Do Hotels Charge for Phone Calls?

Landlines are a staple of hotel amenities. They are there to enable the guests to call any of the hotel staff. In-room phones also come in handy when the hotel guests have problems with their own mobile devices.

Budget-conscious hotel guests, however, may be intimidated to use them. This is especially because they know that using most of the available hotel amenities comes with charges that may catch them by surprise upon checking out.

So, do hotels charge for phone calls? 

Some phone calls in hotels are free of charge, while others can come with high charges. Calling anywhere in the hotel, from the front desk to the restaurant, is usually free. Hotels rarely charge for local and toll-free calls, but they always charge for long-distance calls. Incoming calls are always cost-free.

Fortunately, cell phones make landlines in hotel rooms practically useless. The same is true with voice over internet protocol (VoIP), which is a technology that lets you make voice calls using the internet.

Nowadays, landlines that hotels provide their guests with are usually used for making calls within the hotels themselves. In rare instances, however, hotel guests may have no choice but to use in-room phones and pray that the charges won’t be sky-high.

If you are interested to know more about making phone calls in hotels, keep on reading.

Different Hotels Have Different Policies

Just because a hotel does not charge its guests when making local calls doesn’t mean that other hotels won’t charge their guests, too. Even though local calls should be free of charge, some hotels charge their guests for getting in touch with their relatives, peers, and associates within the area.

On the internet, you can easily come across horror stories about unsuspecting hotel guests being charged with blood-curdling fees for making local calls.

Case in point: Westin Hotels and Resorts. A website revealed that the popular establishment charges its hotel guests anywhere from $0.50 to $1.00 each time they make a local call using in-room phones.

The good news is that, based on the same website, 800 and credit card calls made in Westin Hotels and Resorts are cost-free.

Such is not always the case, however, when it comes to making toll-free calls. Based on the comment made on an online forum site, the individual has been to hotels in which he or she was charged $1.50 for making toll-free calls for 30 minutes.

The same person noticed that there was an additional $0.10 charge for every minute spent on the phone after 30 minutes. So in other words, it seems like some hotels cannot tell apart toll-free numbers from other numbers.

The Bigger the Hotel, the Higher the Charges

Expensive hotels assume that their guests are rich. This is why they immediately think, too, that people who step foot inside to get rooms to have sky’s-the-limit budgets.

It’s no wonder why phone call charges in luxurious hotels are incredibly higher compared to phone call charges in cheaper hotels.

For instance, according to a website, it is not unlikely for some of the top hotels on the planet to charge their guests 150% to 400% more when using in-room phones than landlines anywhere else. Long-distance calls are notorious for leaving a gigantic hole in the pocket.

What’s more, many of these pricey hotels charge their guests (without their knowledge) for making local and toll-free calls, both of which should be absolutely cost-free.

Some modest little hotels may also charge their guests for using the in-room phones for making calls outside of the establishment. However, one can expect the rates to be pretty much the same as using a payphone.

However, one thing is for certain: hotels won’t charge you for incoming calls. This is true whether you are staying in a 5-star hotel or a sleazy one.

Make Sure That Your Mobile Device is Always in Commission

It’s a good thing that using an in-room phone these days is no longer necessary, thanks to mobile phones. Your mobile network operator may charge you for making certain calls alright.

However, most of the time, you won’t end up having a panic attack the moment that you get the phone bill.

Such is because carriers make it a habit to inform their customers about the rates, especially at the onset of the contract.

This is why it is a better idea to use your mobile device when staying in a hotel than reach for that seemingly harmless landline provided by the establishment.

Most guests do not know whether or not they will be charged by hotels for using in-room phones other than getting in touch with the front desk or any other staff member. It’s because hotels rarely tell their guests about hidden charges.

If you do not like surprise phone call fees to appear on your bill, you have a couple of options. First, ask the hotel about phone call rates. Second, use your mobile phone each time you call someone outside the hotel.

Needless to say, it is a definite must that your mobile device is always ready to come to the rescue. Make sure that you stash in your luggage, a charger, or a power bank. Step foot outside the hotel if there is no signal.

It may not be the most convenient solution when making a call, but your pocket will appreciate it.

Take Advantage of the Hotel’s Free Internet

Fortunately, most hotels offer a free amenity that you can use for making calls at no cost.

No matter if it is a local or long-distance call that you wish to make, you can rest assured that the hotel you are staying in won’t charge you for it. Such can be done by installing a free phone call app on your mobile phone.

With the help of these VoIP apps, you can get in touch with your family and friends without being charged not only by the hotel but also by your mobile network operator.

There are many phone call apps that you can install on your mobile device free of charge. However, there are also paid ones that will enable you to enjoy added features.

Some of them include compatibility with other communication platforms as well as support for different VoIP codecs.

If you own a business or you hold a position in a company or organization, you can benefit a lot from having these extra features that come with a price tag.

However, if you are going to use a phone call app for casual conversations only, going for a free one is a better idea.

By the way, for a free phone call app to work to your advantage, the people that you will contact should also have them on their respective mobile devices.

Things Might be Changing Due to Technical Progress

When I stayed in one of hotels in Hong Kong, I found that they provided an Android phone which I could use for domestic calls. I didn’t know anyone in the area, so I didn’t check this feature.

However, the nice thing was that the smartphone had a cellular Internet available for free. Obviously, there were limitations and restrictions, such as I needed to log on with my Facebook account and the speed was low.

But, at least I was able to save on Internet using my own phone.

Just Before You Attempt to Use That In-Room Phone

In a nutshell, just because a landline is in your hotel room doesn’t necessarily mean that you can use it to your heart’s content.

Especially if you are a budget-conscious guest, you might want to stay away from using it for making long-distance calls.

For your peace of mind, get in touch with the front desk using the in-room phone, which is free of charge, to ask if you will be charged for making a local or toll-free call.

Related Questions

Can someone call the hotel that I am staying in to talk to me? If the person can give your full name and room number, the front desk will call you to ask if you are expecting a call from that person.

Are hotels required to place phones in their rooms? In the US, hotels are required to provide their guests with in-room phones that they can use in case of emergencies, such as for contacting 911.

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Reed Harris

Reed is a traveler and blogger. He's planning to visit all states in the USA. He's been in 31 states so far.

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