What is a guest friendly hotel and do I need one? Why do some hotels in Thailand charge extra fees for guests? How do I avoid these extra fees? How do I know if a hotel is guest friendly?
What Is A Guest Friendly Hotel?
For the most part, the term guest friendly is unique to Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia. If your hotel is guest friendly, it simply means that you are allowed to bring a guest to your room that was not with you when you checked in. Easy enough right? Not so fast. It gets complicated. Some hotels will tell you that they are guest friendly but then charge you what as known as a joiner fee for your guest.
The joiner fee is often charged as you and your guest walk by the front desk on the way to your room. It is standard practice in Thailand for the front desk clerk to ask for the ID of any guest you bring back to your room. Sometimes the front desk clerk will ask you to pay the fee on the spot as they collect your guest’s id. Most of the time, the clerk will simply note your guest and the fee will appear on your bill when you checkout.
These fees can be quite hefty. They can add as much as $30-$40 dollars a night to your room charges.
Do I Need A Guest Friendly Hotel?
If you think there is a possibility you will invite a guest of the opposite sex or the same sex to join you in the room, you need a guest friendly hotel. If the guest is someone that is already checked into the same hotel in their own room, this rule typically doesn’t apply. I could get into a lot of nuances, but it is best to assume you will be charged a joiner fee if you bring a guest to your room and your hotel is not guest friendly.
Will I be charged If my guest isn’t staying overnight?
It doesn’t matter how long they stay. Once you bring them past the lobby, it triggers the fee. The joiner fee typically covers up to one night. For example, if you end up leaving the hotel with your guest the next morning but return that afternoon with the same guest, it is likely you will be charged the fee for a second night.
Why Do Some Hotels In Thailand Have Joiner Fees?
Prostitution in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia is more common than it is in the United States. A hotel that charges a joiner fee is trying to discourage guests from bringing working girls and boys back to their rooms. It can be quite a spectacle when middleaged western men bring their 20 something guests to the breakfast buffet the next morning at a resort that bills itself as family-friendly. Since the hotels have no way of knowing who is and is not a working girl or boy, they charge the fee for any guest you bring back to your room.
How Do I Avoid These Joiner Fees?
If there is any possibility you are going to bring a guest back to your room, book your room as double occupancy. If you don’t, you will be charged a fee regardless of the hotel’s guest policy as you didn’t pay for two people to be in the room. Secondly, only book rooms at guest friendly hotels that don’t have joiner fees. Finally, if you know beforehand that you are meeting up with someone special in Thailand, bring them along when you check-in. That way they will be considered a registered guest.
How Do I Know If A Hotel Is Guest Friendly?
You can ask them. I am currently working on a list of guest friendly hotels for popular destinations in Thailand. Please check back for that list.