Hong Kong: Hotel to Offer Guests Smartphones with Free Int’l Calls!

IT and Social Media 

Michael Taylor is fed up with hotels that overcharge guests for using the Internet, making phone calls, and snacking from the mini-bar. A hotel once tried to charge him for a Diet Coke he purchased outside the hotel!

Yes, you read that correctly. I had purchased a can of Diet Coke at a supermarket and consumed it in my hotel room. I threw the empty can in the waste paper basket. Upon check-out, there was a mini bar charge for one Diet Coke.

I said that I had not consumed anything from the Mini Bar, explaining that I had purchased the Diet Coke outside the hotel. I was told that it didn’t matter. Since I had consumed the Diet Coke in my room, I had to pay for it.

That’s when I asked to speak to the hotel’s general manager. To make a long story short, the charge was removed from my bill.

Top Three Pet Peeves

If there are three things that appall me when I travel they are outrageous mini bar charges, outrageous telephone charges, and having to register (and pay) to use the Internet – but not in that order.

So I was fascinated to learn that The Mira Hong Kong will install handy smartphones in all of its 492 rooms by 1 August 2013. It is an extension of the “My Mobile” solution, which has been offered in all of the hotel’s guest rooms since it opened in 2009.

According to a press release issued by The Mira, it will be the first hotel in the Asia Pacific to offer this service to all guests, who will be able to make an unlimited number of local AND international phone calls!

How cool is that?

Free Data Connectivity

The innovative service includes an informative city guide to Hong Kong as well as free 3G data and high speed Wi-Fi tethering capabilities that allow hotel guests to connect to other mobile devices such as laptops and tablets.

The phones become available as soon as hotel guests enter their hotel rooms. Pre-loaded apps include a news service, a currency converter, MTR maps, and a host of social media applications. Hotel guests can also download freely from the Google Playstore.

“We’re thrilled with the new service as free data connectivity and market leading tech features are of high interest,” says a hotel spokesperson. “It is the single most difficult and potentially expensive thing for people wanting to stay in contact when traveling.”

Looks like they’ve taken care of two of my Top Three Pet Peeves! I’m now wondering what their mini bar policy is?

 

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