Tag Archives: hotel

How to Deal with Managed Hotel Internet Access

In order to understand this, you’ll need to watch the video first.

I decided to stay at the Orchard Garden hotel for a few reasons: it was near Union Square, was available at a good price, and claimed to be green. It was worth trying, I thought.

The hotel farms out Internet service, which isn’t out of the ordinary. I encountered my first issue within minutes of trying to get online (wireless). The account registration page, seemingly tied into my MAC address, passed me to a 404 after stepping through the form. I couldn’t get online that way, so I tried a wired connection – which landed me at the same dead end.

I got on the phone, gave the CSR a few bits of info, and within minutes I was online (after they toggled a filter on their end). Immediately, I fired up my email client and started to upload the first of what would likely be several videos to YouTube. I got about halfway through the transfer when I lost my IP address. Curious.

Luckily, I didn’t wait on hold for long before I was speaking to another customer service rep. He suggested I change my cable – which had never failed me before. No matter, I took his suggestion and had a serviceman bring one to my room. As expected, I could still not get a connection.

My third call to the managed hotel ISP yielded no answers. I was left to my own devices, and decided that I’d try my luck with a spotty 3G connection. I’m glad I had that, because…

I’m certain that many of you expected me to stream from the hotel… this might explain why I didn’t. Did anyone forget to tell them there’s a geek convention in town?

To the hotel’s credit, I didn’t directly complain to anybody (figured it would have been a fruitless effort). Turns out, the director of sales caught wind of that video – and had a bottle of white wine delivered to my room that afternoon. He was friendly, but suggested I might have warned them ahead of time of my potentially excessive usage. I’ve stayed at so many hotels over the years, and I’ve never been cut off from the Internet in any of them – ever.

Despite this snag, I’m still going to recommend the Orchard Garden. The food is great, the staff is friendly, and they have a great ethos. Be forewarned: you may have issues with your Internet access. Also note that there’s a similarly named hotel right down the block, so be sure you map things accordingly.

Frankfurt Hotel Reviews

Informal though these may be, I thought it was important to share my thoughts not long after staying at two separate hotels in Frankfurt, Germany.

First, the Frankfurt Westin (formerly the Arabella Sheraton):

  • Our Bathtub had mold spot in it (Ponzi says it was rather large, but she’s a total mold freak).
  • The shower was inside the bathtub, but there wasn’t a full shower door or curtain – only a glass partition that covered half of the tub’s length (which caused water to spray onto the bathroom floor). It was poor engineering, further exacerbated with the shower being a handheld nozzle.
  • The toilet was good, but its “button” wasn’t foolproof.
  • The Internet connection was ample, but definitely dogged in the evening hours when more people were online. Moreover, we couldn’t switch to a second computer as we were not given some kind of username / password.
  • The laundry service messed up and requested that Ponzi help go through a few packages in question to verify that we were not given someone else’s clothes. She was mortified, apparently.
  • The thermostat had one temperature: cool.
  • The breakfast bar was pretty extensive, although some of the hot plates needed to be refreshed more frequently.
  • The bed was overly stiff, and the pillows were without substance.
  • The television had few native English channels, but this is par for the course in a foreign country. Moreover, the television cabinet doors did not fully collapse so that BOTH sides of the bed could view the screen without occlusion.
  • The view was of a back alleyway – nothing to write home about.
  • We had to call room service one evening after being gone most of the afternoon (so that they could make up our room).
  • The Location was quite convenient for shopping and walks to museums.
  • It was a large-ish room with ample space.

Second, the Frankfurt Hilton:

  • There’s a general snack bar open during common meal / after hours on the 11th floor, which proved to be quite convenient on our way in or out of the hotel.
  • Internet access was phenomenal. Took me no time at all to upload videos to YouTube. It was also seamless to switch between my computer and Ponzi’s when necessary (as they give you access to WiFi so long as you pay for a wired connection).
  • Toilet and shower controls were very well engineered – and I never thought I’d ever bother to point that out.
  • The view was amazing from our room.
  • Every day, the housekeeper seemed to give us something new – including a nice little tin with dark chocolate coins from around the world. Nice touch.
  • Room service wasn’t bad, but we had to laugh when they brought us fried mozzarella sticks when we ordered dim sum from the menu.
  • It’s close to shopping and food markets.
  • The bed was overly firm, and the pillows were undersized.

I’d definitely choose the Hilton over the Westin in Frankfurt.

Orchard Hotel Review

Ponzi picked the Orchard Hotel at 665 Bush Street for our trip to San Francisco this weekend; we’ll be staying here for a couple of nights before flying back late on Saturday. But I may never want to leave.

First, we found that it was conveniently located downtown – close to restaurants, shopping, and BloggerCon. Second, the doorman stopped what he was doing to smile and open the door for us on our way in. Third, the hotel offered free wired broadband without hesitation or limitation (yes, the information is clearly visible at the front desk).

Fourth, the clerk informed us that daily breakfast was included in our room charge. Fifth, the doorman walked up to us after we checked in to offer brochures which could help us get around the city. Sixth, they have a full DVD library of new movies which they let guests borrow for free (two at a time, unlimited). Seventh, the room comes with over 50 popular cable television stations. Eighth, the TV has a DVD player hooked up to it.

Ninth… do I really need to list a ninth point as to why this is has been the “worst” hotel experience I’ve ever had?! Of course, I use that term loosely – as other hotels pale by comparison. Doesn’t matter what happens from here on in, the Orchard Hotel already can’t score less than four and half (out of five) stars in my book.

I recommend this place, wholeheartedly.