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Last month I noticed that one of my preferred hotels in Los Angeles, the Andaz West Hollywood, had quietly introduced a $23.10 destination fee for all non-award bookings (award bookings appeared to have escaped the fee) and I managed to get the Andaz to comment on the new surcharge.
At the time I wrote the first post both the Hyatt website and the Andaz’s own website were doing a truly terrible job of notifying guests that they would be charged this unconscionable fee and I suspect that most guests who made a booking in March probably had little idea of the fee they were letting themselves in for.
Well, now it would seem as if Hyatt has improved things a little as the new Destination Fee is front and center when you go to book the Andaz West Hollywood online….
….but the Andaz’s own website is still as opaque as ever.
That’s where the good news ends.
While in March it looked like award bookings were not being affected by the new Destination Fee now it would appear as if that was just another failure on the part of Hyatt/the Andaz to disclose the fee clearly – award bookings now show the destination fee being charged…although you have to look carefully to be sure:
This is unsurprising but very annoying.
In a further update, I’ve been trying to get the Andaz to confirm when they first introduced the Destination Fee as everyone with bookings is now seeing the fee in their reservations even though the Andaz cannot charge a guest the destination fee if their reservation was made before the fee was introduced.
Amusingly, the Andaz didn’t seem to be very keen to answer my question.
I tweeted the property on 31 March….
…then again on 2 April…..
…and then, as I was rapidly getting nowhere (I had also emailed the property to no avail), I pressed a little harder:
Finally I got a response:
Ok, so we don’t have an exact date on which the Andaz West Hollywood introduced its rip-off fee but at least we now know that any bookings made on or before 31 January 2019 should be exempt.
This Destination Fee isn’t going away and it’s an embarrassment to Hyatt and the Andaz that it has been introduced (the excuses given for its introduction are laughable) but hopefully this information may save a few people some cash.
If you have an existing booking with the Andaz West Hollywood and it was made before February 2019 make sure the fee isn’t added to your final bill when you checkout. If it is then make sure you challenge it and, if the Andaz refuses to remove it, let the property know you’re paying it under protest and then challenge it via your credit card issuer as soon as the bill hits your account.
If your booking was made in February 2019 I suggest pushing the property into telling you the exact date that the destination fee was introduced before you checkout just to make sure you’re not being overcharged…..and if you get an exact date from management please let me know so I can add it here.