It's Time to Dump Resort Fees

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The last thing the hotel industry wants to become is the airline industry. But that's what many properties, mostly resorts, are doing by nickel and dimeing guests through the dreaded resort fee. While these fees are always spelled-out somewhere (usually in fine print) on property reservation pages, many consumers overlook or don't understand the fees until they're surprised at checkout with an additional $10 to $15 daily charge they may not have expected.

My wife and I took a short vacation to the Caribbean a couple of weeks ago, and part of the time we stayed in a four-star-plus beachfront hotel operated by a major chain. This property has the most egregious resort fee policy I've seen to date. Instead of charging a flat per-day fee, this hotel tacks on an extra14 percent to the room rate. During the upcoming President's Day weekend, the hotel's base rate is $309 a night, plus the resort fee amounting to an additional $43 a day, plus applicable local taxes. And guests don't get much for that outrageous charge: free admission to the hotel's entertainment lounge, access to the fitness center and daily pool activities, none of which I saw during two days we spent poolside. No bottled water, no newspaper, no Internet access.

And while I believe hotels that charge resort fees are out of line and stupid, at least one Las Vegas property approaches the subject with a little humor. According to a post on Hotel Chatter, the $11.95 resort fee charged by the Rumor Resort includes, local calls, bottled water, WiFi and free access to one adult channel on the in-room TV. And better yet, the recently opened Cosmopolitan Resort on the Las Vegas Strip has decided not to charge guests a resort fee. It will be interesting to see if that move gives the property any competitive edge in the very tough Las Vegas market.

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