This Is Low: Andaz Maui Retroactively Adds Resort Fee

Update: Hyatt and the Andaz Maui have clarified the new policy as follows:

  • Andaz Maui at Wailea is not applying the Resort Fee retroactively. A resort fee will be applied for any new reservations booked beginning April 2, 2015 for arrival after June 1, 2015.  
  • If the reservation was booked April 1, 2015 or earlier, a resort fee will not apply, however, the guest will have the option to opt in and pay the resort fee to partake in the experience we will be including rather than paying a la carte. 
  • The resort fee is not optional for new reservations booked beginning April 2, for arrival after June 1, 2015.
  • A Resort Fee will apply for all individual travel reservations, including Award Reservations.

 

I hate when hotels charge resort fees. Resort fees are basically a way to artificially raise the cost of hotel stays, given that many people don’t pay attention to the “fine print.”

And I never really understood resort fees either. If I’m to stay at a resort, shouldn’t my room include the amenities of the hotel, rather than there being an extra, standardized fee which covers things like towels at the pool, etc. It’s the hotel equivalent of airline fuel surcharges. If I’m paying for a plane ticket, shouldn’t the cost of that ticket include fuel?

But I also get why hotels charge resort fees. Because any resort that doesn’t charge one would instantly be at a disadvantage. When people are comparing rates they’d be comparing the rates of one hotel with a resort fee to another hotel without a resort fee. So it’s really tough for hotels to break the resort fee “cycle.”

Andaz-Maui

However, here’s an especially egregious resort fee situation, which a couple of readers have reached out to me about. The Andaz Maui is one of the Hyatt properties I’m most wanting to visit, and up until now they haven’t had a resort fee… which is rare for hotels in Hawaii.

Resort-Fee-1

However, the Andaz Maui will be adding a $40 resort fee for stays as of June 1, 2015.

Resort-Fee-2

The worst part?

  • Best I can tell they’re not actually disclosing the fee on their website, aside from the rate summary
  • They’re applying this policy retroactively to people that made bookings before the resort fee was added

Most hotels with resort fees clearly disclose on the front page of their booking site that there’s a resort fee, and ultimately there’s a good chance the Andaz just hasn’t gotten around to adding that.

Resort-Fee

But what I guess makes resort fees such a gray area is that they’re not technically part of the room rate. So if you booked the Andaz Maui a week ago for a week-long stay in June, you’re out an extra $280.

I can’t imagine a hotel would ever try to retroactively change the rate you booked, but this is a sneaky way to basically increase room rates even post-purchase.

Bottom line

While I hate resort fees, I get why hotels charge them — they couldn’t compete on price if they didn’t. That being said, I think it’s highly unethical to add a resort fee and charge that to those that already made a booking. I hope the hotel reconsiders.

How do you feel about resort fees, and especially about hotels adding them after you made a booking?

Comments

  1. Save the original email showing no resort fee and then dispute it with your credit card company.

  2. Bait & Switch – I’m sure the hotel will waive the fee for anyone who threatens legal action – you assumed a contract for the stay based on a price quoted in writing. End of story.

  3. Just made a reservation there last night for early June. Was not disclosed ANYWHERE during booking. But now I see it made its way into the email confirmation, and I overlooked that…… ugh

  4. Don’t waste your time going to this hotel. It is TOTALLY overrated and BORING. You can pretty much say the same for Maui in general. Stick to Honolulu, where there is actually something to do as a single 25 year old man.

  5. And actually – if you try to make a booking today, there is a big message explaining how its being added as of today – a message that was not there yesterday. So it seems they starting adding it to email yesterday, but didn’t bother to disclose it during booking until today. Really cheesy move.

  6. Ben,

    I just stayed here last month and had a fantastic visit. Even though there was no resort fee, there was a mandatory $30/night valet parking charge (no self-parking).

    Does the update from Andaz Maui disclose whether this new resort fee will cover the parking?

    Matt

  7. Does the resort fee include valet parking? Because that was always advertised as $30/day…it’s possible they’re replacing that with the resort fee.

  8. i have stayed here… while the property is beautiful, be aware it’s run by bunch of high school kids who are super pleasant but have no clue what’s going on and how to do their jobs… or if something goes wrong they are completely helpless.

  9. Resort fees are horse shit, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them if they had a opt-out.
    I don’t need a newspaper, I have a phone.
    I don’t need internet, I have a phone that can act as a hotspot for up to 5 devices.
    I certainly wouldn’t be traveling to Hawaii or anywhere else to a beach resort to use a swimming pool.
    I’m not going on vacation to work out in a gym.
    And lastly I don’t need free local calls – I have a freaking PHONE.

    While the government shouldn’t be involved in anything other than building roads and fighting wars, this is one area that needs at least the threat of regulation – otherwise it’s just going to continue.

  10. I was just in Maui, staying at various places, including the Marriott next door.

    Don’t go to Maui by yourself. It is possible to meet people, but it is not set up for single people – there is very little night life, especially in Wailea where this hotel is. I went with my family, and found it great.

    The exception is if you have a particular interest in the water or nature; lots to do then.

    In general, every hotel along the Wailea beach path is very accessible, and you can simply drop in to any you want. There is a Four Seasons and a Fairmont nearby, and they also seemed good, although we had the most fun at the Grand Wailea, which is a Waldorf Astoria / Hilton branded hotel.

  11. Parking is NOT included in the resort fee, but ukulele lessons are! Woohoo, can’t wait to learn to play the ukulele! Making a reservation now… 🙂

  12. I loved the resort, but if you add the $30 valet charge plus the $40 resort fee, plus the $18 drinks and the $15 appetizers, you need a deep wallet…

  13. I call BS. The difference between the rate with and without the “Resort Fee” is a whopping $1.43 per night.

    If you can’t afford that, then maybe you ought not be going.

  14. As a general rule, I won’t stay at a hotel which charges resort fees, especially if there’s another one in the nearby vicinity which doesn’t charge said fees, even if the fee-free property is more.

    I think it’s even more dishonest for properties to not disclose it. I’m not sure who they’re fooling, but when booking a hotel or airfare, I look at TOTAL cost after ALL FEES and taxes. After all, that’s the $ my credit card will be billed, thus the only # which matters.

  15. I think with Diamond status , you ll get resort fee waived. I was in Hyatt Regency Honolulu and it was waived with Diamond status.

  16. I just stayed here last month and I remember they made a HUGE point about bragging that they had no resort fee to differentiate themselves from all of the other hotels. Glad I got in under the wire!

    I stayed free on points and certificates – now those “free” nights would cost $70/night – $30 parking + $40 resort fee – hardly free. Only ate at the pool bar one day as we went out every other time. Highly recommend Monkeypod Kitchen which (while not cheap) is nearby and has great food – don’t miss the strawberry pie.

  17. Between this resort fee and the parking I’ll avoid in the future. On a side note for any reservations made without the resort fee and are now subject to the resort fee, the people may have a few options. 1. pay the resort fee. 2. Email Hyatt to get them to refund as they are in breach of their contract. If Hyatt refuses to cancel the resort fee, I would say that you could possibly have the reservation cancelled (contract rescinded) and argue for “cover” at a comparable hotel. Meaning, that Hyatt should pay the difference between your contract price with them and “cover” of another hotel. This would be a bit hard to argue as they have not actually cancelled the reservation.

    At any rate, this continues to prove my theory about Hyatt being shady 🙂

  18. This is actually a great deal considering all the stuff you get included w/this (paddleboards, snorkel equipment, GoPro, etc.) all of this would be well over $40/day to rent on your own.

  19. @Matt – while yes I agree the $40 fee is cheaper than all these things a la carte, the issue remains that you’re paying these fees whether or not you opt to participate in any of the activities.

    People whine about airline fees but at least you have the option to not check a bag, not sit in the front half of the plane, bring your own food/drink, etc….

  20. Actually, I don’t believe this applies retroactively. See below from Andaz:

    Beginning April 2, 2015, a daily Resort Fee of $40 + tax will apply for new reservations starting June 1, 2015. This fee will be added to your daily rate and includes: unlimited use of GoPro during visit, morning Outrigger excursions, Fitness & Yoga classes, complimentary tandem & regular bike rentals, paddleboard yoga classes, tandem kayak rentals, all day snorkel equipment and body board rentals, ukulele & hula lessons, access to the GoPro editing lab with two printed photos from personal pictures taken with GoPro and much more! Click here for full resort fee guide.

  21. I stayed at a hotel with a $30 per day resort fee – for internet, fitness access and parking supposedly. As a higher tier member of their frequent stay program I got all of those amenities for free. So I asked them to delete the resort fee. I had to speak to the resort manager to get it done – I just kept asking what I was getting for the resort fee that I did not already have as a Gold member of the program. I kept getting standard non-responses about what I was receiving for the fee. Finally – the resort manager stopped by and started the standard spiel – and I let him finish. I then asked him what my status was in the program. He did not know. I told him perhaps that was relevant. He gave me a dirty look. He stepped out side and used his phone or walkie talkie or whatever it was and came back. He acknowledged my status and thanked me in his standard ‘you’re gold blah blah blah.’ I then asked him what benefits I receive for that status. He began with ‘available upgrades, free internet, standard parking, fitness access, space available lounge access, etc etc.” I then asked what the resort fee covered. Finally the light went on. He then said the ‘fee is standard.’ I then said, ok, is a room surcharge that you receive certain benefits, or is it simply a junk fee so you can collect an $30 a night?

    This forced him to think for a moment – and finally he said he would reverse the charges for the resort fee for our stay. I then inquired about ‘available upgrades, and lounge access’ – this place had such amenities. He said he’d get back to me in a few moments and left. I received a front desk call with an upgrade to a more spacious accomodation on the executive floor with executive lounge access – and never heard from the manager ever again.

    I was somewhat angry since he could have simply taken the $30 a night and claimed it was simply a fee – but the upgrade was a significant amenity [with a free breakfast, free in room coffee service, and free wine and desserts from 6p-11p] so the upgrade was serious improvement in the stay.

    If you don’t ask, you don’t get – and so now this has unfortunately trained me to proffer my Gold member card with my id and credit card when checking in. I am also generally always successful in having the resort fee waived when using my ‘preferred’ hotel group. If one of the amenities is an upgrade and lounge access I always ask for them – and often get them – after being assigned a room without those amenities. Its frustrating to be ‘given’ the right to these amenities by showing loyalty to a hotel chain and then not receiving them because a hotel is obviously holding out it might get someone to pay for them . . . .

  22. WTF? That’s BS! A $40/night resort fee that doesn’t include mandatory valet parking?! For what? To use a GoPro, outrigger excursions, snorkel gear? No thanks, I’ll bring my own stuff… I really wanted to stay here one day, but $40/night is atrocious…

  23. @Lantean – these are now free w/the $40 fee

    @Alex obv this is valuable to diff people but the only way to make these things included is to charge the fee to everyone without raising daily rates — but this fee is a much easier way for hotels since it is fixed cost for items. Personally I’d rather just pay the fee and save checking the extra bag (even though its free I hate waiting at baggage claim) for gear and is a good deal in my situation, obv this will change if the hotel fails to stock enough items!

  24. There are plenty of successful hotels that don’t charge resort fees, Lucky. Don’t justify their behavior by saying that you understand why they charge them, as they “couldn’t compete on price if they didn’t”.

    That is utter nonsense. Only a small percentage of hotels in most markets charge them. The fees are nefarious, and we should be actively calling them out on what is NO different than a fuel surcharge. If the average daily rate doesn’t include those fees (just like an airline ticket), the “resort” is just another rip off.

    It’s a terrible way to start a business relationship, and I wouldn’t stay in one of those places, ever.

  25. Matt sounds like he works at the resort.

    I confirmed with the Andaz that the resort fee is in addition to the $30 valet fee so you have $70/night is just fees at this place. I have stayed here multiple times and like it but I’m done with them!! $70 per day in fees is absurd. This change has changed my opinion of this resort completely. Before they seemed a little upscale in areas but I know realize they are just snobby and just not a resort I care to stay at. I can’t recommend enough to go stay at some other resort. This hotel is not worth the cost or the fees.

  26. Agree with Kevin. The biggest issue with resort fees is when booking with sites such as priceline or hotwire, where you are “bidding” on hotels. When I bid $100 on a hotel, that’s the cost I’m expecting to pay – not $100 + a totally arbitrary resort fee. In addition, since resort fees are not standardized, you don’t get a like-for-like comparison.

    In effect, a hotel could post a $25/night room charge, and have a $500/night *mandatory* resort fee to cover doors that open, close *and* lock, toilets, running water, towels, sheets, etc. You wouldn’t realize until after having paid that the competing $250 “all-in” rate at the neighboring hotel is actually a much better deal.

  27. So has anyone done any comparison to figure out if Andaz just carved out $40 from their daily rates (which gives an appearance of a lower rate) or if they are truly charging old rates + $40?

  28. Not sure how the hotel pays commissions, but I would certainly think this lowers the commission for their sales agents, i.e. travel agents. Also, I wonder if it somehow lowers the fees that the hotel has to pay Hyatt?

  29. I stayed here 3-4 months ago on points. We had a nice time, but I generally think the hotel is over-rated.

    They charge $7 for half a papaya in the general store.
    The complimentary Hawaiian cola and granola bars in the room are very nice.

    I would like to see a national law outlawing mandatory resort fees. They are part of deceptive marketing designed to trick consumers.

  30. @Kevin – “While the government shouldn’t be involved in anything other than building roads and fighting wars, this is one area that needs at least the threat of regulation – otherwise it’s just going to continue.”

    It’s going to continue regardless of anything the government does. If resort fees (or YQ for airlines) are banned, the room rates/airfare will just rise by whatever the resort fee/YQ is.

    @Milezjunkie – “Matt sounds like he works at the resort.”

    Got any proof of that?

  31. If staying on points alone, you shouldn’t be subject to the resort fees, although some Hyatt’s will still do it. You need to contact Gold Passport or Customer Relations and they will waive the fees. Not even worth fighting over with the manager who knows exactly what they are doing but acts ignorant.

    We’re going in August. Booked months ago. It would be interesting if they refuse these “free” amenities if they waive the resort fee due to points stay. I don’t see that happening but I wouldn’t say never.

  32. Hyatt Andaz has gone down hill at a astonishing rate. I hope Hyatt is monitoring this post and listens up.
    Spent time there in October. Was given a nice corporate request to upgrade due to issue with the Hurricane Odile and a Cabo reservation. Maui Andaz wanted to ignore the request and proceeded to haggle. I waited until after 6::30 PM to check in as they “cleaned” a room. Checked in and the toilet was obviously not cleaned as there was urine all over the floor. Amenity delivery – ahhhh not so fast. The gal dropped the tray of glasses and it shattered all over the room, bed and luggage. Mistakes happen. We asked for a water bottle no less than 5 times. Finally one got one…next day. After returning home, I had three phantom charges. I called and accounting made some excuses and removed them promptly.

    Fast forward to February. Why not give them another try? Not too happy about the Diamond breakfast charge changes but we were aware before going. Nice check in this time. No broken glass. The nice sand area in the lobby was roped off “for a group logo”. The pool was packed for a private “pool party”. Can we say Vegas style? Yes, extremely loud thumping music, women on men’s shoulders, men in hula skirts and a lot of drunken slurs. I asked the front desk and they said it was a a big group. Nothing they can do?!!! It gets better. That night, the corporate group had a party on the ocean lawn. DJ and a live band. It was insanity. I had room service and the poor guy was beside himself apologizing. I also has maintenance call due to TV not working. I was trying to drown out the noise. It was not possible. Yes. It was THAT loud. Maintenance person also complained.

    No one from the hotel followed up with us. We went to the lobby to let them know our disappointment. And ask for a water bottle that we were still waiting for from the day prior. They acknowledged the issue and said “good news most people leave tomorrow”. Really? I have to endure at that $$$ a few more days?

    It goes on… but let’s say I no longer have any love for this property. They are nickel and diming and the level of service and elegance is not there. They should remove “Andaz” from the name and need to seriously look into the property issues.

  33. @Milezjunkie lol no but I travel to enough resorts to know when a resort fee for the stuff Andaz is offering is obv a better deal than the wifi and use of a fitness center that I pay at others. I did stay here back in July and thought it was a steal for using a diamond suite upgrade, despite the $30 fee…and even w/the fee it’s def one of the better properties to use a DSU. Do you work for the Ritz simpleton lol

  34. @ Brian L.

    “It’s going to continue regardless of anything the government does. If resort fees (or YQ for airlines) are banned, the room rates/airfare will just rise by whatever the resort fee/YQ is.”

    I sort of like the idea of the airlines removing YQ fees, and resorts removing fees. Roll up the price so the consumer sees the net cost. When the airlines were lobbying to advertise the “cost” of a plane ticket at $4.00 and leave taxes and fees and surcharges out, and then present those at the end of a transaction? Ridiculous.

    People don’t want puzzles, they want the bottom line. Show them the breakdown AFTER they’ve made the purchasing decision, where they can still opt out of YQ or resort fees. Don’t make them do the work to figure it out.

  35. Aloha,
    Beginning today (April 2, 2015) for new reservations booked for travel from June 1, 2015 a resort fee of $40 per day will be added to the daily rate. As an Andaz we strive to listen to our guests and evolve to their needs and wants. Since opening in 2013 one of the comments we keep hearing is that people don’t want to be “nickle and dimed” throughout their stay. We want our guests to arrive a visitor and depart a local and we’re excited to launch a resort fee experience like no other. Guests won’t just get local calls and wifi, they’ll recieve beach activities, cultural experiences, fitness classes and the tools to capture your Maui memories. We estimate the value at about $350+ per person, per day, if a guest takes advantage of the offerings (full list of inclusions can be seen here >> http://maui.andaz.hyatt.com/en/hotel/our-hotel/resort-fee-policy.html.

    The resort fee is also not retroactive. Those who have current reservations will not be charged a resort fee. They can opt in to have full access, but that’s a personal decision. We would never start a new program without full disclosure. The program was announced yesterday for all reservations made after April 2nd. The resort fee will be applicable for stays after June 1. I hope this helps clarify and we look forward to welcoming you to the resort.

  36. How do I feel? I look at politicians focusing on removing people’s rights in the name of religion while allowing companies to screw law abiding citizens this way. Couldn’t feel better, right?

  37. Maui Andaz very nice hotel.i have been there before and am staying there in Dec. That said, my reservations were made prior to April 2. Glad you had the hotel clarify this point. Just yesterday I was thinking of extending stay 3 days, but due to this resort fee decided against it. Will move to Maui Hyatt near Lahaina or Marriott Wailea (almost next door) for those 3 days. I honestly don’t expect to stay at Maui Andaz anymore due to parking plus resort fees as they have priced themselves up too much and these fees so offend me. The Andaz brand itself is not supposed to charge resort fees. $40 resort fee not including parking is very offensive.

  38. Having justified the $30 parking as offset to NO resort fee in the past, adding $40 for a daily resort fee seems outrageous! As having stayed there a few times, it has been obvious that the benefits have been on the decline. The so called water bottles are not given out. You have to ask and ask and ask for one. On the last trip, it was a plane debranded bottle and the water stations often low to empty. Turn down service was poor and the mini bar not refreshed. We had to constantly call and ask. Outrigger on print mentioned it is was free on all the paperwork, but was actually charged $15. Nominal, but was the point of a bait and switch.

    What Four Seasons and Ritz had done well was simply have one cost. And they have a can do attitude where what you ask for is always going to happen. Hyatt not so much. There are more No answers than yes. If you want to charge luxury rates, you should be a luxury hotel and not slide in fees on top of other fees that are tax at a crazy percentage. In a side not, this is a nice property but accommodations, beach chairs, lounging areas definitely not luxury.

    At this price, there are far better options on the beach. Somehow management has gone south removing Diamond breakfast and adding these fees disguised and valuable amenities. The price is much too high on top of the parking. Not to mention, I am sure availability and consistency of these amnesties, that Hyatt does not do well at, will surely be a problem.
    Andaz Maui had a niche and allure. Not any more. Wailea has Four Seasons and the Fairmont and Kapalua have Miontage and the Ritz that blow Andaz away in my opinion.

  39. @ Rick / others — what did Andaz do to Diamond breakfast? Having a good breakfast benefit is pretty important and, personally, I prefer properties that offer it in restaurants instead of lounges.

  40. “Aloha,
    Beginning today (April 2, 2015) for new reservations booked for travel from June 1, 2015 a resort fee of $40 per day will be added to the daily rate. As an Andaz we strive to listen to our guests and evolve to their needs and wants. Since opening in 2013 one of the comments we keep hearing is that people don’t want to be “nickle and dimed” throughout their stay.”

    Really???? This is your pathetic excuse??? If you really were listening to guests then you would make the fee OPTIONAL! You give your guests a choice. If it was truly worth anywhere close to $350/day to most people – there is no way you could put a $40/day price tag on it. At least call a spade a spade and say something like – We have determined that at our resort we can charge a JUNK fee of $40/day because that is what the market will bear. So Sorry if you don’t like it but our room occupancy rates allow us to do this.

    I hate it when people and businesses are disingenuous. I will think long and hard before I stay at Andaz Maui in the future.

  41. You know the revenue managers are out of new ideas to maximize revpar when resort fees are added. Time for them to move on to a new job where they can add value without screwing customers…. Personally I avoid all properties that have this tax – and that – costs the property even more in lost revenue.

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