My Trip To India And Australia: Part 12 – Accommodations In Australia

While I’m staying in Australia, I’m staying in the  Novotel Glen Waverly. The facilities are more than decent enough. For example, they have an extensive breakfast buffet and good workout facilities that I am leveraging to help me to lose weight and get in better shape, and they’re next to an arcade that has a movie theatre and ample food choices. Plus, I’m near a rail station that will take me in the the Central Business District of Melbourne and near to an area that has a shopping center and lots of Asian restaurants.

First let me highlight some other good points:

IMG_0983

This is the work area that I’ve set up shop in. It’s logically laid out and gives me lots of room to work from.

IMG_0987

The entire hotel is non-smoking. Apologies to all the smokers out there, but I hate being in a hotel with you and I’m glad that you aren’t exactly welcome here.

Is there anything I could possibly complain about. Yes there is. Let’s start with this:

IMG_0984

While it’s cool that this alarm clock has a 30-pin connector for your iDevice, I don’t think that this hotel got the memo that Apple has moved on from the 30-pin connector ages ago. Thus they should have some sort of adapter in the room for your Lighting connector based iDevices. Or provide a 1/8″ cable to connect up that way. Or better yet, have an alarm clock that has both connecters as those exist.

IMG_0985

$4.50 AUD for a bottle of water? Really? I know that things are a bit more expensive down under. But I seriously doubt that they’re that expensive.

But those two things pale in comparison to the only thing that this hotel really needs to do something about. Internet access. By their own admission, only 25% of the hotel has WiFi access. If you’re not one of those lucky 25%, you have to hook up via Ethernet. Not the biggest deal in the world, unless you have a MacBook Pro with a Retina display, a MacBook Air or any number of ultra-portable PCs, all of which lack built-in Ethernet. Which means that if you don’t have a dongle that allows you to get Ethernet on one of those computers, you’re not getting Internet access in this hotel.

#fail

But to add insult to injury is the fact that Internet access is insanely expensive if you can get it. How expensive? Here’s option “A”:

Option A

Wow. That’s an insane cost for what you get. Now here’s option “B” in two parts. Starting with the 2 hour option:

Option B 2

Followed by the 24 hour option:

Option B 1

Who in their right mind would pay these prices? Even if I did want to pay these prices, I’ve heard from other guests that the access to the Internet is very, very slow.

#EpicFail

We’ll, fortunately for me, I have option C. For some reason, the Instant Hotspot feature didn’t work to connect my iPhone 5S to my MacBook Pro. I didn’t feel like troubleshooting that, so I went “old school” as it were:

  1. On my iPhone 5S I clicked on settings.
  2. I then went to Personal Hotspot and turned it on. I already have a password defined so I didn’t need to enter one. But you should enter one that is unique to you if you need to use this feature.
  3. On my MacBook, I went to the WiFi menu and picked my iPhone 5S. It automatically connected in my case as I had used this feature before and the password that I referred to earlier was stored. But you may have to enter the password if that is not the case for you.
  4. Done. Declare victory and have a beer. Which by the way, Australia has some good beers, but they’re on the expensive side.

I have 500MB a day via the Optus SIM card that I spoke about in my last post and I have not used anything close to that so far by just using my iPhone 5S. Thus going this route saves me money and I get a better Internet experience. And I am still not consuming all 500MB a day. At least so far.

#EpicWin

Now I should warn you that not all carriers will allow you to “tether” or share data between two devices. Thus if you’re traveling, make sure you ask before you buy the SIM card.

In the meantime, hotels like this one really need to get a clue. I don’t mind paying for Internet access. But these prices are insane and only having WiFi in a quarter of your hotel is equally as insane.

I set stuff like this up for a living. Take it from me. It really isn’t hard to provide free or cheap “all you can eat” Internet access and cover a building with WiFi. A call to a major telco will get you a fast enough pipe to the Internet at a price that will allow you to resell access at a fair price and make a couple of bucks. Or you could just build it into the cost of the room and call it “free”. Plus, deploying WiFi access points to cover your entire hotel isn’t that hard or expensive either. It just needs the right IT guy or company. By doing both, you take away an item for your guests to complain about. In my case, I’ve just written a blog entry on a blog that gets seen by thousands of people worldwide every day about how crappy and expensive the Internet access is in this hotel.

That’s not good if you’re Novotel.

Now later today and tomorrow, I am going to go into the Central Business District of Melbourne to look around. Expect lots and lots of pictures from that as this will be my only chance on this trip to play tourist. Expect a post about my experiences on Monday.

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