Extra hotel charges. What's the deal?

Mar 11th, 2005, 05:06 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Extra hotel charges. What's the deal?

Looking at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island. The rate seemed fine until she got to the extras: 12% tax; $4 per person per night energy tax; $4 per person per night gratuity (that's pretty cheeky).

Do all the island hotels do this? I haven't noticed it in most places I've stayed at in the U.S.

I'm finding this a little distressing.
NYgirl is offline  
Mar 11th, 2005, 05:11 AM
  #2  
 
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We've also come accross the 10% 'resort fee' (for towels, lounge chairs, etc). It seems that this is always described somewhere in the fine print.

We have come across it in the US as well.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 05:23 AM
  #3  
Sunnyboy
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I can't comment specifically on Comfort Suites Paradise Island but there's always a governmenmt tax on hotel rooms on any island in the Bahamas or the Caribbean (it's one of their main sources of revenue). I don't know where in the US you've stayed lately but if you check your recent bills I think you'll find a "room tax" charged on every hotel room in the US - it may be called Sales Tax, Hotel Tax, Tourist Tax but I assure you there is a daily tax charged on every occupied hotel room in the US. As to the Energy Tax, that's less common but I've seen it both in the US and abroad. Finally, some hotels and resorts (especially the more upscale resorts) routinely add a Service Charge or Gratuity charge to the bill but the amount varys from hotel to hotel - not all places do it but it's not uncommon.
 
Mar 11th, 2005, 06:16 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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NYGirl,
This issue has been discussed at length recently on another Bahamas message forum for Grand Bahama Island. I looked into it more closely while we were down there a couple of weeks ago. While what you will read (it is from my trip report, completed just yesterday) is about Grand Bahama Island it should give you a good idea of what these charges are and why they exist. Personally I think they are somewhat excessive in the Bahamas but they are not, as some say, hidden charges. As others that answered you already have said, these charges are at almost every hotel you could stay at in the U.S. but they are NOT usually quite as high. Hope this helps.

Danny

Hotel/Resort Taxes, Service Charges, and Fees:

We discussed these issues with several employees of Our Lucaya and mid-level managers from two different resorts, including Our Lucaya. While we did not get really detailed information we did get some very good facts. Managers were reluctant to go into great detail and I don’t blame them. It is, after all, their business process. However, I asked some specific questions and got basic answers. First taxes. Every resort on the island must charge a 12% government tax. It is done in a different manner by different resorts. Our Lucaya, for example, charges a flat 12% tax per room per night. Other places, like Pelican Bay or Island Seas, charge a specific dollar amount per person per night. However, that 12% per room per night tax is part of that charge. It is broken out two ways. 6% goes directly to the Bahamian Treasury. The other 6% goes to the GBI Tourism Board. Service fees work as follows. Each hotel/resort negotiates their own service fees with the Bahamas Hotel Union. In the case of Our Lucaya it is 8% per person per night and applies to all persons over 12 years old. Despite some persistent reports to the contrary those charges do NOT go to the union. They go to union employees as part of their pay. When I asked how it worked managers drew the line and would not go further, other than to say the money does NOT go into the union’s account. How paychecks for employees work when occupancy rates fluctuate I could not find out. I can only make a pure guess and say I would think their paychecks fluctuate along with the occupancy rate. Our Lucaya says, right on their room bills, the 8% is a “union imposed” service charge. That is a crock. It is a negotiated part of the labor agreement and management is stretching the truth when they call it “union imposed”. I’m no fan of the Bahamas Hotel Union, as you’ll see in the following section of the trip report, but blaming them for something that is routinely part of union labor contracts is unfair. I think the only place on the island that charges a separate “resort fee” is Our Lucaya. It is $4 per person per day. I wondered what that was for, and found out when I discussed it and again when we got our room bill. The next paragraph is copied exactly as it reads on the bill. “Room rates also do not include the $4.00 resort fee that is imposed per person, per night, age 12 and older, for unlimited local phone calls, use of Senses Spa Fitness Center, resort activities, golf course driving range, Camp Lucaya facilities for children, and pool flotation devices.” Most of those activities had separate charges. I know local phone charges used to cost a dollar every time you made one.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 06:19 AM
  #5  
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I've definitely seen the extra tax. Not so much so with the energy tax, and I've never been hit with a gratuity tax, particularly in a chain.

This certainly puts a whole new light on choosing my hotel--and possibly my destination.

At least Comfort Inn told you up front. It seems to be harder to find out in some of the other places.
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Mar 11th, 2005, 09:16 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Whereever you plan on staying check their website. I had reason to check a dozen or so places a month ago. They all collect the 12% but some do it with everything they charge included as a lump sum daily fee per person. Others break it out, as the Westin does on GBI. One of the places I checked was Comfort Suites on Paradise Island. Those extra charges are definitely explained on their site and of the other 11 or so I looked at everyone of them had a note that the room did not included all taxes and fees. They certainly do not put it in huge, bold print, but the information is there. If you can get some type of package deal they often INCLUDE those taxes and fees. You might want to consider something like that.

Danny
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