At hotels, ‘for your convenience’ rarely is

Look out — the hotel “convenience” wave is spreading.
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Charged an extra $400 for a vacation I can’t take

Yoga mats, reinterpreted. / Photo by christianyves – Flickr Creative Commons
Question: I recently booked a retreat to Costa Rica through a yoga studio in New York. Just before I was supposed to leave, I was admitted to the emergency room and had to cancel my trip.
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A $500 fee for being American and other absurd hotel surcharges

Nick Pilolla thought he’d made a reservation at the Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort & Casino through Otel.com, a European travel website.
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The mystery of Oyster Bay’s energy fee deepens

You wouldn’t believe our utility bills! / Photo by Candi Berger – Flickr

Last month, I reported on the possible re-emergence of energy fees in the hotel industry. Today, I have some good news for you — and an update from the hotel that allegedly charged the fee to one guest.
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Are energy fees about to make a comeback?

Do you have the power? / Photo by ykanazawa1999 - Flickr
The Oyster Bay Beach Resort is a highrise hotel in St. Martin that promises guests white sand beaches, “breathtaking” views of the Caribbean and a “paradise found.”

But Jack Permadi says he found more than that when he stayed at the property recently. Permadi, who had traveled to the island from North Royalton, Ohio, for vacation, says the hotel asked him to pay extra for something that’s normally included in the price of a stay.
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Can this trip be saved? Overcharged for her Air Malta baggage

When Linda Krasowski’s daughter Caitlin landed in London on her way to Malta, she was greeted with an unexpected fee. An Air Malta representative asked her to pay $250 because one of her checked bags was 10 pounds over the limit.

“That was more than her ticket from London to Malta,” she says.

Absurd? You bet. But Air Malta’s luggage requirements are clearly disclosed.

Caitlin wasn’t alone, fortunately. She happened to be on a school trip that had been arranged by a travel agent. Her mother was confident this could all be worked out once she came home.
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The Travel Troubleshooter: Two extra kids equals a 200-euro surcharge?

Question: I need your help to resolve a situation that I encountered recently when my family and I stayed at the Brussels Marriott.

I generally book directly on the hotel’s website. So in this case, I went to Marriott.com and entered the number of guests — my wife, two young children, and me.

My reservation was for three nights. When we tried to check in, the clerk said that the room had a king bed and could not accommodate us. I mentioned that my kids are quite young and can easily share the bed, as we do this often when staying at Marriott properties in the United States.

I was told that the only option I had was to upgrade to a larger suite, pay for an additional room, or walk away. I asked for the manager, who told me the same thing.

I pointed out that there was no way I could stay in two separate rooms, as I would be separated from my family. I also pointed out that I have a child who is autistic, who cannot be separated from us, but they firmly held their ground. They said that the only thing they could do was to upgrade me to a suite for an additional cost of 300 Euros.

Eventually, the hotel agreed to lower its surcharge to 200 Euros for a three-night stay.

We had a miserable time in Brussels and had to cut short our sightseeing activities to somehow compensate for this extra expense. In short, they ruined my vacation. Can you please help us? — Hari Doraisamy, Newtown Square, Pa.

Answer: The hotel shouldn’t have forced you to upgrade. I reviewed your correspondence, and it appears that you did almost everything you could to alert Marriott that you were traveling with your family. Something may have gotten lost in the translation.
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