March 30, 2013— -- When I was a child and would take vacations with my family, we were never allowed to order room service.
Way too expensive, my parents would say. But it didn't stop me from staring longingly at the in-room dining menu, dreaming of the day when I would have my breakfast / lunch / dinner delivered to my room and set up on a table in front of the television with a silver-covered plate and mini ketchups galore. Today, I order room service at least once on every hotel stay, even if I'm not particularly hungry.
Maybe if we had traveled to Denver on those family vacations, my parents would have allowed me to live my dream of in-room dining.
Why Denver? Turns out it's the least expensive U.S. city for room service, according to a new study from TripAdvisor. The study looked at the combined cost of a club sandwich ordered from room service, a bottle of water, a mini bottle of vodka, peanuts, a can of soda from the mini bar, and dry cleaning for one shirt. Average price in Denver: $40. Average price in Honolulu, the most expensive U.S. city for room service: $65.
Why the discrepancy in prices? After all, it seems reasonable that people would be more likely to venture out in Hawaii rather than in Denver (no offense to the Mile High City but it ain't Honolulu). My guess? People in Hawaii are far more likely to be on a "special" vacation like a honeymoon and more willing to fork over the cash than people who are visiting Denver who could be in town for a variety of reasons, including business.
And you know honeymooners. They tend to stay in their rooms for long periods of time ... if you catch my drift.
Other popular travel destinations fell somewhere in between. Las Vegas, known for affordable hotel rooms, is not so affordable when it comes to room service, coming in just behind Honolulu at $64. This is pretty typical of Sin City, where they make it cheap to come and stay and then encourage you to spend big on every other aspect of your trip. New York City, on the other hand, known for its incredibly expensive hotel rooms, comes in at $57, maybe because of the incredible dining options within a few blocks of any hotel.
As for a few other popular destinations: Orlando is $51; Boston, $50; San Francisco, $52; Dallas, $42.
"While travelers are well aware of the wide range in prices for accommodations, they may be surprised to know that in-room amenity charges can also vary significantly from city to city," said Brooke Ferenscik, director of communications for TripAdvisor.
Internationally, Cape Town, South Africa, is the most affordable for room service, coming in under $20. At the other end of the spectrum is Moscow: At $83 it blows the next most expensive city (Paris, $69 on average) out of the water when it comes to overpriced peanuts.