If you’ve ever stayed at a resort, you were most likely charged a resort fee.
Why do resorts charge resort fees? What do resort fees cover? How much are resort fees? How do you identify them on your statement?
And how can you avoid paying resort fees?
We’ll begin with the first question, why do resorts charge resort fees?
Resorts charge resort fees (sometimes called an amenity fee) in order to increase their revenue from your stay. In the United States, Congress has been working on bills to clearly identify resort fees and to remove them completely. If you ask them what the resort fees cover, resorts will tell you that it is what allows them to make a resort all-inclusive.
How Much Are Resort Fees?
Depending on where you stay, resort fees can vary wildly. It’s not uncommon for resort fees to be more than $50 per night.
The thing is, if you aren’t aware and are not looking, you’ll pay these fees without even realizing it.
That’s because these resort fees are usually mixed in with the expression “taxes and fees”. In fact, if you look on the website for resorts, you’ll have a hard time finding anything about resort fees.
For example, to find the resort fees The Strat (the Stratosphere Hotel), you have to go all the way to the bottom of the page. Then click on the FAQ section.
After that, you’ll have to dig through the frequently asked questions to find any mention of resort fees.
Once you get to the question, “I booked through a third-party, is everything paid for in full?” you’ll see that you still aren’t given much information. The only mention of resort fees is the part of the answer that reads: “you will still be responsible for the daily Resort Fee”.
The problem is that you still don’t know anything about what the fees are or what they cover.
When you go to book your room, you’ll see a daily resort fee of $35 per night (as of the time of this writing). For this specific hotel, that could be the price of your room every night!
Why You Should Be Aware of Resort Fees
It’s important to be aware of resort fees. Because these fees are not optional. Later in this article, I’ll tell you how to get around paying them. But know that if they show up on your bill, you’ll be expected to pay it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that even though this is a charge from the hotel, that amount will not be applied to any rewards program you may have with the establishment.
That can be a problem when your resort fees are $35 per day and your room is $45 per night.
What Do Resort Fees Cover?
The really ironic thing about resort fees is that you won’t find an itemized list detailing exactly what resort fees cover.
As I said earlier, sometimes the resort fee will be listed as general “taxes and fees”. Some, however, attempt to justify why the resort is charging the fee.
Here are some of the creative names given to resort fees:
- Housekeeping fee
- Concierge fee
- Destination fee
- Urban fee
- Safe fee
This list is by no means exhaustive. But it gives you an idea of what you should look for on your statement when you checkout.
Since just about every resort charges this fee, what is being provided for this additional cost?
- Fitness center
- Fax machine
- Notary service
- Complementary coffee
- Daily newspaper
- Unlimited toll-free calling
- Valet parking
- Shuttle service
- Pool towels
In today’s day and age, a resort charging for WiFi is a bit ridiculous. It’s complimentary at most places. Not to mention parking should be a given.
And when was the last time you needed a notary service while on vacation?
Who Charges Resort Fees?
The places that are notorious for charging resort fees are:
- Las Vegas
How to Find Out What the Resort Fees Are
Before you book your vacation, it’s probably a good idea to find out if your resort charges are resort fees.
A great resource to use is Resort Fee Checker.
Here’s why it’s awesome.
Once the page loads, you can search for a specific resort or city.
For our example, we chose Las Vegas. As you can see, it lists all the hotels that have resort fees along with the cost of the fee.
As you can see, the cost of the resort fee goes from high to ridiculously high.
But we’re not done yet. Clicking on a resort will list what the fee covers. It will also show additional fees that may be levied against you during your stay.
Let’s look at Caesars Suites at Caesars Palace. Once upon a time, Caesars Palace didn’t charge a resort fee. My, how times have changed.
In order to stay at Caesars Suites at Caesars Palace, you have to pay over $44 per night.
And the only thing you get for that is fitness/yoga classes (because, doesn’t everyone go to Vegas to workout?), internet access and phone calls.
Think about that for a second. This resort is charging you for classes you probably won’t take, phone calls your most likely won’t make (because you probably have a cell phone) and internet access.
That last one is the real kicker. You see, according to the “other fees at Caesars Suites at Caesars Palace, your resort fee does not cover wifi. It covers “internet access”.
That means you can plug an ethernet cable into your computer. But if you want to use your phone or tablet on the internet, that will cost you $14.99 per day.
Need to use wifi in public areas? Your $14.99 per day doesn’t cover that. You’ll have to pay $25 every day you will need to use wifi anywhere in the resort that is not your room.
Likely you will have a car during your stay in Las Vegas. Don’t believe the talk that you don’t need a car. I did it once staying at Luxor. Trust me, you need a car.
To park it yourself is $15 a day. For valet parking that used to be free all across Vegas, $28 per day will leave your wallet.
Those prices add up quickly.
So do yourself a favor.
Go to Resort Fee Checker before you decide on a resort. Remember, you’re going to be expected to pay for the resort fee. But checking first can save you some money by choosing a resort with a lower fee.
How to Avoid Resort Fees
The first way to avoid a resort fee is to use Resort Fee Checker. If you can’t avoid the fee, at least you can pay a lower one.
Another thing you can try is to address the issue before checking in.
It’s a long shot, but you might be able to negotiate your way out of paying the resort fee. Get them to tell you what it covers.
When you check out, the resort is going to expect you to pay their fees.
This is a good time to talk to the hotel manager. If you didn’t use the things the fee was supposed to cover, see if you can convince the manager to remove them.
It’s unlikely all the fees will be removed. But perhaps one or two days’ worth of fees might be able to come off.
Because the resort fee is supposed to cover services offered by the resort if something wasn’t working, use that as the reason to remove the fees.
Was the wifi spotty or didn’t work?
Try to get them to remove the fees. Or at least reduce them.
Were your fees clearly defined when you booked your resort?
If not, demand a refund. You shouldn’t be responsible for paying for fees you didn’t know were going to be charged.
Finally, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company.
If your reasons for disputing the charges are like the ones I just listed, there’s the possibility that the credit card company will honor your request.
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