Loews Hotels & Resorts announced last month that it will offer free Wi-Fi at all 18 of its hotels. If you want faster Internet to connect up to eight devices, however, that will cost $19.95 per day. A survey by the American Hotel and Lodging Association found that 84 percent of luxury hotel chains charge for Wi-Fi access, while only 8 percent of economy hotel chains do. But hotel experts say many luxury hotels are moving toward a “tiered” Wi-Fi program, in which guests get a choice of average-speed Wi-Fi for free or high-speed Wi-Fi at an extra charge. Hilton Worldwide recently announced that it would begin offering fast Wi-Fi connections for a fee starting at $3.95 per day at hotels where slower Wi-Fi is already free of charge.
— Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times
St. Thomas’ Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, one of the “World’s 10 Best Beachfront Hotels” according to travel website Frommer’s, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year by offering guests some savings. Get 15 percent off room-only rates in ocean-view accommodations, plus receive $200 in resort credits, including a $40 credit for food and beverages per person and a $40 sail trip credit per person that can be used either to swim with turtles, on a sunset cruise or on a day trip to St. John. Non-motorized water sports, including a “discover scuba” dive lesson, are free. Inquire about the package rate: $1,965 for two, including taxes and service charges, through April 30. (Promo code: 40th) Another perk: No passports are needed for U.S. citizens to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands. 800-524-4746; www.bolongobay.com
If you are looking for an overnight Valentine’s getaway closer to home, try the Hotels ZaZa in Houston and Dallas. In Houston, the Valentine’s Stay package includes reservations for two for a four-course dinner at the Monarch Bistro, with views of Hermann Park and the Mecom Fountain. You will get a bottle of champagne at check-in, ballads on a custom playlist, candles, massage oil and eye masks. And there’s dessert in bed — including cake truffle lollipops and a conversation heart cheesecake — to sweeten the deal. Rates start at $459. Ask about couple’s massages, special suites and pool villas. For the Houston hotel, call 888-880-3244. (For the Dallas hotel, call 800-597-8399.) Or visit http://www.hotelzaza.com
Losing your hotel room key might not be a problem in the future. Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the hotel giant whose brands include Sheraton, Westin, W and Aloft, is testing new technology that enables guests to check in and open their rooms with a smartphone. If all goes well, some hotel guests won’t have to speak to any front desk workers. Starwood plans to expand the technology to its W hotels next. Other hotel companies, such as Marriott International, already allow guests to use smartphones to book rooms and check in but still have a worker at the front desk to hand guests a key.
— Los Angeles Times