The Resort Fee At This Sheraton Includes Telling Your Kids You’re Getting Divorced

“Resort fees” are extra charges, on top of a room rate, that aren’t optional. In other words they’re part of the price of a room, but the hotel advertises a lower price instead. Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says the deceptive practice of resort fees is justified because his chain insists that hotels provide packages that add value to a guest’s stay.

At the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Waikiki the $33 per night resort fee includes a keiki (child) gift upon request. They don’t give you the gift unless you ask for it, but since Jamie Larounis was paying for it anyway he asked.

The hotel delivered a book as a gift, “Dinosaurs Divorce, a Guide for Changing Families.” That’s right, the resort fee includes a ‘surprise’ gift intended to let children know their parents are breaking up. Hawaii used to be a romantic destination, but resort fees at the Princess Kaiulani turn it into something far darker.

You go to Hawaii as a family, and the hotel breaks the news to the kids that their parents are divorcing. I suppose that’s a form of value, if it were true, it’s easier than the parents having to break the news? On the other hand the resort fee really ought to include therapy after this.

Parents might not have been getting divorced before incurring a resort fee at the Princess Kaiulani, but the trauma of deceptive pricing is something few relationships can endure? Is that the sort of value Arne Sorenson had in mind when he argued that offering value in exchange made the deceptive practice of resort fees acceptable?

The Princess Kaiulani proves that resort fees make even children cry – new charges in the government lawsuit against Marriott over resort fees, intentional infliction of emotional distress.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Wow -this is crazy stuff. Sounds like someone making management decisions at that hotel is gaslighting their own personal issues on all hotel guests

  2. Oh my god, I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe and my wife was looking at me strangely. Super awesome stuff, Gary.

  3. On a recent trip I wanted to show my toddler the Mister Rogers episode about going on an airplane, but it’s also the episode where Fred talks about divorce. Swings and roundabouts.

  4. Ive stayed at that hotel before. The last time we stayed there we got termites in our room and also the maid left our room unlocked. When we got the termites, it was late at night when we were sleeping, we had to move bedrooms and all our stuff. The on duty shift manager only wanted to comp us for the resort fees. (I asked for two nights in points back.) Only when I talked to the General Manager, who has been there for years, was when I got what I asked for. He offered to wave my parking and took care of the cleaning of our clothes for us. Mr. Fredrick Orr is a good person, I just think with marriott taking over everything, he is just losing control over what he wants.

  5. Look at how filthy and dog-eared that book is.

    I smell a rat here.

    Gary, this click-baity trash is beneath you. Do better.

  6. I’ll emailed you one last week, where the hotel tried to make the resort fee sound like it was a Government Tax, as well as saying the fee included ‘Tap Water”

  7. @Rich – My reaction to the book is that filthy and dog-eared adds insult to the injury of the topic.

    I’ve met Jamie Larounis a few times, have followed him for several years and would find it difficult to believe this was staged. He’s a pretty straight-forward points & miles blogger.

  8. @Christian me, too. I was laughing so hard my husband thought I was crying and asked me what was wrong.

  9. @ Rich — I’m a bit skeptical, too. I suppose the hotel could have bought some children’s books in bulk, and it included this title. I suppose I could believe a staff member just grabbed one of those books without looking at it to give as a room amenity. But to believe this particular bedraggled book was the amenity is a leap too far for me.

  10. Don’t forget that all Bonvoy members — and not just elites! — are entitled to a replacement benefit or amenity at properties that charge a resort fee which includes internet since internet access is complimentary. This is a little-known Bonvoy benefit in the terms and conditions that 99% of guests don’t ask for … it’s especially important since ALL BONVOY MEMBERS are eligible, not just elites.

  11. I’d take anything Jamie says with a large grain of salt… I remember not long ago he had to serve a suspension from boarding area due to plagiarism

  12. Will not stay at resorts with resort fees. Those fees coupled with nightly parking fees and taxes almost double the advertised rate of a room. I think they lose way more money charging those fees than they think.

  13. I always think it’s hilarious when people try to TWEET Marriott about something a single property is doing that the person might not agree with.

    What is it about FRANCHISES that people do not understand? Marriott is basically a brand marketing and reservations booking company, they cannot control, nor do they want to control (as it might offend their hotel owner customers), what an individual property does.

  14. This guy Jamie who posted this story about book seems a bit off to me. I notice he’s blocked me on twitter for some reason even though i’ve never interacted with him in my life and never even post about travel. Bravo weirdo.

  15. I justed stayed at this hotel with perks and had to pay the $33.00, but with tax it is $37.00..I was there for 7 days…I called Marriott up when I was there and complained…they acted like they didn’t know they did this..told me they called the hotel a d brought it down to $15.00 a day…guess what when I checked out I paid the full amount of $259.00 …I am so discussed with Marriott and how greedy they have become…The worse thing that happened to Marriott is Sorne Sorenson…

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