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Free Wi-Fi for ALL Hyatt customers, plus a winner in my Eaton Chelsea contest

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What a great, progressive step.
Hyatt Hotels has announced that, starting February 2015, ALL guests in ALL Hyatt properties will get free Wi-Fi.
In a great item posted at skift.com, writer Jason Clampet notes that “the rollout will include all hotel brands, including the select-service Hyatt Place properties and up through its premium Park Hyatt offering. Use of Wi-Fi will not be limited to members of its loyalty programs, as was previously done at some brands. Hyatt Gold Passport members will have access to premium Wi-Fi service at some properties.”
“Internet connectivity is no longer an amenity. It has become an integral part of travelers’ daily lives and a basic expectation,” said Kristine Rose, vice president of brands for Hyatt, in a statement. “Travelers shouldn’t have to remember which brands or locations offer it for free or the strings attached to get it.”
The decision appears generous in comparison to other hotel brands’ grip on free Wi-Fi access, Clampet writes.
“In October, Marriott International announced plans to provide free standard Wi-Fi to members of its loyalty program, Marriott Rewards. Members, however, will still have to pay between $5 and $7, depending on the property, to be upgraded to enhanced Wi-Fi needed for downloading large files or streaming media. Many other brands including Hilton and Accor offer a tiered Wi-Fi fee structure in which basic service is free and upgraded faster service comes at a cost.”
I’m hardly alone, but I’ve been saying for years that in this day and age charging for Wi-Fi is aking to charging for bathroom towels or putting a coin meter on the shower. Internet access is no longer a frill, it’s a necessity of life for most folks. Hotels that provide free Wi-Fi aren’t hurting themselves, they’ve giving their brand a boost and improving customer loyalty. And that’s smart.

EATON CHELSEA HOTEL CONTEST WINNER

It took a while to nail down, but we have a winner in the jimbyerstravel.com Eaton Chelsea Hotel getaway contest.
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Kim Worobec of Toronto goes home (or, to put it better, gets to leave home) with certificates for two nights in deluxe accommodations at the lovely Eaton Chelsea in downtown Toronto. She also has won free hotel parking, dinner for two at the onsite restaurant T|Bar PLUS a $100 SHOP! Card for the next-door Toronto Eaton Centre.
That’s a great holiday deal and it’s one I’m sure Worobec will enjoy.
They’ve done a marvellous job with the Eaton Chelsea, giving it a super-classy feel with major renovations. There’s also the indoor pool and lots of amenities in a hotel that’s steps from so many downtown attractions.
I hope to have more giveaways in 2015…

A NEW RITZ CARLTON OPTION IN FLORIDA

The lovely Ritz-Carlton chain has another option in Canada’s favourite state in the union.
The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami is officially the tenth property in the hotel company’s award-winning Florida portfolio.
The 18-storey glass signature designed tower overlooks the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal water way and sits on five sumptuous acres of landscaped gardens and 750-feet of white sandy beach in the ultra-exclusive neighborhood of Bal Harbour.
OBHThe neighbourhood is best known for its upscale shops and restaurants and the close proximity to South Beach.
All of the 124 elegant contemporary designed suites, including a magnificent 2,800-square-foot penthouse suite, have spectacular ocean-front views and feature European wood cabinetry and granite countertops, stand-alone egg-shaped tubs in bathrooms, expansive living and large terraces with unparalleled views.
The spa is a massive, 10,000 square foot affair. Ten private treatment suites come complete with ocean views, and there’s a “serene” waterfront terrace.
Sounds pretty good to me…

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