Finally An Honest Resort Fee: At This Holiday Inn It Includes Absolutely Nothing

Resort fees are a bad practice that are highly deceptive. But hotels go through hoops to pretend they’re good for you. Marriott only lets hotels with above-average likelihood to recommend scores impose them and requires a package of ‘benefits’ that have a retail value at least four times as high as the fee itself.

Hotels really stretch to list amenities of value that are included in their resort fee, like the Hyatt which claimed it gave you access to the bathroom mirror or the Hilton which included use of the in-room TV.

These backflips are disingenuous at best. So it’s refreshing when a hotel is honest that the resort fee is nothing but an add-on, and provides literally no value to the guest.

The The Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Alamosa, Colorado charges a $7.95 amenity fee. This isn’t a resort, so they can’t really call it a resort fee. And Alamosa isn’t exactly an urban destination, so urban destination fee is out. But what kind of amenities can they possibly have to charge a mandatory extra fee for?

Fortunately you can discover on the IHG site just what is included for this extra charge that isn’t shown up front as part of the room rate. And you’ll learn that the answer appears to be absolutely nothing.

More hotels should simply state, as this one does, that the add-on fee doesn’t actually get you anything. They should stop pretending you get some bundle of value when you don’t.

I actually like that this hotel doesn’t bother displaying a list of bogus benefits like a once a week yoga class outdoors at 3 a.m. in winter and a free underwater basket weaving class with mandatory extra charge for snorkel gear.

It’s a Holiday Inn Express. What extra amenities? None of value, whatsoever. They’ll charge you an add-on fee anyway, just because.

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. Hah! I’ve actually stayed at this hotel, and the place is as far from both a resort and an urban destination as possible 😉 If I remember correctly, the highlight of Alamosa was a sign saying ”If a mountain lion attacks, FIGHT BACK!!!”. (That said, it was a pretty solid overnight hotel.)

  2. So how is that legal? Why not just add $8 to the room rate, and call it a day?

  3. The $7.95 per day amenity fee includes one or two-ply toilet paper in your private bathroom, 120 Volt AC electric power for your flat-screen room television, and chlorinated water in the pre-filled swimming pool at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Alamosa, Colorado.

  4. Call it a fee for use of parking lot and access to any electric vehicle chargers. We got hit with a resort fee last year in Death Vallet to cover access to electric vehicle charging stations and wifi that literally didn’t exist. (New property and they hadn’t been able to get someone to do the install at time of opening for that part of the ranch)

  5. @Neal C – On what basis do you think it shouldn’t be “legal”? A business can charge whatever they want for their services, you always have the option of not using the service if you don’t agree to pay the charge. In this case the fee is disclosed so no surprises. No problem at all with this – personally not a fan of resort fees but they are a reality (in some markets, like Las Vegas, very hard to avoid them unless, like I am, your status with the casino company waives them) so move along. You have the right not to stay there if you don’t want to pay the fee. Frankly, I find $203 for a Holiday Inn Express in that town more ridiculous than an $8 add on fee.

  6. I have also stayed there recently. Nice place, nice little town. I used IHG points for my room, no fees whatsoever! Join the rewards program. Problem solved! Haha!

  7. The Virgin hotel New York has a $40 a day fee. When asked about it, they told me you get nothing for it and couldn’t see why I thought that was wrong.

  8. Independent hotels rarely charge hidden fees. I stopped staying at hotel chains that charge hidden fees. Marriot, Hilton, IHG and Wyndham all charge hidden fees sometimes. The only chain that hasn’t cheated me is Hyatt.

  9. Always check the show prices with all taxes and fees box when searching on IHG.

  10. Gary, that’s right. All fees should be disclosed up front on all booking websites.

  11. These fees make me angry. Just add the fee to the price of the room so that people know the exact amount. No surprises. I hate add on fees in addition to the room cost.

  12. Don’t forget to tip the bed. $10 per night is recommended.

    Housekeeping tips are already added to the bill.


  13. If this is legal, what keeps the next scoundrel from advertising a $2 room with a mandatory $100 a night “amenity fee.”

  14. The reason fees are broken out sepatately is a deceptive way to lower the room rate. Hotels know people search by price and this helps fool people that the price is lower and moves the hotel closer to the top of a price sort lower to higher. Soon hotels will have a room rate of $1 and a room key fee or a toilet fee of $200. I skip over anything with a dishonorable fee

  15. Just stayed at a Marriott in Colorado Springs, they charge a parking lot fee and it is not even close to anything. This is bs. Also last night stayed at a Best Western Plus and they charged a $5 service fee for nothing. Again BS

  16. I first came across this in the Intercontinental in NYC. $37/ night. They also charged me for meals that were inclusive in the rate, and over $140 for minibar items that I never had. I stay in hotels in the US over 200 nights a year, but this was the first time I had been gouged like this. What was worst about it was the deceit with which it was done.

  17. Black light fee – used to ensure a minimum amount it bodily fluids still exist on the walls, sheets and remote controls on the room.
    200 grit fee – the minimum acceptably allowed for toilet paper.
    Condom recycling fee – earth friendly
    Toe sucking fee – to be performed by a hotel employee. You’re welcome.

  18. The vast majority of hotel guests (customers) don’t care about the fees and pay them. Only a few customers complain about resort/destination fees and want them included in the rate. In the real world, this doesn’t work because that would make a hotel’s rate appear less competitive with other hotels in the same area that also charge fees. So, adding fees into rates makes no sense to the operator of the hotel. The way to get rid of the fees is for the federal government to outlaw them. Then all hotels will raise rates to maintain their revenue streams. Customers will pay what they’re paying now but will claim a victory, which is nonsense. Businesses should not be regulated this way. Let them charge what they want and let customers buy from them or find other suppliers where prices are cheaper.

  19. Just increase nightly rate and stop calling it a fee, which makes us MAD since the AIRLINES have given us enough of.

  20. I disagree completely with John. The whole point of disclosing fees upfront or including them in the base price is to allow consumers to make a legitimate cost comparison.

    No, raising the base fare does NOT mean customers will pay anyway what they’re already paying now. Many/most customers will favor the hotels that have a lower total cost. You wouldn’t like it if at the grocery store checkout, some of your items had an extra fee tacked on. The TOTAL price should be available for comparison shopping AT THE OUTSIDE. Any honest person would favor full pricing visibility to provide a competitive market-place.

  21. ” The way to get rid of the fees is for the federal government to outlaw them. Then all hotels will raise rates to maintain their revenue streams. Customers will pay what they’re paying now but will claim a victory, which is nonsense. Businesses should not be regulated this way.”

    Yes, hotels should be free to charge fees for optional services, but if it’s not optional then they’re just being deceptive. There are plenty of regulations on the books against deceptive business practices and this should be one of them.

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