British Hotel Rip Off 41

Having travelled exensively around the globe, I have never found anywhere where hotels offer such poor value for money as the UK. One thing that particularly annoys me is a charge for guests to access the internet.

I was annoyed enough when I was staying in the Dundee Hilton at £110 a night, and being charged another £10 for internet access. But here in the Coorwne Plaza in Birmingham I am paying £130 a night, yet being chraged another £15,99 for internet access.

Complete rip-off. I would certainly never advise anybody to visit the UK on holiday.

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41 thoughts on “British Hotel Rip Off

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  • geomannie

    Hi Craig,

    Fair point, its s rip-off, but why not get yourself one of those wireless broadband dongles? As pay-as-go they cost about £10/month for about a gig of download. They can save you a forture if you use a lot of hotels and are a useful back-up if your internet at home/work goes down.


  • Yoav

    The cheaper, independent hotels often offer internet access for free.

    Stay away from the chains, and get yourself a PAYG broadband dongle.

  • wendy

    nothing to do with hotels but maybe something to do with war –

    oh dear oh dear , bad news for wee willie hague war hawk and pro zionist lapdog , iran has signed a nuclear swap deal with brazil and turkey …

    since the usa and some western countries are determined for a conflict in iran .. one can only expect it to be criticised as being not enough .. despite it having everything that has been demanded of iran excluding its rights under the npt.

    also not reported in the broadcast news .. bbc or sky as yet.

  • derek


    What happened to the two PAYG dongles you bought in Norwich?

    Another alternative if you can find a 14 year old to show you how to do it, is to use your phone as a modem and connect via bluetooth, wifi or USB cable. You need to have a data plan on your contract though or else it costs a fortune.

    One tip for anyone accessing internet over a mobile network is to use the Opera browser. In its ‘Turbo’ mode it preprocesses web pages on Opera’s servers and will be **much** faster than other browsers on a mobile connection.

  • kathz

    I’ve never stayed anywhere nearly that expensive so I wouldn’t know what to expect. However some small B&Bs now include wifi in their charges – you could probably save money and do more for local small businesses by choosing these. Even if you had to stay away from the centre and pay for a taxi (more benefit to the local economy), you might still save money. You might even find you met interesting people that way.

    Obviously it’s up to you how you spend your money, but it doesn’t sound as though big, expensive hotels are really worth it.

  • Clark


    I second Yoav; support the independents and spurn the big concerns at every opportunity, not just hotels. We probably have more influence over the structure of our society by choosing where to spend our money than by how we cast our votes.


    thanks for the Opera tip.

  • MJ

    wendy: thanks for the information. Interesting that the MSM isn’t covering the story. only AFP so far.

  • ingo

    yeah, what happened to those dongles, I’m sure you took one of them, if not both.

    yeah I just read the news as well and am running with it on the websites I’m writing on.

    Its good news which pulls the rug away from underneath any need for more sanctions, they should be reversed, or even better, shifted on to Israel for its unacountable nuclear arsenal and the way it deals with humanitarian needs in Gaza, the west bank and East Jerusalem.

  • rob

    Craig, You’re absolutely right about UK hotel charges. Ridiculpus and outrageous. I travel fairly often to France where good quality accommodation is half that in the UK, and is usually by the room, so my partner and I can stay for around 1/4 of what it would cost us in the UK.

    My experience of internet dongles is disappointing. Even in built-up suburban areas where there is a strong mobile phone signal (I’m told they use the same networks) the speed is slow and at times often drops out. I suspect (but have no real evidence) that this is due to demand on the network by mobiles: reception in the morning is OK, but as soon as school’s out – forget it.

  • Mark Baker

    The problem with many larger/chain hotels is that they do not understand technology and so outsource the provision of Internet to 3rd parties who naturally charge the max they think they can get away with.

    Larger hotels chains know that the draw of loyalty programmes and the ability for business travellers to expense internet costs will continue to allow them to charge high prices.

    It is especially annoying to have to pay for internet in your room and then wifi elsewhere in the hotel during the same 12 hour stay.

    As someone else has pointed out, smaller independent hotels often provide internet for free and are worth looking for, otherwise MiFi might be the way to go.

  • NomadUK

    £110 and £130 a night?! Zowie! Must be nice.

    Haven’t stayed in a hotel in years (who can afford them?). B&Bs and self-catering cottages make for far nicer holidays, anyway. As for Internet — well, when I *do* bring the laptop along, there’s usually a coffee shop with WiFi somewhere nearby.

  • Vronsky

    Just in case the situation ever arises, never stay at the Crown Inn, Tetbury. I once took a night’s B&B there. I was asked if I would pay in advance and, suspecting nothing, I agreed. Next morning I awoke to find that I was the only person in the hotel. I mean *absolutely* the only person – the place was like the Marie Celeste. I wandered around the bar, the restaurant – not a soul. I phoned the hotel on my mobile, supposing that someone must be near a phone somewhere in the building – nothing.

    After about an hour of wandering and wondering (I was locked in) I found an unlocked side door and opened it, expecting to set off an alarm. Nothing. I was on a walking holiday so I just shouldered my pack and set off. It did cross my mind to empty all their spirit bottles down the sink, or point out to the locals that the side door was open and there was no alarm – wish I had now.

    I called the hotel from time to time on my mobile, eventually getting a reply around noon. They were aggressive and unapologetic. For a night which had cost £55, they offered to refund £5, which they claimed was their catering cost for the breakfast I’d missed.

    Worst of all, the fob on the room key bore the legend ‘Proud To Be English’. It’s Prince Charles country – he has a home near there, though he’s seldom in residence. I expect it’s what in Glasgow we would call a ‘giro drop’ – his benefit cheques get sent there. The Crown Inn has a plaque on the wall saying the noble lad did something there once – can’t remember what. Perhaps they couldn’t make the charges stick.

  • MJ

    Clark: thanks for that. The BBC has a habit of tucking important news items away on obscure pages. Having said that the Iran story did warrant a brief mention on the lunchtime news.

  • Bob Morris

    I noticed that generally, that the more expensive hotels charge more for wi-fi and have worse service than do inexpensive hotels, where wi-fi is often free and quite reliable.

  • Tony

    There is a Wetherspoons just down the road from the Crowne Plaza with free internet I think.

  • david

    Learn to use a Lynux operating system and never pay to use internet again.. just a thought although of course it would be dishonest bordering on illegal to access someone elses internet without their knowledge.

    As mentioned above, most mobile phones will act as a modem, and if you have a 3G handset most can now offer very rapid download speeds.

    Or go get a coffee at Mcdonalds and take your laptop… free WiFi.

  • Paul Johnston

    Re David “Lynux”??

    Do you mean Linux? not sure where the version of the operating system fits into paying or not paying for internet access 🙂


  • Clark


    I’m a regular Linux user – it has all sorts of advantages, such as being secure and not needing anti-virus software, but free internet access is not one of them.

    Linux is ‘Free Software’ – that’s ‘Free’ as in ‘Free Speech’ rather than ‘Free Beer’, though nearly all of the software is available at no cost. But it’s about liberty, not price.

  • david

    Hi Paul,

    oops typo…. yes linux. There are some fairly simple programs using that system that allow you to “force” the wap key. Windows does not allow you to do that – or at least i cant make it do it 😉

    Of course these programs are purely to check your own security levels for your wireless internet.

    Any other use maybe considered illegal.

  • Clark


    didn’t Frazer say that you had an antenna on the roof in Africa to recieve satellite broadband? If so, you already have a satellite account; you’d need some sort of mobile reciever to connect. You might get mistaken for a spy if you start sticking a recieving dish out of your hotel room window, though…

  • Clark


    scripts to break WAP are available for all operating systems. I shouldn’t think it’s Craig’s sort of thing, though, stealing people’s bandwidth.

    Please don’t associate Linux with crime; that really isn’t what it’s about.

  • Clark

    Sorry, ‘WAP’ should be ‘WEP’. Anyway, as far as I know, sripts don’t work against WPA, which is now the WiFi standard encryption system.

  • david

    Hi Clark,

    As far as I know it cant be done running windows, I could be wrong. Im not associating linux with crime and i do state it could be illegal. Even using an open network in this country without the owners permission is illegal, and so it should be, but really “borrowing” a bit of wi-fi from a chain group that is trying to rip you off just to get to get an email ? I guess it depends on where you set your moral lines to be. I dont do it because i dont need to, my 3G phone acts as my connection.

    Just offering up an “alternative”.

    I wonder how many people on here have ” borrowed” an open network when they are out and about ? I suspect that most would think that if you didnt have to “crack” anything its not a crime, well it is.

    There are plenty of legal ways to get to the internet that are free, or at worst cost you the price of a coffee.

    Personally I think being charged to use internet at a big hotel chain is disgusting, it really is a rip off. But its not just the UK where that happens – internet access is a comodity just like anything else.

  • Rich

    I’m a Brit living in the US and can never understand why people here say they want to visit the UK. I always tell them to expect to pay $500 a day for much worse accommodation, meals and travel than they would get if they just stayed home.

    Every time I go out for dinner here I am astonished by the high quality, great service and low prices. Within a couple of miles of my house I can get a dinner for two for $40 of a quality the typical British eatery could not even approach for three times the cost.

    That goes for pretty much everything over here though. We’ve got builders in at the moment and if there are harder working people than them, I’ve never met them.

    Even buying a car over here is a positive pleasure. Forget being ignored or patronised by the morons in the UK dealerships. From the minute you get on the lot over here they are bending over backwards to help. And I left with a 1 year old Chrysler 300 for $17k! Even in bankruptcy they’ve honored the warranty, doing various small fixes and even replacing the CD player free because it had the previous owner’s CD jammed in it.

    I commute to downtown Chicago on the train, a 40 minute trip. Monthly season ticket is $130. When the train breaks down as it has a couple of times, we’re not marooned for nine hours while they send in an engineer from hundreds of miles away – they just connect up the following train. The thing is run by railwaymen not accountants.

    I may not agree with the warmongering and militarism but they really know how to do customer service over here.

  • derek

    Nice to see some fellow Linux users here.

    With respect to sharing peoples home wifi. BT Homehub users are part of the FON network. Any BT Homehub user can borrow bandwidth from other users while travelling. You are rarely out of range of a BT Homehub. A Firewall in the Homehub prevents the owners data being sniffed by people borrowing the bandwidth.

    You do not even have to be a BT customer. Just buy a FON router and you can borrow bandwidth from other Fon users around the world.

    If you do not want to join FON and are desperate for internet access. Just connect to any BTHomeHub within range and your browser will show a page allowing you to pay for temporary internet access. The owner whose bandwidth you are sharing gets paid for their trouble.

  • Seb

    Well, I appreciate the openess, but hundrds of pounds on hotels and train fares, thousands on an accountant, talking about 50% 0or 51% ?

    In this area, Rye Hastings, in the last week or so at least two people have been violently attacked and robbed. One now on life support. Old age pension for a single person around £80 a week, probably council tax takes £20 of that.

    Makes me wonder about people who want to be Members of Parliament.

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