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.
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?”
I was joking when I suggested a toilet flush fee, an air conditioning fee, a housekeeping fee, a towel fee, quadruple zero roulette, a pool lounge chair fee, a casino admission fee, an hourly slot machine fee, a fee fee fi fi fo fo fum fee — all but the last coming to MGM 2020.
— Baadmaster (@Baadmaster) September 5, 2019
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…