With the widespread imposition and quick escalation of parking fees, Las Vegas hotels seem to have little interest in preserving the city’s reputation as a budget-friendly destination. And it’s not just the parking fees.
Last week, two popular hotels, the Venetian and the Palazzo, raised their so-called resort fees to $45 a night. That’s up from $39 a night previously, and now the highest such fees in Las Vegas.
Today, resort fees remain at $39 per night at many of the pricier hotels, including the Aria, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Mandarin Oriental, and Wynn.
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Resort fees are the mandatory surcharges hotels impose for a slew of services that travelers may or may not need or use. Here’s how they’re described by the FTC in a report overtly critical of the practice:
Resort fees are per-room, per-night, mandatory fees charged by some hotels. According to the hotel industry, the purpose of the fees is to provide hotel customers with certain hotel services, such as Internet access, parking, and use of the hotel’s health club. However, these services could be provided without charging separately-disclosed resort fees by making them optional to customers for additional fees or, alternatively, bundling them with the room and including the cost of the services in the room rate. By charging a mandatory resort fee, a hotel is bundling the services with the room, but is disclosing the fee for the services separately from the room rate.
The overwhelming consensus among both travelers and the media is that resort fees amount to legal extortion. They should be banned.
For now, Las Vegas hotels will keep squeezing travelers ever-harder, until occupancy rates fall off or the government restricts their use.
Reader Reality Check
Have you ever been blindsided by a hotel’s resort fee?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.