July 24, 2014, 10:00 AM — Don't want to be stuck in hotel with Wi-Fi speeds as slow as an ancient 9,600 bps modem? Here's how to check out hotel Wi-Fi speeds before you book so that you'll be able to travel in the fast lane.
It works much the same on both apps and the Web site, but I'll give details about the Web site. When you get to the site, type in your destination, and then choose the class of hotel you're interested in from the drop-down list. Click "View Results" and you'll see a list of all the hotels the site has tested at that destination and with that class of hotel, with the fastest first, and the slowest last. For each hotel, you see the upload and download speeds and Internet services that speed can support, such as video and audio calls and HD streaming. The speeds are actual tested speeds, rather than speeds claimed by hotels.
Click any hotel for more information about the hotel itself. Each hotel also has links to TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and Hotels.com, you can get reviews, more information, and can book right there.
You'll find drastically different speeds at hotels in the same city. In Washington, D.C., for example, the site claims that the Holiday Inn near the White House has astonishing speeds -- 103.5 Mbps download and 20.3 mbps upload. The Capitol Skyline, on the other hand, has a mere 0.1 Mbps download and 0.6 Mbps upload. In other words, essentially no Wi-Fi.
Note that the site doesn't cover every city, so if you're going a bit off the beaten path, you may not be able to get Wi-Fi details ahead of time. And you may want to click the Advanced search link on the front page instead of using the basic search, because it includes a drop-down list of all cities it covers, and lets you filter the results in many ways, including by maximum and minimum price.
If you download the iOS or Android app, there are additional features. If you're at a hotel, you can use the app to measure its Wi-Fi speed. Your results will be added to the Speedspot.org data, to help others find out Wi-Fi speeds at hotels ahead of time.