How to Avoid Paying Hotel Resort Fees

How to Avoid Paying Hotel Resort Fees


How can you avoid paying hotel resort fees? Resort fees are the hotel version of airline fuel surcharges: they increase the actual cost of your hotel or resort stay, and are usually not included in the initially quoted price. They also generally apply whether or not you use any of the services that they cover (such as fitness center access, local telephone calls, coffee, Internet access, etc.) 

Why Do Hotels Charge Resort Fees?

In general, hotels charge resort fees for one or more of these reasons:

  • Because They Can: Most hotels and resorts in the market also charge resort fees
  • Make Hotel Cost Appear Lower: With an added resort fee, a hotel can make its base per night cost appear lower and more competitive
  • Bundle Several Guest Services to Minimize “Nickel and Diming”: While hotels may allude to the fact that “due to popular demand…” they have instituted a resort fee, this is rarely the case. But it may be that guests have been complaining about the hotel “nickel and diming” them for various services, and a resort fee helps by creating a single additional fee, rather than several separate fees. That said, most guests, when polled, would prefer it to be bundled as part of the price, just as they'd prefer to see all fees included in an airline price rather than find out about a multitude of additional fees as part of the booking process.

Here are tips to avoid paying resort fees:

1.     Avoid Destinations Where Most Hotels Charge a Resort Fee

In certain destinations, almost all the better hotels charge a resort fee. Case in point: Las Vegas. You’ll be hard pressed to find a 5 star Las Vegas hotel that doesn’t charge a resort fee. Many resorts in Hawaii and the Caribbean or other resort destinations also charge a resort fee.


2.     Stay at Hotels That Don’t Charge a Resort Fee

Some hotels are exceptions in their market, and don’t charge a resort fee. For example, on Maui, the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea doesn’t charge a resort fee.


3.     Stay in a Room or Suite Category That Waives the Resort Fee

Sometimes if you stay in a higher category room or suite, the resort fee is waived. For example, at The Palazzo in Las Vegas, if you stay in a Prestige level room that grants access to the Club Lounge, the resort fee is waived.


4.     Find a Sympathetic Associate Willing to Apply Your Virtuoso Credit Towards the Resort Fee

Keep in mind that officially, Virtuoso resort credits (typically valued at $100 per stay) are generally not able to be used for the room rate or resort fee (plus many of them are either specifically for food and beverage, or for spa services), but very occasionally I’ll hear of someone who has managed to persuade the hotel or resort to apply the credit towards the resort fee. Your mileage may vary (YMMV).


5.     Persuade the Associate Not to Charge You the Resort Fee as You Won’t be Using Any of the Included Services and Amenities

Again, consider this a huge YMMV, since most resorts will not waive their resort fee, even if you don’t use any of the included services. Occasionally, however, a guest will persuade the front desk or a manager to waive the resort fee, since she or he will not use any of the services that the resort fee is supposed to cover.

A few hotels, such as the Four Seasons Las Vegas, do allow you to opt out of the resort fee if you won't be using any of the included services. At the Four Seasons Las Vegas the resort fee includes “in-room wired or wireless Internet access for multiple devices; wireless Internet access in the lobby, pool and Verandah restaurant; in-room coffee/tea maker and in-room local and toll-free calls.” If you've booked as a TravelSort Client, your Four Seasons Preferred Partner amenities already include complimentary Internet access, so you may as well decline the resort fee.

What are your favorite ways to avoid paying hotel resort fees?

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