Resort Fee in Vegas: list & how to avoid paying it

(The ever-shrinking list of Vegas resorts WITHOUT fees is below).  Everybody hates resort fees and the way prices are advertised, namely without them, makes Vegas hotel advertised prices very deceptive.  If we book a hotel somewhere else, say in Budapest, for example, we become very displeased if, at check out, we are charged the tiny, additional city tax.  Yet, when we check into a Vegas resort, we put up with everything, such as the much-hated resort fees, on top of the usual taxes.  Basically when Vegas resorts advertise their ‘bargain’ prices, we always need to take into consideration the extremely high resort fee (from around 10 to as much as 40+ dollars per night).  There are some Vegas resorts which do NOT apply these fees but the number is shrinking, namely because people haven’t boycotted those who do.

Any resort applying a resort fee should be made to justify it, namely with great amenities which are open late if not 24 hours (as they should).  Never forget to complain or at least to point out that you, as a valued guest, deserve more for your money; if you don’t want to do it on the spot you can always write to them when you return home; these are casino resorts, and their main income is generally from gambling, attractions and drinks; therefore, there is little reason, beside excessive greed, to add let alone increase a resort fee.

We don’t mind a SMALL resort fee if the resort offers great amenities which stay open late, for example (but those fees should be much small and, above all, they should be applicable per person; it’s quite unfair that 4 people can share the hefty resort fee whilst a couple or a solo traveler will be hit with the full amount.  Most importantly, the resort fee should be CLEARLY advertised with the price.

Some go as far as to say that resort fees are a scam as ‘inherently deceptive because once a fee is mandatory, it becomes an integral part of the total price’.  As far as we are concerned, we simply think that any hotel rate advertised, even if ‘comped’, should clearly be accompanied by the resort fee and any other mandatory fee, so that potential purchasers will be able to make precise comparisons and informed choices.

Below we tell you how to avoid the resort fee altogether and we include lists of Vegas hotels without and with resort fees.  Before that, let’s see what it is exactly and let’s work out if avoiding the resort fee is actually the best thing for you and for you pocket.

What is a Resort Fee?

it is an additional charge (on top of your room rate and taxes) which is meant to cover the ‘resort’ services, which include the use of the gym (or fitness centre, or exercise room), a limited use of the spa facilities (Jacuzzi, Saunas, Steam Rooms), local phone calls, daily newspapers to the room and other services (each hotel or resort may have all of these services, fewer or more). The principle behind this is that, since every guest is going to use some if not all of those services, rather than paying for the individually they are all combined together in a single resort fee.

Resort Fee Price: Resort fees range from around 9 to 40 dollars.  The resort fee (+ taxes on the resort fee) is added to the advertised rate when you actually pay your bill. If you look on their websites, all Vegas resorts state their resort fee somewhere, if in doubt, just pick up the phone and ask them; we do it all the time to be absolutely sure of what we are going to pay, since we like to keep to our allocated budget. Unfortunately the resort fee is something that changes all the time with many Vegas resorts, so double checking with a phone call is always wise.  Otherwise, please refer to our list below.

Sometimes the more services a resort offers within those fees, the better the services you will find (but it’s not always the case, unfortunately). For example: there are some Las Vegas hotels which will charge an overall 9 dollars resort fee but, in some cases, those fees cover basic services, such as the use of wi-fi (which however is always a great deal if included, since paying for it separately can be ridiculously expensive in some resorts) and the use of a basic fitness room or a cardio room (in the latter case the full gym may be accessed for a fee). It is therefore important to find out, before you book, what is actually offered and what those services actually are, as well as their opening hours (some Caesar’s resorts close their gym ridiculously early, for example). You will be surprised at the differences; just because a Vegas hotel states that they have fitness facilities included in the resort fee, it does not necessarily mean that those facilities are actually good. By the way, if you want to know which Las Vegas resorts offer the best fitness facilities, go to Best Vegas Gyms, Best Vegas Spas and Best Vegas Pools.

One of the resorts which infuriated us lately was Golden Nugget, as an example of a resort, in our opinion, which is very deceptive: first, they advertise a room with relatively low rates without the high resort fee of 28 dollars (!); then, as we were about to go to their gym, we found out that we had to pay extra for it (!!!) because (we were told) the low room rate did not cover gym access.  This, in our opinion, was a total scam.

So, how to avoid paying resort fees? How to book a Vegas hotel without resort fees?

There are mainly two ways to avoid paying resort fees:

– to book a Vegas hotel which does not charge resort fees (a list is provided at the bottom, but beware of the drawbacks, as we’ll explain further on)

– to book a special players card offer; the best is the ‘comp’ offer, where of course you pay absolutely nothing (and do not pay any resort fee either, nor taxes); otherwise some special package offers (say ‘3 nights for the overall price of 99 dollars’, and so on) are resort-fee free and, even better, they are tax-free (what we mean is that the advertised package price is all inclusive of any charge, so there are no surprises at check out). Every time you are about to book a room or suite, no matter what package it is or from what special offer, always read the fine print and, if in doubt, ask them over the phone.

We like to choose which hotels we’ll stay based on how good the rooms or suites are, how good their customer service is, how good their casino is, the facilities they provide (wi-fi or cable Internet, gym, spa, pool and so on) and the quality of their buffet. We do not like to limit ourselves to the Vegas hotels which don’t apply resort fees (often because there is always a ‘catch’; more on this further on). So, we will select special Vegas hotel offers and packages which, overall, are convenient and a good deal without sacrificing on the quality of the stay. As per the best price overall, bear in mind that one hotel may be resort-fee-free, but the overall deal may be not so good (for example, they may not offer you buffet deals or they may not offer you free-play and they will not offer you free wifi, which can cost 15 dollars or more per day!). However: if all you want is a place to sleep, then by all means opt for resort-free resorts or those who have a low resort fee.

Is the there a catch in a resort-free Vegas hotel?

The resort fees applied by the MGM group and some applied by Caesars Entertainment are becoming ridiculously high; moreover, as per Wi-Fi included in the resort fee, in some resorts it only covers one device (outrageous), or it’s only for a very basic, super slow internet service.  Therefore, these days, the following argument (next paragraph) needs to be weighed for each individual resort chosen, comparing the resort fee vs a fee-free hotel and deciding what works best for you.

Some of the Vegas hotels which apply NO resort fee may offer worse services and they make you pay top prices for anything ‘extra’.  So, if you plan to use any of the ‘resort services’ and you are staying in one of these resort-free-fee Vegas hotels, make sure they offer they services you want and find out how much those services are if they are not free of charge (such as free local calls or free Wi-Fi, or free Gym access).

So, in summary: before you book, make a list of the resort services you are likely to want to use (local and 0800 phone calls, Wi-Fi, cable Internet, gym, spa, rest areas, etc) and find out how much they are separately. Do the math, work out which ones you are likely to use and which ones you are not and then decide which hotel is best for you. Some of the Vegas hotels have low resort fees so it almost becomes a non-issue. But, admittedly, some Vegas hotels have a high resort fee, in which case working out what’s best for you, what’s offered, what quality accommodation you will have, what service you will receive and so on, will be worth-while endeavors before you book your Vegas resort experience.

Moreover, if you book over the phone, some resorts may charge you a ridiculous $10++ ‘processing fee’ (!); this ridiculous processing fee is waived for high rollers and certain ‘VIP’ members (AAA members) and it may also be waived for seniors and veterans. Make sure you ask before you book (before you even tell them your name or total rewards card number).

List of Vegas Hotels Without Resort Fee

Resorts which do not apply a resort fee are as follows.  Some of those have practically no amenities whilst others offer a large array of great amenities.

  • Arizona Charlie’s Decatur
    · Arizona Charlie’s Boulder Highway
    · California
    · Cannery
    · Casino Royale Best Western Plus
    · Eastside Cannery
    · Elara
    · Four Queens
    · Fremont Casino
    · Hilton Grand Vacations on the Las Vegas Strip
    · Hilton Grand Vacations Las Vegas Convention Center
    · Hilton Grand Vacations at the Flamingo
    · M Resort
    · Main Street Station
    · Wyndham

The ‘Catch’: Some of these above-mentioned hotels actually offer no facilities that would warrant any resort fee or, if they do, they are sub-standard (in our opinion). Some of the above mentioned Vegas hotels will ‘hit’ you with other charges, such as a resort ‘booking processing fee’ (as explained in the earlier paragraphs of this page) or wi-fi charges. Others, are so expensive overall that applying a few dollars to their nightly rate would be insignificant.

However, since now some resort fees are becoming truly out of control, if you are staying in Vegas for one week or longer, it may be worth your while to consider opting out of resort-fee hotels altogether and working out if you can purchase certain services separately (such as buying a wireless USB key or a mobile Wi-Fi router) or using those Vegas spots which offer free wireless.

List of Vegas hotels which apply a resort fee

This list is great since it also includes its exact price, which as you know varies from resort to resort.  You may still want to phone the resort you are interested in and ask what’s included EXACTLY, since changes can take place overnight without notice: List of Vegas Hotels which apply a Resort Fee

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