The Andaz West Hollywood’s Sneaky New “Destination Fee”

Filed Under: Hotels, Hyatt

If you stay in hotels with any frequency, you’ve probably dealt with pesky “resort fees.” These have become the norm at many destinations.

Why “resort fees” are charged

They were initially introduced primarily for two reasons:

  • They’re a way for hotels to try and get more revenue without increasing the “transparent” room rate
  • It works out better for the hotel than an increase in the room rate, since they don’t have to pay travel agents a commission on the resort fee; in some areas it also allows them to skirt the typical occupancy tax that otherwise applies on the room rate

Resorts were able to get away with it at first since they could throw in amenities like beach chairs, etc., which they might otherwise charge for. The problem is that once a majority of hotels in certain destinations introduced these fees, it made it tough for other hotels not to.

They were at an extreme disadvantage if they didn’t charge these fees. If they simply raised their rates they’d appear more expensive than the competition, given how good many hotels are at hiding resort fees.

Then “destination fees” were introduced

An alarming evolution of this is that we’ve seen so many city hotels now add “destination fees.” This works exactly the same way as a resort fee, but for city hotels. New York City is probably the biggest offender in this regard, as a countless number of hotels there have this fee.

While it has expanded to several other markets, it has now been added to a Los Angeles hotel that I’ve collectively spent well over a hundred nights at.

The Andaz West Hollywood’s new “destination fee”

The Andaz West Hollywood has added a $23.10 nightly “destination fee” to their room rate.

So, what’s included with this $23.10 per night fee?

  • $10 credit to our hotel’s acclaimed Riot House Restaurant and Bar for dinner
  • $20 day pass to Cycle Bar. Includes drop-in ride, free branded water bottle and free amenities
  • 15% discount on tickets to Escape Room with code: andazguest (3 person minimum)
  • 10% off Starline Tours for Celebrity Homes Tour, Hop On Hop Off 48 Hour Tour and Grand LA City Tour. (redeem online with code: Andaz2019)
  • Beverly Center VIP Passport to Shopping booklet. Present Shopping Pass Voucher at the Beverly Center Guest Services to receive your Passport to Shopping filled with special offers (Visit hotel front desk to pick up shopping pass voucher)
  • $3 off admission to the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live (bookable online at https://www.grammymuseum.org/ with offer code (ANDAZ)
  • Complimentary welcome bag, key chain and postcard at The Original Farmers Market. Simply present your room key to their concierge.
  • Fred Segal exclusive personal shopping experience with one of their concierge, refreshments from Fred Segal Café and a complimentary gift with no minimum purchase. (To book your experience please see the front desk host.)
  • Exhale Spa – $25 off any 60 or 90-minute spa therapy or $10 off a fitness class at the Santa Monica location (redeem by showing this listing)
  • 15% discount off retail prices at Carlton Drew Men’s Store. (redeem by showing your Andaz room key)
  • PinkDot -10% discount on purchases at the famed Sunset Boulevard store. (redeem by showing your Andaz room key or shop online using code: ANDAZ19)

What a long list of absolute garbage. Where do we even begin?

  • $10 off dinner at the hotel, really? Especially with how many good restaurants there are in LA, there’s no reason to have dinner at the Andaz.
  • They’re publishing virtually all of the discount codes online, so it seems you can use them regardless of whether or not you’re actually staying at the Andaz.
  • Some of these “deals” don’t even make sense, like $25 off a spa treatment in Santa Monica, rather than somewhere nearby.

Perhaps even worse than the destination fee is the Andaz’s complete lack of disclosure regarding it. The only mentions of the destination fee are when you go to the booking summary page, where it suddenly appears, and the only place the fee is explained is in the “policies” section of the website, which is a tiny link at the very bottom that you’d never otherwise book.

Otherwise nowhere on the hotel’s website or during the booking process is this disclosed. Not even in the rate rules. I find this to be incredibly dishonest.

Bottom line

I’m sad to see “destination fees” expand to the Andaz West Hollywood, and I suspect we’ll soon see a lot more hotels add these in Los Angeles. It’s a sneaky way that hotels can earn extra revenue, and despite guest frustration, they don’t care, and usually get away with it

Buyer beware.

(Tip of the hat to Traveling For Miles)

Comments

  1. Do we know if the dinner credit at least applies to room service?

    Hotels can generally get away with these since they often are hard to find before booking, but I wonder about whether they’re stifling repeat visitors after leaving a bad taste in peoples mouth after checkout. Probably doesn’t impact business travelers (unless it rises above maximum reimbursable amounts).

  2. I wish there was some legislation or a way to make it so these fees were optional. Of course the majority of the people would then avoid them, but if they are really going to pitch these as a fee with benefits (be it beach chairs or $10 for dinner), it would be great to be able to say nah I’m good thanks.

  3. We need a modern Ralph Nader. Many of the consumer protection stuff you know and love are thanks to him.

  4. @JJJ — Yeah, so Donald Trump can get re-elected? Everyone conveniently forgets that Ralph Nader gave us GW Bush, the original idiot President.

  5. Hotels and Rental cars are the worst. I’ve had to start to pre-paying for my rental car to avoid extra fees and taxes that they start adding, which is def a hassle if plans change. There def should be regulation that prevents them from sneaking this in.

  6. @Gene he’s not talking about him/his modern day equivalent running for office (you are correct about that), he’s talking about his public service and what he accomplished. He did a ton; it’s unfortunate that he’s really only remembered for the 2000 election.

  7. Of course it’s immoral, fraudulent, and despicable, but somehow it is apparently legal to lie about prices. Really, you should contact their manager and say tell him or her that you have spent more than 100 nights there and never plan to go back while that fee is imposed. Unless those of you who are frequent guests at a place like that speak up, the rest of us have no chance.

  8. This is definitely very annoying, however, I don’t think creating new laws would be the answer. The free market can fix this. If people don’t like the fees, they can stop going or complain. It’s possible that the hotel will listen and change their policies. Then there’s the competition standpoint where people have alternatives and don’t have to pay the crazy fees that other hotels impose. Just my .02…

  9. It’s a complete racket. They know you’re not going to spend exactly $10 at the restaurant. It’s a way to get you into the restaurant to spend more, that you otherwise would have never spent. Same with with the Cycle Bar.

    The fee is probably too new for any solid DPs, but hopefully it can be waived for Globalists.

  10. My major issue with these fees is that because they’re not included in the room rate, they are not subject to the city taxes – the one part of the revenue mix that actually contributes to a city’s infrastructure that the tourist and hotel uses.

    The hotel basically gets to raise the room rate without paying the increased tax. It is offensive, and is otherwise known as corporate welfare. Or tax evasion. Or something that you or I would get arrested for.

  11. Booked the Churchill Hotel in Washington DC through Expedia back in November for MLK weekend and saw afterwards that they have a destination fee, which (even on Expedia) was even hidden in the fine-prints. It’s $27 a day and you can find it on their website under https://www.thechurchillhotel.com/fact-sheet
    I find it disgraceful to charge people $27 for basic amnesties like “in-room safe”. They did not end up actually charging me the destination fee so I kept my mouth shut but would have refused to pay it since there were no umbrellas or free bottled water in the room. The stay was pretty bad even without having to pay that fee and I will not return there ever again.

  12. LOL @ “the free market can fix this”

    Well given the trends (as noted), Adam Smith’s invisible hand is pushing it the wrong way.

  13. Perhaps when guests start registering their discontent on TripAdvisor and the hotel’s ratings plummet, they will rethink this moronic fee.

  14. It’s time to start contacting congress and creating a fuss. This is out and out fraud!!! ONE hotel that I encountered that was under SPG at the time “The Westin Grand Central Station” actually had a list of services under their destination fee that could be used by ANY type of traveler…it was very impressive and well thought out. Not to mention its a great Westin in NYC.

    It’s sad to see this.

    IF a hotel is not a resort in a resort type of location, then again its FRAUD!!. Dressing it up as a Destination Fee is bs.

  15. The genius of Hyatt is that their top status (globalist) don’t have to pay resort/destination fees. So the frequent and high value guests never care about these fees.

    I know that I save hundreds per year from having Globalist status.

  16. “What a long list of absolute garbage.”

    Couldn’t agree more. Hidden pricing and fees is a bane of the modern economy and should be banned. It’s been a big problem for a while but now it’s just getting ridiculous. I love it how Europe has laws that insists that the price tag advertised must include sales taxes and hidden charges.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing the promo code “ANDAZ” for the Grammy Museum. I can use the discount for tickets without staying at the Andaz in West Hollywood.

  18. Let’s be clear, you are not actually getting any benefit from these so called “destination fees”. They are a hidden charge simple as that. They are akin to a plumber saying a job will be $100 but than charging you $110 because of a $10 “service fee”. It’s exactly as @Lucky said: a way for the hotel to advertise lower rates than they actually charge and a way for them to pay less commission to travel agents.

  19. Kimpton La Peer in WeHo has something similar (“guest amenity fee”), so it’s already expanding throughout L.A…
    $30 for WiFi, printing (10 pages), a daily fitness class, juice in the lobby before 9am, and $20 credit toward breakfast.

  20. This property is also frequently the subject of staff protests. I drive past it every day and have seen several staff strikes outside because they are refusing to pay their staff a decent wage. So they’re being stingy for both their staff and their guests now!

  21. @Jeff

    Uh…no. If the free market could have fixed this, then resort fees would have never spread and become popular in the first place. It’s not like resort fees are a result of regulation. The “free market” contributed to this.

    How? Hotels in in-demand areas can do sneaky tactics like this because it’s highly likely they will get booked up no matter what. When demand exceeds supply by a certain threshold, simple Econ 101 free market logic doesn’t work. In this case, having your competitor down the street charge extra resort fees just meant additional profit for them that you would be missing out on if you didn’t adopt the same.

    It’s like how ISPs in the US can increase rates or charge whatever they want. Demand is not going to decrease because everybody wants internet. Most markets don’t have real competition because of barriers to entry (many of which are imposed by the existing players to prevent newcomers). Everybody needs internet and there are few, if any, options for them to turn to if they don’t like their current provider.

    You need regulation around price transparency to fix this. If hotels want to increase rates, they can list their “market price” openly.

  22. All of the full-service Hyatts in San Francisco charge a “destination fee”—it was only a matter of time before it migrated down to LA.

    At least for the Hyatts in SF, the food credit is only good at the hotel’s main restaurant. No good for room service or food at other food outlets in the hotel. I had a big argument about this with the agent checking me out at the HR SF, but he would not budge on the issue.

  23. Everyone should just go to the restaurant, order extactly $10 worth of food or drinks. And enjoy their time slowly. Let’s see if they continue with these “credits” continue if they actually lose money in the restaurants.

    Maybe not even tip on these orders since they are mandatory “prepaid” purchases.

  24. Here’s the thing, I totally don’t mind if hotel’s raise prices. Price changes are a normal and expected part of supply and demand. But the problem is that they try to hide the price hike and deceive customers into buying the product at one price, only to charge them another. If the hotel simply raised the advertised rate by $23, I wouldn’t have a problem with this.

  25. @Jeff “If people don’t like the fees, they can stop going or complain.” – That assumes people realize they are being charged these fees, which many clearly are not. And the exemption for high level elites makes it so that the travelers most likely to provide repeat business have no reason to complain. These fees are basically tailored to fleece infrequent travelers.

  26. Lucky,
    It is waived for Globalist, I had booked a stay at the Andaz Wall Street and I called the Globalist line and he quoted me something from the Hyatt procedures and manual. I still do not like it, we stay at the Andaz Hollywood more because we visit relatives in the area it is just an ok hotel.

  27. Agree that this should be disclosed but i have seen these fees in many major cities in the past 6-8 months. I don’t know that I’d call out the Andaz – it’s everywhere. I’m not saying it’s right or that I like it but it’s the non Casino/Resort way of capturing a “resort fee.” At least here, they give you some value for the $23.10 fee. Most places you get nothin’. And, I believe if you’re a Hyatt Globalist or Lifetime Globalist, these fees are waived at Hyatt (not MGM) properties.

  28. Jordan – Why are resort fees ok but these are fraud? I see no logical distinction between them.

  29. If you can get to Globalist it’s waived. Resort fees as well. But I agree it’s offensive. I will say though that at many places I tell the front desk that this is shocking and I did not know about it. They often times remove it. It’s at least worth a try.

  30. Lets say Andaz West Hollywood was an amazing hotel one might be inclined to roll with it
    Unfortunately the hotel is on the take just like many other Hyatt’s(not they are the only chain doing so) looking to scam their customers.Hello Hyatt Regency Boston
    As an investment property owner can you imagine what my tenants/clients would say If I tacked on a resort fee or destination charge to their monthly rent?
    Its illegal in some other countries but in ours sadly there is no law preventing it

    Andaz West Hollywood takes great risks in doing so long term with its paper thin windows with noisy rooms, mediocre guest service and slow valet parking and dining that is all over the map quality wise.
    Unfortunately there are a ton of other hotels to choose from
    They will have to learn the hard way
    Just because New York is doing it doesn’t mean its the ight choice for every city
    I’ve stopped staying at all IHG hotels as a result because they are charging these fees even on award nights.Added insult to injury they are weak on upgrades and no breakfast or other meaningful benefits
    To many fees and other options

  31. Considering this is one of my go-to hotels in LA I am so disgusted. This is one of the worst trends ever.

  32. The American peasants does this cause they invent IT entrepreneurs starting “hotels.com” and feel very proud about it, then need to recover their losses to commissions. Resort fee for a beach chair? Every hotel with beach chairs has the same expense. If you don’t have beach chairs you will have less people booking with you so it should be reflected in the room rate, same as all other services.

  33. Just canceled a stay at the Andaz Wall Street last night for just this reason. Fees for 4 nights were 200.00. So I gave up the point earn and moved down the street to the Beekman. No fee. Hyatt certainly hid it in the small print and I have stayed here a few times and never came across it. Terrible practise. Really pushing me towards boutique brands and independents. Points and status be damned.

  34. AirBnB

    You stay at your one room $800/nt hotel hoping for a breakfast while paying hipundreds of dollars of undisclosed fees

    I’ll stay at a 2 bed 2 bath condo for $200/nt and go out for brekky
    Yes, they won’t change your sheets. But .i can do that for $600/nt

  35. Interesting that the Andaz West Hollywood is leading with a resort fee when it is such an unremarkable hotel: like so many things in LA, it’s overrated and way overpriced. Stayed once and won’t go back. Better Hyatt alternatives if you are situated appropriately include a really nice Hyatt up in Valencia, the awesome Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort and Spa down in the OC, or even the Hyatt Regency in “Anaheim” (it’s actually located in Garden Grove.)

    LA itself lacks decent coverage from Hyatt. I’m hoping the category 7 Park Hyatt that’s opening in 2020 at Oceanwide Plaza will change that.

  36. Thanks, Lucky. I’ve just cancelled two paid reservations there. This kind of bs is unacceptable

  37. My experience with these fees is that if I write to the hotel, or phone their Group Sales department, they’ll always agree, in advance, that if I book, they’ll reverse these automatic charges. Group sales departments have wide latitude. An example of this is Marriott Fallsview in Niagara Falls ON. Huge Destination fee AND $30 for parking. One block away there’s a $7 lot. The hotel gladly waived the fee, honoured the price I found online, honoured my status benefits, I got all my points, etc etc.

    Phone Group Sales before booking.

  38. The only way this will change is if the major media outlets start producing expose pieces to inform the public at large.

  39. @Kendor. I agree. It’s not remarkable. The rooms are just ok. The service is average. It’s already, what, ten years or more since they rebranded?

    The location is fun for weekend warriors who want to party and, I kinda think, this is what they are going after. But they are in for a shock if they think they imagine in LA they are going to survive a Vegas style format and weekend revenue. There are way too many options for business stays during the week.

  40. I imagine another reason that hotels must do this is corporate rate limits.

    In major cities, I often have to be VERY careful to not exceed the company maximum per-night rate. I’ve found that the “company preferred hotels” are often at or just barely below the per-night limit on the room rate, and a number of them add these “destination fees”. But those destination fees, resort fees, etc. are considered “room tax / fees” and are not included in the per-night rate when calculating whether my booking is within company policy. So a hotel with a rate that is $10 under the per-night limit but adds a $40 destination fee is still compliant (an actual situation from a few months back), while a hotel that adds no destination fee but is $1 over the per-night limit is not compliant.

    Interestingly, I am forced to give a free-text reason for NOT choosing a “company preferred hotel” at booking, even if I book a “company preferred” chain (but not a specific “company preferred hotel” in that metro area) at a lower per-night rate. I wrote a rather snarky justification for why I was declining a downtown Los Angeles “company preferred hotel” — at nearly double the per-night rate of the Buena Park hotel I booked, to attend a meeting at the Anaheim Convention Center. There must be some very generous kickbacks….er, ahem, rebates, I meant…going to someone for engineering the system like this.

  41. A deal killer
    It was never in my top 10 before now there’s almost 0 chance I would ever consider the property under any circumstance

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