The Blog Of TL Wall Accounting

Saving Money By Staying In Regular Hotels Vs Resort Hotels… Sometimes

There was a seminar I was going to that was being held at a top flight resort in out of state. Even though the resort had rooms, I felt it was important to research prices of other hotels in the area.

Hotel Lobby, Salamanca (Spain), HDR
Marc via Compfight

The problem wasn’t the nightly price of the hotel. Because it’s an organizational event they were getting a very nice cut rate for the stay. After that though, everything else was going to add up to a pretty penny before I did anything else. Can you imagine paying $20 for a hamburger via room service? In the end, moving to a regular hotel, even one that’s costing $5 more a night for the room, turned out to be more economical.

Resort hotels can be wonderful places to say. They’re large, plush, usually have great views, and offer amenities you often can’t get anywhere else.

The problem is that they’ll nickle and dime you to death; actually that’s a misnomer because they’ll actually $10 and $20 you to death. Many of these amenities are items that you’ll get at other hotels either for free or very low cost. Let’s look at 6 things to consider as to whether or not you should stay at a resort hotel or a regular hotel, and we’re only talking cost. Number six will surprise you; that’s why it’s last.

1. Parking. At most resort hotels, you’ll end up paying anywhere between $10 and $50 a day. Sometimes if you’re in and out there’s a separate fee each time you come back. If you were getting more security in a dangerous area it might be worth paying something, but most of the time they give you a disclaimer that they’re not responsible for your cars. If you’re traveling by cab or bus, this isn’t anything you’ll have to deal with.

At regular hotels, parking is free unless they don’t offer parking, like in NYC or other large metropolitan areas… at least in northern states. In areas that have casinos, parking’s always free; you have to love that.

2. Internet access. Most resort hotels don’t give you free internet, even though it costs them almost nothing to offer it to you, and it’s never very good whether you pay for it or not. That can run you between $7.99 and $20.99 a night, and no matter what they say, it’s no faster in the lobby than it is in your room, and if it is, shame on them because they have the money to make it right.

Regular hotels, internet is almost always free, although I did stay at one chain where it was $2.99 a night. It wasn’t great but it was inexpensive. Something else to know is that even if your laptop has 5G speed access, it won’t help in almost any hotels in the country.

3. Meals. Resort hotels are known for having very fancy food. Most of it you might not recognize, and maybe you’re willing to try some of it, but it’s going to cost you a lot. If a hamburger and fries is going to cost you between $15 and $20, you can bet the fancy stuff will cost a lot more. I know many people are going to say that if a regular hotel has a restaurant the costs are pretty high as well. That’s not quite true. They’re higher than what you’re used to but nothing like a resort hotel.

Most hotels I stay at offer some kind of free breakfast, even if it’s only continental. If you drink coffee, you can always get that for free, along with juice. If they have a sit down restaurant your meal is usually going to cost you less than $10; nothing wrong with that.

4. Shuttle service. Most normal hotels you stay at that have shuttle service offers it for free. In some cities they’ll even pick you up at the airport for free, even if it’s outside their normal 5 to 10 mile area limit.

For resort hotels, no matter how close or far you are, there’s a built in fee that often starts around $20 and can be as high as $75, and it almost always includes a gratuity. If you want to take the shuttle anywhere around town, no matter how close or far, they’re going to charge you. At a certain point you might as well just take a taxi because at least they’re a bit more flexible in taking you almost anywhere you want to go.

5. Gym. These days almost every hotel has someplace you can work out. Most hotels have a treadmill or two and maybe some free weights you can use; it’s not fancy and there might be limited hours but at least it’s free.

Resort hotels don’t just have gyms; they have workout palaces. Often they’re these large rooms with multiples of everything: TVs, a pool or whirlpool, a trainer, a spa… the works. They’re going to charge you for the honor of using any of it, starting with at least a $25 daily fee for the stuff you can do on your own and adding extras if you want something like time in a sauna or the whirlpool. Most of them don’t charge you for using the pool; at least there’s something to look forward to.

6. It depends on the resort city and your access to deals.

There are always outliers depending on where you go. For instance, one of our clients had the opportunity to go to Orlando for a wedding. Both Disney and Universal have large theme parks, and there are other resorts with a lot of visitors yearly. If you have the right hotel card like Hilton or Sheraton you’ll have a choice of a number of places to stay in like you’re part of a timeshare that won’t cost you much… sometimes nothing if you have enough points saved up! The rooms are massive, and many of them have a Jacuzzi in them. If you do a lot of traveling, it’s important to have travel rewards cards to earn perks like this.

Overall, if you’ve got the money and just want to be pampered for a few days then have at it. If you want to use your extra money for something else, like paying for souvenirs or heading downtown somewhere to have some fun, stay at a regular hotel. In any case, remember that if it’s a business expense you get to write some of it off. 🙂

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