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“The good guys”: best free WiFi London hotels.

by Rajul on November 6, 2009

London Hotels Insight has begun a campaign to persuade all the city's hotels to offer free WiFi London Hotels Insight has launched a campaign to persuade all of the city’s hoteliers to offer free WiFi as standard

Twitter is currently the scene of a global campaign to “set WiFi free” in hotels.  A fellow blogger has even launched a website around this theme.

London Hotels Insight would like to add its voice by making a positive example of London hotels with free WiFi.  I know our findings will be useful to the many travellers who consider free hotel WiFi an absolute must.

Of course, we don’t want “free WiFi” to prop up mediocre hotels either.

For this reason, we’ve only listed hotels below that are currently BOTH in the TripAdvisor top 40 for London AND have free WiFi.  But first a question:

How on earth can charging for hotel WiFi be justified?

WiFi is now pretty much like water and electricity: if hotels charge for it, in my view they’re profiteering on a basic commodity.

It seems ridiculous to impose a hefty mark-up for something which is cheap to source and in universal demand.  Would a hotel charge for use of its lift, sofas or bed linen?  Would it charge for tap water?  Of course not.

It gets my goat to pay for WiFi in hotels and it’s not just about the cost.

I recently paid for 24 hours of WiFi in a hotel in Switzerland.  The worst part was the process i.e. asking at check-in, registering, etc.  I then had to go down to renew as my deadline ran out, just an hour before checking out.

Far from charging for WiFi, one London hotel even provides free laptops for guests' use in each bedroom: scroll down to find out which hotel it is! Far from charging for WiFi, one London hotel even provides free laptops for guests’ use in its bedrooms: scroll down to find out which hotel it is!

WiFi is something no traveller or businessperson should have to think about.  It should be permanently “on tap” like water.  You check in and log in – period: just as you’d switch on a shower and expect hot water.

All this applies even more if you’re paying a hefty chunk of change to stay in a hotel.  And it’s often so-called “luxury hotels” which are the worst culprits.

I find it scandalous that you pay hundreds a night for a hotel in a 21st century city like London and then fork out double-figure daily fees for WiFi…

But that’s enough of my rant already!

Here is the list of “good guy” free WiFi London hotels (information correct to the best of our knowledge but please check with the hotels concerned).

By publicising the "good guys" that provide free WiFi we want to persuade the laggards to do the same By publicising the “good guys” that provide free WiFi we hope to persuade all hotels to follow suit

Hotels in the TripAdvisor Top 10 providing free WiFi

(NOTE: TripAdvisor rankings change all the time so you should check TripAdvisor’s London hotels page for the most up-to-date information)

These are listed in order of current TripAdvisor London rank (highest first, # number signifies current rank as of this date from more than 1130 hotels):

1. The Milestone Hotel (TripAdvisor #1).  Thankfully this Kensington boutique hotel has “free unlimited wired internet in every bedroom and free wireless internet throughout the hotel”.  We’ve already featured its superb guest reviews, exacting standards and its staff’s tiny noticeable touches.

Check rates at Milestone Hotel

2. Hotel 41 (TripAdvisor #3).  This 5-star gem is run by the same group of luxury London hotels as the Milestone (Red Carnation) and so also offers free WiFi.  It is close to Victoria station and famed for its well-trained staff.

Check rates at Hotel 41

3. The Halkin (TripAdvisor #5).  The Halkin also has free WiFi.  We’ve featured it as a great shopping base and to enjoy an exquisite Thai meal at its acclaimed restaurant.  It’s a classy hotel – stylish, modern and intimate.

Check rates at The Halkin

The ultra-stylish Halkin is a free WiFi environment The ultra-stylish Halkin is a free WiFi environment

4. The Montague on the Gardens (TripAdvisor #6).  This hotel is ideally-located for British Museum aficionados to ensure they enjoy all its must-see treasures.  As a Red Carnation Hotel, it again offers free WiFi.  I’ve met the hotel’s General Manager who leads a passionate and professional team.

Check rates at the Montague Hotel

5. Chesterfield Hotel (TripAdvisor #7).  Another Red Carnation Hotel in the top 10, it also offers free WiFi.  It’s in the posh Mayfair district on a quiet street.  Renowned for its restaurant’s exquisite Dover Sole.

Check rates at the Chesterfield Mayfair Hotel

6. Apex City of London Hotel (TripAdvisor #8).  We’ve already featured this hotel as one of London’s best mid-price hotels.  Guests love its friendly, modern vibe – and of course its free WiFi.

Check rates at Apex City of London

7. City Inn Westminster (TripAdvisor #9).  This hotel also has the good sense to offer free WiFi and even has iMacs in its rooms.  The hotel is also well-priced and we’ll investigate it further for you shortly.

Check rates at City Inn Westminster

That’s 7 out of the TripAdvisor top 10 with free WiFi: not bad at all.

Perhaps other hotels lower down the rankings could take note: is it a coincidence that most of London’s top guest-rated hotels have free WiFi?

The Hoxton may be "budget" but it's also savvy enough to offer free WiFi The Hoxton may be a “budget” hotel but it’s also savvy enough to offer its guests free WiFi

“Luxury budget” hotels (TripAdvisor Top 20) with free WiFi

Two leading “luxury budget” hotels featured on this blog have free WiFi.

The General Manager of the Hoxton Hotel (number 16 on TripAdvisor, known for its £1 room sales) made this forthright statement:

“You wouldn’t charge a friend to flush the loo so why charge for WiFi?”

Check rates at the Hoxton Hotel

Similarly, Base2stay (number 14 on TripAdvisor – see this hotel video to learn more) has also opted to free WiFi from its shackles.  Its General Manager, Mr Nassar Khalil, told London Hotels Insight:

“Free 24/7 HSIA WiFi is available to all our guests on arrival.  They get free access to the Base2stay WiFi network throughout their stay.”

Check rates at Base2stay

Other top London hotels passionate about free WiFi

There are a few other “honourable mentions” I’d like to make.

The Draycott may be all about traditional English charm but its management has the vision to offer free WiFi The Draycott offers traditional English charm but management still has the vision to offer complimentary WiFi to all guests

The cosy and intimate Draycott Hotel (already featured for its attractive London Pass and New Year’s Eve offers) is also in the TripAdvisor top 20.

I’ve met the management who are equally adamant that WiFi should be 100% free.  It’s a gorgeous gem of a hotel near trendy King’s Road.

Check rates at the Draycott Hotel

The London Bridge Hotel – currently number 26 on TripAdvisor and featured as a great value hotel at London Hotels Insight because guests love its location, staff and rooms – also provides free WiFi.

Check rates at London Bridge Hotel

Finally, the distinguished Lanesborough Hotel – previously described on this blog as the “luxury hotel which loves to give freebies” – not only gives you free WiFi, but also your own Sony Vaio laptop to access it on!

The Lanesborough's guests can easily afford to pay for WiFi: but the hotel management sensibly resists the temptation The Lanesborough’s guests could easily afford to pay for WiFi: but the hotel’s management sensibly resists the temptation

The Lanesborough is currently at number 36 on TripAdvisor from some 1132 hotels and impeccably managed under the experienced care of Mr Gelardi.

Check the best rate for The Lanesborough from 30+ hotel booking sites


To research this article, I made a point of calling some well-known London hotels that do not offer free WiFi, just to find out their charges.  I was shocked to hear that these often range from approx. £10 to £20 per day.

There are “free WiFi” hotels in the above listing in all parts of London, to suit all budgets.  Please do your best to book them to support their stance.

Do also let us know in the comments below if you come across other good “free WiFi” hotels in London that you feel deserve a mention.

And even if you wish to argue against the case for free WiFi: I cordially invite you to join the debate by following London Hotels Insight on Twitter.

Search for a London hotel – Book Now, Pay When you Stay

Photo credits: Halkin Hotel, Draycott Hotel, The Lanesborough (St.Regis Hotels & Resorts), Hoxton Hotel.

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