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The How And Why Of Resort Fees - With Special Guest M Resort

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 5th June 2009 3:54am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 10


Earlier this evening, Miss Mo finally caved in to my subtle pokes and mentions that we should... uh... go to Vegas. I beelined to my computer to do a little rate checking with one property on my mind - The Beauty in the Boonies : M Resort.

I made a pitstop at M on the way out of town last time and was impressed enough to put a check mark next to the name in my mental rolodex for future inquiry.

Despite its avant garde architecture (it looks like a shark fin sticking out of the desert) and chill comfy vibes (great traits in my book) the M suffers from the obvious - location location location. When the time comes to get the hell outta there and head for more active ground - as it surely will - it requires driving. Not rolling down the strip driving, but hop on the freeway and drive for 15 minutes driving. The kind that doesn't mix with the things I like to mix with.

Being ever Vegas curious and eager try something different, I was almost willing to forgive this major shortcoming of M and go with the flow. Until I did a little room rate reconnaissance on their website.

M Resort, Resort Fees

M Resort charges a twenty five dollar resort fee, per night... a whopping 26.6% tax to ... uh ... use the resort. How incredibly Ticketmaster of you... and I don't mean that facetiously, I mean that truly.

Everyone hates the add-on fees when they buy tickets through TM. The truth behind the fees isn't Ticketmaster gouging profit. With the exception of three to five bucks per transaction, all of those annoying convenience charges and order fees go to the artists, teams, venues and promoters who put on the events. The reason why they add the fees is to keep advertised prices - the ones trumpeted on posters, in radio adverts and on websites - as low as they possibly can.

Seeing the err of its ways, Ticketmaster is about to institute 'roll up pricing', doing away with convenience charges and the other crap, forever. How do I know all this stuff? I'm an alumni, and am no longer bound by the non-disclosure agreement I signed when I quit.

This is exactly what 'resort fees' are... a means to extract what the resort feels is the true book value ($130/nt) while tap dancing on and around the razor of competitive pricing. We all know by experience who is gonna get bled in this scenario. Us.

Check this out... a search for the same dates on Kayak.com (the Google of travel search) shows two listings : $74/nt via Booking.com and $94/nt from ReserveTravel, which is denoted as having a 'hitch.'

M Resort - $25 resort fee

Booking.com won't tell you what the fees are gonna be... which is essentially them tap dancing on top of M Resort's resort fees, with add-on fees of their own.

ReserveTravel on the other hand is a little bit more forthright... they list the same rack rate as the M website does, but the fees listed are $13 less. Clicking through to ReserveTravel reveals an entirely different story.

M Resort - $25 resort fee

The $13 fee ReserveTravel lists isn't in lieu of the resort fee, but additional.

M Resort total taxes and fees : $110.70 ($30 + $11.90 x 3 nights)
ReserveTravel total taxes and fees: $149.33 ($30 + $13 + AZ tax x 3 nights)

When taxes and add-on fees pencil out at 52.8% of what I'm paying for the rooms, and 34% of my total hotel expenditure... something has gone incredibly horribly bafflingly wrong.

Dear M Resort,
Relationships are built on trust. How do you expect us to trust your casino when we can't even trust booking your hotel rooms. Do yourself a favor and learn from the mistakes of and pending correction by Ticketmaster: flush the add-on fees and raise your hotel rates accordingly.




Comments & Discussion:

Wow, how daft can M be? It's sneaking in these "resort fees" in this economic climate? The place deserves exactly what it gets.

You must not realize how common Resort Fees are. Meeting planners are always trying to negotiate them away, usually with little or no luck, even though meeting attendees are not in the pool. (Or shouldn't be)

Some properties have been charging these fees for years; the only difference being that they weren't hiding them behind the "resort fee" banner. The telephone fee that some resorts charge was listed as just that. These days, the resort fee can include some (or all) of the follow:

Local calls
Two bottles of water
Parking (Charging to park at a casino to me is bad business).
Access to the spa/fitness center/gym

Yeah, the first time I encountered this "phenomenon" was at, of all places, the Tropicana. I stayed there for three days and was charged $7.99 plus tax per night as a "resort fee." I guess the Luxor has also engaged in this to the tune of about $10.95 per night.

I think it is bad business as well. Charge me a flat rate, let me be done with it and not have to worry about being charged more upon check-in for services that should be included or that I'm not even going to use at all in the first place.

I got burned by this checking family into Green Valley Ranch last year-- $25.99 a night, plus tax on that, when I'd booked an airline/room package and already paid in full. It turned what had been a decent deal into no bargain at all, and basically destroyed any chance the hotel would have had right there. After getting your pocket picked for more than hundred dollars before checking in, no amount of good customer service is going to make you think positively of your stay. I was amazed that a company in the hospitality business could be so...unhospitable.

I haven't been back to GVR since, or any other Station property.

As I've said before, when you're on vacation (or helping someone else on vacation) the last thing you want to do is haggle over stuff like this, or feel like you're getting taken advantage of. Resort fees are an awful idea that cheapen the entire experience.

So maybe M gets away with it because the Station brand has already more than a few months ago upped the ante to beyond reasonable, and M is just trying to coast in under the white noise. For example, search Red Rock (or any other ultra-premium Station casino) for a couple of nights in June using their own website: You get the rate, and then the standard valley taxes, but there's more - In the fine print it says "there is a 24.99 per night resort amenity fee." Holy crapola! That's a room at the Golden Gate.

@pattishock yes, i'm aware how common these are... but until now haven't seen them as incredibly high as these. $4 for local phone, $3 for LVCVA, $2 for this that and the other thing... this we're used to.

Charging a fee that equals 1/3 of the rack room rate, or disguising 25% of what i'm gonna pay until a moment to be named later is St. Rose highway robbery. What I'm arguing is not the resort making profit on rooms or charging us for using the property, but for them to put the cards on the table and sparing the bullshit.

Preach on, Chuckmonster. I think what the resorts need to realize is that we go to Vegas for a good time; we go to Vegas to spend money. And we don't mind doing that because we know that's part of the deal. What we don't like are the slight-of-hand tricks and surprise charges that add 25% to our costs. We all have to put up with a lot of bullshit right now from our jobs, our mortgage companies, our credit card companies and our banks --- we don't need to take it from the places to which we're volunteering to give our money.

Just put all the costs up front. If we decide not to stay at your resort because of the price, you've lost one customer. But if you burn us with high hidden fees and piss us off, we're going to flame you here, on Trip Advisor, on Yahoo! Travel and countless other places, and you'll lose hundreds of customers. The Internet can be a great comsumer equalizer.

Wow. Resort Fees. That's a damn shame.

I griped about M's blackjack conditions in my trip report, and now they're making their Baccarat worse (now you can't get squeeze games on request unless you're betting $50 per hand or more!!!).

This is an utter shame, since M is a great place! Honestly, if they're whacking this fee on, they could at LEAST give me some S17 BJ for green chippers and let the Baccarat play slow.

@SdK m removed the resort fee shortly after we posted this piece in 2009.

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