Posh hotel rip-offs

Expensive hotels are greedy. Here are six irksome hotel extras and how to avoid them.


Posh hotels think that you won’t mind paying over the hilt for extras.

Vat has been around since 1973, and every other business has learnt to adjust its advertised prices accordingly. Posh hotels are above that. Inexcusable.

Cheap hotels know their guests are cost-conscious. They don’t add on loads of hidden extras because we’d kick up and refuse to pay. Expensive hotels, though, are greedy. They reckon because we’ve forked out £200 on a posh room, we won’t notice — or care — about a tenner here and fiver there. They’re so, so wrong. Here are six irksome hotel extras — and how to avoid them.

Hotel room phones

Never, ever call from a hotel phone. A recent study found London hotels charging £5 per minute for calls to America — which cost them about 2p a minute. On the other hand, do give out the number to all and sundry. It’s a land line, so cheaper for friends than calling your mobile.

Laundry

Three quid for a pair of socks? Buy new ones. M&S has a five-pack for £5.

WiFi

Your local cafe can afford to offer free WiFi, but the poor old Ritz in London can’t. Last year, a Sunday Times report revealed it charged £25 per day. When this was reported, it changed the fee — to £26. Dozens more “top” hotels charge double figures. Don’t stay at those with the gall to gouge their guests — or if you must, ask the concierge for a local cafe with free WiFi. Which brings us to…

The concierge

Never use the concierge to book anything. For all their carefully cultivated mystique, they’re glorified sales agents, and pricey ones — they’ll commonly receive a commission on tickets, taxis and so on, and expect a tip too. Use them for advice if you’ve forgotten your guidebook, and tip a few pounds if it’s good.

Crazy Minibar Prices

We all know this, but it’s worth repeating. Just don’t use it. The latest favourite rip-off is £10 for a can of Coke (that’s at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme).

One tip is to ask the hotel to empty the minibar before arrival – thereby allowing you to fill it with your own drinks and snacks.

Tax

The sorriest dodge of the lot. It’s always the priciest hotels that quote room rates without Vat. The Dorchester’s current offer of £265 for a double looks grand, but read the small print: you’ll really pay £311. The Ritz, Claridge’s, the London Hilton, they’re all at it. Vat has been around since 1973, and every other business has learnt to adjust its advertised prices accordingly. Posh hotels are above that. Inexcusable.