handy all over town. I honestly couldn’t get the Handy from the Sheraton TST or the Hyatt TST to give me a hot spot.

  11. You got to try Anantara Bangkok. Their handy device not only serves as wifi hotspot with unlimited local data, but also a real phone that you can make unlimited local calls PLUS 14 selected countries all free of charge! I think that’s one of the best offerings in the market.

  12. Hey Lucky glad you are staying at the Mira. Amazing property esp if you are an Expedia plus or Gold member with VIP access you get free upgrades and early/late checkin/checkout. As for the portable Wifi spot , they started it on Jan 1st of this year and is very helpful. Prior to Jan 1st they were providing the samsung mobile for unlimited usage. I personally found the portable spot much easier to use on the go. Looking forward to your review as I have stayed there on three different occasions and since the hotel is my go to place in HKG. Enjoy your trip buddy.

  13. I’ve recently stayed in Hong Kong and just purchased a local tourist centric SIM. The one I got had 10 days of data (very useful ;)) and unlimited local calls and texts (not used that but may come handy for some people). Mine cost HKD 120 but I know there are eaven cheaper versions around (though some have limited data). The reception was phenomenal too, I never lost connection not even in any of the MTR train tunnels, the “worst” I got was somewhere on a remote island where it dropped down to 3G instead of LTE :).

    Of course you’re not available on your usual phone number and you need an unlocked phone of course, but overall I definitely recommend it if you’re not staying in a hotel giving a Handy or a pocket WiFi 🙂

  14. Hey Daniel shame on you for not knowing how to use Android – you’re 19! You should be completely tech-savy 😉

  15. The three Marco Polo hotels in Kowloon all use then, as does the IHG Indigo in Wan Chai. Never used them but as I’m an Android guy it’s handy to have an extra charging port.

  16. You realise you can use Google Translate offline, just download the language pack for whichever language you use?

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