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Many nicer hotels are getting away with a so called resort fee these days. Basically, this is an additionally daily charge usually between $25 and $70 after the room rate and taxes. I hear roughly the same excuses for this charge nearly every time I ask about it. They typically say something like "This fee covers all the amenities that the resort supplies, such as the pool, tennis courts, turn down service, and in-room wifi." I usually respond "Well, if I don't use those then I don't think I should be charged for them." That has never worked.

Honestly, I don't buy it. Some times I'm already paying well over $250 a night at these places, so it really angers me that there's an additionally daily charge for services I don't even use.

I've never really pressed the issue at the front desk. Would that even be fruitful? Is there a way around this silly (and relatively new*) surcharge?


*As little as 15 years ago this was not very common. It seems to me that it started with the really fancy places (like $500+ per night) about 25 years ago then as trickled down to the lesser hotels. It seems like if they have a pool, wifi, and something like a tennis court, they feel justified in charging for this.

  • I checked the help center and this seemed like it would be on-topic. Sorry if it's not. – fredsbend Mar 17 '15 at 3:28
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    Is this a US only phenomenon? – Grzenio Mar 17 '15 at 9:33
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    Book instead at an honest hotel that doesn't charge the fees? – Gagravarr Mar 17 '15 at 10:10
  • @Grzenio I've been outside the US a few times, but someone else was covering the bill. All except one were over 10 years ago too. In other words, yes, it's common now in the US especially in destination towns (e.g. Vegas, Orlando, Honolulu/Maui), but I don't know about other countries. – fredsbend Mar 17 '15 at 15:19
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No. When you're booking, the resort fee is always disclosed somewhere in the small print, and a class action lawsuit a while back concluded that this is enough. You'd only have a case if you can plausibly claim that you were not made aware of this at any time in the booking process.

That said, there's one way to avoid them: don't stay at hotels that charge resort fees, and maybe they'll eventually get the message.

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    "don't stay at hotels that charge resort fees" easier said than done. More and more of them are doing it now. – fredsbend Mar 17 '15 at 3:48
  • Hotels are under interesting legal requirements, compared to other industries. I kind of feel like the resort fee thing is a loophole of some kind. – fredsbend Mar 17 '15 at 4:01
  • @fredsbend - Add on service charges are not loopholes nor are they unheard of. Book a tour through a European company and there is often a "booking" or "administrative" fee of 25 Euro on top of the tour price. Buy a new car and there is a several hundred dollar "dealer prep" fee, for what - washing the car. As long as the fee is disclosed during the buying process, it is legitimate. They could bury the fee in the overall cost, but with all the price comparison websites, business want to present a lower base price for marketing, so make many costs extra. – user13044 Mar 17 '15 at 15:35
  • It can be very hard to tell which places do and don't charge them. I've spent hours scouring a hotel website finding no mention of any fee & made a reservation only to find a sizeable fee charged on arrival. It doesn't need to be announced or findable in advance if the hotel has a small sign posted on the front desk in the lobby, that one could theoretically walk into. If a guest happens to be from a distant place and it's not worth the trip to check that in advance, that's the guest's fault for deciding the extra trip wasn't worth the expense. – WBT Jun 30 '17 at 18:02
  • This answer is out of date. Turns out almost nobody agrees with the class action lawsuit result, including the credit card companies. frommers.com/tips/hotel-news/… – Joshua Jan 2 at 16:59

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