In today's world, travelers are increasingly aware of the fees that air carriers are adding to the price of an airline ticket. But did you know that this trend is spreading through the hotel community as well? Many hotels are now charging mandatory "resort fees" ranging from $5 to as much as $30 per night. These fees can include all kinds of items and privileges, ranging from local telephone calls to internet access to the coffee maker in your hotel room. Parking may or may not be included in this daily resort fee. Worst of all, it can be very difficult, sometimes impossible, to find out whether or not your hotel charges a resort fee before you book your room.
What Does a Resort Fee Cover?
The short answer is: Whatever the hotel wants it to cover. In some hotels, the resort fee gives you gym or pool access. In others, it allows you to use the in-room safe or the coffee maker. Still other resort fees cover the cost of local calls, minibar items, wireless internet access or a daily newspaper.
What if I Don't Intend to Use These Items or Privileges During My Stay?
You may be able to negotiate directly with your hotel if you don't intend to use the items or services covered by the resort fee. The best time to do this is when you are checking in. Ask about the resort fee and what it covers. Explain that you don't plan to take advantage of these services and ask to have the fee waived. This tactic may or may not work; you may have to pay the resort fee even if you never touch the in-room safe or jump into the pool.
You can also email your hotel's manager and ask to have the resort fee charge removed from your bill. Your final option is to dispute the resort fee with your credit card company, assuming you have paid your hotel bill with a credit card.
Beware the Mini-bar
You probably know that you will be charged for any food or beverage items you take out of the mini-bar. But did you know that some hotel mini-bars come equipped with sensors that can detect whether items have been moved. If they have, you will be charged. Be sure to check your hotel bill carefully so that you will not have to pay for items you did not consume.
How Can I Find Out Whether My Hotel Charges a Resort Fee?
You can look at the hotel's website to see if resort fee information is provided. Some hotels include this information and explain what the resort fee covers. Other hotel websites do not mention resort fees at all; in fact, the resort fee might not even be included on the reservation page, even though taxes are displayed.
The best way to find out about resort fees is to call the hotel and ask the front desk staff before you book your room. You can ask what the resort fee includes and find out whether you can get the charge taken off your bill if you don't use the items or services it covers.
How Can I Avoid Paying Resort Fees?
The best way to avoid resort fees is to stay at hotels that don't impose them. If you call a hotel and discover that a resort fee will be added to your bill, you may wish to mention that you prefer to stay at properties that don't charge this type of fee, so that management understands exactly why you did not book your room there.