Lodging – Tip the housekeeper

Who is the hotel employee that is most responsible for making sure your stay is pleasant?

Hint: it’s not the bellman.


When you travel on business you may not even see hotel housekeepers if you leave early and return in the evening. As a leisure traveler you are more likely to meet the woman who cleans your room. (I’m not going to be P.C. here. I’m sure somewhere in the world there is a male hotel housekeeper but I’ve yet to meet one.)

But whether you see your housekeeper or not, you will come back to a room that miraculously has been transformed from how you left it to clean and tidy. New little soaps and shampoos, clean towels with those arranged folds you could never do yourself, more notepads and pens, and so on.

It doesn’t happen by accident.

How can you show your thanks?

Leave a tip on the pillow for her.

How much?

At least $2. The larger the room and the more she has to clean, then the larger the tip should be. $5 a day is not at all unreasonable in a swanky hotel, because the housekeeper has bigger rooms to clean and therefore cleans fewer during her shift.

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If you stay more than one night and the housekeeper has done a really good job why not make the last tip a little nicer.

For someone who might make only $8-10 an hour (and not even necessarily have full-time hours), another $5 or more per hour in tips will make a real difference.

If you can afford to stay in a hotel or motel then you can afford to leave a tip. Brighten your housekeeper’s day. She might even leave you more of those cool little designer shampoos.

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3 Responses to Lodging – Tip the housekeeper

  1. David Danielson says:

    If you are staying more than one night, then another way you can be gentle on your housekeeper is to keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door throughout your stay. This frees her (or him!) up to focus on other rooms. Then, on your last day, leave at least a $5 tip. Only drawback — you won’t get a new stock of cool little shampoo containers or cakes of soap each day!

  2. Ann Krcik says:

    Hey Greg

    Do you recommend tipping each night or at the end of your stay?


  3. Jane Price says:

    When I worked for my company in Japan, when approving the expense reports of my Japanese staff, I would see an entry for pillow tip for each day–so I can vouch that even Japanese business people take tipping the cleaning staff seriously. I have come across male room attendants/cleaning staff in different parts of Asia.

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