How Much Money Should You Tip Housekeeping?

Asking for myself.

Photo: Flickr

This weekend, my friends and I gathered in Vermont to watch one of our own get married. We stayed in an inn that was supposedly haunted (it wasn’t), re-learned how to drink beer from a keg and ate a lot of Mallomars. It was a nice time, very adult without feeling too stuffy — perfect for where we are in life. We had the full run of the inn where we stayed. It was rented out exclusively for the bridal party’s friends. We had full run of the tavern, all the glassware in the kitchen and we made excellent use of it. Details are occasionally foggy, but I remember thinking at one point how nice it was to not have to worry about cleaning up. I can leave this glass here if I wanted to, I thought to myself as I was consolidating glasses half full of beer and brushing crumbs off a table. Someone else will clean it up. So luxurious.

I left the room I was staying in in decent condition — I made the bed, didn’t use any of the provided toiletries and was very careful not to muss or fuss any of the breakables. We were at the hotel for two nights, I left whatever was in my wallet — $8, I think — as a tip on the mantelplace and left.

The rest of the inn was less so. The damange wasn’t that bad — mostly cups full of beer, crumbs, stray bits of chips, nothing really major. Surveying the damage we did in the light of the morning, I realized that we should have all left some money somehwere. It was close to checkout time and it seemed that everyone had left. Two of my friends were frantically wrapping a present in their room. The rest of us sat outisde in the sun and waited.

Eventually, our newly-married friend showed up. “ I should leave them some money for cleaning this,” she said out loud to no one in particular. “I’ll put $40 on the bar, as long as we didn’t break anything.”

Was $40 too much? Too little? Tipping housekeeping is one of those things that people just seem to know how to do, but I can count the number of times I’ve stayed in a hotel on two hands, max. To me, $40 seemed low, but what do I know? Did we tip right? Should you tip at all in a hotel? Shouldn’t we all just stay in places where we can clean up after ourselves, as to avoid these kinds of crises?

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