Las Vegas is known for its glitz, glamour, and over-the-top experiences. But beneath the surface of all that fun lies an extra charge that can quickly drain your wallet – the dreaded resort fee.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Las Vegas hotels charge a mandatory daily resort fee to cover the costs of certain amenities and services that used to be included in the room rate, like WiFi, pool access, and fitness centers.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dig into everything you need to know about Vegas resort fees: what they cover, how much they cost, whether they’re really mandatory, tips for avoiding them, and whether they’re likely to spread to other destinations.
What Exactly Is a Resort Fee?
When you book a hotel room in Las Vegas, you may notice an additional charge called a resort fee. But what exactly is a resort fee and why do you have to pay it? Let’s dive into the details.
A separate daily charge added to your room rate
A resort fee is a mandatory fee that is added to your daily room rate. It is not included in the initial price you see when booking your room. This means that even if you find a great deal on a hotel room, you will still need to budget for the resort fee on top of the advertised price.
Covers amenities like WiFi, fitness center, pool access
The resort fee is meant to cover the cost of amenities and services provided by the hotel. These can include WiFi access, fitness center usage, pool access, and other facilities that enhance your stay.
By charging a separate fee, hotels can offer these amenities to all guests, even if they don’t use them, and avoid raising the base room rate for everyone.
Fee amounts range from $15-$50+ per day
The amount of the resort fee can vary depending on the hotel and its location. In Las Vegas, resort fees typically range from $15 to $50 or more per day. Higher-end resorts tend to have higher fees due to their extensive amenities and services.
It’s important to be aware of these fees when budgeting for your trip to Las Vegas.
While the resort fee may seem like an additional expense, it’s worth considering the value you receive in return. The amenities covered by the fee can enhance your stay and make it more enjoyable. However, it’s always a good idea to check what specific amenities are included in the resort fee before booking your room.
When Did Resort Fees Start in Las Vegas?
Resort fees, those additional charges that are tacked onto your hotel bill in Las Vegas, have become a source of frustration for many travelers. But when exactly did these fees start? Let’s take a closer look.
First appeared in early 2000s as an optional fee
The concept of resort fees first appeared in Las Vegas in the early 2000s. Initially, these fees were introduced as an optional charge for guests who wanted to take advantage of additional amenities and services offered by the hotel.
These amenities could include access to the pool, fitness center, and Wi-Fi, among others. At that time, not all hotels implemented resort fees, and guests could choose whether or not to pay them.
Became widespread after the 2008 recession to boost hotel revenue
However, the landscape of resort fees changed significantly after the 2008 recession. In an effort to boost hotel revenue during a challenging economic period, many hotels in Las Vegas started implementing mandatory resort fees.
This meant that all guests, regardless of whether they used the additional amenities or not, had to pay the fee as part of their hotel stay. This move was met with mixed reactions from visitors, as it felt like an added expense that was not optional.
Now ubiquitous on the Strip; paid by over 90% of visitors
Fast forward to today, and resort fees have become ubiquitous on the Las Vegas Strip. According to industry reports, over 90% of visitors to Las Vegas end up paying resort fees. These fees have become a standard part of the hotel booking process and are often included in the advertised room rates.
While some argue that these fees are necessary to cover the costs of maintaining and upgrading the resort amenities, others feel that they are an unfair and deceptive practice.
It’s important for visitors to Las Vegas to be aware of resort fees when booking their accommodations. Make sure to read the fine print and understand what is included in the fee. While these fees can be an unwelcome surprise for some, being informed and prepared can help mitigate any frustrations during your stay in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
What Does the Resort Fee Actually Cover?
When staying at a hotel in Las Vegas, you may notice an additional charge on your bill known as the resort fee. This fee is added to your daily room rate and can range anywhere from $10 to $45 per night. But what exactly does this fee cover?
Varies by hotel, but usually includes: WiFi, fitness center, pool access
The resort fee typically includes a variety of amenities and services that are available to all guests. One of the most common inclusions is WiFi access, allowing you to stay connected during your stay.
Additionally, the fee often covers access to the hotel’s fitness center, so you can work out and stay active even while on vacation. Another popular inclusion is pool access, giving you the opportunity to relax and soak up the sun by the hotel’s pool.
Might also cover local calls, airport shuttle, daily newspaper delivery
In addition to the basic amenities, some hotels may include additional services as part of the resort fee. This could include local phone calls, allowing you to stay in touch with friends and family without incurring additional charges.
Some hotels may also provide an airport shuttle service, making it easier for you to get to and from the airport. Another possible inclusion is daily newspaper delivery, so you can catch up on the news while enjoying your morning coffee.
Does NOT cover parking, room upgrades, spa access, or anything extra
It’s important to note that while the resort fee covers many services, there are certain things that it does not include. One common exclusion is parking fees, which are often charged separately. If you’re looking to upgrade your room or access the hotel’s spa facilities, these are typically not covered by the resort fee and may come with an additional cost.
Additionally, any extra services or amenities that are not specifically mentioned as part of the resort fee will likely have their own separate charges.
Are Resort Fees Really Mandatory in Vegas?
When booking a hotel in Las Vegas, you may have noticed an additional charge called a resort fee. But are these fees really mandatory? The answer is yes and no. Let’s dive into the details.
Technically they are avoidable, but only by booking select room types
While resort fees are common in Las Vegas, there are ways to avoid them. However, it’s important to note that these options are limited. Some hotels offer select room types that do not incur resort fees.
For example, booking a suite or upgrading to a higher room category may exempt you from paying the fee. However, these options are often more expensive, so it’s a trade-off.
Nearly all standard rooms at major Strip hotels incur the fee
For the majority of visitors staying in Las Vegas, resort fees are indeed mandatory. Nearly all major Strip hotels charge a resort fee on top of the room rate. This fee typically covers amenities such as Wi-Fi access, fitness center usage, and pool access.
The amount of the fee varies depending on the hotel, but it can range from $20 to $50 per night.
A handful of downtown hotels and budget chains may not charge it
While resort fees are prevalent on the Las Vegas Strip, there are a few exceptions. Some downtown hotels and budget chains may choose not to charge resort fees. These properties often offer lower room rates compared to their Strip counterparts.
However, it’s important to research and read reviews to ensure that the amenities and services provided meet your expectations.
How Much Are Resort Fees on the Las Vegas Strip?
Resort fees have become a common practice in Las Vegas, with almost all hotels on the Strip charging this additional fee. The amount of the resort fee can vary greatly depending on the property, but it generally ranges from $15 to $50 or more per night.
Range from $15-$50+ per night depending on the property
When it comes to resort fees in Las Vegas, there is quite a range in pricing. Some hotels charge as low as $15 per night, while others can go as high as $50 or more. The price typically depends on the hotel’s location, amenities, and popularity.
It’s important to note that the resort fee is charged per night, so a three-night stay at a hotel with a $30 resort fee would add an additional $90 to your total bill.
Average fee is around $35-45 at most major hotels
While the range of resort fees can vary, the average fee at most major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip falls within the $35 to $45 range. These fees are in addition to the nightly room rate and are often mandatory, regardless of whether or not you use the amenities associated with the fee.
It’s always a good idea to read the fine print and understand what is included in the resort fee before making your reservation.
Luxury resorts like Wynn, Bellagio, Caesars Palace tend to charge $45+
When it comes to luxury resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, such as the Wynn, Bellagio, and Caesars Palace, the resort fees tend to be on the higher end. These properties often charge $45 or more per night for their resort fee.
However, it’s worth noting that these luxury resorts also offer a wide range of amenities and services that are included in the fee, such as access to pools, fitness centers, and Wi-Fi.
It’s important to keep in mind that resort fees are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check with the hotel directly or visit their official website for the most up-to-date information on resort fees.
Additionally, some websites like Vegas.com provide comprehensive information on resort fees for various hotels in Las Vegas, helping you make an informed decision before booking your stay.
Tips for Avoiding Resort Fees in Vegas
Book direct with the hotel and ask if they can be waived
One of the most effective ways to avoid resort fees in Las Vegas is by booking your hotel room directly with the hotel. Many hotels have the ability to waive or reduce resort fees for direct bookings, especially if you are a loyal customer or a member of their loyalty program.
When making your reservation, be sure to ask if the resort fees can be waived and explain your reason for requesting it. It never hurts to ask, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the hotel’s willingness to accommodate your request.
Consider staying at downtown/off-Strip hotels without the fees
If you want to avoid resort fees altogether, consider staying at downtown or off-Strip hotels. These hotels typically have lower room rates compared to the big resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, and many of them do not charge resort fees.
While you may not have the same amenities and luxurious facilities as the larger resorts, you can still have a great experience and save money in the process. Plus, downtown Las Vegas offers its own unique charm and attractions that are worth exploring.
Patronize Airbnb, VRBO, vacation rentals instead of hotels
Another option for avoiding resort fees in Las Vegas is to skip the hotels altogether and opt for alternative accommodations such as Airbnb, VRBO, or vacation rentals. These platforms offer a wide range of options, from private rooms to entire homes, often at a fraction of the cost of a hotel room.
Not only can you save money on accommodation, but you also have the opportunity to experience a more authentic and personalized stay in Las Vegas. Just be sure to check the listings carefully for any additional fees or charges that may apply.
Remember, resort fees are not mandatory and there are ways to avoid them. By booking directly with the hotel, considering downtown or off-Strip hotels, or opting for alternative accommodations, you can enjoy your stay in Las Vegas without the added expense of resort fees.
Will Resort Fees Spread to Other Destinations?
Unfortunately, resort fees have become a growing trend in the hotel industry. What started in Las Vegas as a way for hotels to recoup some of the costs associated with providing additional amenities and services has now spread to other popular tourist destinations.
Major chains have added them in Hawaii, Florida, and other resort areas
Major hotel chains have begun implementing resort fees in locations such as Hawaii, Florida, and other popular resort areas. These fees are often charged on top of the nightly room rate and can add a significant amount to the overall cost of a stay.
Some hotels justify these fees by pointing to the additional amenities they provide, such as access to pools, fitness centers, and Wi-Fi. However, many travelers argue that these are services that should be included in the initial room rate.
According to a recent study conducted by Hotel Resort Fees, a website that tracks resort fees across the United States, the average resort fee in these destinations ranges from $20 to $40 per night. This can quickly add up, especially for families or budget-conscious travelers.
But consumer pushback is leading some places to repeal them
Despite the growing trend of resort fees, there is some hope for travelers. Consumer pushback and legal challenges have led to some destinations reconsidering the implementation of these fees. For example, in 2019, the state of Hawaii passed a law requiring hotels to disclose all mandatory fees upfront.
This law was a response to the increasing number of complaints from visitors who felt they were being misled by the additional charges.
In addition to legal action, consumer advocacy groups and online travel agencies have also taken steps to address the issue. Some platforms have started to display the total cost of a hotel stay, including all mandatory fees, upfront.
This allows travelers to make informed decisions and avoid any surprises when it comes to their final bill.
While it’s difficult to predict the future, it’s clear that the spread of resort fees to other destinations is a concern for many travelers. As more people become aware of these fees and voice their dissatisfaction, we may see a shift in the industry towards more transparent pricing models.
In the meantime, it’s important for travelers to do their research and be aware of any additional charges they may incur when booking a hotel.
Las Vegas resort fees are frustrating, but they likely aren’t going away anytime soon. With careful planning and research, savvy travelers can still find ways to avoid or minimize them.
The bottom line is that fees enable hotels to advertise lower room rates, while still collecting extra revenue from locked-in guests. It’s a controversial policy, but seems poised to stick around as the industry standard in Vegas and other resort destinations.
As a customer, the best you can do is vote with your wallet and patronize the hotels that don’t nickel-and-dime you.