3 Hotel Chains With Top-Tier Amenities and No Resort Fees

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President Joe Biden has recently put a spotlight on resort fees, calling on Congress to pass a Junk Fee Prevention Act. This would crack down on various types of “junk fees,” such as service fees for concert tickets, early termination fees for internet service and hotel resort fees.

“We’ll ban surprise ‘resort fees’ that hotels tack on to your bill,” Biden said during his February 2023 State of the Union remarks, referencing the proposed act. “These fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts.”

NerdWallet analyzed more than 100 U.S. hotels with December 2023 check-in dates and found that — among hotels that charge resort fees — the average nightly fee was $38.82.

But while these mandatory yet hidden resort fees could soon be banned in the U.S., some major hotel brands already offer lavish, resort-style amenities without fees.

These three major hotel chains don’t charge resort or destination fees at all:

1. Drury Hotels

Amenities at Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando include (counterclockwise from top left): free hot breakfast, a DIY Mickey Mouse waffle bar, a splash pad for kids and a pool. (Photos by Sally French)

Free food is the star of the show at Drury Hotels. Breakfast, which typically consists of hot items like scrambled eggs, potatoes and sausage, is free.

In the evening, there’s the 5:30 Kickback, which serves free drinks (including beer and wine). Drury also serves snacks that could qualify as a full meal. Exact menu items vary by day and location but include meatballs, mashed potatoes, sliders, hot dogs, pasta and grilled chicken.

Nonedible amenities include pools at most locations, free Wi-Fi and 24-hour access to the fitness and business centers.

2. Disney resorts worldwide

The lobby at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. (Photo by Sally French)

While even the cheapest Disney vacation is notoriously expensive, you at least won’t encounter resort fees when staying at a Disney-owned hotel.

Disney operates resort fee-free hotels at each of its six campuses worldwide, including Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaii. However, at Disney’s hotels in Asia (found at Hong Kong Disneyland, Shanghai Disney and Tokyo Disneyland), a service charge of 10% to 15% is added to your final bill — a common practice throughout Asia.

Benefits for Disney World hotel guests include free theme park parking and extended hours to spend in the theme parks.

At Disney’s California hotels, resort amenities include large family-friendly pools and early theme park entry. Visitors at Aulani enjoy resort features like five pools, a private beach, classes, nature walks, movie nights and pool parties — all without resort fees.

3. Ovolo

An Ovolo hotel in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo courtesy of Ovolo Hotels)

Ovolo Hotels is a Hong Kong-based chain operating boutique properties in Australia and Asia.

Some amenities, such as free Vespa rides at the Bali location, are unique to specific properties. Then there are standardized perks across all properties, including free breakfast, free self-service laundry, a gym, a complimentary in-room mini bar, candy in the lobby and a snack bag offered at check-in.

While Ovolo doesn’t charge resort fees, there is one stipulation to get all those benefits for free: You need to book directly on the Ovolo website, rather than through a third party such as Expedia or Priceline.

Other ways to avoid resort fees

Whether or not you use the resort amenities, resort fees are still mandatory at the hotels that charge them. But sometimes you can get out of paying them. Here’s how:

Book on points (at certain hotels): Some companies won’t tack on resort fees if you book on points. Hilton Honors and World of Hyatt loyalty programs do not charge resort fees on award stays.

Hold elite status: Sometimes hotels waive resort fees for members with high levels of elite status. Hyatt, for example, won’t charge you if you have Globalist elite status.

Just ask: While not guaranteed, sometimes asking (nicely) might get you out of a resort fee — particularly if you have a strong case (e.g., you checked in at 9 p.m. and checked out the next morning at 9 a.m., hence couldn’t possibly have taken the free hula classes).

Don’t patronize businesses that charge them: Even in high-tourist areas, there are usually lodging options that don’t charge resort fees. For example, a couple of Las Vegas Strip hotels (and many more off-Strip hotels) have no resort fees. Consider booking those instead of the ones with fees.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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