Hotel Resort Fees — What They Are and How to Avoid Them!

resort

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If you want to get a relaxed vacationer upset quickly, just mention resort fees. These annoying extra fees are often charged at resort hotels to cover extra perks ranging anywhere from a welcome drink to phone calls to beach chairs.

The frustrating part is that you’re required to pay the fees regardless of whether or not you use the extra services. These fees aren’t included in the room price until right before you book, so it can make price comparisons between hotel booking websites difficult.

Resort fees have gotten some people so upset that hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton have even been sued over them.

So, what’s a traveler to do? We’ll show you exactly what these resort fees are, where to find them, and most importantly, how to avoid them.

What is a Hotel Resort Fee?

Hotel resort fees, also called amenity or destination fees, are pesky additions to your hotel bill that cover anything from Wi-Fi to parking. While they are disclosed before you book a hotel, they can be easy to miss and can add a lot to your final bill.

Resort fees can range from under $10 per day to over $50 per day (some, like the resort fee at Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve property, are over $100!). For a week-long vacation, these fees could add hundreds of dollars to your hotel bill!

The things that you may see as a “benefit” of your resort fee can include activities and amenities you would expect to be already included in your room rate, like local calls or an in-room safe.

Other things we’ve seen listed as resort fee amenities include:

  • Beach chairs and umbrellas
  • Bike rentals
  • Enhanced internet
  • Access to the fitness center
  • Tennis court access
  • Photography session
  • Snorkel lessons
  • Pool activities
  • Food credit
  • Self-parking

While some of these amenities seem nice, many are what you would expect to be complimentary at a resort.

You might also notice resort fees at properties you wouldn’t consider a resort, like hotels in big cities like New York City. They get away with it by calling it a destination fee, but it’s basically the same thing.

NYC hotel destination fee
The Algonquin Hotel in New York City charges a $30 daily destination fee which includes a $30 food credit and some tours. If you aren’t maxing out your food credit, it’s like throwing money down the drain. Image Credit: Marriott

Which Hotels Have a Resort Fee?

Marriott

When you’re booking a Marriott hotel, keep an eye out for the resort fee disclosure when you’re looking at room rates.

Marriott booking fees
You’ll be able to see any resort fees charged by Marriott before you book. Image Credit: Marriott

Hot Tip: Pay attention to how the resort fee disclosure is worded. While most of the time you’ll see a flat rate per day charge, you’ll also find per person charges and charges that are based on your room rate!

10% room rate resort fee
Pay attention to the resort fees — this hotel charges a fee that’s equal to 10% of the room rate! Image Credit: Marriott

Hyatt

Hyatt resort fees will be noted before you select a room, however, the disclosure isn’t highlighted, so it can be easy to miss.

Hyatt Resort fees
Hyatt resort fees are disclosed before you choose a room. Image Credit: Hyatt

Hilton

When you’re booking a Hilton Hotel, you’ll be able to see if there is a resort fee when you’re searching for a room type. However, you won’t be able to see what the fee is until you scroll down a bit to each individual room type.

Hilton Resort Fees
You’ll be able to see your Hilton resort fees before you book. Image Credit: Hilton

IHG

The IHG resort fee disclosure is really hard to find and doesn’t even appear until right before you’re ready to book. Keep an eye out for these sneaky fees!

IHG resort fees
IHG resort fees are easy to miss! Image Credit: IHG

Wyndham

Unfortunately, Wyndham does a good job of hiding their resort fees, too. They aren’t disclosed until you are ready to complete your booking — and you’ll only see the fee breakdown if you click on the Cancellation and Rate Details details.

Wyndham Resort Fees
Unless you take the time to look at the rate details, you wouldn’t know that the taxes and fees include a $35 per day resort fee! Image Credit: Wyndham

Hot Tip: Think you’ll avoid a resort fee by staying at an Airbnb? Be careful, because if a host has 6 or more properties, they are able to charge a resort fee!

How to Avoid Paying Resort Fees

Resort fees are a quick way to add to the cost of your vacation. However, the good news is that there are a couple of ways to get out of paying these fees.

Book an Award Stay

One of the easiest ways to avoid resort fees is by booking an award stay. Many hotels will waive the resort fees on stays booked with points.

Hyatt and Hilton always waive resort fees when you book a room with points. Wyndham will also waive resort fees, although there is a good amount of crowdsourced data that suggests their implementation of this policy is spotty.

Grand Hyatt Kauai
Use points to stay at luxurious properties like the Grand Hyatt Kauai without resort fees. Image Credit: Katie Seemann/Zen Life and Travel

Here are some of our favorite credit cards that earn World of Hyatt points:

You can book a Hilton Honors award stay at Maui’s Grand Wailea and you won’t pay resort fees. Image Credit: Grand Wailea

Here’s one of our favorite credit cards that earn Hilton Honors points:

Bottom Line: If you would like to avoid resort fees, book an award stay with Hyatt or Hilton hotels and the fees will be waived.

Use Your Elite Status

Having elite status with a hotel can be great, and one of the perks you may be able to enjoy is waived resort fees.

If you’re a Hyatt Globalist member, you’ll enjoy waived resort fees on all stays! This top tier status comes with lots of other benefits, like room upgrades and free breakfast, making it a desirable status for any Hyatt fan.

You can earn Hyatt Globalist status by staying 60 nights at Hyatt hotels, by earning 100,000 base points, or by hosting 20 meetings or events. If all of that seems daunting to you, check out how you can use the Hyatt credit card to help you earn Globalist status.

Even if your hotel status level doesn’t offer waived resort fees as a perk, it can’t hurt to ask the hotel to waive the fees anyways.

Bottom Line: Regardless of your elite status or how you paid for your room, try asking the hotel to waive the resort fees. While this method probably won’t work a majority of the time, it can never hurt to ask!

Final Thoughts

Resort fees are an unpleasant reality of traveling. They can add a lot to your final hotel bill without adding a lot of value. Plus, they are sometimes tricky to identify since some hotel chains bury them in the rate details instead of clearly identifying them.

While there’s been a lot of push back from travelers recently, unfortunately, resort fees are here to say for now. Until then, you can grin and bear it, find a hotel that doesn’t come with a resort fee, or try out a method to avoid resort fees like booking an award stay or using your elite status.

What type of experience have you had with resort fees? Were you able to get them waived?


Frequently asked questions

How do I avoid resort fees?

In order to avoid resort fees, you can book an award stay with Hyatt or Hilton, earn Hyatt Globalist status, or choose a hotel that doesn’t come with resort fees.

Is a resort fee per person?

Generally, resort fees are charged per room, not per person. However, there are some instances when a resort fee will be charged per person. That’s why it’s important to read the resort fee disclosure information carefully so you know exactly what type of fee you’ll be paying.

What is a resort fee?

A resort fee, also called a destination, amenity, or facility fee, is a charge by hotels that is meant to cover a wide range of extra amenities including pool use, gym access, parking, phone calls, Wi-Fi, newspapers, shuttle service, and more. You’ll find these fees in resort-style hotels and even in hotels in some big cities like Las Vegas and New York.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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