In many European city destinations and resorts, hotels collect taxes levied by the locality. The charge might cover all sorts of taxes – environmental, resort or city tax. The funds are used to support the local city and tourist infrastructure such as beach cleaning and water purification, maintaining communal showers and cleaning, looking after the plants and publishing free tourist maps, booklets, and other useful materials. The taxes are normally collected from short-stay guests. If you stay longer than originally planned, then a new tax will generally not be levied.
Most places charging such city taxes are in Italy, where more than 500 municipalities charge. You also find such taxes in Germany and the US, the Netherlands, France and Austrian ski resorts, the UAE and Montenegro. The charge is normally somewhere between €0.50 and €2 per night, the actual amount depending on the hotel’s star rating, length of stay, number of people traveling and their age. Every country and/or municipality sets its own level of charges and decides who is eligible to pay and who is exempt.
All travelers have to pay these taxes. Very young children might be exempt, as might people with disabilities and business travelers able to meet certain residency criteria.
How the taxes are paid
How much tax you will pay at the hotel is contained in the rate plan details of your chosen room type.
City tax might already be included in the room rate, but it might also be charged to you directly on check-in. This information is also clear from the booking form.
Information regarding taxes and supplementary charges can also be found in the “hotel policies” section of the hotel page on ZenHotels.com. Here you will also find information about late arrival, extra beds, whether or not breakfast is included and other services such as transfers.
In the Catalonian coastal town of Salou, all the beaches are owned and run by the municipality and are therefore free to use. Here, you will pay a city tax. The funds collected this way are put towards cleaning and maintaining the beaches. All along the coastline, there are showers free of charge, changing facilities, mother and baby rooms, and entertainment. Maps of the town and surroundings are available at bus stops.
For a two-week stay in a four-star hotel like the Regente Aragón, an additional charge of €7 ($7.50) is payable. The charge is made only for the first 7 nights of your stay and is €0.99 per night.
Where a tourist tax is charged for the provision of municipal services, additional charges are made by hotels themselves for any number of services not included in the room rate. More often than not, they are levied for the provision of extra beds, baby cots, cleaning, transfers, early check-in or late check-out.
Supplementary charges can also be either compulsory or optional. Compulsory charges are levied only in certain circumstances, and you can’t opt out of them, for instance, if the hotel charges for pets in the room. Optional charges depend on you and your requirements – if you don’t order that airport transfer, you won’t have to pay for it.
Cleaning charges deserve a special mention. They are included in the room rate in hotels and hostels but are often charged as an extra in private apartments. The fact is that the income from renting an apartment is taxable. Cleaning has to be charged separately from the rental charges so that the receipt from the cleaner or cleaning agency can be legitimately declared as a tax-deductible expense, otherwise, the owner of the apartment will pay too much personal tax.
Another type of supplementary payment is pre-payment or deposit. The accommodation provider will take this as security. The prepayment is normally a fixed amount for the duration of the stay, which is then returned in full at the end of the stay provided that everything is in order.
If you are staying at the Minthouse in Vilnius and you arrive at 1am, you’ll need to fork out €5 for a late check-in fee and leave a €100 ($110) deposit, a total of €105 ($115) in extra charges. You get the deposit back when you check out, provided that nothing has been damaged.
If you suddenly decide that you need a week away with your favorite dog and you don’t want to be bothered with a heavy pet carrier, on checking in to Skapo apartments you’ll be asked to pay €35 ($37.50) per animal (€5/$5.40 per night) and €20 ($22.50) each way for the transfers, making a total of €75 ($82.50) extra.
By booking your hotel on ZenHotels.com, you can be sure that you will see exactly what is included in the price you are paying and what is not. Nevertheless, don’t forget to check the details of the rate plan you choose and carefully read the “further information” section so that you can manage your cash flow properly and avoid any unpleasant surprises on check-in.