Scams and rip-offs at the hotel—many of them perfectly legal. Avoid the minibar, phone, laundry service, and parking garage
I have nothing against hotels, but some of their common charging practices are so sneaky as to almost qualify as criminal.
This page is not about outright thievery—that rare front-desk clerk who will try to slip in an extra night's charge on unsuspecting guests (in 30 years of European travel—including more than 20 years of researching and writing guidebooks and magazine articles—that has happened to me precisely once).
All of the rip-offs listed below are perfectly legal; they're just not very nice.
Also, I should point out that, by a huge margin, it tends to be the pricier establishments that do this. The smaller mom and pop hotels and B&Bs do it much less (or at least less flagrantly), and their extra charges are often nominal and quite reasonable.
Many hotels, though, try to squeeze every pence they can out of you beyond the cost of the room. Because, hey: once you're booked in, you're bound to get thirsty and give into the temptation of that Coke in the minibar, or want to phone some great-sounding restaurant to make reservations for the evening or (God forbid) make a quick call home, or you may eventually want to, you know, eat breakfast or something. And then they have you.
Let the fleecing of the unawares begin!