Hotel No Smoking Penalty Letter – Can They Charge You For Smoking?

Smoking is now not allowed basically anywhere. People who smoke usually struggle to find a place where they can get their cigarettes out of their pockets and smoke calmly without experiencing those condemning glances of others. All public places are free of smoking now because if you start smoking, you disturb people who don’t smoke.

The same rules are true for hotels. Today, we’ll tell you about hotel no-smoking penalty letters and whether they can fine you for smoking in your room. It’s going to be interesting. Especially, for those who travel a lot. We want to say that the rules may differ from one hotel to another and from one country to another.

Here’s what we’ll be talking about:

  1. Hotel no-smoking penalty letter – what to do if you get it?
  2. How much can hotels take for smoking in a room?
  3. Can they take money from your credit card without asking?
  4. Why smoking in a hotel room is strictly forbidden?

Let’s get started!

What to do if you get a penalty letter from a hotel?

First of all, these penalty letters are necessary. If they charge you with some money without informing you, this won’t be considered legal and you can actually sue them to get your money back and even get some compensation if you have a good lawyer. So, these penalty letters are very important.

If you get a penalty letter, you should read it carefully and understand what you are being blamed for. Remember if you actually smoked in your room and think if they have any evidence of it.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Take the letter and sign a document if a hotel worker asks you to do so.
  2. Read the letter carefully to understand what they want from you.
  3. Remember the time when you were smoking in your room or near it.
  4. Try to find the hotel’s no-smoking policy and read it (on their website or at the reception).
  5. Think if you actually broke the rules and smoked in the wrong place.
  6. Try to talk to a receptionist and ask if they can forget about this.
  7. Try to get any evidence from them – they may not know for sure that you were smoking.

If you see that they have no evidence, you can insist on annulment of the fine. If they don’t want to do it, you can just call the police and they will decide if it’s legal or not to fine you in this situation. But if you are in another country, we don’t recommend calling the police. You don’t know the rules and you may end up spending some time in the police which is not pleasant at all.

So, one of your options is to just pay the fine, the other option is to talk to a manager and try to deal with this problem. For example, you may say that you didn’t know this was a non-smoking room, so you will not smoke again there.

How can they fine you? Deposit and credit card hold

In a lot of hotels, when you are signing in, you need to make a deposit or give your credit card for a special hold. The hotel will put some money on hold, usually, it’s about $50 to $200 per one day of your stay. This money may be used to pay for additional services like drinks in your minibar, etc. But the money can also be used to pay fines.

And yes, they can charge you with this money easily without informing you many times. All they need to do is to give you a no-smoking penalty letter. After that, they are free to get money from your credit card within the amount that they put on hold when you were signing in. So, just not reacting to the penalty letter is not an option at all.

How much do hotels charge for smoking in their rooms?

It depends on the hotel, the country, and also the inner policy of this hotel. For example, a Hyatt hotel can charge up to $1,000 for offending smoking rules. But most hotels will have lower fines of $200 to $400. This fine can be applied many times. If they catch you once again, they will take another fine from you.

The size of the fine depends on the status of the hotel. So, if a room in a hotel costs $50 a night, it will not charge you much money if you smoke in a room or in any other place where smoking is prohibited. But if a room in your hotel costs over $1K, you will have to pay a lot. These hotels want to make sure that all their guests are feeling good and this is achieved through strict control of all rules.

Are there any hotels with rooms for smokers?

Yes, a lot of hotels have rooms for smoking people. These rooms usually have better ventilation that is not connected with other rooms in this hotel. This special equipment helps hold the smoke inside one room and quickly ventilate this room to avoid any bad smells on the walls and other objects in this room.

Smoking rooms are specially equipped with the following:

  • good ventilation system to let the smoke leave the room as soon as possible;
  • ashtrays to let you smoke in a certain place in the room;
  • better fire alarms and other equipment to prevent fires and not react of usually cigarette smoke;
  • isolated ventilation that isn’t connected with non-smoking rooms’ ventilation;
  • special units in the room that don’t absorb the tobacco smell and don’t spoil fast because of the smoke;
  • balconies where smokers can chill out without spoiling the room.

By the way, if you are in a non-smoking room, smoking is prohibited everywhere, even on the balcony. This is obvious because the smoke you release may get into neighboring rooms and bother other guests of the hotel. If you aren’t sure about the rules for smokers in your hotel, better speak with a receptionist before you light a cigarette.

What to do if you don’t know about the hotels’ policy for smoking?

If you are a heavy smoker and you can’t stand any restrictions, we have bad news for you. Hotels for smokers are now a rare thing. More hotels want their guests to live in a healthy environment, so they forbid smoking in their rooms and on the balconies. Some of them still make some smoking zones separated from all other zones in the hotel.

If you don’t know the smoking policy of your hotel, it doesn’t mean that they will not fine you. You should get the information before you decide to light the cigarette and release that smoke into the air of your room.

Here’s what you should do:

  • before you book a room in a certain hotel, get informed on smoking rules on their website;
  • call the reception and ask the hotel staff if they allow guests to smoke in the rooms or anywhere else;
  • make sure your hotel doesn’t have a big fine for smoking in a hotel room;
  • look for some places near the hotel where you can smoke and get some rest without offending any rules;
  • speak to a receptionist when you are already in the hotel and ask to tell you more about the rules for smokers.

These are the easiest ways to get informed on smoking rules in your hotel. And you should do it before you go to this hotel and before you pay money to them. You should also know what kinds of fines they have and you have to be ready to pay these fines if you decide to secretly smoke on your balcony.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to prove that you didn’t smoke. And it’s not worth your time and money to deal with this issue with your lawyer. So, most likely, you will just pay the fine if you are caught.

Can you refuse to pay the fine?

If you have already got the letter, we don’t see any legal way to not pay the fine but to call the police and go to the court. But let’s be honest, it may lead to even more problems if you start dealing with the situation this way. But if you know you were caught and still didn’t get the no-smoking penalty letter, you can go to a receptionist and talk to him or her.

Usually, if guests don’t try to intimidate hotel workers but just calmly explain the situation, hotel staff can understand the client’s needs or worries and not issue this penalty letter at all.

Final words

We know for sure that many smokers have had these issues with penalty letters saying that they need to pay hundreds of dollars for smoking in their rooms. We also know that it’s hard to refuse to pay this fine. But we’ve tried to give all tips that we know to let you try and get rid of the fine. We hope, these tips will work and you will not make the mistake of smoking in the wrong place in your hotel.

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