Socked with a $450 resort fee — is that fair?

You owe more for your room, baby! / Photo by imaqine – Flickr

Resort fees fall under the category of “nuisance” surcharges because they’re usually so insignificant that they’re not worth fighting. And travel companies know it, which is one reason they keep piling ’em on.

But what happens when these extras rise to the level of a major expenditure?

Timothy Williams wants to know. He’s visiting Las Vegas for 27 days while he closes on a home, and needed a hotel. So he clicked on, which offers discounts on accommodations but doesn’t reveal the hotel until you’ve made a nonrefundable purchase.

Williams ended up with a room at the Palace Station Courtyard, which like a lot of Las Vegas resorts has a mandatory resort fee that covers amenities not included in the regular room rate. The Palace’s is $14.99. Per night.

“So I’ve already paid $800 for the 27 days,” he says. “Now with the resort fees tacked on, I’m going to have to pay another $450 in resort fees.”

Williams says he was completely unaware of the resort fee.

“It doesn’t show you the hotel,” he says. “I don’t remember it showing me about the possibility of resort fees.”

I checked with Hotwire, and a representative showed me two screen shots in which the possibility of the fee was disclosed. Below the hotel listing, Hotwire displays a warning: “This hotel charges a resort fee,” and then refers you to another page. However, it does not include the exact fee, which is an industry standard.

A Hotwire representative says the company is only doing what other online travel agencies do. “A vast majority of hotels exclude the resort charge from the daily rate,” says Garrett Whittemore, a Hotwire spokesman.

But resort fees are particularly troublesome for sites like Hotwire and Priceline, which don’t reveal the name of the hotel until you’ve paid for it. Because, while it’s an industry-wide practice to exclude the mandatory resort fee (which shouldn’t be happening, anyway) these so-called “opaque” sites add another layer of confusion, because you don’t know exactly where you’re booking a room. And the sites can’t, or won’t, tell you what the exact resort fee will be.

Ideally, hotels would either give you an “all in” rate or allow you to opt out of the fee. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

I asked Hotwire about the specifics of Williams’ case.

“We verified that all of this information was included for his property, the Palace Station Courtyard,” says Whittemore. “In speaking with Timothy, it sounds like he may have missed this information when booking, and may have also been unfamiliar with the widespread nature of resort fees in Las Vegas overall.”

But there’s good news for Williams: Hotwire ran a few numbers, comparing its base rate against other retail sites, and found that even after adding a $14.99 daily resort fee, the combined cost was less than if he’d bought it elsewhere.

“Timothy paid $26 a night with Hotwire, while the cheapest retail price for those same stay dates at the time was $54 a night, not including the resort fee,” says Whittemore.

It gets even better. Hotwire also offered Williams a $100 credit, and the resort upgraded him to junior suite while he was in town.

But Williams remains troubled by the resort fee, the way it was disclosed, and what might happen to others if they should encounter it.

“Hotwire says they listen to their customers, so we’ll see,” he says. “My guess is, nothing will change.”

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 Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    This is a catch 22. While it sounds like the site did disclose there’d be a resort fee, it doesn’t say how much. In a regular situation, you could simply phone up the hotel to ask. Sounds like Hotwire is leaving too many variables unaccounted for (don’t know what hotel you’ll get PLUS how much the final price is going to be?) That seems a bit much. That being said, the OP looks to have gotten a sweet deal overall. Next time, though, if you’re staying that long, why not rent a long-stay apartment?

    On a separate and totally unrelated note (skip ahead if you’re allergic to unsolicited pleas… and feel free to add me to the greedy posters Hunger Games list!), I’m a finalist in the Conde Nast Dream Trip photo contest (!) So I’m asking my fellow snarky commenters to please vote for me (you can vote even if you aren’t snarky…) Please don’t hate me!

    Thanks all!

  • LeeAnneClark

    This one is a total no-brainer.  Disclosing that there will be an unnamed fee is meaningless – it could be anything!  Hotwire is expecting their customers to make a purchase decision without knowing the actual price…and that’s just plain wrong.

    It should not be incumbent on a potential customer to be “familiar with the widespread nature of resort fees” in order to figure out how much he will pay for something what they are selling him.  That is dishonest.

    Imagine walking into a store to purchase a TV marked with a tag that says “Price:  $800.  Plus fee.”  So how much is it??  Imagine if the fees for each TV are different – the $800 TV has a fee of $200, while the $700 TV has a fee of $500…but you don’t find out until you make a non-refundable purchase.  How can ANYONE think that’s okay?

    Hotwire needs to disclose the actual fee before the customer makes the purchase.  Not doing so is deceptive.  It doesn’t matter how much money they saved him in the long run – he didn’t know the price of what he was purchasing.

  • Jen Armstrong

    “I checked with Hotwire, and a representative showed me two screen shots in which the possibility of the fee was disclosed. Below the hotel
    listing, Hotwire displays a warning: “This hotel charges a resort fee,”
    and then refers you to another page.”

    I’m confused. Does this screen, that shows the warning, come up before you make the final purchase confirmation, or afterward? If before, then I think the OP (or any customer in this situation) should have emailed or called the hotel in question to ask about the resort fee before completing the purchase.

  • y_p_w

    That’s actually possible to some degree, although it’s pretty easy to look up.

    California has mandatory fees for all TVs and products with screens that goes to an e-waste recycling fund.  I’ve yet to see it disclosed until the register is rung up.

    There are also some other considerations.  I once needed a room in San Jose, California on some business and decided to use Priceline.  I got a decent rate, but San Jose is different.  There is of course a hotel tax that would be charged for any hotel or motel. However, they had a special convention center fund surcharge that was higher for hotels within 2.25 miles of the Convention Center.  Currently it’s the same for all hotels/motels in the city, although I heard there was another surcharge for only something like the top 30 or 50 largest hotels in the city.

  • y_p_w

    The warning almost always comes before the point of no return.  However, it’s a little bit difficult to price.  You could easily find a hotel in the same “zone” with free parking while another one charges for parking.  Who knows how much a resort fee is.  I’ve paid as little as $2 and as much as $25.

    My wife booked a really nice hotel in Maui on Priceline. It didn’t include parking ($20) or the resort fee ($25) that would have been included had we booked through the hotel chain or a regular travel agent. We just decided it would be best to cough it up, but we had no idea of this beforehand.  It wasn’t mandatory though.  Theoretically we could have just found a parking space somewhere on the street, and I think the closest legal street parking was about two miles away. Or maybe park at a business that probably sees enough hotel guests trying to park in their lots that they have a towing company on retainer.

  • backprop

    You can’t call the hotel and ask because you don’t know the hotel until you’ve paid the nonrefundable price, according to the article.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Exactly, that’s why I said, “in a regular situation”, meaning booking with the hotel. Hotwire has two strikes now. 1) You don’t know which property and 2) you can’t confirm how much the resort fees are. Do I hear a third strike somewhere?

  • Elmo Clarity

    Unlike the California fee which is fixed and posted where you know what it will be (it’s just another sales tax), the resort fees are not.  I’m sure all hell would break lose if the person click a button acknowledging they knew there would be a resort fee but not told what it would be only to find out after a non-refundable purchase that the resort fee was more than the room rate!  This is a real possibility when the site doesn’t disclose the fee ahead of time.

  • Elmo Clarity

    In my experience, the screens come up before the purchase but does not disclose the amount. Also, it comes up before you make the purchase so you don’t know the hotel to be able to contact them to find out the resort fee rate.

  • backprop

     Gotcha.  I missed the ‘regular situation.’

  • $16635417

    I find resort fees more troubling than any airline fee. I have yet to pay an optional airline fee for a service I did not use, yet I have had to pay a mandatory resort fee at a hotel and was not able to take advantage of the services it supposedly included. (I now sometimes feel cheated when flying Southwest or Jetblue and don’t check the bag included in the ticket price!)

    I have used opaque sites hundreds of times and saved thousands of dollars on them over the years. However, I don’t use them where resort fees are prevalent. 

  • absherlock

    A Hotwire representative says the company is only doing what other online travel agencies do. “A vast majority of hotels exclude the resort charge from the daily rate,” says Garrett Whittemore, a Hotwire spokesman.
    The above is the problem with the travel industry (and most other businesses) today. Rather than simply trying to be “better” than the worst, they should be striving to be better than the best. What a crummy answer!

  • Raven_Altosk

    There are many properties in Vegas that do not charge resort fees.

    Also, if you are on an extended stay, your best bet is to CALL THE HOTEL DIRECTLY rather than internet-travel-agenting. A lot of hotels (like Courtyard) offer “preferred” rates to people who are going to be living there for more than 7 days. He could’ve negotiated a better rate than Hotwire and possible removed the resort fee.

    Source: I’ve done that myself during various relos. I actually got a property to charge me half price on the condition I stayed 30 nights (not a problem) and drop the resort fee. Also, in that particular juristiction, once I hit 30 nights, they had to drop the tax because technically now it was a lease.

  • emanon256

    This one is bitter sweet to me.  I am a strong believer that the resort fee should be included in the total rate.  I think resort fees are a total scam, so just include them in your price and move on.  Don’t advertise one price, and then jack it up.  So I did vote yes.
    But in the OPs case, even with the resort fee, he got a deal.  I stayed at the same hotel, during the week when rates are lower, and paid $60 a night before the resort fee.  Om sorry, but $26 a night for a hotel is a little unreasonably low in my book.  I just wish Hot wire had said what it was and told him it was $41 a night from the beginning.  Same price in the end, and I bet the OP would not have any complaints.  I still think it’s incredibly wrong to not include the resort fee in the price. 
    I have been duped by a few hotels with unreasonable ~$35 resort fees.  What did these include?  Absolutely nothing.  Another hotel in Las Vegas even charged me the resort fee when I stayed on points which the parent company clearly lists that resort fees are waived for point stays.  When I complained, they told me that are a private franchise and not subject to the parent companies rules.  They not only charged $35 a night, they also charged $25 a day to use the gym.  How is that not included in the resort fee?  Jerks.

  • emanon256

    You have my vote.  :)

  • TonyA_says

    Nice photo James. We’re thinking of going to Africa this Christmas. Voting for you pic.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Knew I could count on you! Another 200 to go and I’ll be in the lead. LOL

  • emanon256

    How Hot Wire Works:
    In my best sleazy car salesman voice: I got a car for you, it’s a great car, low miles, you’ll love it.  The price? For you, $1,000.  That’s all.  I just can’t tell you what car it is until you hand over your credit card and sign a blank slip.  Oh, and we got a fee too, can’t tell you that either.  But you’ll know it after you buy the car.  Do we got a deal?
    Note: I am not a car salesman.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Thanks, Tony! You’re the best!

  • Christopher Elliott

    You’ve got my vote.

  • emanon256

    They don’t know what the hotel is until after they pay Hot Wire, so they couldn’t call the hotel. 
    The booking page says: “This hotel charges a resort fee. Learn more.” And if you click learn more it says:  “This hotel typically charges all guests a resort fee regardless of how the room is booked. The hotel collects this fee of about US$ 30 per room per night directly from you, so it won’t show in your Hotwire® total.”

  • TonyA_says

    It is a toss up between Maasai Mara and Serengeti/Ngorongoro crater versus Kruger Nat park. Do you have any advice? thanks

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Woo hoo! Now if only I could tap into your 15,759 RSS subscribers and 140,000 unique visitors… (yeah, I internet stalked you…)

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Maasai Mara / Serengeti / Ngorongoro Crater hands down. Kruger is HUGE and you’re not allowed off the roads. Scenery is also not as spectacular.

  • Christopher Elliott

    Really, I have that many? Wow. Maybe I should stalk myself more often.

  • TonyA_says

     I’m glad you don’t charge a resort fee.:-)

  • Raven_Altosk

    Voted for you, Icarus!

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Your vote should count double!

  • y_p_w

    For the case of San Jose, the max difference might have been the difference between a 1% surcharge and a 4% surcharge depending on location.  The Priceline or Hotwire maps for this area are interesting with respect to this 2.5 radius around the convention center.  Some of the airport hotels are right on the edge of this radius, although it probably wouldn’t be something that would seem that unusual in an area with 10% hotel taxes.

  • Aaron Belenky

    I stayed at that same hotel not long ago, and found more problems with the Resort Fee.    On checking in, the statement of the Resort Fee says that it entitles you to the various amenities, including the chance to buy WiFi.

    Thats right, you pay a Resort Fee so that you have the option of paying for WiFi ($5.99 a night as I recall).  Its even worse.   WiFi is two tiered.   The slow speed is $5.99 a night, and the faster WiFi is $14.99.

    So, if you want some decent internet while staying with them, you could be paying $14.99 resort fee, plus $14.99 WiFi, or $30 a night!   (Against a “base price” of $26/nt. in this case!)

    I hate resort fees, but if they’re going to exist, they should be all-in.  When a resort fee only opens the door to even more fees, its downright criminal.

  • Mel65

    As someone who can’t take a picture to save my life–they’re either blurry or my finger is in front of the lens–I can only say “WOW..gorgeous.” You got my vote, too!

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    I go with the Quantity Over Quality philosophy. Take a ton and hope one of them turns out. Delete the rest. When asked, act like you totally meant to take that stunning picture. LOL

  • HomeyDont

    The screen said it charged a resort fee. You’re looking for a hotel in Las Vegas, you find one for $800 a MONTH, and you DON’T have to share the room with a local hooker???  What’s he got to complain about.

  • HomeyDont

     It’s an IQ test.  Would this individual actually click to buy something that was priced “$800 plus some amount?”

    They failed the test.

  • HomeyDont

     You could be, with that level of skill!

  • Wrona

    I use the same philosophy.  Sometimes you get some stunners, and you absolutely did with that one.

  • William Foster

    So why not name the hotels in your post?  It is not slander as what you are writing is fact, right?  Since you got scammed perhaps you could help others keep from it happening! 

  • Joel Wechsler

    Absolutely Mara/Serengeti/Ngorngoro. The latter is unique in the world of wildlife. The only advantage to Kruger is that you can do it yourself, i.e. rent a car or minivan, stay in well located lodges, drive on well paved roads

  • IGoEverywhere

    But who cares what we think? I love it when people that do their own work get blindsided, especially when it’s $450.00. Any agent can get cheap rooms, but he would have know what the extras would have been. I just looked at LAS VEGAS agent websites and could have equaled that price for this coming Oct. and made commission. I would have charge $40.00 service fee that online did not. There is no way the hotels  going to be regulated, as they love the extra millions per year.

  • Joel Wechsler

    You have my vote. Your picture brings back many memories of my first trip to that area, particularly to Lake Nakuru.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    At minimum, the resorts and hotels should be required to make their customers aware of the fee BEFORE they’ve signed on the dotted line or are standing at their counter.

    This is yet another reason to use a travel consultant instead of an opague site, such as Hotwire.  A travel consultant would have reiterated to the traveler about the resort fees.

    Sometimes a bargain isn’t really a bargain.

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    Thanks, Joel! I love Lake Nakuru as well. So peaceful and plentiful with game. Chris, sorry for hijacking this thread! I promise I won’t do any more shameless soliciting for at least another couple of days (!)

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Couple separate thoughts:  1) The daily resort fee in his case is basically 50% of what the room is costing him per day.  That’s excessive to me. Fees shouldn’t rival the overall cost.  2) He’s paying less than $30 per night for his 27 day stay and the place doesn’t look to be a dive. Amazing deal–not quite as amazing when the resort fees gets added in but still a great deal.

  • othermike27

     In Vegas for a convention last November, we noticed several large billboards advertising one hotel group’s policy of no resort fees.  If they’re using it as a marketing discriminator, the fees must be pretty common and onerous.

    When I travel – business or pleasure – I like to nail down as many details as I can, because I know I’ll often miss something.  Call me an over-planner, but don’t come looking for sympathy when you deal with an opaque site just to save a few dollars, and it doesn’t work out. Oh yeah – read all the T’s and C’s too!

  • sirwired

    I don’t get why Hotwire does not disclose the amount of the Resort Fee.  With a non-opaque agent, you can go to the website of the Hotel and figure this out.  With an opaque agent this is impossible.  Not disclosing the amount of the fee to the customer when they have no way to discover it for themselves is a poor business practice, and may be a violation of FTC rules.

    If only state governments would get off their lazy butts and get rid of these “resort fees” once and for all.

  • TravelingSalesman

    Am I the only one who believes: “IT’S TIME TO GO TO WAR AGAINST RESORT FEES”
    Do not accept even a $1.00 per Week fee – NOTHING.  Take every case to the hotel manager or even to the corporate management. 

  • Miami510

    If I owned Hotwire, I’d refuse to handle any property that tried to pull something like that.  If they don’t require full disclosure, then they are abetting the dishonesty. 

    What is surprising to me is the 4% of respondants who think such practices are perfectly O.K.

  • Raven_Altosk

    At some properties in Vegas, ladies of the night are part of the resort fee!


  • Rosered7033

    Glad it worked out for him but it isn’t clear if the upgrade etc. was before or after Chris got involved. Resort fees are seldom negotiable – I would guess even less often than room rates – so why aren’t they part of the room rate? Hotels must have some great contract lawyers on staff! We can only hope that the “one price includes all” law that now covers flights will someday cover this situation too.

  • emanon256

    I have gotten some serious flack for posting hotel names on here before, so I tend not to.  The ridiculous one who provided nothing for the fee was the JW Marriott Phuket.  I had to pay for Internet, and Gym use, even after paying the fee.  That was a few years ago, I’m not sure if that’s still the case. 
    The one in Vegas I agreed not to disclose because I disputed it through the corporate office and eventually got it refunded, but had to sign an agreement stating I would not tell people they refunded me.  So I can not disclose the name.  I still think they were jerks.

  • y_p_w

    “Resort fees” are one of those weird things.  They can be variable.  Sometimes they can be optional.  They help make the price seem lower at first until the fee is disclosed.  Apparently they also like them because they’re theoretically not subject to hotel taxes, although that’s probably not comforting to the customer.

  • bodega3

    If you book on Hotwire you take your chances.  Would you go for a room rate of $14.99 and not know the hotel?  Good lordy, people want it all.

  • bc

    This is a perfect example of what the FTC wants to get complaints on. 

    Here is a direct link to the complaint site:

    If I was Mr. Williams I would go to this website today and file a complaint. This kind of “gotcha” at check in has to stop. 

  • Michael__K

    Mandatory fees should absolutely (IMO) be included in the base rate.

    To be fair to Hotwire though, I’ve used them plenty over the past 10 years and my recollection is that they DO reveal the amount of any resort fees to a very close approximation.

    So I just double checked and searched for hotels in Las Vegas.  And sure enough when you select some of them, it does state: “This hotel charges a resort fee. “ and provides a “Learn More” link.

    When you click on “Learn More” you get a message like this:

    This hotel typically charges all guests a resort fee regardless of how the room is booked. The hotel collects this fee of about US$ 10 per room per night directly from you, so it won’t show in your Hotwire® total.

    The quoted amount of the resort fee does vary from hotel to hotel (e.g. $10, $30, etc,) so it isn’t a generic message.

    Clearly it would be much better if the resort fee was included in the price on the search results screen (especially since you usually want to sort by price, particularly when the listings are anonymous…)  

    But Hotwire isn’t any better or worse than non-opaque sites in terms of disclosing resort fees.

  • SooZeeQ

    If they know, and still go, fine, but to be bamboozled when checking would be a shock and ruin an otherwise lovely vacation.

    As I said yesterday, because of this site with life experiences, I am leary of the discount sites.

  • sershev

    If the airlines now obligated to disclose all the fees at the time of booking, why hotels can only say a resort fee may apply or parking for a fee or internet for a fee? Sometimes I make a reservations directly through a hotel website and still need to call the property and verify how much are the fees. I think the government should add the hotels and car rental and other travel providers to the same category as airlines and make sure consumers are aware of the exact fee they might be paying prior to clicking that “book” button.

  • TonyA_says

    I think you should list those properties here so we can “boycott” them. :-)

  • Michael__K

    They do disclose an amount but you have to click through the “This hotel charges a resort fee” warning to see it.  It looks like this:

    This hotel typically charges all guests a resort fee regardless of how the room is booked. The hotel collects this fee of about US$ 30 per room per night directly from you, so it won’t show in your Hotwire® total. 

    In my limited experience, the actual resort fee amount has always been less than or equal to the quoted one (e.g. $30 could mean $28.99 or $29.99 or $29.50 etc.).  I’m not sure why they aren’t exact.  Maybe it’s because they fear this would give away the identity of the hotel.

  • LonelyTraveler

     Actually, Hotwire does display Resort fees before purchase. I did a
    fake search for hotels in Las Vegas, and for almost every hotel it returned, it
    has text saying something like:

    Know before you go

    This hotel typically charges all guests a resort fee
    regardless of how the room is booked. The hotel
    collects this fee of

    US$ 20 per room per night
    directly from you, so it won’t show in your Hotwire® total.

    The fee amount is different for every hotel, which leads me to think it
    is actually being displayed dynamically, and not just boilerplate text.
    Also this displayed twice in the booking path, and on the final
    confirmation text, there is again generic text like

    “Resorts offer a
    complete destination experience. Facilities generally
    include a spa or fitness center, one or more swimming pools, and
    superior dining options. Depending on location, recreational activities
    may include water sports, golf, tennis or skiing. Coastal resorts
    usually boast ocean views or beachfront access. Note: A resort fee may
    be charged. “

  • bettyblanco

    Some are even worse. I booked with Priceline but then the hotel charged me extra fees for parking, Internet, and resort fee.

  • bc

    Internet fees get me too. It seems budget hotels give this away as a freebie whereas ‘resort’ hotels or upscale properties tend to charge anywhere from $10-$19 a day for internet, which is ridiculous. 

    Either way, these are all EXTRAS and can be turned down by any guest. While I may not like them they’re avoidable. Resort fees are mandatory and must be paid by everyone, so they absolutely should be included in the base rate. 

  • Barbara Pepelko

    I voted for you, Icarus! 
    Good Luck.

  • LonelyTraveler

     Hotwire cannot really include the fee in the total, can they, because they don’t collect it – the resort fees are collected directly by the hotel from the customer at checkout.

  • jennj99738

     There is a place for opaque sites, though.  I have one night in PIT.  I got the Hyatt Regency through Priceline for $42 where it normally goes for over $200.  But I researched *before booking* through and so I knew that I had about a 95% chance of getting the Hyatt and it was only one night, so how bad could it be?  There is a way of coming very close to figuring out what hotel you’re going to get with these sites.  Whether someone chooses to do research is on them.  For a month, I wouldn’t roll the dice…

  • dsliesse

    If it’s a mandatory fee, it should be included in the base price, no exceptions.  It should also be mandatory for hotels to at least post the applicable tax rates and flat taxes, so meaningful comparisons are possible (every hotel in a given city doesn’t have the same rate).  I want to have a good idea of what the whole package is going to cost me — just like with rental cars.

  • judyserienagy

    This guy got a good deal in the end, but the system is flawed and a reasonable expectation of a resort fee would be $3-$5 a day.  Charging $15 A DAY resort fee is nuts. 

    I just booked 3 nights at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan and was annoyed by the $16 resort fee, but after I read the disclosure carefully, it applies PER STAY, which isn’t the end of the world.

  • Michael__K

    In principle, they could show the combined amount on the search results screen, and then distinguish on subsequent screens between the subtotal owed to Hotwire and the subtotal owed to the hotel at checkin/checkout.

    I wish ALL the OTA sites (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz etc.) did that.

    Of course if they did so, then I bet the resort fees would largely disappear (because much of the point I believe is to grab more business by advertising a bogus sticker price).

    I understand there might be some technical hurdles for the OTAs to pull this off, but I’m speaking purely in principle.

  • mbods

    The practice of charging, then not disclosing these resorts fees is a scam and dishonest.  The “opaque” sites really need to straighten up because it’s just so darn easy to go to another site.  It’s worth any extra monies one might have to pay, beats being shocked and feeling ripped off! I’ve heard enough bad things said about Hotwire and Priceline that I would never trust them with my vacation arrangements, no way.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Hey, hey…I didn’t say I had first hand knowledge of this! LOL  :D

  • $16635417

    Why stop at OTA’s? The hotel websites themselves do not usually include this fee in the quote. I pulled a random date for the Palace Station their website and was quoted an estimated total with tax of $50.38. In the terms and Conditions, is where the additional $14.99 “Hotel Amenity Fee” clause resides.

    Another interesting point…the $50.38 is my “Estimated Total with Tax”, (on a $44.99 room rate) yet the T&C’s state my “Total Charge does NOT include 12% hotel tax.” So even when they ARE disclosing tax…they can’t decide if they are or aren’t including tax.

  • Debbie Lott

    You have my vote!  The Ngoragora Crater is on my bucket list!  Fantastic pic!

  • Michael__K

    Sure, no disagreement there… The hotel websites wouldn’t even need to distinguish between sub-totals payable to 2 separate parties.

    At that point, resort fees would effectively become merely a hotel accounting curiosity that would be of no practical interest to us.  Who cares if they want to break out the total cost into as many sub-totals as they want (for towels, water, heat, electricity, alarm clock, TV, wall art, resort fee etc..) as long as the total is what’s prominently shown and used for sorting.

  • Susan Fox

    If you can’t stay at a place without paying that fee, then it should be disclosed since the room+fee=the actual price, which is what people have a right to know. Yet another reason to never go anywhere near Vegas, not that I needed one.

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

    The argument for requiring baggage and similar fees to be included is that one might consider them to be a fundamental part of the flying experience, and as such, not including them would be deceptive pricing.

    By contrast, neither internet nor parking fees are a fundamental part of the room booking experience.  We cannot assume that every room will require parking or internet.

     For example, travelers to New York, San Francisco, and other expensive cities routinely eschew parking cars in expensive hotel parking lots.  Others forego rental cars in favor of public transportation.  Families, business associates, friends traveling together may have multiple rooms but only have car.

    Similarly, many people don’t use hotel internet, people who have cellular internet, vacationers, people not traveling with laptops, hotspot users, etc.

  • BobChi

    Sounds like you need to think several times before using Hotwire in a location with these fraudulent “resort fees”, which are just a way to lie about the real room price. State your real price. If there are optional amenities, fine, but don’t lie.

  • BobChi

    Agreed. Resort fees are a sickness foisted on us by a slimy industry. Refuse to stay, refuse to pay.

  • BobChi

    But if I know what hotel it is, I can call and find out and tell them why I won’t book there. With Hotwire how do I know who to call?

  • BobChi

    But you’re anonymous here, right? They’ve been jerks to lots of people besides you, so probably others have stood up for themselves too. I just wish they would all stop lying.

  • BobChi

    I voted the wrong way by accident. If they worded it simply “should resort fees be banned”, I bet it would be close to 100%. Boycott the slimeballs.

  • BobChi

    And lots of people don’t check bags on planes either. Same principle.

  • emanon256

    Except I’m not exactly anonymous here.  My disqus name is the name of my former band (Not the new hip-hop band, the older one), and my name on pretty much every website and/or forum where I read and post, and my user name at most hotels.   Also, I signed a contract stating I would not disclose, and I don’t break my word.

  • bodega3

    I would disagree about the parking fee.  It is equal to the bag fee IMHO. 

  • $16635417

    I agree. As stated in my earlier post, I am beginning to feel cheated when I fly Southwest or Jetblue and DON’T take advantage of the included checked bag! 

  • Steve_in_WI

    I have always argued that unavoidable fees like resort fees should be required to be bundled into the base rate; on opaque sites, that goes double because you literally cannot determine what the resort fee will be before you book.

  • Lindabator

    Can’t really vote on that – when you book a hotel on these sites, in an area where the resort fees are not only common, but vary in price, there really is no good way book — at that point, I’d look at which hotels HAVE NO SUCH FEES – and find the lowest out of those instead.  It is virtually impossible for the site to tell you what the resort fees are, as they won’t know until its actually booked, either.  So if rates range from $10 – $40 a night, some might live with ten, but you’d want to cover the bases, and most would easily decide against a booking for the $40 – and who knows which he would get, after all?

  • Lindabator

    True – Las Vegas, like Hawaii, are NOTORIOUS for their resort fees.  That’s why for areas like that, where you see multiple listings of resort fees under the hotel listings, DO NOT BOOK on the opaque sites!

  • Lindabator

    You will fall in love with it!  I’ve been all over the world, and my heart is STILl clearly entrenched in East Africa.  Have a wonderful time, Tony!

  • Lindabator

    Definately stick to East Africa.  The parks in South Africa are a “nice” addition to the vacation experience, but in East Africa, they are the reason for going – the sheer VOLUME of animals is mind-blowing – not to mention the beauty and drama of that area.

  • Lindabator

    Unfortunately, that would basically eliminate whole resort areas – like Las Vegas or Hawaii!  And after all, those are what these folks are really looking for, after all.  I say, when you see that so many hotels in a city you are looking to book a room in HAVE such fees, book off those sites – as you could get stuck for even more than this guy did!

  • Lindabator

    Actually, we in the industry find that those that cater to business travellers usually include it, while “resorts” do not, as these are geared towards the vacation segment.  Yes, I know that even while on vacation you may wish use the internet, the hotels geared towards the business traveller KNOW they will need most of the folks having access, and that there is a lot of competition, so they just add it in.  And, since most business travellers are not using the internet in the daytime, costs and potential problems with access isn’t a general concern.  (That from a friend of mine at Hampton)

  • TonyA_says

    Hey thanks! This is one place I have never cared to go. But since we do mostly multigenerational travel (4 generations) for Xmas, then there is no way my old folks would do northern hemisphere for winter (brrr…). I also got tired of the beach scene (need a change). Maybe getting stuck in the wilderness will do very well for family bonding. So now my research should begin …

  • Daves

    Raven’s snarkiness is indeed rubbing off on you. ;)


  • Carver Clark Farrow II

    Yet apparently in this case it was.

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

     Agreed, I often don’t. That’s why I prefaced the comment with “The argument…”

    But in fairness to the mathematically challenged who cannot add the baggage fee,  checked bags have been traditionally included in airfare.  It is reasonable that some infrequent travelers don’t know about them.  As such, when they arrive at the airport with bags they are effectively forced to pay an additional fee which may not be part of the budget.

    By contrast, no one is “forced” to pay for parking or internet in the same way that a passenger might be forced to pay a baggage fee.

    Basically, regardless of where you come down on baggage fees, they are a different animal that parking and internet fees.

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

    I”d be curious to understand the reasoning

  • Dean

    For those people voting no….why?

  • MeanMeosh

    Or just refuse to book at hotels that charge “resort” fees.  Yes, you can find such places, even in Vegas and Hawai’i, if you’re willing to spend some time searching.  Take it a step further, and send an e-mail to the hotels your spurned and tell them you refused to book at their property because they charge resort fees.

  • Jason M
  • Christopher Elliott

    That’s funny! Looks like we were both working on the same case at the same time without knowing it.

  • Bill Armstrong

    Resort fees should be made illegal.  It is like a grocery store making you buy an assortment of things every time you shop whether you need it or not.