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London’s M by Montcalm makes free calls and 3G data all part of the service with its Handy smartphone service

Savvy world travellers know that sinking feeling only too well. Checking into a hotel room that ticks all the boxes, but with chargeable extras that take your breath away as much as the view. A 200% mark up on a bottle of mineral water.

Overpriced, underwhelming room service. And the biggest culprit of all – the in-room telephone tariff.

Simply making a phone call all too often means weighing up the lesser of two evils - international roaming charges or the hotel’s own tariff. And using your smartphone to navigate the neighbourhood or research a restaurant for dinner eats up expensive data – if your service provider even operates overseas. In an era when smartphone use for just about everything is second nature, it’s an often unforeseen inconvenience that takes the shine off an otherwise enjoyable stay.

Until now. M by Montcalm, which opened to much acclaim last year in an architectural wonder in London’s Shoreditch, is now offering guests free local and international calls to selected countries along with 3G internet data with its complimentary Handy smartphone service. Handy is also pre-loaded with in-the-know restaurant and bar recommendations and places to visit in the vicinity, helping guests make the most of London with ease – and without overspending. For international guests whose own service provider may well not operate overseas, nothing says ‘we’ve thought of everything’ like a replacement smartphone with credit. Privacy has also been addressed - browsing history and any personal information is wiped from the Handy smartphone when a guest checks out.

The Handy collaboration is just one way that Luxury Hotels Group, partnering with M by Montcalm on the project, is using digital innovation to enhance the guest experience. Last month the Montcalm London Marble Arch, part of the same independent hotel group, became the first hotel in Europe to offer the service, and in 2014 pioneered the use of Google Glass technology in its guest services.

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