A resort fee is an additional daily fee charged in addition to the base room rate. There’s no excuse for adding a resort fee – it’s just a sneaky way for the hotel rate to appear better value when you book.

Resort fees appeared in Las Vegas as long ago at 1997. Resort fees now apply to all 62,000 rooms on the Las Vegas Strip. It’s almost impossible to avoid paying a resort fee in Vegas – all the hotels have colluded on the practice and the Nevada State Attorney General isn’t one of the 47 Attorneys General who are fighting resort fees.

You may also see this fee appear as a facility fee, a destination fee, an amenity fee or an urban fee. Hotels try and justify these fees by saying that they include some amenities such as; local telephone calls, wi-fi, newspapers and even luggage storage.

New York City hotels have begun to add resort fees. In 2016 there were only 15 hotels with a resort fee – now there are over one hundred.

This site could help you avoid New York City hotels that charge a resort fee: http://www.resortfeechecker.com/hotel_resort_fees_new_york_ny.html

So can you refuse to pay a New York City hotel resort fee? Well yes, but the hotel may refuse to provide you with a room key! So what can you do?

  1. Make this statement to the desk clerk and then likely the manager:
    I already paid the published rate for the room and all necessary taxes. I don’t intend to use the telephone / wi-fi / want a newspaper etc. You could continue, with this:
    Forty-seven Attorneys General, including the New York Attorney General, are currently investigating hotel resort fees for being deceptive and misleading.
    There is a reasonable chance that the hotel will back down and waive the resort fee.
  2. If the hotel doesn’t back down, ask for the resort fee to be charged separately on your credit card – much easier if you pre-paid everything else. Then when you return home, dispute the charge with your card company. Your credit card company might ask for documentation – that could be a screenshot of the hotel rate you expected to pay, plus some statement to the effect that you didn’t use any of the services listed under the resort fee. There’s a good chance the card company will dispute the change with the hotel.
  3. If the credit card company won’t pay, you could file a consumer complaint with the New York Attorney General’s office here: https://ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint
  4. And finally, if you really can’t let it go, you could try the small claims court. I’m not sure how that would work if you live outside the US.

Note that I’m not a lawyer and none of the above constitutes legal advice. If you get into an argument at the front desk while refusing to pay the resort fee, please don’t blame me if you end up sleeping in the park or a jail cell!