smart spending

A cheat sheet on tipping do's and don'ts

Cash for the hotel staff
Cash for the hotel staff

Thomas Farley, a New York-based manners expert for WhatMannersMost.com, says be prepared for a variety of tips at hotels. If the hotel is a five-star property, the service expectations are greater and the tip should be, too.

Farley's suggestions:

  • Hotel porter toting your bags: $2 to $3 per bag.
  • Room service with gratuity included on the bill: $2.
  • Room service without gratuity included: 20 percent of the charge.
  • Toiletry/towel delivery: $2.
  • Doorman if he hails your cab: $2 to $5.
  • Concierge after guest's request: $5 to $15, depending on how difficult the task is (like procuring sold-out theater tickets).
  • Housekeeping: $2 to $5 per day.

Etiquette coach and trainer Constance Hoffman, of Social and Business Graces Inc. in Los Angeles, says, "Don't leave the maid's tip on the nightstand as that has sexual connotations. Instead, put it on the desk or a counter."

Also, the cleaning person may change daily, so give a tip each day before leaving the hotel so the housekeeper who makes up your room will get the money.

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