Question: is it standard for a hotel or similar to charge for local calls?

The reason I ask is that I stayed at a downtown place on the weekend, and I was somewhat stupefied to see a charge of $1.43 for each of the four two minute calls I placed to restaurants, all within a few blocks, trying to make reservations. Being the hotel geek that I am, I had already looked through the in-room guide and found no such reference. I know it isn’t that much, but it is the idea that gets me.

My current hotel does not charge for local calls, and neither did my previous hotel. The Best Western doesn’t, but I am told the Marriott does . . .

I find the practice pretty cheap, actually. Why do businesses consciously implement small, relatively hidden fees and charges like this, which are destined to peeve their clientele? A business traveller would really be turned off by that.

The hotel itself was fabulous in the design and concept, but the service was just satisfactory. Funny in a boutique hotel which fashions itself as luxury and posh (I got a cheap winter rate, but in summer it is a very expensive place). The staff didn’t smile and, over the phone, sounded a touch like they were just getting me off the phone as quickly as possible so as not to have to field any questions. The “lifestyle specialist” didn’t help much in my quest for a restaurant booking (they just transferred me instead of actually helping me), and I was delivered a bathrobe which was actually cold and mildly damp on the inside. But I only complained about the omission of the turnover service which they advertise, and got a half-hearted “Sorry about that” the next morning. There were also visible dirty finger marks on the microwave. Not just fingerprints, but of a food residue nature. Who else but someone like me would check that? I dunno, but I thought it was gross . . .

Am I a snob? 😛 I was going to apply there, but my stay changed my mind. That, and I could never justify charging local calls to my guests with a straight face.