Did you know that it’s possible to pay Marriott a room rate that doesn’t include housekeeping? It’s worse than an airline’s Basic Economy where you can pay for a ticket without advance seat assignment or carry on bag, because housekeeping is still provided it’s just charged separately.
This isn’t like Starwood’s “Make a Green Choice” where you give up daily housekeeping in exchange for points. Your rate includes housekeeping but you can save the hotel money and receive a portion of the savings back. Instead you just pay more.
Marriott doesn’t pay their housekeeping staff enough, so they want you to top off their wages with tips.
Generally speaking though this is voluntary but it does create awkwardness and confusion, how much should you leave? where should you leave it? should you tip daily or at the end of your stay? and what if you don’t have cash?
Dennis L. shares that the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica is charging him a separate fee for housekeeping in addition to the room rate, a resort fee, and a mandatory bellman fee.
To me this is absurd. How can the room rate at a full service hotel not include housekeeping?
The website only discloses a resort fee. And Dennis is there for an event, I’ve often seen bellman charges as part of event contracts (really, it’s a junk fee to up the total revenue in the contract). Besides $2 seems quite low for housekeeping costs even with Costa Rican wage rates. So I thought it might be event-specific even though he says the hotel tells him “it is charged to all rates, special or public.”
I reached out to Marriott and they confirmed this hotel adds the fee to group business, and it’s essentially a mandatory tip.
A housekeeping fee is added to most bookings of group contracts, which make up about 20% of this hotel’s business. The fee covers gratuities and the money goes directly to the housekeepers. Meeting organizers typically communicate directly to the travelers in their group about the fee. The fee does not apply to individual travelers.
Resort fees are bunk, any charge which is not optional is a part of the room rate and any hotel charging mandatory fees on top of the rate is engaging in a deceptive practice.
Still I understand why they persist. Any hotel that folds their resort fee into the room rate looks more expensive than competitor properties (in this case it would be $25 more expensive). Hotels deceive their guests with resort fees because everybody does it and no one wants to unilaterally disarm.
However a hotel that charges a room rate and a resort fee and still charges extra separately for housekeeping — even if it’s only charged to 20% of guests? That strikes me as a little much.