UPDATED: 12:00 pm, 1/26
If you stay in the $30,000-a-night Royal Plaza Suite at the Plaza Hotel, you will get a butler who will do everything from preparing your drink to running your bath, a private elevator, 24-carat gold plated Sherle Wagner fixtures, a library stocked with Assouline titles that were personally selected by Prosper Assouline, a dining room that seats 12 and of course, a stunning view of Fifth Avenue. But if you want to connect your laptop to the hotel’s Wi-fi (let alone stream Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” video), you’re going to need to pay extra.
Wi-fi, an amenity that is available for free on most subway platforms, is surprisingly absent from many luxury hotel suites. These hotels in the city and elsewhere don’t offer anything for free unless you are a member of a loyalty program. At the Plaza, for instance, Wi-Fi costs $14.95-a-day if you are not a member of the Fairmont President’s Club.
And don’t think the people who stay in these hotels haven’t noticed; a new report from Resonance Consultancy found that the top “desirable amenity” among the 1% (defined by those who make $400,000 in annual income or have a net worth of $8 million and above) is in fact complimentary Wi-Fi, with 15% of those surveyed saying it is “very important” to them that a hotel has it. This ranks above swimming pools and hotels that offer “unique activities/experiences.” Because who wants to actually experience something when they can do it online?!
Many hotels are hoping that frequent guests will join their loyalty programs, or they expect that business and wealthy travelers won’t feel an extra $15-a-day. But as this report shows, they do actually notice it. “It’s a glaring inconsistency in the hotel business, and frankly it’s just a flat-out stupid approach to doing business,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel consultant with Atmosphere Research Group told Bloomberg.
Maybe, these wealthy travelers should forgo their fancy amenities and just stay in this “cozy shared bunk room” listed on Airbnb for $22-a-night. Not only does it have free high-speed Wi-Fi, but it is also “only a 2min walk to the train from the Lofts, super trendy hipster Williamsburg area.” Now that’s luxury.