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Watch Out for This Hidden Hotel Fee, Sneakily Slipped into the Fine Print

Where: Vancouver, Canada
October 22, 2013 at 4:36 PM | by | ()

Talk about annoying. After a long journey, you finally check into a luxury hotel and are handed your room card and minibar key. All is well, and for the $250+ late summer rate you're paying at the Pan Pacific Vancouver, the room comes with a lovely view and an enviable waterfront location. Still, something is amiss.

The next morning, after tossing a copy of the Globe & Mail aside while rushing to check out, you happened to read the fine print on the key envelope. There, in a spot few are likely to read, is the note that guests accept a newspaper charge by accepting the key card. It's an unspoken agreement, one you don't necessarily agree to.

Time is money, however, and the reception desk at the Pan Pacific is constantly busy with the checking in and out of convention and cruise ship guests. There's no time to wait to debate the miniscule charge when you've got a train to catch across town. Still, you leave feeling nickle and dimed and hotel newspaper tricks like this are even resulting in lawsuits!

How is this fee not bundled into the high (for Vancouver) room price? Oh, and not even internet at the Pan Pacific Vancouver is included. Suffice it to say that we won't be returning.

It should also be mentioned that we're Platinum-level of the GHA Hotel Alliance, which is a respectable status. Even so, that doesn't get the $1-$2 newspaper fee knocked off.

For shame.

[Photo: HotelChatter]

Archived Comments:


It always disappoints me when Hotel Chatter posts such pedestrian articles. I've worked in hotels for 10+ years and I have a) never worked in a hotel and b) never stayed in a hotel that didn't have this practice. It isn't a 'charge', it is a credit if you choose not to use this high-demand and expected service. Most major brands have this same information on their key packets. I see a growing trend in HC to penalize hotels for any charge they impose - how exactly do you expect a hotel to produce a revenue at all? If you don't want internet, don't pay for it. Don't want breakfast? Great! Don't pay for it. But stop thinking that everything should be included with your room rate; especially at full-service hotels.


We were delighted the writer chose to stay at the Pan Pacific Vancouver during their recent visit to Vancouver and that they enjoyed the views and accommodation.  We are, however, concerned with their comments regarding hotel "tricks".

Our goal at the Pan Pacific Vancouver is to provide guests with a memorable, first class, full service hospitality experience.  The views, the furniture, the linens, the associates who greet and service our guests, the amenities in the bathrooms - we could go on and on - are all part of that experience and included in the rate charged to the guest.  This also includes the morning paper; appreciated by many guests.  

The Pan Pacific Vancouver has a rebate agreement with the Globe & Mail Newspaper group allowing for a daily credit which is frequently used and appreciated by our guests.  The rebate arrangement is not unusual and many of our nearest competitors have a similar program.

A rebate of this expected service could, I imagine, lead to a slippery slope of room credits for guests who do not require TV service, Bathroom Amenities, Extra Pillows, Bed Linens, Hair dryers, Towels, etc.; however, we believe our guests select the Pan Pacific Vancouver because they want and expect to receive our full service product.

Platinum level GHA guests such as this writer also receive a benefits package that includes, but is not limited to, complimentary internet, bottled water, room upgrade and late check-out.  As newspapers are included in our standard amenities, they are not listed in this GHA benefits package.  

We are disappointed to have this common industry program as the primary focus of this posting.