$40 Resort Fee at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort Starts June 1, 2015
E ffective as of Monday, June 1, 2015, all guests will be required to pay a $40.00 resort fee at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort; and that includes members of the Hyatt Gold Passport frequent guest loyalty program — reportedly regardless of status, according to this discussion posted on FlyerTalk.
This policy includes reservations booked before the announcement of the resort fee — which occurred yesterday on April Fool’s Day but is no joke — with evidence in the form of text messages with Hyatt Concierge, as provided by FlyerTalk member jepiv.
Beginning April 2, 2015, a daily Resort Fee of $40 + tax will apply for new reservations starting June 1, 2015. This fee will be added to your daily rate and includes: unlimited use of GoPro during visit, morning Outrigger excursions, Fitness & Yoga classes, complimentary tandem & regular bike rentals, paddleboard yoga classes, tandem kayak rentals, all day snorkel equipment and body board rentals, ukulele & hula lessons, access to the GoPro editing lab with two printed photos from personal pictures taken with GoPro and much more! Click here for full resort fee guide.
I clicked; and here are the offerings which comprise the justification of the resort fee:
RESORT FEE POLICY
- GoPro Hero 4 camera rental
- GoPro photo & video editing lab
- Outrigger excursion (Monday – Friday)
- Stand Up Paddleboard lessons (Saturday – Sunday)
- Snorkel rental
- Yoga classes
- Pilates classes
- Stand Up Paddleboard yoga
- Single & tandem bike rental
- Single & tandem kayak rental
- Ukulele lessons
- Hula lessons
- Body board rental
Oh, boy!!! Where do I sign up?!?
Should Resort Fees Be Included in the Room Rate?
With room rates starting at $467.00 per night for the random sample date of Tuesday, May 5, 2015, I think it is ridiculous to charge a resort fee on top of that. Just include those offerings as part of the amenities offered by the resort property and raise the room rate by $40.00.
Ah, but it is not as simple as that. What are the tax implications or other financial obligations for which the resort property is responsible to pay if the $40.00 is included as part of the room rate versus charged as a resort fee?
Also, would potential guests balk at paying a room rate of $507.00 per night? Apparently not, for if you booked a reservation for that same room for six days from the time this article was posted — April 8, 2015, in this case — the room rate is $535.00…
…so what is an extra $40.00 amongst friends? Why should the room rate not be $575.00? Or $600.00? Or $746.51?!?
What if I do not want hula lessons or ukelele lessons? What if “stand up paddleboard yoga” — whatever the heck that is — does not appeal to me?
Too bad. I am required to pay the resort fee anyway.
Can This Resort Fee Be an Actual Bargain and Benefit to You?
Now — in all fairness — if you did decide that you want to rent stand up paddle boards, that will financially set you back $40.00 for the first hour alone; $65.00 for two hours; or $90.00 for the day. Those rates alone cover or exceed the new mandatory resort fee. Add the rental of snorkel sets at $10.00 for an hour or $20.00 for a day, and it would appear that you have a bargain with a resort fee of $40.00, which includes these rentals and more.
Even one hour of the aforementioned stand up paddle board yoga is $85.00 for an hour; so if you plan on doing some or all of these activities, you could actually potentially save a significant amount of money by paying the resort fee — but that should be an option of choice for you and not mandatorily shoved upon you whether you want it or not.
Why Resort Fees Exist
I have long campaigned against resort fees — in fact, the most recent article was posted only three days ago pertaining to a lawsuit against two hotel and casino properties in Las Vegas — but it unfortunately appears that more and more hotel and resort properties are embracing resort fees rather than eliminating them, as they must be quite profitable…
…and guests are apparently acquiescing to paying these resort fees instead of boycotting hotel and resort properties which charge them as mandatory fees.
I still believe that hotel properties should be required to disclose all mandatory taxes and fees and include them in the room rate, as required of airlines in the United States as of January of 2012. This will give you and I more of an advantage to fairly compare room rates at competing hotel properties before deciding to book a reservation. It is a waste of time for us to have to investigate every single room rate to find out what is the absolute true total cost.
I have no problem with hotel properties charging fees in order to increase revenue and cover costs — and, dare I say, even profit from it — as long as disclosure of those fees are as clear and as easy to find throughout the entire reservation booking process as possible, and as long as the fees are “unbundled” from the room rate for optional amenities and services. For example, if use of the hotel pool now costs ten dollars per day instead of including it in the room rate, impose it as an optional charge and reduce the mandatory room rate by ten dollars per day. This is fair, as only those who use the pool will pay the fee.
Rarely do I ever patronize a hotel property which charges a resort fee — unless I am absolutely receiving value for my money. In most cases, I never use the offered amenities covered by a resort fee; and so, they are worthless to me as well — especially when those amenities would have been included free of charge within the room rate as a member of a frequent guest loyalty program with elite level status.
Hotel properties should be allowed to earn revenue any way they possibly can. I have no issue with a hotel property charging resort fees, as long as it:
- Clearly discloses the resort fees in advance
- Offers real value for the price paid for the amenities included in resort fees without decreasing the benefits normally offered exclusive of a resort fee, and
- Implements resort fees as optional, rather than mandatory
Let me repeat that last item: Implements resort fees as optional, rather than mandatory. Charging mandatory resort fees after a reservation is booked is a predatory practice that is deceptive at best; and this practice needs to cease and desist immediately. In my opinion, resort fees are a method to artificially offer — and advertise — a lower room rate…
What You Can Do About Resort Fees
…but you can possibly reduce — or eliminate altogether — resort fees on your next visit to a resort property, as many other frequent fliers have successfully done in the past.
- Do not patronize hotel properties which implement a mandatory resort fee — especially if you will not benefit from it. These properties are typically found in touristy resort areas such as parts of the Caribbean, Orlando, Las Vegas or Hawaii — although they can be found almost anywhere.
- If the hotel property does disclose that a mandatory resort fee is charged and you really want to stay there, contact the management of the property and inform them that you will not stay at their property unless they agree not to charge you the resort fee. Although it may take some effort, be prepared to negotiate, as you might be pleasantly surprised at what you might be able to accomplish as a result; but enter into the negotiations expecting to get nowhere so that you are not disappointed — and have a Plan B, a Plan C and perhaps even a Plan D if you are unsuccessful in your negotiations.
- If you are informed of resort fees for the first time when checking into a hotel property, adamantly refuse to pay it. Walk out of the hotel property if the front desk agent refuses to oblige, or contact the corporate office of the lodging company of which the hotel property is branded to submit an official complaint.
You may also want to consider taking the following steps to help end this deceptive and sneaky practice of hotel properties charging undisclosed mandatory fees:
- Boycott hotel properties which impose undisclosed mandatory fees to its guests. Hit them where it hurts — in terms of reduced revenue. Vote with your feet and choose an alternate hotel property, if available.
- Alert the Federal Trade Commission of the United States of this practice by filing a complaint when reporting hotel properties.
- Spread the word about these rogue hotel properties and their unfair policies to family, friends and colleagues. Encourage them to join you in the boycott, file complaints to the Federal Trade Commission of the United States, and spread the word to their families, friends and colleagues.
There is no reason for you to be forced to pay for something you did not use — let alone be unfairly charged additionally after you already paid for it or reserved it — just so that management at some greedy hotel or resort property can profit off of you. Period. End of story.
One word to FlyerTalk member Astrophsx, to whom I thank for bringing this to my attention: I decided to be one of the minimum of seven “bloggers” of BoardingArea to cover this news — even though I have never personally stayed at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. Why? Because as FlyerTalk member bthotugigem05 posted, “It’s kind of a big deal, I’d hope attention would be drawn to it.”
I agree. Now let us work together to do something about eliminating resort fees — starting with not patronizing hotel and resort properties which implement them as mandatory charges and include products and services which you would never use during your stay…
…or better yet, send a message to have resort fees be optional instead of mandatory…
The photograph at the top of this article is that of the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort; and its source is its official Internet web site, which you can access by clicking here.