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Update 18 April 2019: The Hyatt website now makes it a lot more obvious that the Andaz West Hollywood charges and unconscionable ‘Destination Fee’ – the Andaz’s own website is as opaque as ever.
Update 19 April 2019: The Destination Fee is now being charged on award bookings as well as cash bookings.
The Andaz West Hollywood happens to be one of my favorite Hyatt hotels but I’m going to have to call the property out for what appears to be a very underhand and customer unfriendly move.
I was checking prices at the Andaz West Hollywood over the weekend and I noticed something strange – the nightly rate for a set of dates I’ve been considering booking has fallen but the overall cost for the stay has gone up.
When the Hyatt booking engine shows you the various rates available at the Andaz there’s no clue in the rate rules….
….there’s no clue on the cost summary page…
…and it’s only when you use the “see full breakdown” link to check exactly what you’re paying for that the issue becomes obvious:
The Andaz West Hollywood is now charging a $23.10/night destination fee.
The fact that a property like the Andaz West Hollywood is now choosing to add a destination fee to its nightly rate is appalling, but what’s worse is how surreptitiously the property is charging it.
Before I go any further here’s a little challenge for you…
Head on over to the Andaz West Hollywood homepage and, from there, try to see if you can find any mention of the destination fee or an explanation telling you what it is.
Feel free to click through to whatever pages you want to, make dummy bookings and generally try out whatever you feel like trying and see how far you get.
I’m willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of people won’t be able to find a single mention of this stealth surcharge.
I actually gave up trying to find the details from the Andaz’s homepage and I only found the information I was looking for when I googled “Andaz West Hollywood $23.10 Destination Fee”.
To find out what the Andaz is charging you for you have to scroll to the very bottom of the hotel’s homepage (it will take quite a bit of scrolling if you’re not viewing it on a big screen) and click on the tiny link which reads “policies”.
I don’t think there’s a smaller link on the whole website.
Here’s what the $23.10 apparently covers:
You get a $10 credit to use at the hotel’s restaurant for dinner (you can’t use it towards breakfast) but, as the Riot House charges $9 for a bowl of olives that’s not really going to get you far…..
….and who wants to be forced to eat dinner in the hotel every night just to claw back a portion of an inexcusable surcharge?
As it happens, the square mile south of the Andaz is packed with a great places to eat so there’s very little reason to subject yourself to hotel food if you’re staying at this property.
The Destination Fee also covers a $20 day pass to ‘Cycle Bar’ which is a very short walk to the east of the property….but what’s wrong with the Andaz’s gym?
The nightly rate is already covering the cost of accessing the hotel’s more than adequate fitness facility so why would most guests want to pay more to go to Cycle Bar?
The rest of the ‘perks’ are even more ridiculous (I particularly like the fact you have to drive 30 minutes to Santa Monica to make use of one of them) and won’t offer the overwhelming majority of guests any value at all.
Just like with most resort/destination fees this is just one colossal rip-off!
Historically the Andaz West Hollywood has offered a pretty good set of benefits that come included in the nightly rate and, fortunately, these are still available….
…but this Destination fee is a very bad move by the Andaz.
It’s a cheap and very obvious money grab.
For the time being it doesn’t look like the new Destination Fee is being added to reward night bookings….
…but who knows how long that will last for? Probably not very long.
I’m not sure what’s annoying me more: The fact that a hotel like the Andaz West Hollywood is charging a $23.10 Destination Fee in the first place, the surreptitious and underhand way the charge is being applied or if it’s the ridiculous set of ‘benefits’ the Destination Fee is supposed to cover.
This is just pure unadulterated greed and a clear attempt to charge more while maintaining the property’s place in the search results travelers will see on sites like Kayak, Expedia etc…
Shame on you Andaz, the sooner we get some legislation passed to stop this nonsense the better.