Washington, D.C. Is Suing to Stop a Ridiculous Hotel Pricing Practice
"Resort fees" are some bullshit. If you've booked a hotel in the last few years, you've probably encountered the dreaded resort fee. If not, this is how it works: Your hotel room rate is quoted at, say, $150 per night. But in addition to taxes, the hotel tacks on a "resort fee," maybe $20, maybe $35, which it says covers your use of various amenities — the pool, the gym, the landline telephone, what have you.
There are some much-detested fee practices I am prepared to defend, such as airline fees for the first checked bag. But for an additional fee to be defensible, it has to be truly additional: You need to have the option of declining the feature and not paying the fee. A resort fee doesn't work like that: It's charged whether or not you use any of the amenities the fee purports to cover. Since it's a mandatory charge, it's an integral part of the room rate and should be quoted as such; otherwise, the hotel is misleading you about the price at which it will rent you a room.