This Hawaii Hotel Surcharge May Catch You By Surprise

One of the places in Honolulu where editor Rob likes to stay is the Alohilani. The rates are reasonably fair, the City View room he stayed in was nice, but without much view, the location is great, and the pool deck was trendy with a bar. Plus, a topped-rank coffeehouse, Kai Coffee, sits streetside facing the beach.

There were a few issues with the hotel, but honestly, it was what we just saw with our own eyes that just felt wrong. Sometimes, it isn’t even about the money but rather that feeling of being nickel-and-dimed to death.

This also seems strange since we’ve recently experienced a number of hotels have gone completely cashless in order to avoid all of the problems with that. This seems both cumbersome for the hotel and completely annoying for guests. Not to mention who really carries an additional $3k in cash around with them on a Hawaii vacation?

Alohilani Resort leads with bold new Hawaii hotel fee.

The Alohilani Resort is a mid-range, large Waikiki hotel with more than 800 rooms. It was rebranded from the Pacific Beach Hotel and opened under its current name in 2018. During the rebranding and redesign, the legendary two-story Oceanarium was saved.

Regarding the new surcharge, we were alerted to this by a comment from Mary, who reported:

“Last time I reserved a room 3 weeks ago, I understood that it is customary to reserve a hotel with a credit card, no? Here’s a new one for you in the fees department.

Please no! One of my favorite hotels, the Alohilani, now requires this:

Please Note: Effective March 3, 2023, a credit card processing fee of two percent (2%) will be assessed on all credit and debit card transactions relating to hotel guest stays, and charges throughout the property.”

So we headed back to the Alohilani website since we couldn’t quite fathom it. We know that credit card surcharges have been somewhat normal in many industries but in a large Hawaii hotel? It was a first, at least for us.

When checking, we confirmed the exact language that Mary was referring to.

It wasn’t immediately obvious but rather was found on the terms and conditions page, which is available prior to paying and after selecting your room. There were some other interesting points on that page:

  1. A valid credit card is required to guarantee and secure your online reservations. BOH: Okay, so I guarantee payment with my credit card, but in order to avoid the credit card surcharge, I bring cash to the hotel.
  2. Cancellation/Modifications/Non-Arrival Policy: If you cancel within 72 hours prior to arrival, you’ll pay for one night on our credit card BOH: That, plus 2%, of course.
  3. A daily resort fee of $48 will be collected upon our arrival. BOH: Bring cash.
  4. Tree fee: Optional $5 per room. BOH: Commenter Patrick said this is automatic unless you opt-out.
  5. “A credit card processing fee of two percent (2%) will be assessed on all credit and debit card transactions relating to hotel guest stays, and charges throughout the property. This fee will apply to both physical and virtual credit cards.” BOH: How about just making the price the price and being done with it?

How much does it add up to?

To be honest, for a one-week stay, the credit card charge below only added up to just over fifty bucks. So it isn’t about the money, although when added to the other ancillary charges, it was, we’d say, over the top.

We just decided to play with the numbers based on a 7-night stay based in low season (early May) and based on the “Best price per night” of $284. If you stay for 7 nights, including resort, fee, and credit card surcharge, here’s where you end up. The non-room charges end up amounting to a whopping 39% of the total bill.

  • Room: 284.05 per night x 7 nights: $1,988.35
  • Resort Fee (mandatory): $48 per night x 7 nights: $336.00
  • Parking (optional): $48 per night x 7 nights: $336.00.
  • Total for 7 nights before taxes: $2,713.56.
  • Approx. taxes (17.92%): $486.27.
  • Credit card surcharge on above: $64.00.
  •  Grand total: $3,263.83

Photo by Editor Rob at Beat of Hawaii during his stay at Alohilani.

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68 thoughts on “This Hawaii Hotel Surcharge May Catch You By Surprise”

  1. We’re sitting in the Maui Airport heading for Oahu now. We have a reservation at the Alohilani for 4 nights and have not been told any of this by the hotel or anyone else (except the parking). This is total greed!

  2. That’s ridiculous! I would never stay there. Stayed at the Outrigger in Waikiki, right on the beach! No resort fee for Kamaainas and 50% off parking fees.

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