Lonely Planet Writer

Puzzled about tipping in hotel rooms? These guests reveal what rates they pay in the US

Tipping service-providers abroad can be a minefield because rates can vary in different countries, and although it is never expected, it is always appreciated. While most people will readily tip concierges, waiters and porters because they come into personal contact with them, tipping the person who took care of your room during your stay can be hard to gauge. This was a question debated by users of the Quora forum, as they tried to work out what’s an appropriate gratuity to leave behind in a US hotel room?

Guests reveal what they tip those who take care of their hotel rooms. Image: : Alistair Berg
Guests reveal what they tip those who take care of their hotel rooms. Image: Alistair Berg

“I leave $5 per night if it’s a standard hotel, and $10-20 per night if it’s a classy one,” said user Adam Rifkin. “The people who keep the rooms work hard and don’t make much, and they always appreciate it. It’s a random act of kindness that’s easy to do and not expensive compared with the price of the room.”

Kristina Yang suggests leaving a dollar on the pillow each morning, or a few dollars at the end of a multi-day stay. “It’s not something that’s implicitly required like a restaurant tip, but it’s certainly a nice gesture, especially if you tend to leave your room fairly messy,” she says.

Guests reveal what they tip those who take care of their hotel rooms. Image: : Alistair Berg
Guests reveal what they tip those who take care of their hotel rooms. Image: Alistair Berg

These rates are in line with the recommendations of etiquette expert, Patricia Rossi, who suggests that maids should receive $1 to $5 daily. “The tip should be paid daily to ensure it goes to the person that took care of your room,” she says.

Quora user Jennifer Lee goes further by saying that she always leaves $3 – $5 per day on the counter of every bathroom in the room. She pays double if she has requested more items like shampoo or towels, if the maids are taking away room service trays or something they wouldn’t normally deal with, and if she leaves more of a mess than usual, such as spilling wine from the previous evening’s dinner. “If you’re in a single room, this tip would apply,” she says. “If you’re in a suite where there is one or more bathrooms, apply this rate to every bathroom, as a rule of thumb.”

Guests reveal what they tip those who take care of their hotel rooms. Image: Diane Macdonald
Guests reveal what they tip those who take care of their hotel rooms. Image: Diane Macdonald

P.M. Forni, author of The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude, says that hotel guests must understand that there are two basic reasons to tip: to acknowledge that a personal service was provided and to reward excellence in providing such service. Acknowledging the personal service “is essentially obligatory,” he says, but it’s up to each traveller to decide whether the service received “deserves reward on top of acknowledgement.”