Hotel etiquette and tipping

Everything from tipping the bellman to consulting with the concierge

Your destination as well as how much you’re willing to spend on vacation will determine the rank and class of your hotel. While some hotels don’t have a bellman, a concierge or a daily maid service, other hotels pride themselves on making sure visitor needs are met at every angle. Make sure you show your appreciation with proper tipping and verbal “thank you”s.

Hotel tipping guide

Upscale hotels will likely have numerous hospitality-workers including a valet, a bellman, a doorman, and the concierge to assist you. These kind people are here to make your stay a pleasant one, so make sure to show your appreciation. Tipping is certainly a personal preference, but if you choose to tip keep in mind the following guidelines:

Valet: $2 – $3, weather depending.

Shuttle service: $2 per person (includes bags per person).

Doorman: $2 – $3, depending on level of service.

Bellman: The general rule is $1 per bag, but if you’re alone and only have one bag you might want to add a few dollars to the tip.

Concierge: Some high-class hotels have full-service concierge staff available to help guests with everything from restaurant reservations to theater tickets. Depending on the level of service you received from the concierge, consider tipping anywhere from $5 – $25.

Room service: $2 – $4, depending on the total bill.

Housekeeping: More hotels are looking to conserve energy by limiting room service. The general rule is $2 per day your room is cleaned and sheets are changed. If you request sheet changes on a daily basis, you might consider tipping a little more.

Coat check: $1 per coat.

Pool service: Some hotels offer a personal pool service (found at many spas and resorts). If you need extra towels, sunscreen, bottled water, food or other amenities, let your pool-hand take care of it for you. But make sure you tip him/her at the end of the day. The more service you require the more tip you leave. Towels = $1; Food/drink = $2-$5, depending on the total bill.

Spa service: Many spas offer personal attendees to cater to your day of rest and relaxation. Tip your spa concierge like you would the hotel concierge – anywhere from $5 – $25, depending on the level of service you received. See our guide on booking your spa vacation for more details.

If you’re traveling to a foreign country, take the above amounts and convert them into local currency for proper tipping.

General hotel etiquette

Now that you have the money sorted out, relax and enjoy your stay. Remember, though, that there are a few “rules-of-the-road” you should consider when it comes to your hotel stay:

  • Housekeeping changes daily so tip on a daily basis. If you wait until the last day, you might be giving a week’s worth of tips to a person who only cleaned your room one day.
  • Service-employees at hotels consider tips part of their salary, so be polite and courteous when asking for their services. If you have only one bag to transport, let the bellman help the family of four that’s getting out of the van behind you.
  • Don’t run out of cash. It’s likely that once you leave the hotel for good, you won’t be back to tip the hotel staff. Most hotels have a check cashing service available, and if you need change, request it from the front desk. Ask the concierge for envelopes so you can hand out tips to the appropriate people, or ask your concierge to deliver the tips.
  • If you’re traveling to a foreign country, remember that different cultures and customs are part of the traveling process. What may appear rude might be nothing more than a simple language barrier. Don’t withhold a tip, but do pay attention to the level of service you experience during your stay. If you’re truly unsatisfied at the end of your stay, speak to the hotel manager.

Your hotel stay is a large part of your vacation. A dirty room or a rude staff member can certainly ruin your vacation-vibe, but don’t be discouraged. Talk to the hotel manager and find a solution to the problem – then don’t forget to tip and say “thank you” to those hotel workers who helped make your stay a pleasant one.

(Featured image: Lindsay Attaway)

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