Until 8:30 last night when my server brought in my room service order, I was feeling like the poster child for bargain traveling.
Airline ticket on Sun Country - round-trip from Minneapolis to Dulles $163.00.
You name your price on Priceline and I ended up with a room at the Hyatt Regency in Reston for $100.
All that joy was squashed when I looked at my room service bill. Here's the order for myself and my 17- year- old daughter, Berit.
1 Fruit plate
1 Apple Cobbler
1 Sauteed Calamari
1 Loaded potato
1 Stinson Merlot
Now this bill had two items that seemed redundant. A delivery charge and a room service charge.
If you take away the delivery charge and the service charge it's about $40. With those two items it's $50.14
When I called the front desk to explain the difference between the delivery charge and the service charge I was asked, " were you happy with your server?"
Calling the woman who knocked on my door and brought in the tra, is a lot like calling the Dominos pizza guy a server,." Do you mean did she do a good job of putting the tray on the end of my bed? Sure, she did that just fine."
If a hotel wants to call delivery people servers then bring in a table, tablecloth and a lovely flower would be nice as well.
I'm not the only person who feels like this service charge/delivery charge is double dipping. A couple of months ago, Bill McGee,writing for USA TODAY shared his frustration over the extra charges.
A "service charge" includes the tip. But a tip is not included in a "room service charge" or the more commonly used "delivery fee" or "delivery charge." So in the case of my burger, the $3.00 delivery charge was not a tip but the $3.78 service charge was (calculated as 18% of $21.00). Then the tax was added. Throw in my additional $3.00 tip, and this server was well compensated for the ten minutes spent carrying that tray to my room.
That is the same explanation they gave me last night. I still don't understand it. Aren't they charging for the exact same thing? Is this just a Washington, D.C. custom? Being a frequent room service orderer I think this is the first time I have seen this creative billing arrangement.
Is it new? Is it widespread? Are the hotels just trying to make up revenue because we no longer use the phones in the room?
Credit Image: Niemette