Wi-Fi Done Right @ The Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok

In the past, I have written about the woes of international travel when it comes to keeping connected online with many hotels choosing to slug guests heavily for Wi-Fi in rooms with little or no coverage in common areas of the hotel. Yes, I can hear some of you crying that being on holiday should mean that you go dark or partially dark with regards to internet activity but for people like me it is great to relax and browse random stuff all day in amongst hitting the gym, enjoying good food and having a dip in the pool.

Earlier in the week, my wife and I returned from out second trip to Thailand. The first time we stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in 2010 directly opposite over the river. In a nutshell, their Wi-Fi situation is restrictive and archaic requiring a unique code to be entered into a walled garden page when connected to their Wi-Fi network. Having more than one device connected was a challenge in itself and coverage in the common areas was hit and miss. If you are holed up in your room all the time then this might not be a bad thing but perhaps not ideal if your holiday is for leisure instead of business.

Anyway, this time around we chose to stay at The Peninsula Hotel and before you even get to the hotel you can get Wi-Fi connectivity in the airport transfer service offered by the hotel (courtesy of the Limousine2371 hotspot in the car). This is convenient if you don’t fancy having to flash your passport at an information desk inside the airport just to do some quick catch up activities online. I used the opportunity to benchmark the speeds and I got the below result.

Wi-Fi hotspot benchmark - The Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok airport limousine

Wi-Fi hotspot benchmark – The Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok airport limousine

Certainly not setting any speed records but it was usable for e-mail and social media although you definitely wouldn’t be using it to stream or upload YouTube videos. I could only think that maybe the velocity of the vehicle might have been a contributing factor given that we seemed to doing at least 120km/h on the way to the hotel on the expressway (where the posted speed seemed to be the minimum recommended speed and lane markings attract optional observance) which can cause problems with cellular data. I have to say that it didn’t that we were going that fast but we arrived safe and sound.

Anyway, once at the hotel you are well and truly spoilt in terms of Wi-Fi coverage. Every room has its own Wi-Fi access point (ours was pbk2906 which aligned with our room number) while public area and restaurants have one or more hotspots (i.e. RC&T Terrace for the River Café & Terrace, Pool A/B/C for the pool area covered by three hotspots and SPA which covers the spa treatment and fitness centres). This is great if you want to catch up on the news back home on a tablet over breakfast, share some yummy food photos on Instagram or keep in touch with business matters.

Best of all, Wi-Fi was included in our room rate and we didn’t have to bother with typing in unique codes, having connections expire or resort to mooching off someone else’s Wi-Fi (not that I condone that sort of thing). It has really put The Peninsula, Bangkok ahead of the Mandarin Oriental in my mind and is Wi-Fi done right with respect to offerings in the hospitality sector.

Wi-Fi Status - The Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok

Wi-Fi Status – The Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok

Of course, you should still be conscious of security by ensuring sensitive online activities are encrypted to prevent people nearby seeing what you are doing given that these Wi-Fi networks are open and unencrypted. If websites enforce secure sessions then that will do the trick but not everyone has encrypted connections to their e-mail servers to prevent snooping over Wi-Fi – VPN connections will solve that for you. The implementation at The Peninsula has been the best by far on my international travels and is now my benchmark against which I will measure other hotels.

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