Is This Amenity Fee a New Low?

You have undoubtedly heard of mandatory resort fees, mandatory destination fees and mandatory facilities fees which an increasing number of hotel and resort properties have been charging guests — and these fees are often obscured from view until the potential customer starts the reservation booking process so that the advertised base rate of the room appears to be lower or more competitive with similar rooms priced by other lodging establishments…

Is This Amenity Fee a New Low?

…but what exactly is an amenity fee — and what is included with it once you pay for it?

Click on the image for an enlarged view. Source: Marriott International, Incorporated.

More accurately called a “daily destination amenity fee”, the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown hotel property charges $17.00 per day to the room rate.

Click on the image for an enlarged view. Source: Marriott International, Incorporated.

Booking a reservation to check in to the hotel property on Friday, December 13, 2019 and staying for one night would be $218.00 just for the base room rate…

Click on the image for an enlarged view. Source: Marriott International, Incorporated.

…and although the estimated government taxes and fees is an abominable $45.35, the mandatory destination amenity fee is $17.00 — but what do you get in return for paying for it?

FlyerTalk member PhillyPhlyer40who discovered and uncovered this scourge of a mandatory fee — spoke with an employee of the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown on the morning of Monday, December 2, 2019 after having stayed at this hotel property to find out what exactly is included in the destination amenity fee.

1-free coffee in the room. If you run out, they will bring you more (no kidding, this was the leadoff line)
2-heated pool for use 7am-10pm
3-fitness center use 24 hours a day
4-free champagne or mimosa, but only available on weekends check ins from 3-5pm (WHHHAT?)

“Seriously, I asked to speak to a manager”, PhillyPhlyer40 wrote. “Got a front desk manager on the phone. Went through list. She also included a huge (HER WORDS) benefit the agent forgot. Free water bottles. They give 2 per room per day. (I did say i would just take them out of the lounge, to which she replied lounge food had to be consumed in lounge!)”

In conclusion, PhillyPhlyer40 lamented, “Well folks, guess this means I will look elsewhere. Be honest and put it in the room rate. This is deceptive at best.”

Even worse is what MSPeconomist shared, which can only add to the confusion of unwanted mandatory fees for business travelers: “My employer won’t reimburse resort fees. They seem to be viewed as a luxury that’s inappropriate for business travel, yet the reality is that sometimes you must stay in a property that charges resort fees. An obvious example would be a convention in Vegas. I’m not sure what happens if the garbage fee is called a destination or facilities fee.”

Summary

I could not agree with PhillyPhlyer40 more with the aforementioned conclusion — and other members of FlyerTalk agree.

That I vehemently oppose the implementation of mandatory resort fees, facilities fees and destination fees is no secret to you if you have been a reader of The Gate for years — they should either be optional or eliminated altogether — and I will just let this extensive body of work over the years pertaining to mandatory resort fees speak for me…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.


 

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7 thoughts on “Is This Amenity Fee a New Low?”

  1. ron says:

    Vote with the wallet, simple as that. I certainly do not book hotels the moment I see in the reservation process that I am about to be screwed.

    Anyway this seems to be mostly an issue for US hotels which makes it a relatively minor issue for most travellers.

  2. Mike L says:

    Unfortunate this isn’t really anything new. A lot of them name their fees something dumb. Downtown Grand in Vegas called it a “Grand Experience Fee”. I will say though that the employer SHOULD be covering these mandatory fees if they are paying for the room as it’s just a way for them to hide some of the room rate. Hopefully all of this extra fee bulls–t stops once the OTAs start punishing hotels that charge them and start collecting commissions on the fees.

  3. DaninMCI says:

    The best part is the fine print “fees implemented after booking”

  4. OS says:

    I just called and requested my folio for my wyndam stay and submitted my claim for $22. Its not a lot of money but it took a few minutes, and I’ll be darned if I let them get away with this. Especially since the whole stay was terrible to begin with. Call your hotel and ask for a folio if you do not have one, they had it and sent it to me within minutes, and I uploaded it and took care of the class action right away.

  5. Stogieguy7 says:

    These fees are a very crooked and cynical ploy in order to separate you from (more of) your money. A money grab, pure and simple. I’ve heard the hotel industry’s justifications for such fees and not one of them has resonated with me as being anything other than what I described above. Free water bottles? Indoor pool? Mimosas during check in for 2 hours on the weekend? How about NOT stocking my room with water bottles (I’ll buy some cokes at Walgreens), I never use these indoor pool and I’ll skip the mimosa – so drop the damn fee. A fee that is on things that have always been part of the experience in the first place.

    What’s next? McDonalds adding a fee (not disclosed clearly on the menu) for each slice of bun? Quarter Pounder is now $3.00, plus a 50 cent “bakery service fee”. Laughable, yet no worse than hotels like you describe above.

  6. John Sousa says:

    I certainly agree with ‘vote with your wallet’, but for my money the only two decent chains (to earn points to take family on vacation) Are Hyatt and Marriott; both who abuse the hell out of this money grabbing scheme.
    This obscene policy of picking your pocket with these fees (resort, destination or whatever the property decides to label it at) must stop. I always complain loudly when checking in and again when I check out…Sadly they simply don’t care that I never use any of the items I am Forced to pay for.

    I’m afraid the only way this will get resolved is a lawsuit reaches a judge who travels and hates these fees as much as we do.

  7. Roger says:

    another #bonvoy benefit I guess…

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