There’s nothing like staying in six hotels over nine nights to find out the state of technology in European hotels. My trip looked like this: New York, Munich, Prague, Munich, Bozen (Bolzano), Munich, New York (I am on the plane flying to New York as you read this, most likely).
I stayed in brand new hotels (one that opened a mere two days prior to my arrival), and some with over a century of tradition.
Technology was in evidence everywhere: New contactless key card systems for hotel rooms (the one-year-old Kempinski Hybernská in Prague, Czech Republic), a buzzer system to let guests into your room (the 100-year-old Parkhotel Laurin in Bolzano, Italy), and of course Internet access.
The surprising thing is that, while the speed was never blazingly fast, it all seemed to work. In addition, several hotels had very reasonably priced or free access, namely the Kempinski Hybernská, where Wi-Fi was free but using the wired access was not, and the Parkhotel Laurin, where one day Internet cost only €8.
The only slight difficulty came about when I tried to access the Wi-Fi in the lobby of the Parkhotel Laurin. No matter what I did, my trusty ThinkPad X300 couldn’t see the access point (although apparently everyone else’s laptop could).
No problem, thanks to the super staff. I was invited into one of the hotel’s offices and connected via cable.
There was a significant low-tech failure, at the brand new Novotel at the Munich Airport (Flughafen München-Franz Josef Strauß). Several of the foam mattresses were placed upside down on the bed platform (I was travelling with a colleague and my room the first time we stayed there and his room the second time had this problem). At first I thought it was a high-tech design but ultimately, it was simply overlooked.
Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.