Two types of fees can unexpectedly raise the price of your summer getaway. To avoid a bill that, well, exceeds expectations, read the fine print on your selected resort’s website and confirmation e-mails.
When I phoned Grand Superior Lodge, on Lake Superior, to cancel a trip, I rethought the move after learning that I would have lost my deposit, the full cost of one night’s stay. I didn’t want that to happen, but nor could I go on the designated weekend. Instead, I rescheduled, a simple way to avoid a loss.
I should have known better. The resort’s confirmation e-mail spelled out the policy: “For cancellations made 14 days or more before a non-holiday arrival, we will refund the deposit less a $50 booking fee. For cancellations less than 14 days before arrival, the deposit is nonrefundable.” I’d missed the deadline.
The hotel is less apparent about its resort fee, the kind of expense that increasingly stuns vacationers. These charges are often not rolled into the quoted nightly rate. And more travelers are being hit with them.
Travelers United found that the number of hotels charging resort fees grew 40 percent between 2015 and 2016 and that consumers paid $2 billion in such fees in 2015.
At Grand Superior, I’ll pay a $25/night resort fee. The confirmation letter notes that obliquely, saying rooms are subject to a “tax/service charge of 16.375 percent.” The resort fee is 8.5 percent of that. The website reveals the fee under “General information and policies.”
To learn if your resort charges a fee, dig into the website or just call to ask.
Carolyn Aarsvold explained cancellation fees. She owns Geneva Beach Resort in Alexandria, Minn., with her husband, Tim, and is a member of the Congress of Minnesota Resorts. “It’s such a short season in Minnesota, and if someone cancels at the last minute, a resort could lose $3,000 or more. It’s difficult to make that up,” she said. She encourages people to get travel insurance.
Parnell Thill of Odyssey Resorts told me that resort fees are assessed for extras that many guests have come to expect, from free Wi-Fi to bicycles. Odyssey’s seven resorts on the North Shore include Grand Superior, Caribou Highlands and the new Breezy Point Cabins on Lake Superior; they all charge resort amenity fees.
Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at email@example.com, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.