I regularly visit Sun’s big Menlo Park campus, which at the west end of the Dumbarton bridge. I’d developed the habit of staying at the W Suites in Newark, at the east end of the bridge; convenient, and the bridge commute is scenic and refreshing. No longer.

The W is kind of hip and funky, the rooms are decent, the restaurant and bar are open late, and Sun has an OK corporate rate.

It’s always irritated me that they charge me $10 for low-quality Internet access. Well, on my most recent stay, the daily charge is now $10 or so for 256K, $19 for faster “up to 2.5M” service. In the Bay Area, this seems like a sin against nature. Especially since the allegedly-faster service was pitiful, way slower than 256K; obviously all the rooms are sharing a single DSL or something equally lame.

I won’t be going back.



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From: Brad Ackerman (Mar 15 2008, at 19:21)

I moved to the UK six months ago, and the complete backwardness of hotels' Internet access is getting on my nerves. The only large hotel chain here that's any good is Radisson SAS, but they've only got a dozen-ish hotels in the UK.

Fortunately, my Vodafone HSPDA modem works quite nicely, and most of my business travel is to the US, where there's no problem finding hotels with clue.

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From: John Cowan (Mar 15 2008, at 20:35)

Dear Governor Brown:

Can you please change the name of the Dumbarton Bridge?

Love,

Mary Barton

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From: Shaz (Mar 16 2008, at 17:57)

I absolutely hate hotels nickel-and-diming customers on internet access. Besides the incredibly price gouging, it's invariably slow and you have to reconfigure your client when sending SMTP email. It's ridiculous, and it's not anything like "business friendly."

Apple may eventually end the practice, though. If I can stick a SIM card into my MacBook AirTouch+ (3G unlimited data plan), why fsck around with the hotel's crap internet service anyway?

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From: J Irving (Mar 16 2008, at 22:31)

Interesting - I'm at the W in Newark right now, on a Sun corporate rate. They don't charge me anything for Internet (and haven't before), and the throughput is adequate (just shy of 1Mb/s down, about 750kb/s up).

I'm also visiting from BC, so I probably booked it the exact same way you did...

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From: Jonah Greene (Mar 19 2008, at 08:53)

Mr. Bray,

As the W Silicon Valley's Director of IT I do apologize!

Our high speed internet access has recently been the subject of much concern for my executive team. Your last visit fell just a few days short of a major upgrade to our internet service. This upgrade was forced upon us by the simple demand of guests. We have been forced to tether back upload and download rates due to so many users running Skype, Slingbox and a few other software technologies that are extremely bandwidth intensive. Our premium and corporate guests now have even more bandwidth available to them and we have noticed since the upgrade that complaints regarding the speed have drastically been reduced. I invite you back to sample the new speed of our high speed internet access. It is fast and will be getting faster over the coming year, as we convert to a scalable DS3 connection from our new dual bonded t1’s.

As you can imagine keeping up with the technology needs of our guests is one of a W biggest challenges. This year brings the promise of a lot of great innovation to the W Silicon Valley.

We look forward to having you visit us soon.

Jonah Greene

Director, Information Technology, W Silicon Valley

8200 Gateway Boulevard, Newark, CA 94560

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From: Postmodern Sass (Mar 20 2008, at 10:26)

I think you'd like the Montgomery. It's a cool boutiquey hotel, there's complimentary Internet access in your room, and, just for fun, an iPod docking station. Outside, there's a bocce ball court. And best of all, I live two blocks away. :-)

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From: Ronald Pottol (Mar 23 2008, at 19:58)

The cheap hotels have it for free because the people they cater to are paying out of their own pockets, the expensive places charge because people expense it, and I guess it just works out.

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From: Giacomo (Mar 24 2008, at 04:19)

The company I work for uses iPass, and I have to say that I am impressed. I was in the Bay Area two weeks ago and it worked flawlessly with all non-free hotspots. I've no idea if iPass charges the company back, but if they do is certainly cheaper than end-user standard pricing (it's a big company). Coverage was a bit worse in San Jose though.

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I am an employee of Amazon.com, but the opinions expressed here are my own, and no other party necessarily agrees with them.

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