5 hotels in Melbourne with genuinely free Wi-Fi

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5 hotels in Melbourne with genuinely free Wi-Fi

From Wi-Fi data limits to wireless speeds and room rates, here are the details of five hotels in Melbourne offering free Wi-Fi.

Heading to Melbourne for business or pleasure? In this article we list five hotels that offer free Wi-Fi in Melbourne.

Australian hotels have a reputation for making internet access an expensive add-on to the bill. 

It seems relatively easy to find hotels in Asia, Europe and North America that offer free Wi-Fi, but here in Australia charges in the vicinity of $25 per day seem commonplace.

Here are some things to consider if you need Wi-Fi access in your hotel:

  • At those prices, it actually makes more sense to use mobile data via your smartphone (if your plan includes data) or a mobile hotspot device. 

    For example, Telstra offers a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for $79 including 5GB of data with a 30 day expiry, so that could pay for itself in one trip. Recharges start at $20 for 250MB with 21 day expiry and range up to $180 for 12GB and 365 day expiry.

    And as we recently reported, you can now get prepaid mobile with unlimited calls within Australia and 6GB of data per month for $39 per month.
 
Still, there are some hotels that do provide free Wi-Fi, though as the saying goes, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. It would be more accurate to say that it is included in the tariff.
 
  • In some cases, what you get for free is only a basic 256Kbps service. That's slow, although it is adequate for checking email, checking in online for your next flight and so on. If you're planning to sit in your room and work online for a protracted period, you'll likely prefer something faster.
  • You may also find that free services limit the amount of time you stay connected, either per session or per day.
  • Also remember that Ethernet is a handy alternative to Wi-Fi for connecting to the Internet in your hotel room via a laptop.

    Ethernet tends to provide more consistent speeds, which is particularly important if your room is relatively distant from the closest Wi-Fi access point. Some hotels put an access point in each room, which largely eliminates that problem.
  • Also keep in mind that some chains (for example, Marriott) operate loyalty programs that grant free or more generous Wi-Fi access to members.

    This is worth keeping in mind if you are a regular traveler, especially as such programs are usually free to join.
With all this in mind, below are five Melbourne CBD hotels that provide free Wi-Fi.
 
We haven't tested the services they provide, so their inclusion should not be taken as a recommendation - they were simply the first five that were prepared to answer our questions among those we identified as being in the 'business traveler' price range and offering free Wi-Fi.
 
The Hotels
 
Alto
 
 
A short walk from Etihad Stadium and Docklands, the Alto Hotel provides guests with free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. There's a limit of 500MB per day, but the member of staff we spoke to suggested this isn't always rigidly enforced. If you travel with a smartphone, tablet and computer, you'll be pleased to hear there's no limit on the number of devices you can use with the service. Room rates start at $168.
 
Crossley
 
 
Situated in Chinatown, the Crossley Hotel provides free in-room Wi-Fi and Ethernet access. But don't expect flashing performance - we were told that the service is intended to allow guests to check their email. So if you're a heavy user, it's probably best to BYO mobile internet if you're staying here even though there are no time or download limits. Room rates start at $139.
 
Ovolo
At the east end of Melbourne's CBD grid, the Ovolo not only provides free and unlimited Wi-Fi but also free local calls, free breakfast and a free mini bar. And the rooms are also equipped with Apple TVs so you can watch content from your iPad, iPhone or Mac, or stream content from the iTunes Store (using your own account). Didn't bring an iPad? They're available on request. At the time of writing rooms were available from $209, but full rates start at $459.
 
Lindrum
 
 
Located near the south-east corner of the CBD grid, the Hotel Lindrum is an extensively refurbished older building. With a name like that, you shouldn't be surprised that the hotel's facilities include a full-size billiard table. Free Wi-Fi is provided throughout the hotel (plus Ethernet in guest rooms), but the 500MB per day limit could soon go if you take advantage of the opportunity to connect multiple devices. Room rates start at $195.
 
Rendezvous Grand
 
Centrally situated opposite Flinders Street Station, the Rendezvous Grand is a century-old hotel that's a short walk from some of Melbourne's major office buildings and laneway cafes. But the building's old-world charm (some rooms are decorated in the Edwardian Baroque style while others are contemporary) is matched by modern conveniences including free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. The downside is that it is limited to 256Kbps unless you pay to upgrade to 1Mbps ($10 for three hours or $15 for 24 hours). Room rates start at $209.
 
The Hotels and Wi-Fi terms
 
Below is a table summarising what you get in terms of free Wi-Fi at each of the hotels on our list.
 
Note that all the information in the table above was provided to us by each relevant hotel, so we can't warrant its accuracy. Information about the property itself was obtained from the official web sites or the White Pages.
 
Note, of the hotels below, there was only one hotel with two-tier access, and the only difference for those that pay is speed.
 
Also, none of the hotels could provide a definitive answer regarding VPN use - the best anyone could do was along the lines of "it shouldn't be a problem".
 

 

Alto

Crossley

Ovolo

Lindrum

Rendezvous Grand

Summary of Wi-Fi terms

Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel

Free Wi-Fi in all guest rooms

Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel

Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel

Free Wi-Fi throughout hotel

Data limit

500MB per day (advance warning given, and limit may not be rigidly enforced)

None

N/A

500MB per day

N/A

Speed limit

N/A

Modest bandwidth available, only intended for email access.

N/A

N/A

256Kbps (upgrade to 1Mbps: $10 for three hours, $15 for 24 hours)

Time limits

None

None

None

None

None

Location limit

All guest rooms and public areas

Guest rooms only

All guest rooms and public areas

All guest rooms and public areas

All guest rooms and public areas

Must be loyalty program member for free access?

No

No

No

No

No

VPN access

?

?

?

?

?

Ethernet

Yes, cable provided

Yes

No

Yes

Yes (only with speed upgrade)

Other restrictions, notes

Guests may use multiple devices

No

No

Guests may use multiple devices

No

Address

636 Bourke Street, Melbourne

51 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

19 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

26 Flinders Street, Melbourne

328 Flinders Street, Melbourne

Phone

03 8608 5500

03 9639 1639

03 8692 0777

03 9668 1111

03 9250 1888

Email

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

Website

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

Click here

 
 
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