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The most expensive room service

Think $8 for a bottle of water is too high? So do we. Here's how much you'll shell out for room service at some of America's priciest hotels.

By Stacy Johnson Mar 25, 2013 3:41PM

This post comes from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News



Money Talks News logoHow much would you pay for a bottle of water? Five dollars? Six dollars? How about $8.33?


Hotel mini bar © Jack Sullivan, AlamyThat's the average price at upscale hotels in Honolulu, according to a recent study by TripAdvisor.


They tallied the average cost of room service from a selection of four-star hotels in 15 major U.S. cities by totaling the cost to dry-clean one shirt and buy a bottle of water, a bag of peanuts, a mini bottle of vodka, a club sandwich, and a can of soda.


The five cheapest:

  • Denver -- $40.46.
  • Dallas -- $42.49.
  • Seattle -- $44.19.
  • Minneapolis -- $48.09.
  • Boston -- $50.43.

The five most expensive:

  • Honolulu -- $64.90.
  • Las Vegas -- $64.42.
  • Atlanta -- $58.14.
  • Washington, D.C. -- $58.10.
  • New York -- $56.66.
Recouping the cost in other areas
Since you're probably not going to change your vacation destination to find cheaper in-room services, make up the difference by stretching your travel dollars elsewhere.
Here are some ideas I've used in the past: 
  • Be flexible with both time and place, if possible. You'll save the most if you keep your vacation options open -- and that includes both travel times and locations. 
  • Compare transportation options. Don't limit your transportation options to just flying or driving. Depending on the distance, day of the week and time of year, it may be more cost-effective to take a train or bus. 
  • Book and fly midweek. If you do decide to fly, tickets are typically cheaper midweek. Most airline sales start on Tuesday and end on Thursday, and the two cheapest days of the week to fly are Tuesday and Wednesday. 
  • Travel light. Some airlines -- like JetBlue and Southwest -- allow you to check one or two bags for free, but most charge an additional fee for your luggage.
  • Have a checklist. Make a checklist of everything you need before you pack, and double-check it before you leave. If you get to your hotel and realize you forgot something important -- like your cellphone charger or the SD card for your digital camera -- you'll waste money buying another. 
  • Check your insurance. Rental car insurance can save you a fortune if something goes wrong, but you don't have to buy it at the counter. Before you leave home, check to see if the rental car is covered by your car insurance policy or the credit card you'll use to pay for it.
  • Stay outside popular areas. Having a hotel room in the center of everything is convenient, but staying a few miles outside the city is often cheaper.
  • Find cheaper lodging with vacation homes. Vacation homes cost the same or perhaps less, but offer more than most standard hotel rooms, including full-service kitchens, washers and dryers, and bigger living spaces. So you can eat out less, stay in more, and never have to worry about a late-night trip to a Laundromat.  
  • Consider house-swapping. Another lodging alternative is to stay for free. If you're willing to swap homes temporarily with someone else, you can stay in their house for free during your vacation.
  • Dine out less. After plane and hotel, restaurant meals are your biggest expense. During a three-day weekend in Austin, Texas, I recently spent more than $150 on food.  
  • Use discount food apps. If you do dine out, use a restaurant-locating app to find special deals and the best prices. Some of my favorites are Yelp Mobile, LocalEats, and KidsEatFree.
  • Ask a local. Want the real scoop on the best cheap food, fun and free entertainment ideas, or which souvenir shops aren't a total rip-off? Ask a local.
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
Mar 25, 2013 6:02PM

What about the $585,000 Biden stay in Paris?  No worries, that's just taxpayer money......


He must have hit the mini-bar pretty hard.

Mar 25, 2013 9:51PM
I checked into an Omni on business, went out to eat and came back with left overs. There was a mini-frig in the room full of juice,sodas, beer and  liquor. I took enough sodas and canned beer out to just make room for my food. I got charged over $120, I figured the Beers were 20 each with the sodas being 10 each. BTW, I did not drink the beer or sodas, and they went back in the frig. before I checked out. I've never stayed at an Omni since and never will.
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