Update: Please be aware that some information in this post is no longer current. Effective March 01. 2013, all Caesar partnered hotels, including Planet Hollywood, charge a resort fee (the table in the post has been kept for historical purposes). Nevertheless, you can still try and have the resort fees waived by using the techniques described in this post.
Resort fees are nothing new, but if you’ve not heard of them before you might be in for a rude shock when you next check-out at a hotel in Vegas. Resort fees are hidden daily charges which the property adds on to your nightly room rate in exchange for use of some of the hotel’s facilities. This annoys a lot of travellers because they are forced to pay for services which they might not use. It also means that the advertised room rate is not a true reflection of the actual cost to stay at the hotel.
In most cases resort fees are mandatory, and supposedly cover services such as in-room Internet, local telephone calls, bottled water, pool and fitness centre access – all of which would otherwise be optional extras (or even free). In some cases the resort fee ‘inclusions’ are even more laughable, such as free use of hotel concierge (since when you do pay?), shoe shine service (free if tipping anyway), or in-room safe (how generous). Soon, hotels might start promoting pillows, soap and complimentary toilet paper as resort fee inclusions.
Mandatory resort fees in Las Vegas range from $6.00 to $25.00 per day.
Hotels are required to disclose these charges up front, so you need to check the terms and conditions of your travel bookings carefully when travelling to destinations such as Las Vegas. Incidentally, resort fees also exist in other cities in the United States, but no where are they more rife than in Sin City. In fact, there are only a small minority of hotels on the strip that DO NOT charge these fees.
So how does one avoid them? There are two ways:
- When you check-in to a hotel that charges resort fees, they will almost always present you with a document (either on paper or in digital form) and ask you to sign it in order to accept their conditions of stay. Instead of signing your name, sign the word ‘DECLINED’. Do this casually so as to not draw attention to the fact that you are attempting to reject their conditions of stay. If the check-in clerk raises an objection, you will need to be ready to pull out your negotiating skills in order to avoid the fees. If they do not object, or simply do not look at your signature, then you have successully relieved yourself of these additional charges. However, you may need to remind them upon check-out that you declined these conditions at check-in and that they have this ‘evidence’ on file, per the document you ‘signed’.
- Stay at one of the hotels that participates in the Total Rewards program. These hotels have a no resort fee policy, and include Planet Hollywood, Caesars, Paris, Harrah’s, Bally, Flamingo, Rio and the Imperial Palace. There are also other hotels who do not charge resort fees, and they usually clearly advertise this in their room rates. Be warned: If it’s not mentioned anywhere prior to booking, these hidden fees will most likely be applicable.