One Hyatt Now Charges Extra For Use of an In-Room Desk

First we had deceptive resort fees – part of the room rate is hidden, called a fee, and you don’t see it included in the total cost of a room when you’re comparing hotel rates on a website.

Marriott is being sued over them by Washington DC and Hilton is being sued by Nebraska. Yet Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson says they’re good for you.

Resort fees spread to hotels that aren’t resorts. In cities they started to call resort fees urban destination fees. Lack of transparency is just too tempting, and euphemisms are just too delicious. It’s why fuel surcharges (illegal in the U.S., since they aren’t tied to the price of fuel) are now called ‘carrier-imposed surcharges’. They’re literally fees because the airline says so rather than pretending the surcharge actually pays for anything in particular.

I thought we had reached peak absurdity with the spread in Las Vegas of ‘venue fees’ at places guests were already paying resort fees. If you order a drink that drink has a price, there’s tax on top, and then a venue fee is added too – because apparently the cost of the drink doesn’t cover your seat or the walls around you.

When I covered this new type of fee back in September I asked, ‘Karl Marx said history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce. If venue fees is hotels repeating the resort fee as tragedy, can the farce be far behind?”

We have, it seems, reached farce already. That was sure quick. The Hyatt Destination Hotels Hotel de Anza in San Jose says their resort fee covers the desk and power outlets in the room. That’s correct – your room rate doesn’t include the desk, the hotel charges for it separately. Instead it’s included in the list of items you get for the hotel’s resort fee.

Credit: Family Flys Free

Some might say that would actually be a reasonable compromise at Moxy hotels. Fortunately Family Flys Free was redeeming points at the Hotel de Anza, and Hyatt doesn’t impose resort fees on redemption stays (neither does Hilton). Marriott unfortunately sticks its members for these charges even when using points. So as much as I want desks in hotel rooms, I don’t necessarily want to pay more for them…

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. […] Is saying that the room’s rate doesn’t include looking out the window and taking a picture, so you have to be charged extra for that, better or worse than saying that it doesn’t include the television in the room or the bathroom mirror? And how to these hotel policies compare to Hyatt’s Hotel de Anza in San Jose including use of the desk in your room as a benefit of its resort fee? […]


  1. @Dale M — and you paid it? Congratulations, you just told them they can get away with any ripoff they can imagine.

    Vote with your wallets folks! Don’t stay at chain hotels, make a point to tell them you would have but you avoided them because of fees. Enough of you do it and they will change their ways.

  2. Perhaps the great hotel rate unbundling is coming. Your room rate covers you bed. Access to desk, shower, toilet, coffee maker, etc. can be purchased a la carte.

  3. Hyatt has done great selling mediocre hotels at inflated prices, and building chain loyalty. They can get away with this and they know it.

  4. I travel every week. AirBNB works great. No horror stories, have never had an issue.

    Ditch the hotel industry, there are better, cheaper, and more consumer centric alternatives.

  5. Make reservation on the German versions of the hotel websites.
    Germany has a law that you need to be shown the final price.
    Chrome translate works well. Make a printout of the German reservation and then refuse to pay anything above the price you booked for.
    Always either did not need to pay at the hotel or get refunded later after complaining.

    The US needs to get some more consumer friendly legislation. (In Germany all prices shown – like for airline tickets, menus in restaurants etc have to be the final prices including VAT, service fees (=tips). fuel surcharges etc)

  6. As with airlines, excessive competition killing consolidation is the problem.

    Too few companies controlling too much of the industry ALWAYS leads to these types of pricing frauds plus other sleazy & dishonest abuses.

    Want to end these farces?

    Reduce the concentration in the industries, and allow competition to thrive once again.

    I’ve said it many times before, but until this insanity ends, it cannot be repeated enough:

    “Oligopolies are GREAT!” – said by NO ONE except oligopolists, oligarchs & the delusional, gullible fools & sycophants who suck up to them in the tragic & mistaken belief that someday they’ll be just like them.

  7. @Bernhard

    The problem is that doesn’t really save you any money, you will see a single “true price”, but that price will already include the resort/destination fees as well as most taxes.

    Incidentally its nothing specific about German law – pretty much standard in any EU jurisdiction.

    The great advantage is when you are searching using the EU versions of or Trivago etc. then you do see a true comparison between hotels – with a few minor exceptions you will see the actual price you have to pay right from the start on the front page.

    Whether it is best to book with them or use the US versions can depend on exchange rates or other factors.

  8. I’ve stayed in several limited service properties that charged a fee for use of the in-room safe. At check out I told them that I didn’t use the safe and they removed the charge. Of course, they have no way of knowing whether I actually used the safe…. And most people wouldn’t know to ask for the charge to be removed.

  9. States should step up to address this horse shit. “The room rate shown must be inclusive of all mandatory fees charged by the hotel necessary to stay in the room”- make a law. If hotels ACTUALLY want to uncouple using the desk from having the room, fine, go ahead and wrap the desk with a seal that says how much it’ll cost to use, then tally it up minibar-style. But charging some mandatory fee and pretending it covers, idk, the ceiling and four walls is just dumb.

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