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The 10 Most Ridiculous Hotel Fees

May 17, 2010 at 11:25 AM | by | ()

Grrr...Hotel Fees. It's never fun to check into a hotel only to discover that the room rate essentially covers sleeping in the bed and taking a shower and that anything else you want to do in-room or on the property is going to cost you. There's been a lot of talk lately about the rise of hotel fees and we thought it was time to weigh in on this issue again.

Now, there are the obvious hotel fees like on-demand movies and Pringles from the minibar. Then there are some other understandable fees, such as if you smoked in a non-smoking hotel room then you should pay that $200+ cleaning fee. Same goes for the pet-cleaning fees for your dogs, cats and other hotel-approved animals you must travel with.

But most hotel fees are simply a rip-off. A blatant way for hotels to nickel and dime you every minute that you spend in their hotel. And worse, some fees are for things you don't even use during your stay! So much for hospitality huh?

We've rounded up what we think are the 10 Most Ridiculous Hotel Fees but we definitely want you to chime in below with your biggest hotel fee gripes too.

1. RESORT FEES: Resort fees are evil, especially when the resort is charging you for simple stuff like use of the pool and tennis courts, pool towels, local phone calls, daily newspapers and bottled water. The only acceptable resort fees we can tolerate are ones that include both free internet and free use of the hotel gym. But for guests who don't need to use the gym or the internet, these resort fees are just a waste of their money.

2. INTERNET FEES: You know how we feel about free WiFi in hotels but the sad fact remains that many hotels are overcharging guests to use the internet in-room. The worst offenders are the hotels that offer a pay-per-hour plan.

3. IN-ROOM COFFEE FEES: We love the new trend of single-cup coffee makers in the guestrooms at hotels but we don't love the hotels that charge you $3 and up to use the coffee pods. That's not exactly what we want to wake up to.

4. ROOM SERVICE FEES: Room service bills usually add an 18 percent gratuity to your order plus a delivery fee which can start at around $3 and go way up. We say only tip your server if the service was extraordinary.

5. BAG STORAGE FEES: You know how you always have to check out of your hotel way before your flight leaves? And then you store you bags with the bellmen so you can explore the sights one last time? Well, doing that can cost you from $2 to $5 a bag. Typically, this is done at larger resorts like The Fontainebleau in Miami so try to time your flight and check-out time accordingly.

6. FITNESS CENTER FEES: We shouldn't be penalized for working out on our vacation or business trip. Even worse is when a hotel brand hypes up its commitment to fitness and then has properties charging fitness center fees. We hate this fee so much that we almost would rather a daily resort fee which would at least give us a free local phone call and some bottled water with our workout.

7. LATE CHECK-OUT FEES: We never seem to have much luck requesting late check-outs but although we've thought about squatting in a hotel room until we were good and ready to leave, the fear of being charged a half-day room rate (of if this is the Hard Rock, $100) has gotten us out the door by 11am.

8. MANDATORY HOUSEKEEPING FEES: We strongly believe that housekeeping should be recognized for their hard work but sometimes we don't need our room to be cleaned, especially if it's for a one or two night stay. So charging us a mandatory housekeeping fee, which is what the Atlantis Resort does, is just not fair.

9. PRINTING FEES: We have a boarding pass to be printed and you want to charge us for that? Seriously? Go away.

10. TOURISM FEES, SERVICE CHARGES AND OTHER FEES THAT GET YOU NOTHING : We recently finished a stay at The Westin Hilton Head where we noticed on our final bill not only a $16 resort fee (which was not explained at check-in) but also a $1 Tourism Fee (and several types of taxes.) So essentially, you're charging us for coming to your hotel? Interesting. We've seen other hotels charge these nonsensical types of fees ranging from $1 to $15 for "service charges" that do not get you anything at all. Not even a free local phone call or a newspaper.

What hotel fee annoys you the most? Let us know in comments below!

Archived Comments:


We don't pay for Cable tv so i don't think we should be paying for basic internet any more either, With wireless it's probably cheaper to set up than cable in each room!

Some Legitimate Gripes but Info Misleading

Sometimes I wonder if you people know anything about the industry you cover.

While I don't disagree with some of your gripes, you often cover them in a way that is misleading and incorrect.  You need some fact checkers.

For example, assuming you booked your Westin stay on the SPG web site, it is clearly explained there that you will have to pay a resort fee.  Why should they repeat it again at check-in?  Is it unreasonable for Westin to assume that an adult can read?  And, by the way, their resort fee includes fitness center access and wireless internet.

While I don't know what the Westin tourism fee covers, you should know that those are often required by law and the hotel has nothing to do with those fees.  They are used for things like building new stadiums and other infrastructure. Yes, it's ripping the tourists off.  But your gripe is not with Westin - it's with local government and taxpayers.

Fees, Fees, Fees

great overview of hotel fees.

although resort fees work differently in select areas, i know that in Maui (at the Marriott Wailea) you can actually opt-out of the resort fee if you book via priceline or hotwire...

not sure if that's an option at other hotels?

@FiveStarTraveler RE: Westin resort fee

Usually, I am stickler for resort fees and such but the Westin hotel stay was booked for a wedding and was booked through a special wedding block link provided by the hotel. I don't recall seeing a resort fee and at check-in, they did not mention the resort fee. Just that I would be charged $200 if I smoked in the room.

And yes, I do know that tourism fees and other taxes are instituted by the government and not the hotel but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous does it? Also, that last batch was a grouping of other fees and charges that really don't get the hotel guest anything, not necessarily a gripe about Westin.

Finally, I did know that the Westin resort fee covers the gym and the internet but seeing as I was there for a wedding weekend, I really didnt have time to use either. My friends did use the gym tho, so I guess that's good?


thank god i've never seen a housekeeping fee. isn't that what i pay for when i buy the room? ridiculous.
also ridiculous: storing bag fees and wifi.

Worst Fee Ever

Is the $40 fee to use the gym at the Venetian and Palazzo in Vegas. $40 for a 30 minute workout?

Granted, the fee covers use of spa such as showers and sauna, but what if you just want a quick workout in the morning? That will be $40 please.

Of course, if you book one of their $100+ spa treatments, they throw in the gym for free.

I have asked them to develop a gym-only service, but never heard back.

I also suggested a three-day pass for $60 or something a bit more reasonable. Again, no response.

Fitness fees

To use the fitness room at Harrah's Atlantic City, it's $10-$15 per night. We suppose they want us in the buffet rather than the gym. Some of these resort fees make me instantly hate the hotel. Can we have a hotel fee blacklist, please?!

Hotel fees

When we stayed in Coronado, California, last year, we considered the Hotel del Coronado.  Looking at the Del's Web site, there were resort fees, parking fees, and other fees.  We selected a motel in the area at a fraction of the cost and were able to use the pool for "free" and parking and breakfast were included.  We stopped by the Del for drinks and lunch and walked all around.  I didn't mind the much higher cost of a room, but I did not like being nickel-and-dimed for certain fees.  Aren't places like this in the resort business?  Sorry about picking on the Del, which happens to be a great place, because we looked at others, too, elsewhere on that trip and some had resort fees, some did not.  

Resort fee update

I just looked through my emails and my confirmation email for my Westin stay did mention a $16 resort fee. So I was "told" about it before checking in. But I still believe that hotels should remind you upfront when you check-in. Just a little mention is all.

Luggage storage & late check out

I work as a front office manager at a Limited Service hotel.  Both late check outs and luggage storage are often very difficult for hotel staffs.  Luggage storage as no hotel was built with enough storage.  Is that the guest's fault, no, but limited space and the time of a person to store it and then retrieve it does cost money and the higher the demand, the more the fees will be.  

Late checkouts also cause issues.  Any more it seems every guest wants an early check in and a late arrival.  We may be unusual in that we average just under 90% occupancy year round, but we do both charge for and comp late check outs based on availability (which we probably could tell you which it will be until a day or 2 before you depart the hotel.

Printing fee seems reasonable

I would not expect printing to be free.