A Charge For Requesting A Non-Smoking Room? Only In Vegas
UPDATE 2.15pm: MGM Grand just announced that they are rescinding the $20 non-smoking fee. It's still showing on the website, but hopefully they'll take it off soon, and refund the people who've checked that box.
More and more hotels are eliminating their smoking rooms thanks to both customer requests and local regulations, says a huge USA Today report that frames the issue in terms of similar prohibitions on smoking on airplanes, in bars and restaurants and in rental cars. It's interesting reading if you like heaps of hotel statistics but the upshot is that, at least in the U.S., you're almost guaranteed a smoke-free room.
Well, except in Vegas. According to the Seattle Times, seems the MGM Grand has launched a $20-per-night "Non Smoking Room Guarantee," meaning you can ostensibly lock in a smoke-free room for an extra charge of $20. A quick search of other mid-range MGM properties in Vegas, like the Luxor, Monte Carlo, Circus Circus, Excalibur, and New York New York, reveal that this appears to be an MGM-exclusive fee. Aria and Bellagio, however, are not showing the charge.
Consumer advocate Christopher Elliott, who wrote the Seattle Times article, says the charge is particularly repellent because Vegas hotels often shuffle guests in and out of rooms like so many spades:
Knowing Vegas hotels like I do, I can't say the "guarantee" means much. I'm willing to bet you'll still catch an occasional whiff of cigarette smoke in your non-smoking room.
With the news that the smoking room is on the way out, we'd be surprised if these fees don't switch from "non smoking room guarantee" to "smoking room guarantee" in the next couple of years. Well, everywhere apart from Vegas.