CHICAGO (CBS) — From high-end resorts to budget hotels, you could face hidden extra fees when you book a room while traveling.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory shares some of the hidden fees she found to help you avoid getting taken.
If you’re more the ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” type, the exclusive Fisher Island Club in Miami might be your speed. Rooms cost $645 per night, yet there’s more.
The Morning Insiders found what might be the highest resort fee in the U.S., a $160.50 service charge per night.
“What’s even worse is that hotels in urban areas, in the cities, are now charging quote unquote ‘resort fees,’” CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg said.
The attorney general in Washington, D.C., has sued Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, accusing it of “straight-forward price deception” for not clearly disclosing the resort fees its guests must pay.
“What this lawsuit is basically saying is that the hotels aren’t fully disclosing this, they’re disingenuous about it,” Greenberg said.
A spokesperson for the attorney general in D.C. said attorneys general across the nation are taking a divide-and-conquer approach to try to stop this practice at other hotel chains.
It’s not just Marriott charging guests hidden fees.
Choice Hotels – the parent company of chains such as Comfort Inn and Cambria Hotels – which charges a mandatory $9.95 per night “urban fee” at the Cambria Hotel Chicago Magnificent Mile for access to WiFi, the business center, and the fitness center.
“They don’t need to sneak another fee in if it’s just going in their pockets,” recent Cambria guest Marsha Greenstein said.
When booking a room at the Cambria Mag Mile, the fine print on the website says a portion of the fee is donated to “Luries Childrens Hospital,” misspelling the name of Lurie Children’s Hospital.
At the Comfort Inn O’Hare, again buried in the fine print, you’ll find a mandatory “utility service fee” of $5 per day. Click on the question mark by the fee, and it’s advertised as a “resort fee.” So which is it? And who really considers an airport hotel along Interstate 294 a resort?
Out in Las Vegas, just about every hotel on The Strip charges a resort fee. At the Excalibur, though, it’s possible to find many nights where the room cost is less than the daily resort fee.
Picketers on strike outside the Cambria Magnificent Mile questioned why the hotel charges a resort fee in the first place, and suggested guests should get their money back.
Greenberg said, if a hotel doesn’t disclose its fees, guests might be able to get them refunded.
“You can dispute that charge, especially if you’re paying with a credit card,” he said.
The hotel chains in this story either did not respond to requests for comment, or declined to comment.
The Illinois Attorney General’s office said they are looking into resort fees, but would not reveal which chain or chains it is investigating.