Mandatory Resort Fees Can Add Up to 50% More to Your Room Rate With Useless Amenities
I n my quest to combat mandatory resort fees by compiling a list of hotel and resort properties which engage in this nefarious practice, I have noticed that some hotel and resort properties will advertise a low room rate — only to surprise you with what seems to be a usurious resort fee during the booking process.
For example, the Palace Station Hotel & Casino has a room rate as low as $36.99 — but it comes with a notice that “A daily Hotel Service Fee of $16.79 (tax inclusive) will be added to all room reservations upon check-in.”
This means that the mandatory resort fee — excuse me, hotel service fee — adds greater than 43 percent to the room rate of $36.99. Add an estimated tax of $4.43; and your $36.99 room rate is suddenly $58.21 — or greater than 57 percent more of what you initially expected to pay from the advertised rate…
…and it is all legal. Unless you are able to convince employees of the hotel or resort property to reduce or eliminate the resort fee from your bill, you have no choice but to pay it if you are a guest.
What You Get For That Resort Fee
This is what is included in the resort fee at the Palace Station Hotel & Casino — along with my commentary:
- Access to Fitness Facility This could be of value, depending on what is included in the fitness facility and how it compares to the price to access comparable fitness facilities within the area of the hotel property — unless, of course, you typically do not work out while traveling
- In-Room Internet Access Unfortunately, many hotel and resort properties in Las Vegas include this amenity in their resort fees as well; but as more and more hotel properties elsewhere include complimentary access to the Internet as part of the room rate — or not, if it is available to all in the hotel lobby — this becomes more bogus with every day that passes
- Airport & Strip Shuttle This depends on how often you would use the service and for how far, as this could be a cost savings when compared to using a taxi cab but not when walking as I did — and I have no intention to strip my clothes off inside of the shuttle, thank you very much
- Daily Newspaper (Mon-Sat) For me, this amenity is worthless, as you can receive your news from the Internet — for which you are already paying as part of the resort fee — and unless you actually read the newspaper, this is a waste of natural resources
- Copy/Fax Services at Bell Desk I can go to a local facility and have copies and faxes of documents at a nominal fee — although I cannot remember the last time I actually needed this service
- Unlimited Local & Toll-Free Calls Oh, goodie! I do not have to bring my mobile telephone after all!
- Unlimited Domestic Long Distance Calls Maybe in 1983, this was a distinct differentiator as long distance telephone calls typically cost significantly more than local telephone calls; but unless you do not travel with any portable electronic device, this amenity is completely and totally useless
Why Stop There?
How about we add some of the following amenities to further justify mandatory resort fees at any hotel or resort property?
- Pen and Paper Every room contains at least two pens and two pads of paper; and unlimited replacements of both are included at no extra charge
- Room Key Your peace of mind is important to us and we do not want for you to be without it; so we generously include not one, but two room keys for your security and safety as part of the resort fee
- Bible Although we receive a copy free of charge for each room to be supplied with a Bible, it takes up valuable space in the nightstand drawer; but we generously include that in the resort fee — along with as much complimentary reading of the Bible as you like, at no extra charge
- Unlimited Water Avoid the per gallon charge for water every time you shower or flush the toilet and enjoy an uninterrupted flow of water — compliments of the resort fee
- Unlimited Air Typically, our rooms are in a vacuum; but you can enjoy breathing unlimited amounts of air at no extra cost without concern
- Emergency Exit Access In case of emergency, you are invited to use any emergency exit — preferably the one which you are instructed to use — without worry of any additional charge
- Unlimited Elevator Rides Enjoy complimentary unlimited rides on our elevators, 24 hours per day, seven days per week
- Resort Fee The resort fee is complimentary — we do not charge you to charge you a resort fee
- Fuel Surcharge Wait a minute — is that not for airlines? Hold on — there was a time where many hotel and resort properties used to add an energy surcharge to the room rate; so we might remove this from the resort fee and tack it on as a separate fee
Although the resort fee is clearly and visibly disclaimed during the process of reserving a room, you are led to believe up until that point that you are paying a certain room rate. In the case of the Palace Station Hotel & Casino, there is no such thing as a room rate of $36.99. The actual room rate before taxes is effectively $53.78, which may still be a good deal.
Mandatory resort fees are typically deceptive to the consumer — pure and simple. I am attempting to do an admittedly small part in at least bringing about awareness of mandatory resort fees by compiling a list of hotel and resort properties which charge them; and by doing so, I am finding that it consumes a lot of time because you must already be into the booking process in order to first find out what actually is the mandatory resort fee.
If a hotel or resort property is to charge a resort fee, it should be optional for the consumer to pay — not mandatory even though the guest will not use any of the amenities which are covered by the resort fee. Neither lawsuits nor petitions nor boycotts nor intervention by the Federal Trade Commission of the United States have helped to control the proliferation of resort fees — at least, not yet, anyway — but that does not mean that we should not stop trying.
As long as customers keep paying them, the scourge of mandatory resort fees will continue. Please help bring about awareness of mandatory resort fees in order to help customers avoid paying them by assisting me in compiling this list of hotel and resort properties which charge them instead of simply adding them to the room rate. Perhaps it will help towards educating consumers to avoid hotel and resort properties which charge mandatory resort fees — and eventually force them to be rescinded altogether, despite that possibility currently being unlikely…
Source: Palace Station Hotel & Casino.