resorts fees by other names - curation, destination, urban

I hate resort fees. Don’t you? If you don’t, you’re lying 😉 

While we wait nedlessly for some real legislation to ban these (and they should be – a mandatory resort fee is a part of the room rate, no question, and should therefore be part of the room rate), we look for ways to avoid them.

It’s a reason to book a Hilton or Hyatt award,. for example, as these are waived (not so with Marriott or IHG where a free room can cost $75+ in resort fees).

I even bantered with Mark Ellwood about these junk fees for an article he wrote for Robb Report last year. 

When I got an email from HotelSlash last week (if you don’t know, HotelSlash is the latest venture from the same folks that brought you AutoSlash and makes sure you get the cheapest rate on a hote – although it will be a prepaid rate), I chuckled because they had some resort fee in disguise names I had never even heard.

Of course I’ve seen the phrase “Destination Fee” which was, I think, the first way that non resort hotels found a wait to add on a fee in the same vein without sounding even more ridiculous by calling a city hotel a resort.

But here are a few gems from HotelSlash (yes, I asked permission before reposting!) 

“Curation fee: At the MADE Hotel in New York City’s midtown Manhattan, a $30 so-called “curation fee” covers such amenities as coffee or tea in the morning, a glass of wine during the evening “wine hour,” access to the hotel gym, wi-fi access, and seasonal bike rentals.

Experience fee: Stay at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in British Columbia and you’ll be hit with an “experience fee” to the tune of $35CAD per night-about $26US-which includes amenities like lobby coffee and tea, boardgame or book loans, fitness classes, shoeshines, and access to EV charging stations.

Urban fee: This mandatory fee has become commonplace at many city hotels, but it’s essentially just the dreaded resort fee in disguise. At the Arlo in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, the $29 “urban fee” covers in-room bottled water, wi-fi access, bike rentals and a 10% discount at hotel eateries.”

These fees will 100% drive me nuts until the day they are finally banned.

Have you seen any other ridiculous names for extra fees in the same vein as resort fees (i.e. breaking out things you used to just get for paying for the hotel itself as a new fee)? I think I saw someone mention something like a $2 electricity surcharge at one motel?

Sound off!


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  1. A contrary argument is that the resort fees help those who have a high enough tier to get them waived. Said another way a convention attendee or non serious travelor on a once a year vacation pays about $50 extra per night to allow travel hackers to get reduced rate rooms. This eventually helps those who study points and miles.

    • Hey Steve – definitely get the viewpoint! However it’s much more unevenly applicable than, for example, airline status.

      Hyatt Globalist of course waives on paid and award stays. But then for everyone on an award. Hilton only waives on awards. Bonvoy punishes you no matter what, even an Ambassador.

      Also, if you think about what happened when airlines added bag fees and then invented Basic Economy. Both were sold as debundling but surprisingly (not) the prices never stayed down. They remained what they were but with new fees on top.

      Likewise I don’t think hotel rates would actually rise. Of course I could be wrong. So as much as I enjoy those waivers at Hyatt and Hilton, I get just as annoyed at Marriott or at a boutique hotel. I’d be happy if they sailed away….


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