Soaring Hotel Rates in Hawaii Have No Place To Land Because of This

Are These Egregious Hawaii Resort Fees Finally Gone?

Resort fees have once again taken the spotlight, particularly in Hawaii, where they are known to be some of the most exorbitant anywhere. Today President Joe Biden is announcing a proposed Federal Trade Commission ruling that would require businesses to disclose all such charges upfront. The teeth behind the proposal is that companies that are non-compliant would have to face financial penalties as well as provide refunds for such Hawaii resort fees.

The best possible result of the FTC ruling is that such mandatory fees be included in the room rate, period.

This issue has persisted for years now, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) raising concerns over five years ago. The FTC warned that “Separating mandatory resort fees from posted room rates without first disclosing the total price is likely to harm consumers.” Despite these warnings, the practice continues.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association has continued to defend such resort fees, stating that 94% of hotels do not charge them. When they are imposed, these fees often include valuable amenities such as food and beverage credits, special events, pool and beach access, transportation, and spa services.

Hawaii seems to have more than its fair share of these resort fees, and their value is questionable. The highest resort fees in Hawaii are quite steep, with some notable examples from when last we checked including:

  • Alohilani Resort $50 + tax/night.
  • Andaz Maui $50 + tax/night.
  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel $39 + tax/night.
  • Aston Waikiki Beach Tower $45 + tax/night.
  • Fairmont Orchid $45 + tax /night.
  • Grand Hyatt Kauai $45 + tax/night.
  • Grand Wailea Resort $50 + tax/night.
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village $59 + tax/night.
  • Hotel Wailea $40 + tax/night.
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki $49 + tax/night.
  • Koa Kea Resort $45 + tax/night.
  • Mauna Lani Resort $45 + tax/night.
  • Modern Honolulu $35 + tax/night
  • Montage Kapalua Bay $63 + tax/night.
  • Prince Hotel Waikiki $39 + tax/night.
  • Royal Hawaiian $42 + tax/night.

In some cases, all fees, including parking fees, and in addition to taxes, can inflate the total bill by up to 50%. Furthermore, some resort fees are not transparent and the fees only become apparent during the booking process. That practice is targeted by the FTC.

It’s hard to compare Hawaii resort fees on first glance.

Interestingly, some high-end Hawaii hotels have stopped disclosing resort fees, while others bundle them with parking fees or other unrelated charges, making it difficult for travelers to distinguish the true cost of their stay.

The prevalence of resort fees can be attributed, in part, to a bait-and-switch tactic. By revealing these fees later in the booking process, hotels can create the illusion of lower overall costs for guests, a strategy similar to the one employed by airlines with their basic economy offerings.

Additionally, you may not be aware that hotels in Hawaii do not pay commissions to travel agencies on resort fees, which contributes to their bottom line.

To circumvent resort fees in Hawaii, travelers can explore various strategies, including the following:

  1. Search for rate codes that exclude resort fees,
  2. Contact the property directly to inquire about fee waivers.
  3. Consider award-type bookings that often waive fees.
  4. Use the hotel’s branded credit card or a premium travel-focused credit card.
  5. Join the hotel’s frequent guest program, which could reduce resort fees.
  6. Vacation rentals can be another option since they often do not impose resort fees, even at condo resorts, although they may have other associated charges to consider.

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27 thoughts on “Are These Egregious Hawaii Resort Fees Finally Gone?”

  1. Yes when you figure the resort fees bring in about $1.5Million PER DAY…in just Oahu alone rounded up is 28,000 hotel rooms x $55USD = $1.5million PER DAY..
    That is $542Million per year.
    That is just one island.
    We actually paid $65/day at Hilton or that room generated $27,000 for one year on top of the $235 per might as well.
    That extra fee is disgusting when you factor in 25% more for Canadian exchange rate.

  2. I don’t agree with resort fees. I am sure there are people who are tricked. But forget Hawaii and look at Las Vegas. Some Vegas hotels advertise rooms for $15 – $20 per night with a hidden resort fee of $75 – $80 per night.

  3. We booked a trip to watch our son play football. When we checked in we were informed it would be 45 a night to park and an additional 33 resort fee per night. That was a lot we did not expect. We stayed in Sheraton princess

  4. I am noticing a lot of extra fees when I go to Honolulu. Although I am a Hawaii resident all my life, I’m charged like an outsider. Also, I always use the same hotel for many years, they don’t waive anything for me. I think it’s not only sad but very greedy. Especially when I’m at the hotel just to shower and sleep. They only service the room once every 4 days. I have to request for towels and soap and toiletries myself. Then wait for an hour or more to get deliveries.

  5. I find it hilarious that the government is getting involved in egregious undisclosed resort fees when they’re the biggest abuser of such practices.

    In California alone electronics, tires, engine oil and batteries all have undisclosed government disposal fees. You get quoted a price plus fees which you only get the total at checkout.

    What a joke….

  6. The one fee that bugs me most is the mandatory “resort fee.” Typically, you pay this at the hotel/resort. I think the hotels are just trying to cut the travel agencies’ fees out of part of their fee.

    But, here is my position on resort fees: they must be for resorts, not just hotels. That means these are required:
    …24-hour restaurant on-site
    …swimming pool on-site
    …24-hour gym that can handle at least 3% of the guests at any time
    …an on-site 18-hole golf course, it can be a shared course with an adjacent or nearly adjacent resort.

    Missing any of those it’s a hotel, not a resort. No resort, no resort fee.

    1. Those are the ammenaties that attracted you to the hotel yoy should have to pay extra for it. everything should be in the rate. …
      ………… the hotels try to impose upon you that they are just as cheap as motel 6 and they are not. they are duping people and it needs to stop. put it in the rate.

  7. Hawaii could always go back to charging ten cents to use the public toilet like they did in the 60’s. We use to put empty toilet paper rolls in the door to keep it from locking. Talk about holding the door for someone!

  8. I suppose if the resort fee is taken away the hotel will just impose things like towel fee, cup fee, shower supply fee, internet fee, room cleaning fee, and if they are real mean they might impose a nightly electric and water usage fee. They will just itemize all the things incorporated in a resort fee and call it something else. In the end you will probably pay more. Maybe all the hotels will just raise their regular nightly rates by 35-60 bucks per night. In the end the tourist will still pay the same or more for the inconvenience.

    1. what is the room charge for ? everyyhing should benincluded in the room rate…………….. unless you want something way out of the ordinary like to have your car washed while its in valet……… they are just milking the chain of revenue and exploiting vacations.

  9. Resort fees are one the few options hotels have to offset costs attributable to union wages, state imposed taxation, and high cost of maintaining their resort. Hawaii’s vacation future looks dim, hotel employees are leaving by the hundreds if not thousands each year caused by cost of living here versus Mainland. There is no relief as long as our politicians think a rail is more important than affordable housing.

  10. Those are some really high fees, higher even than Las Vegas casinos.

    Consumers, the only thing you can do to fight these fees: don’t book, don’t pay. That is your only leverage. I suggest using it.

  11. Easy answer is to ask when booking and then say “No” I won’t pay that. Please consider booking me without those fees or I will find somewhere else to stay thank you.

    1. Most people who have timeshares that I know have to pay a monthly mortgage, monthly property maintenance fees, electricity, and yearly property taxes. I don’t see these charges on Hotel bills.

      1. Nevertheless, we know these fees upfront and can make a decision and budget wisely. The other advantage is that I can have guests use the resort, as long as I don’t go over the maximum guests for the unit. Then there’s the advantage of fixing meals and eating in. Often laundry facilities in the unit. Little things add up. I guess it depends upon the frequency one goes to Hawaii.

  12. Give me a break! Fairmont Orchid Garden View $710/night before taxes – then add $45 Plus taxes resort fee (which includes 1 hr. rental of snorkel gear per day for only at the resort (be still my beating heart). They are out of their ever lovin minds! But then I am not the type of visitor the Visitor Bureau wants anyway.

    1. Hi Dot.

      How many times have you been to Hawaii. We’ll guess many times. You have also authored nearly 100 comments over a period of four years on Beat of Hawaii. So your interest and concern for Hawaii is obvious. We hope you are the kind of visitor HTA wants!


      1. Actually, we’ve been coming every year since the late 90’s and have visited every island but Lanai. We don’t want to live in Hawaii, but when we visit it feels like home. We’ve only had good experiences with the folks who live and work there.

      1. Not much different from the direction Hawaii is headed…. $35.00 to use a public beach in some areas if you are a visitor.

        Don’t even get me started on Ke’e fees/policy, or Waimea which is even worse considering the fees and restrooms that don’t even work.

  13. “Bait and Switch” used to be illegal. It fools no one and it just feels like a sleazy rip off. No one likes to be tricked. Fifty bucks for internet fees? Really?

  14. I think these are aggregious! I go to Hawaii quite often and I for one think it’s just one more way to charge more. I have done All those things you suggested to not have these fees and all were unsuccessful. The resort fee is the worst. I can justify parking and some others because you are getting extra but most resort fees, when I have questioned, are not and I’ve even offered to sign something that says I will not use the gym or the internet or whatever. No go. I also really don’t see that president Biden’s threat will do any good because times at least the resort fees are given to you ahead of time. If they do just include them in the daily room rate, the price will still be higher.

  15. Corporations are going to pass all their government taxes and fees onto the consumer. If there weren’t so many government regulations and forced taxes this wouldn’t be an issue. They have GET and TAT which alone 15% (18% combined in Honolulu) the resorts have to pay the government per room. They then need to pass along their high property taxes to the consumer. And then you have cleaning and parking fees. The government needs to back off. Hawaii resorts provide over $400 million to the government per year in TAT alone- where is this money going?! That should be the story, not Biden forcing more government control that I’m sure hotels will pass on an admin fee now just to break out the taxes and fees.

    1. The money is going to exorbitant HI government pensions. The HI pension system is only 68.5% funded, with $11.1 billion in unfunded liabilities. Ranking the fifty states by their funded ratio, HI ranks 38th, which is not good. Source: Equable Pension Plan Funded Ratio Rankings.

      But that’s nothing compared to two other states. California has a stunning $275 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. And Illinois is second to last, at only 50% funded and with $210 billion in unfunded liabilities. Outrageous.

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