One of my biggest pet peeves are hidden hotel charges like resort fees which can range anywhere from $10 to $90 a day! I especially don’t like the ones that don’t allow travelers to opt-out. The destinations you are most likely to find these hidden fees are Las Vegas, Hawaii, Florida and Puerto Rico.
I was just in Las Vegas and most luxury hotels there charge $25 a day. The fee usually includes internet access, coffee, newspaper and access to the gym. But there are tons of people (like me) that don’t need internet access since they can surf the net using their smart phone or carry a PC card. They also don’t drink coffee, they read their news online and don’t use the gym (I do push ups in the room).
So how do you get out of paying a resort fee? My best advice is book a room at hotel that doesn’t have a resort fee. To find out for sure always call the hotel directly and ask since many third-party websites don’t list the fee.
If you don’t have any other option for a place to stay then ask to opt-out (the Four Seasons Las Vegas allows you too), the worst they can say is no.
Up until a couple of weeks ago Caesars Palace and its sister properties did not charge a resort fee. I recently stayed there while filming a segment for The Today Show on hidden hotel fees (video) and learned they nickel and dime customers for practically everything. The worst part was the fees weren’t totally visible. For example, they have an evil mini bar that charges you the moment you pick something up including the water and nuts sitting on top of the desk. There was no price tag on them so any novice traveler would probably think they were free.
They’re not, and neither was the in-room coffee which costs $12. The only way to learn the price was opening the menu sitting on the desk. They even charged $1.50 for local and toll-free calls and the only place that price was listed was on the inside cover of the note pad.
The most shocking fee of all was when I checked out and got hit with… get this… an $11.20 processing fee because the person who booked the reservation (NBC’s travel agent) didn’t use Caesars’ website. I argued that it should’ve been billed to their credit card or disclosed when I checked in. After putting up a stink the agent agreed and waived the fee.
The most important part of this post is to remember it’s extremely important to go through your bill BEFORE you checkout of the hotel. Once you walk out their doors it’s difficult to get the charges reversed.