Booking at a five-star hotel is fine, that is, until you get your bill while you’re checking out. Suddenly, your $245 a night hotel room is double the price, and why? Because you availed of “services” which you just assumed came with the package. Before you order a room service massage or any use any of the amenities in your hotel, look at the factors which can hike up your hotel bill.
Early Check In
While some people think that checking in early is pretty harmless as long as the room’s already vacant, think again. A lot of hotels actually charge high fees for early check ins. You can add $20 to $50 to your hotel bill just by arriving too early. These are true most especially in very accommodating hotels like the Hyatt Regency and the Hilton.
Credit Card Transactions
Every hotel accepts credit card payments from their guests, these days. Now, this is very convenient for people who like lugging their plastic money around. That is, of course, until you look at your bill and your hotel fees magnify. Credit card transactions can add up to a whopping 5% of your total, especially if you’re using your plastic money overseas.
It seems trendy today for hotels to just add charitable donations to your bill. Now, the intention may be good, after all, now you’re booking with a five-star hotel to help the less fortunate. However, charity works shouldn’t be mandatory, and you must not be forced to pay for these things unless you really want to. At the risk of looking like Mr. Scrooge, you can have these fees removed from your bill.
Coffee and Tea inside your Room
Some hotels offer complimentary coffee and tea inside your room, but you have to make sure that they’re really complimentary. Unless the tray says so, you may end up paying ridiculously high fees for your in-room tea and coffee. This can cost as much as $2 to $5 per tea bag or packet of coffee, so easy on the intake.
Are you planning to spend the holidays in another country? If you’re staying in a hotel which offers the “convenience” of accepting payments in US dollars, look at the service closely. A lot of hotels offer this payment option and forget to mention that they’re applying conversion fees. You can be charged 2% to 5% of your total hotel bill without your knowledge.
Remember the good old days when you just needed to tell the front desk that you want your room cleaned and voila! It’s pristine again, as if you’ve never been there. Since you were out of the room, you probably also forgot to tip the maid who cleaned your carpets and ironed out your bed.
Today, you might not be able to enjoy that service anymore without paying for $2 to $10 per day, per room. A lot of hotels are charging extra fees for housekeeping services. This isn’t to say that all of them do this, but a lot of hotel owners slip in extra service fees for good measure. You might want to check what’s in your bill before you pay up.
If you’re staying in a youth hostel, it’s alright to have to pay $15 to $35 fine whenever you forget to deposit your towel. But if you’re staying in a four-or five-star hotel, you shouldn’t have to, right? Wrong. Apparently, quite a number of hotels are charging exactly this much from guests who forget to bring back their towels. This fee is imposed even if you’re booked in a $500 a night first-class hotel in Hawaii.
There’s a certain security in having an in-room safe in your hotel. You don’t have to worry about the staff going through your passport, cash, and other valuables. You also think that you’re saving money by not renting out a safe in a tourist center somewhere. That is, until you look at your bill more closely. True, most high-end hotels offer in-room safe deposit boxes, but they come with a price. Be prepared to pay $1 to $4 a day for them.
It’s not exactly new for hotels to charge ridiculously high prices for that bottle of mineral water or that can of beer in the mini-fridge. How much more do you think they’ll charge you if you wish for these mini-bars to be restocked? Some hotels even go so far as to install electronic devices to detect as much as a movement on these things. When they do, you’re sure to be charged for them.
Prepare to shell out $3 to $5 per item on hotel mini bars. Watch out for hotels which prohibit bringing in outside food and drinks as well.
So your hotel has a wifi-connection. You’re cheering on because you’re able to keep up with backlogs from work and you’re able to contact your loved ones abroad. Everything is fine until you realize that your overly-inflated bill means only one thing: the internet connection wasn’t free. Now, just because hotels say they have wifi access doesn’t mean you’re not paying for it. Just to be on the safe side, ask before you book a room.
You may be asked to pay an extra $10 to $20 fee for your internet connection alone. The worst thing that can happen is for this to be mandatory (all guest have to pay for it regardless of whether you used the internet or not). The most that you can do it be informed of any hidden charges that might have been unannounced when you were booking a room with them.
Using the Gym
If you’ve booked yourself a room in a five-star hotel, naturally, you’ll think that all of the amenities, including the gym, are there for guests for free. Think again. Guests who used the gym at their high end hotels are surprised that they actually need to pay for these fitness centers. Be prepared to cough up $10 to $40 extra for your workouts.
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