Luxury Hotel: How Much to Tip
I recently visited Baha Mar with a bunch of fellow miles and points folks and we had an amazing time. One thing that was very inconsistent among the group was the opinion on at a luxury hotel: how much to tip for each type of service. Do you tip the guy who brings your luggage and the guy who walks you aroun the room? How about the guy who cleans the room and the concierge? How do you distribute the tips? Do you tip at all if you pay more for the same room with butler service? Does a $70 night resort fee reduce or increase the amount you tip? Obviously there are so many factors that go in to determining the appropriate amount to tip it makes perfect sense that opinions varied so widely. Here are just a few that come to mind:
- Location- including value of currency and cost of living
- Type of hotel
- Level of service
- Type of service- maid service, butler service, concierge etc
- Resort fees and mandatory service fees and what's included
I know that I tend to over tip because my mom worked on tips when I was a kid and I worked at Chili's for years (Best boneless wings on earth-in case you were wondering). I also know that a lot of miles and points travelers can be light on cash and that things like resort fees can cut into cash reserves.
So How Much Do you Tip?
I'll be honest I really don't have an answer for this question. I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks about the questions and considerations I mentioned earlier. Here's my two cents. First, I don't have an actual standard policy or amount- I tip based on service. If housekeeping and butlers carefully tend to each detail and everything is perfection, there easily getting $10-$25 per day (depending on how expensive the location is.) I once went to the Dominican Republic and had a miserable stay where nothing was good except for our incredibly sweet housekeeper. She was one of the best I've ever encountered and waited on us enthusiastically for days constantly bringing us things and noticing our preferences. It was my pleasure to hand her a large tip each day. On the other hand, If I walk into a room at a 4 or 5 star hotel and it's dirty or housekeeping continuously forgets to refill things, the tip will be minimal, maybe 2-$3 per day.
My last trip to Baha Mar we had an excellent housekeeper but the 2 butlers assigned to our rooms were not helpful in any way. I made two requests throughout the 3 days we were there and only one was fulfilled after I called to remind them… twice! I felt obligated to tip but on second thought I probably should have just let the front desk know the issue and left double for housekeeping.
My biggest issue in all of this is a sky-high resort fee. I am fully aware that resort fees probably don't end up in the staff's pockets but in places like the Bahamas where you're shelling out mandatory gratuities of 18% and daily fees upwards of $60 it feels like service should be included. It also doesn't feel right to stiff employees who aren't benefiting. For this reason I tip based on the service I receive as opposed to any set formula. I also budget for additional expenses, which is something I'm very accustomed to since my main travel locations are resort fee heavy (i.e. Vegas and the Caribbean.)
I'd love to hear what everyone else factors in when deciding how much to tip and whether things like resort fees and level of service play a big role in those decisions.