What are reasonable expectations for Wi-Fi at luxury hotels?

Bonjour from France! Back in February I wrote about the four properties in France that were rebranding as Hyatts, which was very exciting news. They can be a great use of points as well, so this weekend I’m checking out both the Hyatt Regency Nice and Grand Hyatt Cannes. Both properties are spectacular in just about every way. The service, rooms, location, etc., are about all you could ask for, and I’d return in a heartbeat. Especially to Nice, which is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve been to in Europe (why many skip it and go straight to Cannes is beyond me).

View from Hyatt Regency Nice

View from Grand Hyatt Cannes

So I have nothing but good things to say about these properties with one small exception… the Wi-Fi at both is so horrible that it’s virtually unusable. Given that it’s 2013, for me one of the most basic services a hotel provides is a reliable internet connection. I do need to “work” when I’m on the road (though admittedly I’d like to think I get to have one of the coolest interpretation of “work” in the world), stay in touch with family and friends via Skype and iMessage, etc. And the internet is so slow that I really can’t do any of it.

The point of this post isn’t to pick on these specific properties — both of which I love — but to see if I’m alone in thinking slow Wi-Fi is a big deal.

If you knew a hotel had excruciatingly slow wifi, would that literally “break” your decision to stay at a hotel? And if you’re staying at a hotel with excruciatingly slow Wi-Fi do you just chalk it up to being part of the travel experience, or do you take action, whether it’s switching hotels or filing a “formal” complaint?

The funny thing is I don’t think I’ve ever filed a complaint with a hotel before because I tend to think they’re pretty vague in what they promise. If they just promise internet access and not high speed internet access, are they really not delivering on a promise when it takes a minute to load a basic website?

Curious to hear how you guys handle situations like this!

Filed Under: Advice, Hotels
  1. It’s super important…should be a part of the room standard with water pressure and bed comfort.

  2. It is no longer a luxury. We all travel with various electronic devices and generally have a strong need to be connected to home or work. There should be no limitation on the number of devices we use. I was in several European hotels last month where we could only use one device. Two people are going to have a minimum of two pieces of equipment and possibly more. This is not a high cost to hotels and they should supply it with a smile.

  3. I agree. 1mbps down should be a basic free service. They can charge or offer a premium 100mbps or gigabit if they desire.

  4. I think it is totally reasonable to ‘expect’ decent wifi. Obtaining it consistently is a-whole-nother ball game. What is considered adequate in foreign countries is typically not what we are accustomed to here- not that US technology is always by far the best either.

  5. I agree that Nice is nicer than Cannes.
    Probably has to do with the fact that it used to be Italian and Italians certainly knew how to build ’em back in the days..

  6. Problem I see when traveling to Europe and Latin America is that many hotels in these geographies are old buildings and sturdy construction (brick walls). They do use dry walls and the light construction we see here in the US and thus for the wifi signal to go through tick walls it means they need way more access points than properties in the US and that is a big investment. I have one router for my entire house in the US and I get full signal in every room. In my parents home in South America I had to install several wifi extenders and still there are many areas in the house that wifi is non existant. One thing that you should do since you travel a lot and need wifi is to take a small router like an Apple airport and connect to the wired internet in the room. That should give you plenty wifi and can set your own network.

  7. It is fundemental. I have credit card with both hyatt and SPG. I get free wifi with Hyatt not SPG so Ive stayed with Hyatt. Dropping the SPG all together. A simple thiing and I would be using their hotels.

  8. Absolutely I would complain. In this day and age there is no excuse for poor internet. And don’t even get me started on how luxury properties gouge their guests when they charge a fee for it while lower end properties provide it for free. Did they have a wired connection at least?

  9. I just got back from France trip that included 2 paid nights at Negresco in Nice where the Internet truly sucked.. Then spent 5 free nights at JW Marriott in Cannes where Internet was fantastic and free breakfast was acceptable. But to take Nice over is just plain silly or a lack of taste. The Cannes scene is so superior, less contested, more sophisticated, and more French……..all Nice has is the Chargall which is a great response to Nazi terrorism……..but not much more……..and the best property in the area is without question the Eze Chevre d’ Or which is without peer……..and the side trips to St Martin Vence and Grasse are really the cherry on top…….as for the Hyatts we had the Diamond desk give a walk thru on both properties and the Cannes Hyatt is definitely the superior property………..

  10. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency Nice before it was rebranded and had no problem with the internet. In fact had no problem with Skype video. Also, internet was free.

    As far as Nice vs Cannes. I thought Cannes was a senior citizen center! I was happy to stay in Nice after several days in Cannes!

  11. Fast wifi is a huge deal for me. I’ve never actually complained to a hotel about slow internet, but it’s a dealbreaker if I know about it in advance and I won’t return to a hotel with slow wifi.

  12. Cannes probably felt like a senior citizens center because that’s where the money is………poorer and younger would definitely fit Nice………..but Brioni, Kiton, Hermes, Faconnable, Armani, etc, etc and the eye candy that goes with it are definitely Cannes…………

  13. For such deluxe level properties, decent internet connectivity should absolutely be a basic amenity, whether paid or included in the room rate. While I don’t think it’s worth the hassle of changing hotels, especially since you are happy with everything else, I would definitely file a complaint, but with the property and with Hyatt corporate with the hope and expectation that it will be corrected.

  14. The problem with hotels, is the customers. Seriously knock everyone off ELSE off your WiFi and I’m sure you’d see it speeding along. As soon as they reconnect and start watching videos it’ll plummet. Most hotels don’t have sufficient QoS (Quality of Service) controls, or enough bandwidth, to handle heavy usage. And the bigger the hotel the worse the problem gets.

  15. A good hotel shoudl have it, it’s a basic requirement. If wifi is not included in the price then I tend to steer way.

  16. I typically travel with a global mifi device giving me constant Internet. I got my SIM card at the local orange store and spent a lovely week flitting between all the cities on the coast. My own preference was StJean Cap Ferrat but found StTropez, Cannes etc quite touristy. Thx

  17. I’m surprised you didn’t stay at the Le Meridien Beach Plaza or the Le Meridien Nice!

  18. I’m surprised you didn’t stay at the Le Meridien Beach Plaza or the Le Meridien Nice!

  19. Cap Ferrat is definitely a premier location with a reserved elegance but Eze has the grand over arching views in its own medieval attraction……either one you can’t go wrong…..especially the Grand Hotel and at the pool……..

  20. Jolly Brown — I find your comment surprising, as various travel writers I’ve come across (e.g. Rick Steves) all say Nice is by far the bigger cultural destination than Cannes, which is supposed to be fairly shallow (I’ve only been to Nice, largely because I was told Cannes was empty).

    As for WiFi, it’s a major concern. It makes my trip far worse if I don’t have a good connection.

  21. Not to be rude but have you noticed the clothing that Rick Steve’s wears. He only needs a run of the mill shopping mall. And yes Nice does have the Chargall which is one of the best boutique galleries in the world and the Matisse…….but it’s crowded and a bit challenging to drive in……restaurants that certainly not much different from Cannes (the great ones are in St. Martin Vence and Grasse) ! But what makes Cannes great is its’ simplicity in 3 areas……Shopping is very compact and very high end……..if you believe high end is shallow then there you have it……it is a very walkable city (village) with great views of beautiful people along the croisette…….. And it has many approachable restaurants in the old part of Cannes and a great place to start those above mentioned day trips without the stress do Nice bumper to bumper traffic

  22. Nice wins cultural buy the monied prefer Cannes…….and ultimately Cannes feels more like a sophisticated French village with great shops, restaurants, and beaches……….and those characteristics and that “vibe” ultimately is what brings Americans and others back again…………

  23. Absolutely it should be fast – “fair” in 2013 has to be at least 3G cellular speeds. When it is something that you receive free because of a rate you paid, a facility charge, or your elite status, definitely complain.

  24. I work for a luxury hotel that is in the process of upgrading its connection. It’s one of the only yet frequent glaring, constant and nagging complaint from guests. If you don’t complain about it, others will, and rightfully so. Not having internet service that can provide at least lag-free video(Youtube as a starting point) is a fucking joke in 2013 and a sign of management or ownership that is either out of their element or not worthy of your spent $. It’s an embarrassment to work for a “luxury” property that can’t execute on something this simple, and if you’re in a place that can’t offer internet in 2013, you probably aren’t a “luxury” property anyway and shouldn’t be marketed or priced as such. My opinions are my own and don’t reflect the company I work for.

  25. I agree with Santastico’s comment — as long as there’s a fast *wired* connection, I’m good since I always bring my own mini-WiFi router. That also gets around “one device at a time” rules.

  26. Totally agree re how essential it is. I stayed at this property a couple of years ago (when it was still just the Palais de la Méditerranée) and had major issues with the internet. When it worked it was fine, but it would randomly go totally down for hours! I was trying to videoconference into a meeting – in the end I called down to reception repeatedly to complain and ended up teleconferencing in (international call to the UK) for an hour from reception using their phone – I dread to think what they got billed by their phone company for it, but at least it didn’t cost me anything!

  27. For us it is critical to have functioning wifi. One of things I look for when researching a property is complaints about the wifi on TripAdvisor. If there are numerous references to internet issues we book elsewhere.

  28. I don’t recommend visiting Easter Island then…it’s a return to 56k (or worse) era!

    It is understandable considering its in middle of no where…

  29. Nice vs Cannes? Pretty bad beaches in my view, pebbles and stones. You’re young, go to St Tropez. Visit the small villages, they are beautiful and the landscape.

  30. I had the same issue at 4 seasons florence, maybe the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Wifi didn’t work from the bed! the Westin in Venice (actually their luxury hotel collection, can’t remember the name) had nonexistent wifi. I left detailed comment cards both places

  31. Yes, the beach in Nice sucked. Frommers and others describe it as a pebbly beach. It was more like rocks. Uncomfortable to walk on or lie on. The water and the old town and hills in the background were beautiful, though. Cannes and Monaco had actual sand on their beaches. I was told that they paid to remove the rocks and had sand trucked in.

    Nice had some nice looking younger women. At Cannes I saw a bunch of senior citizens, including 70 year old topless women! Monaco had some nice looking younger women as well (they may have been some wealthy man’s girlfriend,though).

  32. No WiFi is really okay in a place like that. It would distract from it’s beauty and prevent me from being able to immerse in it.
    No, I wouldn’t want to be doing work in a place like that – sure is different from Topeka, but that’s the point, no?

  33. These are upper mid scale hotels, not luxury hotels. You’ve stayed at enough Amans now to know the difference!

  34. @ NYBanker — Perhaps the Hyatt Regency Nice is “upper mid scale,” but the Hotel Martinez in Nice is definitely a “luxury” hotel by just about any standard.

  35. I dont worry about wifi in a hotel. I have always found wifi at Mcdonalds anywhere I’ve been in the world. The connections have always been fast. My daughter found another chain to get wifi while in Prague-KFC..

  36. Lucky, Hyatt knows you, and with these being new properties to the chain, I think they’d appreciate it letting them know about the poor Internet. Out of both properties, which is your fav.?

  37. Reliable wifi is a big deal. If you occasionally review a hotel on Tripadvisor or the like, comment on the wifi to help others. I have found that hotels that use an outside vender to provide the wifi tend to have the worst service and the front desk can’t do anything about it. Sometimes all that is needed is to turn it off and force a reboot, but the outside vendor won’t show up for three days.

  38. @ Robert — Tough to say, they’re both awesome in their own way. And both have perfect locations.

    The Grand Hyatt Cannes is definitely “fancier.” The rooms are spectacularly appointed. I thought the service at the Hyatt Regency Nice was a bit more “over the top” good.

    While I’ll have more thoughts with the trip report, I’d say they’re both well worth a visit, and it more depends on where you want to be.

  39. The expectation should be that of your wifi at home, especially with hotels touting how business friendly they are.

    Hotels have no idea how cost effective it can be to provide great wifi thar keeps guests coming back. Wifi us a staple of life.

  40. @ M — I forgot whether the Hyatt Regency Nice had a wired connection. Staying there again tonight, so let me double check.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *