Hotel Confidential - Tipping

It happens almost every day.

Something brings to light a memory from my days running the front desk of a luxury hotel, and in that moment I usually laugh, cry, or shake my head in disgust. It happens so often that I decided these memories could be put to good use here on The World of Deej. If you're hoping I'll air out the dirty laundry of celebrity guests, just move along because it's not gonna happen. On the other hand, if you want to know how things really work within a hotel, or how to be a better guest - because trust me we all need help in this department - then this is the place for you.

Trust me...This place has secrets.

In honor of my former hero and turncoat sellout Anthony Bourdain, I'm calling the series Deej's Hotel Confidential. Topic #1 is a doozie....tipping.

Let's face it, money talks, and when it comes to hotels, it speaks volumes. In hotels, nice guys that are lousy tippers finish last. Scumbags that are big tippers get the world on a silver platter. Of course, you also have a combination of the two which is even worse...scumbags that are lousy tippers. They usually get the world on a silver platter too, but only because the hotel is afraid of them. Seriously, don't be that guy...
You wont exactly find this in a hotel...
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Tipping is a topic that is so subjective and often cliche, that many guests have no clue what is customary To Insure Prompt Service. So here's a guide to hotel tipping from arrival to check-out.

Valet

First off, if you arrive at a hotel after a long drive and realize you have no cash, don't freak out. Most valets pool their tips for each shift, sometimes for the entire day, so if you are unable to tip at that moment just be sure to get them the next time by. But do get them the next time by....

Suggested Tip...$5-$8 round trip.
Don't get excited ladies. It rarely goes like this...
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Front Desk

In the course of a normal check in/out, tipping a desk agent is not warranted or expected. There are some cases, however, when throwing out a few dollars would be appropriate. For example, if the front desk is doubling as concierge and makes dinner or transportation arrangements for you, then as a courtesy you might cover the cost of their evening Starbucks run.
Yeah, that's me on the right... Like whoa...

Another great example is that of the group check-in - read: weddings. If you arrive for 20 rooms at 9am, 19 of which have a particular view or location request, then by all means compensate the desk agent for putting up with you.

Bellman

In many hotels, bellman are compensated like restaurant servers, earning a small hourly wage, while depending on tips for their livelihood. Unlike restaurants however, there is no "suggested gratuity" on your bill, making the bellman's job of separating you from money that much harder.
He's got the right idea...
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If the bellman simply rolls your wheelie-bag to the room and wishes you a pleasant stay, well that's only worth a few bucks. If they go above and beyond - as they should in great hotels - then that's a different story. I define above and beyond as giving a layout of the property, explaining the amenities of the room, setting up luggage on a rack, sharing who to call if anything is needed, and a finally a biggie for me...offering a bucket of ice.

Suggested tip - $10 (2-3 Bags) $20 if you had so much stuff the luggage cart was given a flat tire.

Concierge

The key to a great experience at any hotel is often found sitting behind the concierge desk. A professional concierge is not only the eyes and ears of the hotel, but the entire city. They can work more magic than Hermione Granger, and the more difficult the spell the more it's going to cost you.

A simple dinner reservation warrants no more than a few dollars, but often the requests of a concierge go much further. If they've scored a table at a sold out restaurant, or arranged for flowers, chocolate strawberries, and champagne to arrive precisely two minutes after you propose to your girlfriend, well then you might want to introduce them to your friends Andrew Jackson or Ulysses Grant.

Housekeeping

In the hotel tipping food chain, Housekeeping is the one that always receives the least, but deserves it the most. Housekeepers are charged with cleaning up things for minimum wage which you or I wouldn't touch for David Beckham's per match salary. Remember the suite at the beginning of The Hangover? I've seen worse...

Suggested Tip: $2-3 per night.
Worse than this even...
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More often than not, the delivery of outstanding service comes naturally to those working in great hotels. The only reward they seek is the satisfaction of knowing you had an exceptional stay. As guests, however, we often feel compelled to give thanks in the only way we know how...with our wallet. If you've received above and beyond service and would like to show your appreciation, there is a better way. One who's value to the staff member trumps a tip of almost any amount.

Email the General Manager...

Enjoy Your Stay