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Resort Fees: Greenwashing On a Mammoth Scale


In planning for a recent vacation to Las Vegas, the reality of resort fees hit my family hard. It is shocking really, what hotel and gaming companies are doing not only in Las Vegas but in places like New York City, South Florida and other locations. I just plugged in a hypothetical trip for eight nights into Hotels.com at the Excalibur Hotel & Casino and this is what I found: a $60 nightly price per room. For eight nights that would be $480—you would think. After selecting the $60 option, I was presented with the real cost of staying for eight nights: $1,132.65. That number includes $336.21 in taxes and fees and an additional $317.44 in fees. Yikes! Excalibur Hotel & Casino is a part of MGM Resorts International—a company mentioned many times on Green Lodging News for its efforts in the area of corporate social responsibility. Yes, there is nothing deceiving about the grand total of $1,132.65. But there is no breakdown at all of the resort fees. Would this be considered socially responsible?

The next stop was MGM Resorts International’s own booking engine. I plugged in eight nights for a room costing about $60 per night. The reservation total: $860.55 which includes $64.09 in taxes and a $317.46 “resort fee and estimated resort fee tax.” Again, no explanation for the fees. Of course, I am wondering why using Hotels.com resulted in the additional hundreds of dollars in fees.

MGM Resorts International is just one among many raking in billions of dollars a year from these fees. During a recent stay in New York City I was asked to pay an additional $40 a night in fees. I did not find out about the fees until check-in. What was I supposed to do next? Refuse the fees and go to another hotel? I was their captive. I asked what the fees were for. The person said Internet and other fees, blah, blah, blah.

One Miami area TV station recently posted an article and news clip about the resort fees. Be sure to check it out. Included in some of the fees by hotels that are supposedly green? Two bottles of water. Plastic bottles, that is.

If you ask me, supposedly sustainable hotel companies are greenwashing on a major scale when it comes to resort fees.

Your thoughts? Are you charging your customers these fees? Have you been a victim of them? Write to me at greenlodgingnews@gmail.com.