While "sun, sand and good times" aren't going to show up on your all-inclusive resort bill, that is basically what you're paying for. People choose all-inclusive because you pay for your room, food, and sometimes plane tickets all in one go, and that can be so attractive. All-inclusive resorts are good for families, groups, and couples, and it seems like you always save money.
But just like there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is sometimes no such thing as an all-inclusive resort that doesn't charge you any hidden fees that you honestly had no clue about. This sucks to learn because suddenly a cheap vacation is starting to add up.
Surprised vacationers might see the following fees on their bill when staying at an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean.
Resort Fees Might Show Up On Your Bill
You might have heard that there are "resort fees" at some all-inclusive resorts. You're most likely going to see these when you stay somewhere in the Caribbean. According to Creditcards.com, this has been common since 1993 when a total of two resorts began putting these fees on bills.
According to Trip Savvy, these are "activity fees" so you would be paying this in order to use the various areas that the resort has to offer, such as a place devoted to water sports. But as the publication says, these can be expensive. It could actually be 10 percent of the whole bill, or at least $10 or $20. This is definitely tough because it makes the week-long stay seem much less affordable than it did before.
Oyster.com mentions that you could find a hotel calling these "facilities fees" and saying that you have to pay these to use the pool, business room, or gym, which is strange since those are always included.
You Might Have To Pay Tax On The Hotel
Trip Savvy says that there are "hotel taxes" charged in the Caribbean. If you go to Jamaica, it could be 10 to 15 percent, and it's 18 percent for "sales tax" in the Dominican Republic and a 10 percent "service tax." In Barbados and the Bahamas, it's 7.5 percent (and also a 10 percent "service tax" for Barbados). Trip Savvy also explains, "Some Caribbean destinations also impose special taxes on restaurants that can add 7-15 percent to the cost of your meal."
It's tough to see these charges because they make the cost of the hotel room seem so much higher. As this Caribbean-council.org article explains, that might not be good for tourism: "The danger is that in Barbados and elsewhere in the region, a moment may come when rising levels of tourism taxes mean that middle-market visitors stay for shorter periods, turn to cruising, seek alternative warm water destinations offering better service, cuisine, comfort, and value for money, or worse: they simply say that the Caribbean has become too expensive."
Perhaps You Can Negotiate
While it's not great to see a ton of extra charges on any kind of bill, it's also not the most fun thing in the world to call a resort or hotel and talk to them about it. But according to Frommer's, it could be worth it to negotiate the charges. It seems like this would be a good thing to do if you stayed at a place that was already pretty expensive, as the fees would really seem like a problem.
For one thing, you could say that the fees were hidden so you had no idea, and therefore, you can't be charged. You could say that you go there a lot so you shouldn't have to pay for it, which might at least give you a lower fee. The website also says that you could say that you didn't use any of the amenities that you are being charged for so it doesn't seem relevant.
The National Consumer's League Vice-President, John Breyault, told Creditcards.com, “If a consumer sees a resort fee on their bill, they should never hesitate to ask for it to be taken off." This is good to know, and you definitely won't lose anything by trying to explain why there's no reason to pay these fees.
Seeing some fees on your all-inclusive resort bill can feel awful as you thought that you were getting an incredible deal and now you see that you're shelling out more than you imagined. You might find both hotel taxes and resort fees on your bill if staying at this type of resort in the Caribbean. But as explained above, it might be possible to negotiate and not have to pay this extra cash after all, which would be the best-case scenario.