crazy wireless internet charges at the westin and visiting SFMOMA


BigB posing with Katharina Fritsch’s Baby With Poodles

I have a rant and a rave to report from my recent trip to San Francisco. My rave: using Expedia’s package options, we stayed at the Westin San Francisco Market Street. The published rate for our room, a standard room with 2 Queen beds is $329/night. We paid about $110/night. Not to bad, eh?

This four-star hotel is beside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, with SFMOMA just a block away – much better than staying in the busy neighborhood around Fisherman’s Wharf. Inspired by Debbie’s stories of her visits to the Georgia O Keefe Museum in Santa Fe and the Chicago Art Institute with her preschoolers, I felt compelled to try out visiting SFMOMA with my (older, much more boisterous) boys. It was a huge success.

BigB pondering on Jackson Pollock’s Guardians of the Secret

My rant: wireless internet access in the hotel was $14.95 per day. This is an absolute rip-off. Refusing to pay such ridiculous rates, I missed out on Photo Friday last week, but I’m glad to be back this week. Check out more fun and interesting travel photos and travel tales at DeliciousBaby.

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About wandermom

". . .life is short and the world is wide" - Simon Raven I'm not sure I've ever consciously planned a trip based on this sentiment, but it definitely influences my subconscious! I've been traveling as frequently and widely as possible since I finished school. And I love it. I love the research, the planning, the fervent packing and the curiosity of exploring somewhere I've never been before. My husband & I are both Irish - as in born-in-Ireland. But we live in Seattle. We have two boys: wild, boisterous, regular boys. So, since becoming a Mom, I've been a WanderMom. Given our slightly-unusual family situation, routine "visits-to-Grandma" are international trips requiring passports, 10hr-flights and (oh joy!) airport transfers. I have rants, raves and opinions about how, where & why to travel with kids (start them as young as you can, I say!). I hope to learn even more by researching topics which other wandermoms may be interested in reading about on this blog. Passports, pacifiers, diapers and gameboys at the ready - off we go! Contact Info: Email Michelle: michelle (at) murphnduff (dot) org

18 thoughts on “crazy wireless internet charges at the westin and visiting SFMOMA

  1. Amy Hoag

    Don’t get me started on that whole scam with the nicer hotels. We stayed at the Marriott this summer and had a great room but were saddened and outraged that we had to pay the 14.95 for internet. The LaQuinta we stayed at on the way home guess what no charge… The whole thing is a scam!

  2. jamie

    Did you see that yellow light room?

    Those internet charges are just plain predatory. I experienced them around the corner at the Westin St. Francis.

    Anybody in the hospitality industry listening?

  3. Workerbee

    I’m travelling right now. It was free in Austria and Frankfurt (Radisson SAS) but it’s 17 euro per day here in Hilton Luxemborg. I find it’s more based on city than hotel chain. I’m just happy that my company pays the bill.
    Where’s the time-lapse picture at the Golden Gate Bridge?

  4. Angela Nickerson

    I agree with you all about the internet charges. It is absolutely appalling. I would rather stay at a lesser-quality hotel that has free wifi, personally. Especially if I am working on my trip. And sadly it is even worse in Europe where I have paid as much as E10 per hour.

  5. Jennifer

    Glad it was a good experience for you…we were contemplating skipping the museums on our Christmas trip, but maybe we will give them a try.

    On a side note…I have found that the cheaper the hotel, the more free stuff you get…internet access especially! :-)

  6. wandermom

    everyone: you’re right, those access charges are crazy and free wireless does seem to be more common at less expensive hotels. It’s just a gamble when you travel with kids since less expensive hotels have smaller rooms and you may end up need an extra room.

    @workerbee: aha! so glad someone asked. Watch out for next Friday’s post :)

    @Jamie: we didn’t get to the yellow light room – but that was because the boys were intrigued by everything else (on the lower floors). A success by any definition.

    @Angela. Oh you are so right! I was appalled at the internet access charges in Italy this past summer.

  7. poetloverrebelspy

    I wrote about the “cheaper hotel, more services included” phenomenon in the post “Hotel Ratings from Consumer Reports.” Budget or mid-level brands regularly score higher in consumer satisfaction for this very reason.

    Not that I don’t think you got a great deal on the hotel overall, but wouldn’t we all be better off if they simply charged reasonable room rates rather than forcing consumers to book through (at times opaque) discounters? This Just In had a recent post touching on this.

  8. Soultravelers3

    Have to agree…love kids enjoying good art, hate expensive wifi!

    I was also stunned at our recent trip to SF when the wifi at SFO was NOT free. Stinks! It was free at San Jose Airport and I personally think it should be free everywhere!!

  9. Dominique

    BigB looks like he’s conducting the poodle choir in the first photo…too funny!

    I can only remember being nicked a few times for Internet/WiFi when traveling. One place where I attend a conference each year charges $9.95 a day for WiFi, but I found out that if you asked…they’d knock it back to $4.95 as part of a “group rate” for conference attendees. The other time I remember traveling in Paris during my pre-laptop days and they charges 1 euro per half hour to use an Internet-connected computer in the inn’s common room (same trip, I found a computer with freebie access tucked behind a screen in the common room at an inn in Spain).
    I know Tim mentioned seeing debates on this same subject in a couple of the photography forums he frequents…they don’t like the charges any better than all of us do. Some of them find, and we’ve found as well, that even more economically priced brands within chains like the Marriott don’t charge for access, while the high-end brand does.
    Access to free WiFi is one of the the things we often check before we book a place if we’re staying for several days. Paying for WiFi would definitely be a leaner when it comes to deciding not to stay in a place in favor of another place with free access for guests.

    Heck, I even found free access on a computer on a ferry between Newfoundland and mainland Canada (it was sluggish, and you couldn’t access via your own computer, but there was a computer with access set up free to ferry passengers…).

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  11. DeliciousBaby

    Glad you had such a wonderful time @ SF MOMA. The layout and the engaging art make it particularly great with kids I think. It’s also the museum I grew up visiting, so the collection has a special place in my heart.

    One trick that sometimes works in better hotels is to access the internet from the conference room or lobby level. Once the kids are asleep, my husband and I sometimes trade off!

  12. Stop Smoking

    The Westin for a third of it’s original rate is incredible!! — Wifi is often free citywide in SF, too bad the hotels are still trying to make a buck of it.

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  16. ClubPenguinCheats

    It was free in Austria and Frankfurt (Radisson SAS) but it’s 17 euro per day here in Hilton Luxemborg. I find it’s more based on city than hotel chain. I’m just happy that my company pays the bill.

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