Internet pricing in hotels: Australia

3 05 2006

Question: How come can I pay $40-$80 a night in a US motel and get FREE high-speed wireless connection, but I can't get the same from the thought police and rip-off merchants that masquerade as 4 or 5 star tourist hotels in Australia, even though I'm paying well over twice the price for the room?

I asked the check-in clerk at the Rydges Tradewinds hotel about internet connection and yet again felt that some of these places seem to thrive on ripping people off. We had been told there was wireless access from around the pool and the lobby (but NOT in the rooms). When I asked about getting access I was told that it was via a pre-paid card at – wait for it – $7.00 per HOUR!! Unbelievable. So I asked about local call charges thinking I'd do dial-up as I have a number that's a local number throughout Australia – and the hotel charges 95c per call. Standard Telstra charges for a local call anywhere in Australia is around 25c, so they are marking up this rate by close to 400%. Unbelievable. I know that hotels charge more for calls, and I know that they have to have monitoring systems in place to produce itemised call lists when a guest checks out, but 400%???? It's a bloody rip-off! And the $7 per hour charge for wireless? Even more of a rip-off as you have to lug your laptop and power down to the lobby or pool area (now there's a thought – let's encourage electrical equipment near a pool full of water!) and do your connection in a public place without the benefit of a desk. Thanks Rydges, but no thanks. Reluctantly I'll do dial-up and pay the 95c per call.

FNQ: Day 9: Tuesday 2 May 2006

3 05 2006

A very lazy day today. Dropped Dave off in Cairns early in the morning as he's presenting a half day pre-conference workshop. Packed. Dropped off rental car. Read a bit. Waited until 2:15 when the shuttle bus picked us up and took us to Cairns to the conference hotel – the Rydges Tradewinds on the Esplanade. Unpacked. Wandered about the hotel getting our bearings. Walked along the Esplanade boardwalk to the public swimming area, then had an ice-cream on the way back (I had Ginger with Fig and Honey – delicious! and loads of dried/crystallised ginger and figs in the mix too).

In the evening some of the conference speakers and veterans had dinner at the Rattle and Hum Bar and Grill along the Esplanade. I had the barramundi but it was nowhere near as nice as the barra I had in Palm Cove the night before. After dinner we all wandered back to the Rydges and had a drink before retiring.