Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nickled and Dimed at "Upscale" Hotels

My experience with hotels (which is, frankly, a lot) is that you get the best deals at the mid-range hotels (i.e, like a Courtyard by Marriot as opposed to a Marriot).  You get a nice enough room, continental breakfast, free water bottles, and free Internet.  Oddly, at the higher end hotels, they nickel and dime you for every single thing.

For example, I am at a Hyatt in the financial district of a major city on the West Coast.  Internet costs me $9.95 for 24 hours.  I got in amazingly late on Monday night due to numerous gaffes on United's part, so I wasn't able to pick up reasonable breakfast food that night for Tuesday, so I ended up getting room service Tuesday morning out of desperation and paid $20 for a bowl of oatmeal.  Honestly, the oatmeal was $10.  For a bowl of fucking oatmeal.  And once the taxes and delivery fees were added, and then I always feel I have to add a little more tip to the guy who brings it up, it was a $20 bowl of oatmeal.  Ridiculous.  Unfortunately, I really needed the oatmeal because I was about to pass out from low blood sugar at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

There are no free bottles of water here -- you have to buy those.  I want to ship some document back to my office, and I have the boxes, FedEx labels, FedEx account, and everything.  The box is ready to go -- I just need a pickup from FedEx.  Nope, that will cost me $15 a box.  Why would I do that when FedEx is right down the street and I can drop it off for free?  (Again, please note that the box is ready to go.  All the hotel has to do is have FedEx pick up it.  No work on their part.  Yet a $15 handling fee?  Seriously?)  Printing is $1 a page here.  And on and on.

Shockingly, I actually have a coffee maker in my room.  But it is a single cup maker.  I've noticed that many higher end hotels do not have coffee makers because they want you to walk down to their lobby at 6 a.m. to buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks for $2.00.  So, this is a positive thing, the coffee maker.

But really, for the price, nothing is special here.  I can stay at a Marriott Courtyard and get the same kind of bed, same kind of TV, but also not have to pay a fortune for a bowl of fucking oatmeal and for Internet and all of these other ridiculous costs.

Luckily, there is a Walgreen's across the street, so on Tuesday I was able to stock up on water and Nutrigrain bars (my breakfast of choice).  As for the Internet, well, I'm clearly paying the $9.95.  But seriously, come on!

I only stayed here because it is spitting distance from my deposition location.  There's always that toss up.  How far do I want to have to drag two or three boxes of documents?  Is it worth it to stay at a cheaper, yet farther hotel, and have to show up all sweaty from heaving boxes around?  It's always a very hard decision.   I just find it so strange that the hotels where you pay the most for the rooms give you the least, and the hotels that you pay much less give you the most.  Seems like an odd situation.

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