I'm looking for a hotel search site that does the following things:

  1. List the price as "what you pay" including all fees, taxes, surcharges, etc.
  2. Has a map view
  3. Ideally allows to search for "free cancellation"

Background: All my favorite search sites seems to have degraded a lot over the last few years, e.g. hipmunk.com, booking.com, hotels.com. They used to list the actual out of pocket price but now it's getting much more expensive when you get to the payment page, which makes it really hard to compare prices and plan to a budget. That's partially driven by the idiotic "resort fee" that many hotels have started charging. I had extreme case on hotwire.com today: advertised rate $74/night, actual price to pay was $139. Almost double.

Also, since maybe 2015/2016 the difference between "free cancellation" and "prepaid" has gone way up from almost nothing to a substantial percentage of the rate. That, again, makes it hard to search for a "free cancellation" rate, since only the pre-paid ones will show up in the comparison.

Any tip for a website or some other search mechanism that allows comparing "true cost" for "free cancellation" rates would be appreciated.

EDIT Clarifying the question, since there seems to be some confusion. Let's say I have $200, I can spend on a room tonight in Boston. I'd like to see of a list of hotels that I can afford. Currently it's easy enough to see a list of hotels and prices, but the list prices are substantially lower than the actual price and the difference or ratio isn't constant either. For example, for tonight on hipmunk.com

  1. "Taj Boston": lists at $170 but costs $225
  2. "Westin Copley" lists at $180 but costs only $205.

So I have to always click through to the payment page to get the actual price and it's cumbersome to find hotels that match my price target.

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    Booking.com has always given me the exact price. Along with their spam. Including within the last three months. – WGroleau Feb 14 '18 at 13:17
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    @WGroleau: not any more. I checked a room for tonight in Boston: 140$ advertised rate, $180 at check out. That's almost 30% more. – Hilmar Feb 14 '18 at 13:36
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    I think this question would benefit greatly from an example of a hotel where those prices differ, ideally on multiple booking platforms. – mts Feb 14 '18 at 22:16
  • @Hilmar you should be campaigning to have this fixed properly, with a law requiring an all inclusive advertised price that cannot change once accepted - its what we have in the EU... – Moo Feb 14 '18 at 23:31
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    @Moo It appears that the FTC agrees in theory, but doesn't seem to be doing anything about it. consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/… – Hilmar Feb 15 '18 at 17:42

Expedia. Usually what you pay in advance is the total amount without any more additional fees. If there is anything else to pay, it's written in the order confirmation. When you select the room you also get the comparison between different options: free-cancellation, not free, etc..

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  • Not always, Resort Fees while displayed (although not as clearly as you may want) they are still payable at the Hotel at checkout and are not included in the price you see. Its more complex when you are booking a hotel in one currency and the resort fees are quoted in another currency making it harder still to work out the true cost of your stay. – JenniP Feb 14 '18 at 14:45
  • Sorry, not true. I just checked a hotel for Boston tomorrow night. Advertised price "$156", price at check out "$202". 30% difference. – Hilmar Feb 14 '18 at 21:22
  • the details are all in the description, so I never had any surprise. If there is an extra fee it clearly stated. – Val Feb 15 '18 at 7:20
  • @Val: it's clearly stated, but only on the payment page, not on the page where you can compare prices to other hotels. – Hilmar Feb 15 '18 at 20:34

I suspect what you are seeing is the room price separate from the various addon fees. This is common practice and in my experience, and since different properties and different locations have different rules, there's not a lot you can do about it.

For example, (from their own website) tonight at the Taj, Boston has a Deluxe King Bed Interior View, Non-refundable rate, which includes the statement:

"Rate excludes all applicable taxes and facility fee charge. 30USD/day facility fee includes WIFI, access to PressReader, domestic phone calls, 24-hour Fitness Center, Business Center, Morning Coffee Station, Turn down, and shoe shine"

(there's no mention of what to do if you don't want or need any of those facilities.)

The booking page then presents:

Rate Total:      $ 159.20 
Sales Tax:       $   9.07 
City Tax:        $   9.55 
Occupancy Tax:   $   4.37 
City Hotel Fees: $  34.34 
Room Total:      $ 216.54
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  • Facility fees and resort fees seem to be a US-centric thing, just like excluding taxes - I have never come across them anywhere else in the world. – Moo Feb 15 '18 at 18:52
  • @Moo: I believe this is correct. In most other countries, consumer protection laws would prevent this from happening. In Germany that would be illegal as "Irreführende Werbung". – Hilmar Feb 16 '18 at 12:11

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