The days of knowing just how much your hotel bill would be beforehand are long gone. Hotels will try to pamper you more and more as a guest by offering additional services. That you have to pay for them doesn't immediately register in your mind however.
When that happens, it can be just as shocking once you get your final bill at the checkout desk. These types of hidden hotel fees also make it increasingly difficult for companies to put together their budgets. Nonetheless, if you know what extra fees you can rack up at a hotel, you can take these into account. We’ve outlined 13 of these below.
- Cancellation fees
Read the fine print in your hotel room contract and make sure to familiarise yourself with the cancellation policy. Some hotels don’t charge anything, though others will make it a point to charge you a one night minimum if you cancel outside of their cancellation terms.
- Shuttle service to the airport
This service often used to be free, but not anymore. So, always check first with your hotel on whether they charge for this and how much it costs. This will prevent you from running into any unpleasant surprises.
- Early check-in or check-out
Planning on checking in or out outside of the normal check-in and check-out times? Be aware that hotels can charge an additional fee if you alter your plans and want to check in or out earlier or later in the day. That cost can amount to the rate for an extra night.
- Gratuity and service charges
Some hotels tack on a service charge by the day or per stay for housekeeping services, the doormen or other services. It’s wise to contact the hotel in advance to inquire whether or not they automatically add gratuity and service charges to their bill.
- The safe
Whether you use the safe in your room or not, some hotels charge you for it anyway, just for the honour of having a safe in your room at all. As it seems, the charges cover not only the use of the safe, they also cover the insurance for what you might put into it. Be cautious, however, because hotels will also try to absolve themselves of any liability by posting disclaimers that they are not responsible for what happens to your safe or the valuables in it. So, make sure you are well informed.
- The mini-bar
The mini-bar generates a hefty chunk of change for hotels. First of all, there is the cost of having a mini-bar in your room whether you want it or not. Of course, you also pay per item you consume. Finally, you pay a fee for the mini-bar to be restocked again. Some hotels go a bit too far. For example, sensors in the mini-bar will activate for just picking up anything, making space for your own stuff or if you simply move anything around. When that happens, charges get billed to your account automatically. And if you think asking to have all snacks and beverages removed ahead of time from your mini-bar will spare you the trouble, think again. Even then, hotel guests have discovered mini-bar re-stocking fees on their final bill.
- Telephone charges
Always check the list of rates first before you use the hotel’s phone. Some hotels charge you nothing for local calls, while others will nickel and dime you silly. In order to avoid any surprises, check the rates beforehand.
- Energy surcharges
Hotels will try to mitigate the rising cost of energy by tacking on an energy surcharge. These costs can average between 3 and 13 EUR per day, depending on the hotel chain and the location. If a hotel attempts to sneak in an energy surcharge without telling you, don’t hesitate to question it and ask that the charges be removed.
- Bottled water
These days, it’s also common for bottles of water to be in the hotel room. Before you drink, ask the reception whether you’ll be charged extra for the bottles. The costs can quickly add up, ranging from 4 to 7 EUR per bottle.
Most hotels and resorts offer Internet access. The cost varies from hotel to hotel. Sometimes it will look like the Internet access is free, but you'll still end up seeing usage charges on your bill. Make sure you are well informed.
If you ask the hotel to store your luggage beyond check-out, then that can be done without a problem. Be aware, however, that fees are sometimes charged for this service. These fees range from 2 to 5 EUR per bag.
Complimentary parking these days has become a rare phenomenon. Most hotels, especially ones in big cities, charge a fee per day/night for parking. Parking fees can be pretty steep; so, check well in advance, before you leave, to find out where you can park and at what rate. Rates can range from 15 to 50 EUR per day, depending on the location.
- Resort and towel fees
A resort fee will cover the added services and amenities at the resort. These can vary from 10 to 75 EUR per day and will allow you access to the fitness centre, swimming pool, business centre, getting the daily newspaper, local phone calls and other facilities, whether you plan on using them or not. Also, don’t forget: getting an extra towel for the pool could cost you more money out of pocket.
Would you have a leg to stand on if you suddenly were hit with any of these hidden hotel fees? Likely not. The only thing you can do is properly inform yourself in advance on what is and what isn’t included in the cost of your stay. Go over your quote with a fine toothed comb and keep the 13 potentially hidden hotel fees in mind so that you won’t be taken aback upon seeing the final bill.