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Will Maybourne Hotels start charging for WiFi?
Will it affect our campaign for free WiFi that the Maybourne Hotel Group will soon be taken over by the Barclay Brothers – owners of The Ritz which currently shamefully charges the highest prices in London for WiFi?
Our fingers are crossed that Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley will continue to offer free WiFi – even under the Barclays’ ownership.
We’ve previously saluted Maybourne Hotel Group on this blog for its free WiFi policy, though we believe all luxury hotels should do this (and even many cheap hotels have seen the light). But we have a nagging fear the Barclay brothers may have their heads buried in the sand given The Ritz’s very strange policy. The Barclays also own the Cavendish Hotel – an excellent eco-friendly 4 star hotel as this blog has highlighted, but with one black mark: you guessed it, it also currently charges for WiFi in guest rooms (though WiFi is at least free in its first floor lounge).
And as the brothers have invested significant money to buy Maybourne’s secured loans (thus becoming majority debt and equity holders) – they may be tempted to take a purely financial view and tragically bring the Maybourne hotels’ internet policy in line with the rest of their portfolio.
The Barclay brothers have already announced plans for changes in the hotels – for example, The Berkeley’s rooftop pool will apparently be closed and additional rooms will be put in its place (as reported here though we found no official confirmation of this story). Maybourne Hotels also declined our invitation to comment. So we fear the omens are not good.
And if the Barclays decide to be as short-sighted on this policy as they are with The Ritz, we’ll be happy to point our readers towards other ultra-deluxe hotels that do have the sense to offer free WiFi, such as the excellent Lanesborough, the impeccable Milestone Hotel and the modern classic One Aldwych to name just a few. There are even a good number of excellent 4 star hotels with free WiFi and others which are cheaper still.
We’re begging you Barclays: keep the Maybourne WiFi lovely and free!
Photo credits: foskarulla, The Ritz, The Berkeley, Claridge’s.