Discover the reasons behind the controversial resort fees charged by hotels.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Hotels charge resort fees to cover additional amenities and services provided to guests during their stay.

In this article, we will explore the rationale behind resort fees, the amenities they typically include, the controversy surrounding them, and some tips on how to navigate these fees when booking a hotel.

Let’s dive in!

Understanding Resort Fees

Resort fees have become a common practice in the hotel industry, but many guests are often left wondering why they are being charged extra for their stay. In this article, we will delve into the world of resort fees and shed some light on why hotels implement them.

Definition and Purpose

Resort fees, also known as destination fees or amenity fees, are additional charges that hotels impose on guests in addition to the room rate. These fees are meant to cover the cost of providing extra amenities and services that are not typically included in the base room rate. They are designed to enhance the guest experience and provide added value during their stay.

However, it’s important to note that not all guests may fully utilize or value the amenities covered by the resort fees. For example, if you don’t plan on using the hotel’s pool, fitness center, or Wi-Fi, you may feel like you’re paying for services you don’t need. It’s always a good idea to review the amenities covered by the resort fee before booking a hotel.

Amenities Covered

The amenities covered by resort fees can vary greatly from hotel to hotel. Some common amenities that may be included are access to fitness centers, pools, spa facilities, beach chairs, Wi-Fi, parking, and shuttle services. These amenities are often seen as an added convenience for guests and can enhance their overall experience at the hotel.

It’s worth mentioning that some hotels may charge resort fees even if certain amenities are closed or unavailable during your stay. It’s always a good idea to check with the hotel before booking to ensure that the amenities you desire will be available during your visit.

Variation in Fees

One aspect that often confuses guests is the significant variation in resort fees across different hotels and destinations. The fees can range anywhere from $10 to $50 per night, and sometimes even higher for luxury resorts. The variation in fees is influenced by factors such as the location of the hotel, the quality and quantity of amenities provided, and the demand for accommodations in the area.

It’s important for guests to be aware of resort fees when comparing hotel prices, as they can significantly impact the overall cost of their stay. Some travel websites now include resort fees in their displayed prices, making it easier for guests to compare the total cost of different accommodations.

Reasons for Charging Resort Fees

Hotels often charge resort fees to cover the costs of providing additional amenities and services to their guests. These fees are separate from the room rate and are typically charged on a daily basis. While some guests may find resort fees frustrating, they serve several important purposes for hotels.

Bundling Amenities

One of the main reasons hotels charge resort fees is to bundle additional amenities and services that enhance the guest experience. These fees allow hotels to offer a wide range of amenities, such as access to pools, fitness centers, Wi-Fi, complimentary snacks, and beach chairs, all in one package. By bundling these amenities, hotels can provide a convenient and enjoyable stay for their guests.

Resort fees also help hotels maintain and improve the quality of these amenities. They enable hotels to invest in regular maintenance, upgrades, and renovations of facilities, ensuring that guests have access to top-notch amenities throughout their stay.

Covering Costs

Another reason hotels charge resort fees is to offset the costs of providing these additional amenities. Operating and maintaining amenities like pools, gyms, and spas require significant financial resources. By charging resort fees, hotels can cover the expenses associated with maintaining and staffing these facilities.

Additionally, the fees help hotels manage the cost of providing complimentary services such as Wi-Fi, shuttle services, and newspapers. These services may seem like small add-ons, but they can quickly add up in terms of expenses. Resort fees allow hotels to continue offering these services without significantly impacting their room rates.

Generating Revenue

Resort fees also serve as a revenue-generating strategy for hotels. In a competitive industry, hotels need to find ways to maximize their profits. Charging resort fees allows hotels to generate additional revenue without increasing their base room rates. This strategy appeals to budget-conscious travelers who may be attracted to a lower room rate and are willing to pay extra for the included amenities.

It’s important to note that resort fees are not unique to hotels. Other establishments such as vacation rentals and cruise ships also charge similar fees to cover the costs of providing extra services and amenities. Resort fees have become a common practice in the hospitality industry, allowing hotels to offer a range of amenities and experiences that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of their guests.

Controversy and Criticisms

Lack of Transparency

One of the main reasons why hotel resort fees have faced controversy and criticisms is the lack of transparency. Many guests are often surprised by these additional charges when checking out of a hotel. The fees are often not disclosed or clearly stated during the booking process, leading to a feeling of deception among guests. This lack of transparency has led to a growing dissatisfaction among travelers who feel they are being taken advantage of by hotels.

According to a study conducted by Consumer Reports, 80% of hotel guests believe that resort fees should be included in the advertised room rate. This highlights the expectation of transparency and the desire for hotels to be upfront about all costs associated with a stay.

Inflated Fees

Another criticism of hotel resort fees is that they are often inflated and disproportionate to the services or amenities provided. These fees can range from $10 to $50 per night, and yet, guests may not even use or benefit from the included amenities. This has led to accusations of hotels charging excessive fees in order to boost their profits.

In a study conducted by The American Hotel & Lodging Association, it was found that 55% of hotels charge resort fees. This suggests that these fees have become a common practice in the industry, but it also raises questions about the fairness and justification behind them.

Additional Charges

Hotel resort fees are often criticized for adding additional charges on top of the room rate. This can create a sense of frustration and dissatisfaction among guests who were expecting to pay a certain amount for their stay. These fees can include charges for Wi-Fi, gym access, pool towels, and other amenities that were once considered part of the standard hotel experience.

It is important for hotels to clearly communicate the details and breakdown of resort fees to guests. Providing a comprehensive list of what is included in the fee can help manage guest expectations and avoid any surprises at check-out.

Navigating Resort Fees

Resort fees have become a common practice in the hotel industry, often leaving guests feeling frustrated and confused. These fees, which can range from a few dollars to over $50 per night, are additional charges on top of the room rate and taxes. But why do hotels charge resort fees? And how can you navigate them to ensure you’re getting the best deal?

Researching and Comparing

When booking a hotel, it’s crucial to research and compare resort fees. Don’t just focus on the room rate alone. Take the time to read the fine print and understand what amenities are included in the fee. Some hotels may offer complimentary access to the gym, pool, or Wi-Fi, while others may charge extra for these services. Websites like or often provide detailed information about resort fees, making it easier for you to compare different hotels side by side.

To make an informed decision, consider the value you’ll get from the amenities included in the resort fee. If you’re planning to use the gym and pool daily, a higher resort fee might be worth it. However, if you don’t plan to use these amenities, it might be more cost-effective to find a hotel without resort fees.


While negotiating resort fees may not always be possible, it’s worth a try, especially if you’re staying for an extended period or booking a large group. Call the hotel directly and politely inquire about the possibility of a reduced resort fee or having it waived altogether. You may be surprised by the hotel’s willingness to accommodate your request, especially during slower seasons or if you’re a frequent guest.

Remember, be respectful and understanding when negotiating. Hotel staff are more likely to help if you approach the situation with a positive attitude. And even if they are unable to reduce or waive the resort fee, they may offer additional perks or upgrades to enhance your stay.

Joining Loyalty Programs

An effective way to navigate resort fees is by joining hotel loyalty programs. Many hotel chains offer loyalty programs that provide exclusive benefits and perks, including waived resort fees. By signing up for these programs, you not only have access to potential savings but also gain access to a range of privileges such as room upgrades, late check-outs, and complimentary breakfast.

Additionally, loyalty programs often offer members the ability to earn points for future stays, which can lead to free nights or discounted rates. So, if you frequently stay at hotels, joining loyalty programs can be a win-win situation.

Tips for Travelers

Budgeting for Resort Fees

When planning a trip, it is essential to consider the additional costs that may arise, such as resort fees. These fees have become increasingly common in the hotel industry, and they can significantly impact your overall travel budget. To avoid any surprises, it is important to research and budget for these fees in advance. Take the time to understand the resort fee policies of the hotel you are considering and factor them into your calculations. By including these fees in your budget from the start, you can better plan your expenses and ensure a more enjoyable and stress-free trip.

Reading the Fine Print

Before booking a hotel, it is crucial to carefully read the fine print and understand all the details regarding resort fees. These fees are charged per night and typically cover amenities and services offered by the hotel. However, the specific inclusions can vary greatly from one hotel to another. Some hotels may offer access to fitness centers, pool areas, or Wi-Fi, while others may provide additional services such as complimentary breakfast or shuttle services. By familiarizing yourself with the specific amenities covered by the resort fee, you can better assess whether the charges are justified and align with your travel needs and preferences.

Evaluating Worthiness

When faced with a resort fee, it is natural to question whether it is worth the additional cost. While the answer ultimately depends on your individual preferences and travel plans, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, evaluate the value of the amenities and services included in the resort fee. Are they amenities you would typically use and enjoy during your stay? Additionally, compare the overall cost of staying at a hotel with a resort fee versus alternative accommodations that may not charge such fees. Sometimes, paying a slightly higher rate that includes the resort fee can actually be more cost-effective than paying a lower rate and paying for individual amenities separately. Ultimately, by carefully evaluating the worthiness of a resort fee, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and travel priorities.

Remember, it’s important to plan ahead, read the fine print, and consider the value of the amenities included in a resort fee. By doing so, you can make the most of your travel experience and have a better understanding of why hotels charge resort fees.


Resort fees have become a common practice in the hotel industry, with hotels charging them to cover the costs of additional amenities and services provided to guests during their stay.

While they may be controversial and criticized for lack of transparency, inflated fees, and additional charges, there are ways for travelers to navigate and make informed decisions when booking hotels.

By researching, comparing, negotiating, and joining loyalty programs, travelers can better understand and manage resort fees to ensure a smoother and more budget-friendly hotel experience.

So, next time you book a hotel, be sure to account for resort fees and make informed choices that suit your needs and preferences.

Happy travels!

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