Hey, where did this resort fee come from?

Question: I checked into the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, and was unexpectedly charged a resort fee. I had booked the stay with my Starwood Preferred Guest points.

The desk staff could not have been less helpful when I questioned the fee. They advised, “It is mandatory on all rooms, whether paid with cash or points, and clearly indicated during booking.”

They also said the resort fee was required by Florida state law.

I have made a paid booking at the Swan and Dolphin before and the resort fee is clearly indicated all over the place. During a reward booking, there is no mention of a $10 resort fee at any time. I just went through the reward booking process again right up to the “complete your reservation” step and confirmed this is accurate.

After checking in, I pulled up the reservation email on my phone and toward the bottom there is a $10 resort charge listed. Listing the fee in a post-booking email is not sufficient disclosure.

I think mandatory “resort” or “energy” fees are an unethical business practice and typically steer my business to more reputable lodgings. I made the award booking at Swan and Dolphin because there was no resort fee listed. Can you help me? — William Pou III, Winter Haven, Fla.

Answer: The Swan and Dolphin should have informed you about its resort fee before you made your reservation. It should quote an all-in price when you ask for a rate or try to redeem your points, like other reputable hotels.

Mandatory resort fees, which often include many of the amenities that used to be included in the price of your room, are a way for hotels to make their rooms seem less expensive. By quoting a rate that doesn’t include these required fees, a hotel can make its prices appear to be lower.

Even with adequate disclosure later in the booking process, having the ability to display the initial rate minus a mandatory resort fee can give a hotel an edge and snag more reservations — even if the business is gained through a brief deception.

The only way to avoid these dishonest resort fees is to avoid any hotel that charges them. Consider this: If a hotel is dishonest with you about the price of its product, then what else is it willing to lie about?

I don’t consider the Swan and Dolphin’s disclosure, as you experienced it, to be anywhere near adequate. I’m also troubled by the way it invoked Florida law. I am unaware of any state law that requires a hotel to add a resort fee to the price of the room.

(There ought to be a law that hotels honor the price they initially quote, but that will have to wait.)

I asked the resort about your reservation. A representative responded to you by email, noting that Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which manages the Swan and Dolphin, was required to disclose any hidden or mandatory fees as part of a consent agreement with the State of Florida. By citing Florida law, he said, the representative you spoke with “was truthful to a certain extent.”

The Swan and Dolphin apologized for the incomplete disclosure of its resort fee when you booked a room using your Starwood points, and agreed to find ways to make the process clearer when I brought this issue to its attention late last year. It has done so since then.

The hotel’s records also show that you had been a guest before, and that you had paid the resort fee.

Starwood has credited you with 500 points and offered to refund the $10 resort fee.

(Photo: nino 63004/Flickr)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • http://flyicarusfly.com/ Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Really? The OP chose this resort specifically to avoid the $10 fee? A wee bit over the top, don’t you think? Doesn’t sound like the typical Starwood customer. But I digress. Yes, the fee should’ve been disclosed (other than in the email confirmation). But I kind of doubt anything will change. Most people will cough up the $10 no questions asked. So good for the OP for recouping that money and scoring a few extra points!


  • Cybrsk8r

    Required by Florida law?  What a load of crap. It sounds to me like the clerk was telling the OP the fee was required by law. The hotel trying to explain away this lie was pretty lame. I think that clerk made it up to convince the OP to pay the fee.  I find it HIGHLY unlikely that ANY state REQUIRES a resort fee.

  • BillCCC

    I agree that mandatory fees of any type are really just undisclosed room charges.  I am a little surprised that this fellow did not know about the resort fee since he had stayed there in the past and had paid the fee. More surprising is the ‘truthful to a certain extent’ comment. I am not sure how to read that from a resort representative. Is this Starwood Hotels and Resorts position on employee honesty?

  • $16635417

    Yeah…a bit dramatic, but you did hit the point that most will pay with no questions. After all…”what’s $10″.

    I have a bigger problem with resort fees than I do with airline fees. Perhaps, since most airline fees can be avoided if you are able to do without the added value they provide.

    The resort fee, on the other hand, is “mandatory”. In the past, I have successfully argued that I will not be using the resort amenities and had it removed. Since I was traveling to a resort area for business, and not leisure, and had no intention of using the amenities they claimed it covered. 

    But now, I generally look to see if resort fees are applicable and factor that cost into my hotel choice. Just another step in the increasingly complicated travel process! :)

    If I don’t see them during the reservation process, I would argue my point as well…like the OP.

  • LadySiren

    It sounds like he knew about but didn’t expect the fee because it was a rewards booking. I’m not surprised that they’d still charge the fee but Starwood’s handling of the incident feels kind of skeevy.

  • LadySiren

    I don’t think it’s over the top, as people today seem much more sensitive to the whole fee thing (I know I am). If you want proof, look at Verizon Wireless shooting themselves in the foot with their new $2 fee to pay your bill online.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I had a similar experience at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. (DO NOT STAY THERE. It’s not “five star” and they rent to kid-conventions without warning other guests)

    Anyway, the Rosen tried to tell me that it was “Florida State Law” to charge me $2.00 per night as a “911 access fee.” The idiot who told me this was the “front desk supervisor.” Now, I don’t mind paying fees as long as: 
    1. They are disclosed at the time of booking 
    2. They make sense
    3. Idiots don’t lie to me.

    There is NO SUCH LAW that requires a hotel to charge someone $2.00 per night to as a “911 access fee.” I sent the hotel a nasty letter and never got a response. (No surprise, but I’ll get to that in a minute)

    My main issue–and the main point of the letter, beyond the lying of their front desk to squeeze an illegal few bucks out of me–was the kid convention. It was bunch of middle school/high school kids all over the hotel. There were 5000 of them, according to their convention sign. The kids were up all hours of the night. When I asked to be moved to a different floor where there weren’t any kids, I was told they were “sold out.” So, while standing at the front desk, I called their reservations center and tried to book a room for that night. Would you believe they have rooms and suites available?!?!?

    The front desk agent was a little miffed that I called her on that lie. I got a room change, but it didn’t do much good. The kids were ALL OVER the hotel. Ugh. 

    Anyway, Rosen Shingle Creek: One of the worst properties I’ve stayed at. It’s not “five star” as they claim, and they lie to their guests.

  • http://daveshere.blogspot.com/ mediadls

    They should not do this, but the knowing traveler has come to expect this. It should not be a surprise. Actually, $10 is pretty good compared to some.

  • Lindabator

    I would agree — he would have to pay the fee either way, but they should have handled it better.  As a travel agent, when we book packages, the hotels with resort fees have a particular spot to check those fees, and I always look for the hotels with no such spot, or if I have to quote it, I let the client know upfront what the charge is, and that it is in addition to the package price.  Believe me, they are getting more and more used to this – which, IMHO is pretty sad.

  • cjr001

    In trying to research this, I found an earlier story from 2009 involving Starwood and people using sites such as Priceline and having the same problem: mandatory resort fees that had to be paid separately that were not disclosed.

    It seems that Starwood has a problem that they refuse to fix.

    But then, having found another story from 2007 about the Florida AG investigating several hotel chains and their lack of reporting of such fees, it’s obviously a much larger problem that isn’t getting fixed.

  • cjr001

    It seems more like they’re using some obscure part of Florida state law to simply charge whatever ‘mandatory’ fee they want.

  • http://twitter.com/cruisemon Charlie Funk

    Two issues are at work with a “resort fee”.  It allows the hotel to advertise a lower room rate and we are a nation of price driven browsers.  In extremis, the room rate might be $39.00 a night and a $150.00 a night resort fee.  A cruise equivalent is “non-commissionable fare”.  Hotels and cruise lines are keenly aware that price range is a prime search criterion.  The second issue at work is that the resort fee is exempt from local and state room taxes that can range upwards of 17% – 20%.  The result is that the “resort” generates $10 a night income which, if included in the room rate would have to be a $12.00 or so rate adder just to have the same income.  That $12.00 differential, in many cases, would be sufficient to drive a shopper to another property.

  • MarkieA

    Exactly the attitude that THEY hope you adopt. Oh well, nothing I can do about it. $10 isn’t that much, I might as well pay.

  • jgb123

    All fixed rate fees should be included in the list of fees before the point of clicking on “confirm” or if in person signing on the bottom line.

  • Asiansm Dan

    First, the only reason that the resort fee is not included in the paid rate because the fee must be waived in case of reservation by Point. If it isn’t the reason, please tell me me what other circumstance the fee must be separated the rate ?
    If “It is mandatory on all rooms, whether paid with cash or points, and clearly indicated during booking.” like they said why do not include the fee in the paid rate and disclose it when reserve by Points.
    The only rational is the Hotels want to hide the resort fee from the quotation rate to make a false representation/advertisement.

  • pauletteb

    I once had the misfortune of staying in the same hotel as a touring middle school choir. The kids, totally unsupervised it seems, were running up and down the halls and screaming at the top of their lungs till well past midnight. Finally I stepped out into the hall and yelled “Shut the F up!” Not very ladylike, but it worked. Their keepers kept the little beasts quiet for the rest of the night!

  • BobChi

    This is simple fraud, bait-and-switch. It should be illegal, and I agree I will try my very best to avoid properties that engage in such deceptive practices. Chris’s point is exactly on target – if they’ll lie to you about their prices, what else are they dishonest about?

  • BobChi

    So defeatist. If we give up, they’ll continue and expand the racket. Fight it every step of the way, and maybe they’ll get a message. We can, indeed, choose not to patronize liars.

  • IGoEverywhere

    Resorts fees are the equivilant of baggage fees. We want more money! I run into them every day mostly in Las Vegas, Florida, and the Caribbean. They are difficult to find. Now, when booking through a travel agent tour program, that fee generally does not show up….ever. This was a freebie; it was going to get extra because of greed.

  • http://www.pipdigital.com Nancy Dickinson

    The travel industry is getting more than a little out of hand with their fees.  How much longer before we have to start paying ‘mandatory’ fees for towels, sheets, soap, water…?

    The average travel consumer has become less human to this industry and we are now all perceived as ATMs.

  • y_p_w

    That the hotels are generally using a “mandatory resort fee” to make their initial search prices look lower is probably no secret.

    I don’t particularly care for stuff that gets sprung on a customer at check-in or post booking, but sometimes it’s a bit hard to put up a real stink about it without sounding petty.

    We once stayed in a “B&B” booked through a particular website.  The website offered the same price for up to four people.  Once we arrived, the owner told us that she wanted to charge $20 because their booking service wasn’t able to charge a different price for more guests, and that they were providing more towels and food.  We were also given a larger room that would have otherwise been $30 more, so we weren’t complaining too much and coughed up a $20 bill.

    We’ve been comped a room once.  There was a complete disclosure up front that there “might be” a resort fee charged, but it wasn’t charged once we checked out.

    However, the thing that gets to me is how it all works out with opaque and/or third-party bookings.  They say there’s a possibility (OK that’s one thing) but it’s not disclosed in the price.  At the very least when you book a hotel with a “resort fee” through a regular booking service the amount of the fee is disclosed before the customer approves.  I’ve even encountered optional resort fees, but only applicable for those who didn’t book through corporate or a travel agent.  At one actual resort hotel (this place was really nice) we were told that we’d either have to pay $20 for parking, find street parking a half a mile away, or shell out $25 for a resort fee that included parking (and a few other things like drinks, pool towels, free local calls).  It sounded like a better deal to just pay the resort fee, but the desk clerk said it would have all been included if we’d booked through the corporate website (which would have been about double what we paid).

  • TouchyFeely

    “the representative you spoke with “was truthful to a certain extent.””

    Which means the other part was a lie.

  • bodega3

    The OP’s point isn’t the $10 fee, which he knew about from past stays, but the lack of notification in the booking process, which I agree was questionable.  I have stayed at resorts with ‘free night stay’ certificates and have never had the resort fee applied.  I asked the front desk about this once and was told, free is free.  I am wondering if the website, due to the ‘free stay’ with points is programed that way but FL requires a collection of the fee?  It seems that Starwood has some corrections to make with their reservations system.  I certainly do think airline fees, hotel fees need to be part of the rate and not separate.  It is an annoying part of my industry.

  • Elmo Clarity

    Hotels can still get around the tax in the way they put it on the books.  For example, I booked a package deal which included both a hotel stay and tickets to an event.  It was advertised as a single price.  However, when I checked in, the bill showed the additional tax for the room, but they did not have to charge tax on the tickets, even though they were advertised with a single price.  The “resort fee” is really no different than a ticket to the hotel extras.  It is like you are buying a ticket to the pool for example.

  • Linda Jordan

    This happened to my daughter when I was booking her spring break trip to the Bahamas.   I specifically asked about it as I had seen a $7.50 charge.  The agent told me it was a 1 time charge.  At check out there was a daily charge for it x’s 6 girls.  It all went on my credit card.  I called the travel agency when they got back and because my transaction was recorded and I had asked the question, “is this a one time charge” and the agent said, “yes,”  I was off the hook for the $200.00 plus.  All hotel room should include ALL charges1!

  • Elmo Clarity

    If the fee is “mandatory”, then it should be included in the base price.  It is as simple as that.  Comparing it to baggage fees does not apply since you can avoid that fee by not checking baggage.  Now if the airlines started charging you a mandatory $5 fee at check-in for lavatory use, even disclosing this fact, how long do you think it would be until new laws would be enacted to outlaw that.  

    The resort fees that really get me are the ones at the places where when you check in and they charge you this, they give you a “coupon” book to actually allow you into certain activities.  However, even though you have to pay the fee for every night, you only get one of these books.

    I will not stay at any place that has a resort fee.  I even had one place not disclose it until I arrived.  Even though it was a non-refundable room, I refused to finish the check-in, took the paperwork showing the charge they wanted me to pay, and went to another hotel.  I successfully won a charge back on my payment because of that fee.  The paperwork showed the room was prepaid and the credit card agreed they were changing the price from the agreed upon price.

  • http://www.talestoldfromtheroad.com/ Dick Jordan

    If a resort fee is “mandatory” it should be included in the base room rate in order to make it easier those searching for lodging at a particular location to compare rates between hotels.

  • davidglass

    This is where tough laws to regulate deceptive business practices are needed. The Conservative mantra that less regulation is better and that government is inherently wasteful is wrong. This is an example where, if such a law had tough monetary penalties for non-compliance, businesses would comply.

    The way the EU handles denied boarding compensation is also an example of better regulation than in the US.

  • Joe Farrell

    You have to wonder – the guy found the disclosure of the resort fee at the bottom of his reservation – but he still needed Chris to get him $10?  Chris’ time is now down to $10 transactions? 

    If he actually READ his reservation confirmation – ALL OF IT – he would have seen the disclosure of the fee before he got there.  It WAS there – he just did not see it. 

    Should these places clearly disclose the fee as part of their fee – yep.  ‘Clearly’ is up to the eye of the beholder but most times it is in mouseprint.  That said, if you don’t like a fee then make the reservation and then CANCEL the reservation and make sure you contact the manager of the property to let them know WHY they lost the business- if they don’t hear it – they won’t change it.  But – given the fact that 99% of people will just pay it – then – well – there is ZERO incentive for the property to not collect $10 a night more that is non-commissionable and goes straight to the bottom line. 

  • davidglass

    Response to Joe Farrell, below:

    I guess you missed the part wherein the OP stated that the disclosure of the $10 resort fee was made AFTER he booked with his reward points and received an email confirmation about his reservation.

    The point is that the disclosure of additional mandatory fees was made after payment was accepted and confirmed.

    Starwood is being deceptive.

    Further, your suggestion that consumers should be responsible for cancelling a reservation if they are hit with an undisclosed resort fee after making payment AND possibly having to go through the trouble of obtaining a refund from the offending business is laughable.

  • y_p_w

    Probably $10 per night, although it could very well have been just one night.

    Maybe it was $10 per night for multiple nights? 

  • y_p_w

    One can get hit with a “resort fee” with opaque booking too. They give a possible range as a warning, but it’s nearly impossible to back out even if the fee is outrageous.  You need to be careful booking in certain places like Hawaii or Las Vegas. Hotel taxes are pretty much the same for all hotels in the same area, but the mandatory resort fee really messes with the ability to get a real deal vs one manipulated to reel the customer in.

    I even saw an old receipt I had from Reno, where the “resort fee was $2.50 although that was a walk-up booking and the total cost was disclosed.

    A lot of third party booking also doesn’t include “resort fees”, although they might disclose the actual fee before the customer approves the reservation.

  • gromit82

    It sounds like Starwood has a problem understanding the concept of “truthfulness.” What was required by the state of Florida was not that they charge a resort fee, but that they adequately disclose the resort fee if they charged it. And that’s what the customer was complaining about — that they didn’t adequately disclose it.

  • Miami510

    Yeah, I agree the ten bucks is small, but…
    Give ‘em a finger and they’ll take a hand.  That’s what happened to airline pricing.  The $300 air fare ended up to be much larger when including the airport fees, fuel surcharges, and the various governmental taxes.  The public was so disgusted, that the recent laws which go into effect January 1, require airlines to include the mandatory fees and taxes in their advertisements. 
    The same should be required of hotels.  I’ve read stories of “mandatory service fees,” with no explanation of what they are for.  I recently saw a charge in a motel’s sign-in form, for a room safe fee.  I told them I didn’t want to use the safe.  They immediately removed the charge.  I’ll bet many don’t read the form and end up paying the fee.

  • Linda Jordan

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post that the Bahamas trip (girls were not college students) was booked through Bookit.com and the the charge was actually $17.95 per day per person. That was an additional $107.70 per girl with 3 to a room and 2 rooms total.  Grand total of $646.20 additional.  The girls were all on a tight budget so the extra $107.70 was a complete shock after being told it was only a one time $17.95.  There was fine print on the website that I clicked on and saw the charge and that is why I asked, “is this a one time charge per girl” and was told yes! It has been changed on their website. So if booking by web and talking to the customer service agent ask all the question and click on the “fine print!”

    I posted the the fine print below.

    Lodging Terms & Conditions:

    Taxes and Gratuities:
    A $17.95 per person per night charge for Housekeeping and Energy
    Surcharge will be added to all guests over the age of 11 and will be
    collected upon check-in (including free nights).Included Features:
    Hot Buffet Breakfast Daily
    Full use of All Atlantis facilities including magnificent waterscapes,
    white sand beach, swimming pools, waterslides, Lazy River Ride, lagoons,
    world class casino, restaurants, health spa, tennis and Atlantis Kids
    Club for children
    Children stay FREE Children 15 and under (maximum 2) stay free when
    sharing with 2 adults.
    No Spring Break Students. Changes to the reservation may result in
    additional charges. All modifications to a reservation are subject to
    the prevailing availability and hotel restrictions, including minimum
    night stay requirements. All charges listed are subject to change
    without notice.

  • willp333

    OP here! Glad to see this was published and received all these comments. The total charge was actually $11.25. $10 + state/local taxes. This is what the fee covers:

    * One hour of local phone calls
    * Access to pool and use of pool towels
    * Use of gym
    * Internet access
    * Two bottles of water

    We only stayed in the room for 11 hours and didn’t use any of these amenities.

    Regardless, an award redemption should include all mandatory charges assessed on paid stay. Plain and simple. Otherwise it is just a sneaky point devaluation and/or money grab. Since no fees were disclosed at the time of booking, I assumed there would be none. The e-mail confirmation buried the fee down at the bottom. I didn’t want to spend any money on this particular stay – if the resort fee had been disclosed, we would have used HHonors points for the nearby Hampton Inn.

    The front desk staff are to blame for turning this into a bigger issue. Unhelpful, unfriendly and rude about the fee. They crossed the line by claiming it was state law and ALL hotels must charge a fee. Appeals at the hotel and to SPG Guest Services after departure just resulted in further frustration. After writing the hotel and copying Florida’s Attorney General and Chris Elliott the Front Desk Director responded with a well written reply and offer to refund the charge.

    SPG.com still does not display resort fees for award stays. However, this line has been added at the VERY bottom of the terms and conditions:

    “Some hotels charge per-night resort fees payable at check-in. These fees may not be paid for with Starpoints. Please contact the hotel for more information.”

    You decide if that is adequate disclosure.

    Oh, the resort charge has since gone up to $14/day.

  • bodega3

    When did the OP stay?  The Resort Fee is now $14 a day plus tax.  Are we discussing the same fee?

  • bodega3

    This is very confusing and is from the hotel’s website.  They show two different resort charges.  The higher amount comes up when you click on the ‘show exclusions’:

    480 sq. ft. / 45 m²
    Heavenly Bed
    Mini refrigeratorAvailable in all rooms in the hotelAdditional Amenities
    USD 419.00 Per Room / Night+ charges & taxes= USD 483.38 Reserve
    Terms & DetailsBase room rate excludes
    RESORT CHARGE of USD 12.00 Per Room / Per Night + Show Exclusions – Hide Exclusions
    There is a mandatory $14 per day Resort Service Package. The Resort Service Package includes unlimited access to the Resort’s health club facilities, in-room High Speed Internet Access, up to 60 minutes of free local, toll free and credit card access calls, 2 bottles of water daily, and 20 minutes of domestic long distance per day.

  • Carchar

    I just heard that Verizon will not be charging that fee after all.

  • willp333

    The stay was in December 2010.

  • jim6555

    They can charge the resort fee and add it to their disclosed price before booking. It would still be exempt from room taxes.  

  • PrivacyNow

    I reviewed State of Florida Atty General consent settlements
    Re Starwood and came up with a 2005 case that involved fees.



    Mr Pou might contact the Fla AG to determine if Starwood is
    in violation of this agreement, or applicable state law.

  • willp333

    My letter to the hotel was copied to the Attorney General’s office and Chris Elliott. The AG replied saying the complaint had been forwarded “to the Economic Crime section for review”.

  • joshua82

    I should note my comment that the state required Starwood to adequately disclose the resort fee if they charged it is not based on my independent research. It’s just what the representative said as indicated in the original post — and the representative is the person who I thought didn’t understand the concept of truthfulness. So maybe I shouldn’t have even believed that.

  • http://upgrd.com/roadmoretraveled MeanMeosh

    Actually, resort fees are far, FAR more evil than baggage fees.  It is at least possible to avoid a baggage fee by not checking a bag.  “Resort” fees, however, are almost always mandatory, and as such, unavoidable.  It is especially bad when you book with an opaque site, because you don’t find out about the fee until you find out which hotel you received, thus resulting in a higher charge than you were anticipating.

    Personally, I refuse to book a room at a hotel with a resort fee, and will go out of my way to avoid them.

  • TMMao

    The alternative is that the $10 fee is included in the room rate, making it subject to hotel tax so it becomes an $11-12 fee per night.  Happier now?

  • willp333

    The fee was taxed at the same 12.5% applied to the room rate.

  • TMMao

    Thanks for the clarification.  The state where I live (Hawaii) only charges 4% state sales tax on resort fees because the parking, internet, bottled water, activities, etc. it covers are not considered a part of the room rental.  If the resort fee was combined with the room rate, both the hotel tax & sales tax is charged at almost 15%

  • PrivacyNow

    The lesson to this Starwood matter is the law is observed or it is not. That is basic fairness. If a room rate is jacked up with stealth fees and that behavior is illegal, the hotel has to man up. If for some reason fee disclosure is loose, public exposure is the best antidote. Consumers win and reputable hotels win if the playing field if fully disclosed and legal. 

    The only way consumers can make informed decisions on hotel value is if terms and offers are reasonably standardized. This website is full of tales to the contrary. Rented a hotel room or a vacation should not be a game of “find waldo” or gotcha.

  • Steve_in_WI

    Hotels should not be permitted to charge an unbundled mandatory resort fee. If there’s no way to get out of paying it, it should be required to be included in the base rate.

    As far as disclosure goes, it’s often confusing even for travelers who are familiar with resort fees. We recently stayed at a Wyndham for two nights at the beginning of a one-week trip and booked the room through a third-party site. I could have sworn that the amount I prepaid included the resort fee. I asked at check-in and was assured that I had prepaid for everything including the resort fee. Of course, at checkout the bill slid under the door included an extra charge for the resort fee. When I complained that I had specifically asked at checkin and been told that I’d already paid the resort fee, the clerk refunded the fee but made a point of saying that he only did so because I had been misinformed.

  • agreenearth

    Our law makers should look into this fraudulent ordeal, and ban the fees that are not disclosed.

    Priceline.com cannot just put a blanket fineprint warning saying you maybe charged with a fee without letting customers know how much is it going to be, or give people choice of opting out of the hotels with additional mandatory fees. This is definitely a rip off, for priceline.com bidding, you are already charged when you find out. So next time, if you want to try to save some money, do not use priceline.com, otherwise you could fall into their trap with no chance of getting out. They don’t do refunds!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZE6GKGRTOAH27U4Z4M4RW5XBRM Monkey

    Bottom line is, if it’s a MANDATORY fee charged to all rooms, then it is part of the price of the room. It should be quoted in the price. They just do this so they can appeal more affordable. They want to say $180/night instead of $200 a night, so they claim to be $180 then charge you a $20 resort fee. Ask what it covers and they’ll say all sorts of things – pool towels, in room coffee, “free” local calls. Feel free to tell them you don’t need those things – doesn’t matter. So my beef is – if it’s something that all guests must pay for every night they stay, then shouldn’t that be part of the cost of the room? Not a “hidden fee”? There should be a law. Someone below notes “What’s $10?” – Well that depends on who you are and how long you’re staying. A week at a hotel that charges a $10 fee is $100 – so that’s kind of significant to most people. The kicker is how this is screwing up priceline. You can’t really “name your own price”. I recently bid and got a room at an average hotel for a week long trip. Only when I arrived did I find out that the “free wireless internet” was only “free” when you paid the $10/night wireless fee … which was MANDATORY. On top of that there was a $10/night “resort fee” AND a $10/night fee for “free parking”. $30/night – all of which was mandatory. $30×7 = $210. I wasn’t happy. This practice is shady and ridiculous. If it’s a mandatory fee that ALL guests must pay, then it should be included in the room rate. If it’s a fee for additional uses and services, then fine – it should be an optional fee charged only to those who wish to use those services. Not everyone has a ton of money with which to pay the fees and shrug them off. I know plenty of families that have to plan vacations down to the penny … and these shady practices makes that pretty tough.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZE6GKGRTOAH27U4Z4M4RW5XBRM Monkey

    At least with a baggage fee you have the option not to bring extra baggage – to pack light. Baggage fees make a little more sense to me in that the heavier the plane, the more gas to make it go … and gas is expensive right now, and airlines are struggling.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZE6GKGRTOAH27U4Z4M4RW5XBRM Monkey

    Yes! Because then I can PLAN ACCORDINGLY. If I can afford $150 a night, I need to find a hotel that truly is $150 a night – not one that’s $150 plus hidden fees. If lumping it into the price bumps a hotel out of my price range, fine. No I can go find a hotel IN my price range. All these hidden fees make planning (for those of us without disposable incomes) really difficult.

  • TMMao

     I understand your need for full disclosure before booking however there are probably very few hotels that disclose everything necessary to determine your total cost of stay in advance.

    All of the hotels in my area that do not charge a resort fee will nickel and dime you for parking, internet, fitness center, bottled water, newspaper, etc.  The Fairmont property even charges for shade (or the right to lay under an umbrella.)  For most guests, just the parking ($15) and internet ($12) fees more than make up for the $25 resort fee.

    By law, all properties that charge a resort fee are required to disclose it at the time of booking.  But until hotels are required to quote all other fees just like the airlines do, there will continue to be this issue of hidden charges.