Beware hotel resort fees

During our recent trip to Hawaii, we found ourselves suddenly in need of a hotel in Kona. I fired up Kayak and Hotel Tonight and Hilton Waikoloa Village was the cheapest option. But once we arrived it became clear that quoted price of $256 was just the beginning.

The hotel has a mandatory $30 a day "Resort Fee" per room. For that $30 you get:

On top of the resort fee, you have to pay $30 a day for parking. Since it's on a private road there's literally no option to park in a public space and then walk to the hotel. The only parking lot is a full 20 minute walk from our room, so it's clear that you're supposed to spring for the valet option which costs even more. (And if you're not a complete cheapskate, you can also add in a tip for the valet each time s/he fetches the car for you as you come and go).

Now, given how far away your car is, you're also somewhat captive there, and they completely take advantage of this fact: a single, Don Julio silver margarita was $17 before tax and tip. So you're going to be paying midtown Manhattan prices for literally everything.

Now, add standard hotel and sales tax, and our price out the door (without bar or food tab) was more like $330 a night.

When we booked our previous hotel in Honolulu, I used my AARP discount to save as much on our base hotel rate as the resort fee they tacked on. Unfortunately Hilton's AARP rate for same-day, peak reservations wasn't any cheaper than the normal rate. I wish hotels and rental cars were subject to the same laws that airlines are about publishing prices, but given our current political environment, I doubt this will happen anytime soon.


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