May 14, 2010

Beware Las Vegas Resort Fees

Last few times I've been to Vegas I've become aware of a new trend at many Vegas resort hotels to add a "resort fee" on to your bill at check in.   These fees allegedly cover various resort activities like access to the pool, a daily newspaper, unlimited local phone calls or maybe internet in the room.   Sometimes they are part of an "energy surcharge" fee that is added to the fee to cover the high cost of energy.   Whatever the resort calls the fee or says that it supposed to cover it amounts to an extra fee arbitrarily added to your bill.   The fees are mandatory whether or not you use the services they are supposed to cover.

The problem with these fees is that they are usually buried in the fine print and not part of your room rate when you reserve the room.   Because they are almost hidden it can be pretty easy to not notice the fee and create a nasty surprise bill when you check in.

The has a handy list of the resort fees by hotel.   They also list all the hotels that currently don't have a resort fee.   The resort fees change over time so I'd be sure to check the fine print when you compare room reservations to see what the current fees are.

I did a quick search at Orbitz for 3 star hotels on the Strip in mid June.   Here is a sample of some of hotels' and the room rates:

Room rate
Sahara $26
Stratosphere $34
Riviera  $38
Excalibur  $44
Tropicana  $52

 Those are pretty cheap.   But if you add in the resort fees the actual costs are quite different:

Room rate Fee Total
Sahara $26 $6.00 $32
Stratosphere $34 $7.50 $42
Riviera  $38 $0.00 $38
Excalibur  $44 $10.00 $54
Tropicana  $52 $8.00 $60

You might think that an extra $6-10 is not a whole lot.   But keep in mind that the fees are per night and it adds up fast.   For these resorts with the resort fees they increases your hotel cost by 15-23%.   An extra $10 per night at the Excalibur could give you a surprise $70 bill for a week stay.   Some of the more expensive resort fees are $20 or more.   The resort fee at Treasure Island is now $20.  That could easily add over $100 to a Vegas vacation.

I don't know if hotels in other areas are adding fees like this at all, but its a big trend in Vegas now.   If you're heading to Las Vegas anytime soon then make sure you keep your eye out for these fees. 

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