Hate to be far from your e-mail? Some hotels are letting you go online via guest room TV sets. At the Best Western Sterling Banquet & Conference Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan, free Internet access has been installed in two of its 158 rooms. “It was something we found our guests, who are mainly business travelers, wanted,” explains General Manager Victor Martin. The hotel intends to expand the service to as many as 50 rooms.
Holiday Inn has finished testing a system that uses a handheld remote or special keyboard at two of its Atlanta hotels. While the chain is not sure if it will install the system in all of its hotels, it has introduced E-space, which provides guests with electronic entertainment options in the hotels’ public areas. And, at its Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Heathrow in London, there’s a “cyber cafe,” the Cafe Connection, where guests can surf the Web while enjoying food and beverage service.
Hilton is exploring using the TV Internet following a not-so-popular test of its own in-room workstation, Smart Desk.
Embassy Suites is testing a TV system and will decide shortly how extensively to offer it. While Internet access is free for hotel guests, surfing costs 15-50 cents per minute.