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5% UK hotel service charges seem to be spreading

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18 months ago, we wrote about an annoying new habit turning up at high-end London hotels – an ‘optional’ 5% service charge.

With London’s top hotels now selling for over £1,500 per night (for basic rooms) over the Summer on peak dates, you might consider this a little greedy. It is, of course, optional because it isn’t disclosed in the headline price you are shown when you book.

A friend flagged that the habit has now spread to Four Seasons Hampshire, probably the best luxury weekend break option for families near London.

UK hotel service charges are spreading

This is, to be honest, a bit underhand for a brand like Four Seasons.

They don’t even pretend that the ‘service charge’ goes directly to the staff. To quote:

A discretionary Service Charge of 5% of room rate (inclusive of applicable taxes) will be applied to all reservations. This charge is in addition to the room rate per night. This charge is intended to cover a portion of costs associated with our employees.

I think you can happily say ‘No’ to this one without much ill feeling.

(PS. If you are booking a stay at Four Seasons Hampshire, you should use our luxury hotel booking partner Emyr Thomas who is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner. He can usually match any offer on the website, include ‘4-4-3’ or similar deals, you pay on departure as usual and you’ll get free breakfast, $100 of hotel credit, an upgrade if available and other benefits. You can contact Emyr via this form.)

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Comments (145)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • ianM says:

    Loganair switching to T2 from LCY from Dundee is def not an improvement, LCY much better for DLR and Tube connections.

  • Nick G says:

    Just catching up on the comments re the 5% charge. I’m firmly in the ‘shove it’ camp. I’ve been keeping an eye on the cost of US hotels with a view to a booking but the prices are just crazy high.

    I’m looking at the far east next April. Been to Bangkok and Phuket, thinking Malaysia or Indonesia possibly. Any recommendations on nice beach resorts that aren’t US hotel prices lol?

    Also echoing others. Just booked the WA Berlin with Emyr this week. The prices and benefits he can get is a no brainer. Recommend him.

    • tony says:

      Vietnam. There are “Western” places with names you will recognise but also a number of high quality local operations. Just have a look on to start with, but I enjoyed the beach just to the East of Hoi An, as well as the area around Hue although we were in the Anantara so more western pricing.

      • Gordon says:

        I agree great hotels in Vietnam and good prices too, Better than the once cost effective Thailand, Not sure how much longer it will be though as it’s becoming more and more popular with westerners.
        Bali is a good call also fly direct or via SIN.

  • ADS says:

    BA are codesharing on (at least?) one flight a day between LHR and LDY

    This can be booked without a connection

    BA appears to cost £20 more than Loganair for the same flight

  • David Starkie says:

    Not sure about subsidised flights in small aircraft using valuable (potential long-haul) slot capacity out of LHR (at the expense of LCY and STA). Politics riding roughshod over commerce and economics.

  • AJames says:

    5% UK hotel service charges
    Under the new UK legislation, a service charge must be distributed in full to staff, over and above their wages. It cannot be used for any other purpose, and certainly not “to cover a portion of costs associated with our employees”.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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