Hit the road Mac

Room 133

Originally uploaded by slevac

Staying connected while you are on the road has for too long proved an expensive luxury for frequent travellers. While some of us want nothing more to be out of reach of email while we are away, many more of us resent paying for expensive internet access (as much as GBP10 per hour) while staying in hotels. Thankfully things are beginning to change. Many hotels already offer free wifi in the lobby; more recently a few have begun to offer free broadband; but the latest addition is to fit a computer into each room as standard. Guillaume Thevenot’s consistently reliable Hotel Blog is reporting that the new City Inn in Manchester is the latest hotel to offer a computer (in this case an iMac) in every room as standard.

There’s definitely a trend developing here, which was probably pioneered by Hotel Gates in Berlin, which began offering free computers a few years ago. Recently I wrote about Citizen M, a new concept hotel currently being built beside Schipol Airport near Amsterdam, which will begin offering free computers, internet access and international calls when it opens later this year. All three of these hotels are clearly trying to cater for the business end of the market, but I think there’s good reason to offer free computers to so-called leisure travellers as well.

Recently, I stayed in the Uniquestay Mihkli in Tallinn, which offered a flat-screen computer in every room. Although I was there on holiday, the computer allowed Anna and I to search the local listings for things to do and places to go without having to lug a heavy laptop or search out a cramped cybercafe. The Mihkli, moreover, wasn’t even remotely expensive. Our deluxe double cost just €80pn.