Hotel scams: The minibar
Avoid using the hotel minibar—those tiny bottles of Scotch and pint-sized tin of Pringles will cost you dearly
Yes, this bottle of water being provided "as a service to our guests" in a San Juan, Puerto Rico hotel costs a mere $7. Now that's what I call service! (Tip: suck it out of the tap in the bathroom sink ten feet way and it's free.)
Six main hotel rip-offs
• the minibar
• the telephone
• the parking garage
• the breakfast
• the laundry service
• the taxesSeven bucks for a can of Coca-cola? A fiver for a miniature can of Pringles? Yep, that about sums it up.
The minibar: minting money for the hotel industry since the early 1980s (if you're looking for someone to blame, the hotel minibar was supposedly invented at the Westin Ottawa).
Seriously folks, just say no. Simply push aside the overpriced peanuts and $4 bottle of tap water so you can use the minibar as a minifridge for the couple of sodas or beers you grabbed at the local grocery store and to store your picnic purchases.
But, for heaven's sake, just leave the teensy bottles of liquor alone.
Beware the False Minibar Charge
You should always scrutinize your hotel bill and ask about any incremental charge you see on there that is anything other than the amount you agreed to pay multiplied by the number of nights stayed. Rather frequently, I'll find a phone or minibar charge on there that I never did anything to provoke.
Now, I try to trust in the goodness of my fellow human beings, so usually I chalk this up to a computer error or whatnot, but still, you must point it out and have it expunged. The most common of these false charges is for something from the minibar, and there's usually a good explanation (well, not good, but explicable): the maid.
No, she wasn't guzzling your mini bottles of vodka on the job. But many hotels use a shortcut to determine whether or not you've used the minibar—they have the maid jot down every empty bottle, can, or snack packaging she comes across in the room's trash can, and assume you got it from that tiny fridge under the TV and just "forgot" to tick it off on the honor sheet price list posted inside.
Why these hotels can't see the gaping flaw in this logic (that I might have bought that can of soda whilst out and about my day and just happened to finish it—and toss the empty—in my room) is beyond me, but there you go.