That Makes Me Stabby: Resort Fees

This weekend, my husband and I went to Las Vegas and encountered the most ridiculous resort fee ever. My only previous encounter with a resort fee occurred at an actual resort and included “resort” items like two free bottles of water per day (useful at a Disney resort), towel service at the pool, and similar amenities. The fee was still somewhat ridiculous, but at least it provided something of value.

This weekend’s resort fee was nothing other than a way to increase prices without actually increasing prices, and that makes me stabby.

You WILL Receive Business Services
I stayed at the New York New York hotel, but most of the hotels have similar ridiculous resort fees. Especially for weekend travelers. I could sort of see a reason to charge these fees Monday-Thursday when lots of business travelers are in town and might have use for these services. Weekend gamblers are NOT using these services:

Free in-room internet access (I didn’t bring a computer or tablet, because I was on vacation)
Free incoming faxes (seriously, who gets faxes these days?)
Free newspaper (that I had to go pick up. They didn’t even bring it to my room)
Free fitness center access (again, I’m on vacation. I’m not going to work out)
Coupon book (I made sure to use at least a couple of of the coupons, but most were useless)

For all that, I paid an extra $18 a day. Then, to further add to the insult, they charge tax on the resort fee!

Where’s the Resort in this Resort Fee?
I found a list of resort fees, and only a few of them included amenities that were remotely resort-like, such as pool towels. One included in-room bathrobes. Just put robes in the rooms if you want to offer robes! Don’t charge me $25 a day to use it. Several of the hotels with popular pool parties don’t charge resort fees, or don’t list pool access in the resort fee description. That probably means they make enough money off their parties to avoid charging hotel guests ridiculous fees.

Just Raise the Price
I didn’t fight the fee because it was disclosed when I made my reservation. It was not, however, included in the quoted room rate. If you’re comparing rates, check out the resort fees to make sure you’re comparing prices properly. A $65 room becomes an $83 room with the resort fee. Or, hotels could just be honest and raise their prices. There is really no difference between hotels tacking on resort fees in order to raise the room rate without raising the price and airlines adding fuel surcharges to raise ticket prices without raising prices. Frankly, this sort of chicanery makes me feel that the hotel thinks I’m too stupid to recognize a price increases when I see one. How is a mandatory fee anything except a price increase? Especially when that fee is charged the same tax as the room rate?

And if you are going to make me pay $18 a day for a newspaper, bring it to my room! Don’t vaguely wave to an area where I can pick up my “free” paper as if that’s some sort of benefit. All it means is the hotel can buy fewer papers because most people won’t go pick them up, so they get to keep more of that $18 robbery fee.

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