I went to Chicago a few months ago, and noticed on the hotel bill that I had the option to refuse the free daily USA Today newspaper and get a 75c refund on my nightly rate. Since I'm a huge hitter, I didn't go for this freeroll, but it's nice that they at least give you the option. I mention this because I just booked another trip to Vegas, and was annoyed by the growing phenomenon of "resort fees."
I get complimentary room offers from The Venetian all the time, on account of my persistent green chip play, and I called to accept one of them for this trip at the end of June. "Sir, we have a mandatory resort fee of $17 a night plus tax," the operator told me.
I literally laughed at her, "Oh yeah? What's that for?" She seemed slightly surprised that I asked, but continued, "It's just a new fee that we're imposing this year." I was at the Venetian in January, and wasn't charged this fee, but I didn't want to argue with this woman at this time, and explain to her that if it was a mandatory fee then the room wasn't really complimentary. She proceeded to check availability, and told me that they had no comp offers for me for the days I'd chosen. (See, I'm not that big a hitter...)
"What's the rate you can offer me?" I inquired, forgetting to add in, "DYKWTFIA?" after all, she must have known already, as I had the comp offer on my account.
"$229 sir," she replied, but I cut her off, "AND the $17 resort fee, right?" "Yes sir, that's correct."
I laughed out loud again, thanked her, and hung up the phone. I dialed the Mirage, where I also had an offer. "The rate is $45 and $55 for the two nights, sir, plus a $15 resort fee," the operator told me.
"No - I want the rate for the FREE offer you sent me," I explained, having already given her my account number. "Oh yes sir, that would be just the $15 resort fee per night, can I go ahead and book that for you?" I sighed and confirmed that would be fine, thank you.
So, first, the channel checks: Venetian quoted me $229 a night, and Mirage quoted me around $50 a night. These are two hotels, immediately across the street from each other, both of which would be considered high end. They have both just undergone extensive room reservations.
NOW - wtf is up with this "resort fee" bullshit? Look - if it's a fee you can't waive, it should just be quoted as part of the room rate! According to Vegas.com, the Mirage's resort fee covers:
- Daily in-room internet access
- Daily newspaper available for pick-up at the Impulse Store and the Bell Desk
- Daily bottled water delivery (two bottles per day)
- Daily admission to the cardio room (does not include spa or fitness center)
- Two robes provided during stay
- Complimentary printing of boarding passes at the business center or concierge
- Complimentary notary services at business center
- Unlimited local and toll-free calls
- Free copies and faxes (up to the first 5 pages) at the business center (excluding color and large print jobs)
Obviously, this is a load of crap - they've taken fees which used to be charged for a la carte, and bundled them into a mandatory package that you have to pay for. ROBES? You're f'ng charging me for robes now? You can bet that I'm going to wear that friggin robe down to the Pai Gow table, light up a cigar and drink a glass of port while I put my feet up on the nearest vacant stool. Fortunately, complimentary printing of boarding passes is still complementary - I guess, if you ignore the fact that I have to pay a $15 fee to get it. And unlimited toll free calls! Wow! Thanks guys! (SARCASM ALERT!)
Kudos to the Harrah's empire, who thus far has avoided "resort fees."
If you're traveling to Vegas, or anywhere else for that matter, just make sure that you incorporate mandatory resort fees into any room quote you're given, to make sure you're comparing apples to apples.