Travelling is fun. Being a tourist in a new city is exciting. Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures are some of the reasons we give up our homely comforts and strap ourselves inside a pressurised metal tube as we fly for many many many never ending hours.
Whenever we travel these days, along with all our hotel and beach research we now look for a place to buy a pre-paid SIM card to ensure that our smartphone continues to work without the ridiculous data charges. The need to be able to hook up to the internet goes beyond wanting to Instagram our latest #Selfie but speaks to the way we have become reliant on our phone for our safety and navigation especially when we travel to countries where the primary language is not one we are familiar with. This is when our phones come in handy in able to translate items on the menu or allow us the ability to use the phone’s maps to get us back to our hotel when the taxi doesn’t show up.
The need to have our smartphone connected is a trend that some hotels in the Far East have identified. The Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui and the Mira hotel in Hong Kong have identified the perfect value added service to guests. Whenever you check into these hotels along with the complimentary welcome drink, each hotel room comes with a complimentary smartphone to be used free of charge for the duration of your stay.
The smartphone is preprogramed with emergency numbers and guests are able to use the phone to make local and even free international calls to 26 countries. The smartphone has unlimited 3G internet access and is pre-loaded with various local application such as HK Railways,Xe.com currency exchange, China Daily, OpenRice food guide and Weibo. Guests can install their own apps too. All the hotel guest would need to do is set up their Gmail, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and use the phone as they normally would. Upon handing the phone back, there is a Clear Data button which removes all personal info from the device so that it is ready for the next guest to use.
Tourist visiting Hong Kong and not fortunate enough to stay at one of these hotels are able to hire the same phones from Handy and still enjoy the same apps and unlimited data plans. The current charge is HKD $88 per day which is the equivalent of around R120 per day and there is a choice between the Samsung Galaxy Note or the Google Nexus phone.