Beware The Resort Fee

I got an email yesterday promoting rates as low as $47at New York, New York on the Las Vegas Strip. But the the real cost would be $55.99.

That’s because the hotel is charging a resort fee of $8.99. (Add $1.08 tax on the resort fee and $5.64 tax on the room rate and it all adds up to $62.71.)

Hotels, like airlines, are looking for revenue where they can get it. And resort fees, once charged only at high-end beach and vacation hotels, are just another source of revenue.

The trouble is, in my view, that a resort fee of this kind is not optional in any way. You can avoid a parking fee if you take public transportation. The Internet access fee doesn’t apply if you don’t use it.

But a resort fee applied to every room or guest is not really a fee. It’s really part of the base rate. And I’d argue that New York, New York’s rate (available on a few dates) is really $55.99 — which, by the way, is still a very low rate for that property.

MGM Mirage, which owns New York, New York, explains it thusly on its reservation Web site

A daily resort fee of $8.99 (subject to applicable lodging tax) will be added to the guest room account. This will be assessed at check in and include the following hotel services: Unlimited local and 800-number calls; domestic long distance phone call rates of $0.10 per minute; boarding pass printing, notary services, and incoming/outgoing faxes – limit 5 pages; two welcome cocktails per room per stay; 20% discount on select retail merchandise one per room per stay and daily newspaper.

Of course, some of these things are typically provided free at many hotels. Others will not be used by many guests.

Nevertheless, resort fees have been spreading in Las Vegas. One chain, however, has declared that it won’t charge them.

Harrah’s, which owns Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Caesars Palace, Flamingo Las Vegas, Imperial Palace and Harrah’s, is using the fact that its hotels don’t charge mandatory resort fees as a selling point, as Chris Elliott reports.

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One thought on “Beware The Resort Fee

  1. Natalie

    Fees are going to kill the travel industry eventually. The majority of pleasure travelers won’t need the service of a notary or fax machine, which are not that expensive if you have to pay for them anyway. And with most people carrying call phones, does anyone even use hotel phones anymore, especially for long distance?

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