Despite being located along one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, vacationing in Cancun is surprisingly affordable. With so many hotels in such a small area, competition is high, which makes hotels — even high-end luxury properties — easy on the wallet.
Unfortunately, there are signs that those affordable hotel stays could get a little pricier. And that comes thanks to resort fees.
If you aren’t familiar with resort fees, then chances are that you haven’t traveled recently to popular tourist hotspots like Las Vegas or South Beach in Miami. Over the past decade these fees have exploded in popularity for hotels in major tourist destinations.
Why do hotels like them so much? They bring in lots of money, without them having to give much in return.
For example, the Venetian Las Vegas charges a staggering $45 per night resort fee. In return, visitors to the hotel get the following according to the Venetian website:
- Access for two to the fitness facility within the Canyon Ranch spa + fitness
- In-suite internet access (WiFi or Ethernet)
- Boarding pass printing
- Unlimited local and toll-free calls
- Access to thousands of top newspapers and magazines using PressReader app while connected as guest to Venetian or Palazzo WiFi
In other words, for nearly $50 its guests get access to things that are normally free in most hotels. It’s a bad deal for tourists and a moneymaker for hotels.
Resort Fees Starting to Show Up in Cancun
Up until now, these resort fees have been relegated to the biggest tourist hotspots in the United States and some Caribbean locales. Cancun — despite being a mega-destination for tourists — has largely been immune from the dreaded resort fees.
Now, however, that seems to be changing. Specifically, resort fees are now being charged at at least three major resorts in the Hotel Zone:
- Ritz Carlton: $43.10 per night
- Marriott Cancun Resort: $25 per night
- Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach: $25 per night
Now this list isn’t meant to be exhaustive and there could be more hotels charging these fees.
The good news is that there are still dozens of Cancun hotels that charge no resort fee. The bad news? Once these fees take hold, they can spread quickly.
For example, Las Vegas resort fees used to be relatively small and relegated only to a few major Strip hotels. Today they are regularly between $30-$45 a night and are at just about every hotel including the Strip and downtown.
There’s no reason to think that Cancun would be any different. After all, it only takes seeing the success of these fees at a rival hotel to decide to start charging them at yours. For now resort fees seem to be the exception, but they could soon be the rule.
How to Avoid Cancun Resort Fees
Many people want to avoid resort fees, and rightly so. They are an extra charge for items that are free of charge at most hotels. So how can you avoid them in Cancun?
The bottom line is if you want to avoid resort fees, then you need to avoid those hotels that charge them. Resort fees should be spelled out clearly before you actually reserve your room. While we’ve listed three hotels above with fees, that’s no guarantee that others don’t have them or could start charging them in the future.
If you are met with a resort fee at check-in that wasn’t fully disclosed when you booked, then you should contest the charge. At worst, you might have to pay the fee but can take the issue up with the hotel after you get home — especially if it’s charged by a well-known U.S.-based hotel chain.