Today my wife and I checked in to the Hilton Garden Inn in Detroit, where we will live for the next month. The hotel has free internet, and the instructions say that I simply have to plug my laptop into the data port and access a starting web page. We want to use two computers though, so the single data port is a bit of a problem.
Instead of following the instructions, I plugged in an Apple Airport. I figured that I would have to do a bit of gymnastics to get networking magic to recognize the Airport since it cannot access a web page, but when I tried it from my PowerBook, it just worked. The NAT stuff must handle all those details for me. My wife was online in a couple of minutes with her iBook. We both got free high-speed internet, set-up in under four minutes just by plugging things in.
It gets better though. When I checked the wireless icon in my menu bar, I found that the hotel a wireless access point too, and that I could connect to it. The signal strength was much weaker than the airport six inches from the desk, so I do not need to use the hotel wireless. The last hotel I stayed at (The Comfort Inn in Warwick, RI, four days ago) had pay-per-day wireless access, so my wife and I had to pay individually since we could not hide our two computers behind an Airport.
But it does not stop there. I can print to the laser printer in the hotel business center, and do it from my hotel room. I can do it directly, it says, or I can access the PrinterOn website and upload files along with some special codes found on the instructions, and the stuff magically shows up in the business center. If I cannot upload the files, I can email them to a particular address with a couple of markers at the top of the email that tell the printer what I want. And, at the Hilton Garden Inn, it is free.
Life is good.
Which other hotels have free high speed access?