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Hotel Maid in JamaicaOnce, in a rush to leave my hotel room for the day (and in a hotel that didn't provide stationary or envelopes in the desk, a trend I've noticed lately), I left a tip for the maid, in cash, on the bathroom counter. I left it hanging half off the counter, in what I hoped was an obvious way. Since it wasn't in an envelope or marked for the maid, she couldn't take it. She left me a note thanking me for the tip, but explaining she couldn't take it because she couldn't be sure it was for her.

I felt bad, not only because I know better, but because with shift changes, I couldn't be sure she'd be cleaning my room again the next night. Hotel maids, although they often provide "invisible" services during your stay, can and should be tipped to show your appreciation when they provide good service. Here's how to tip a hotel maid.

POLL: Do you leave a tip for hotel maids?

1) Yes, every night of my stay
2) Yes, at the end of my stay
3) No, I rarely remember to leave a tip
4) No, I don't think it's necessary

See Current Results

May 2, 2007 at 1:21 pm
(1) Liz says:

I don’t tip in the US as usually the maid is never the same day to day. I do tip in 3rd world countries where I know the maid will receive what I leave for her. I always tip for special requests.

May 2, 2007 at 3:12 pm
(2) Sharon says:

I usually leave about $3 per day or more, depending what kind of hotel I’m in.

May 2, 2007 at 8:00 pm
(3) Lois says:

We tend to tip at the end of the stay and leave it on the desk in the bedroom.

May 3, 2007 at 8:34 pm
(4) Jane says:

It’s shameful, but I’ve never even thought of tipping the chambermaid! In Canada, where ones and twos are coins and the first bill denomination is $5, would that be the minimum tip one could leave?

May 4, 2007 at 9:31 am
(5) hotels says:

Yes, it should be fine to leave $1 or $2 coins. Don’t feel like you have to leave a whole $5 bill. Just don’t leave a stack of smaller coins in lieu of a larger denomination.

May 4, 2007 at 11:13 pm
(6) R. Lewis says:

My wife is a maid and she works in a hotel in New York.
Most people never leaves a tip after a stay she tells me.
American are the most generious of those who do. People from Asia usually leave a dollar per day. Those from Great Britin the least likely to leave a tip with the mess they leave behind, but they are the most demanding of services.

There are exceptions to all this, but the British are really cheap skates, perhaps this is why they are still considering them selves as worthy of service from colonist servants as their due. I guess it is a class thing that they carry with them when they leave home. They even carry the empty shopping bags home with them from the designer stores that they come here to get great prices and saving from not having to pay the VAT. My wife said she wonder what they do with them at home.
when a tip is added to the bill at the front desk, maids never get the tip, some floor manager for the maids snak into the room before the maids get there and steal the tips, as do some bell men who remove your luggage for check out.
the best thing is to give it in her hand if you can daily, or leave an envelope daily marked for her.

She works very hard my wife, 14 or 15 room per day. She worthy of you tip. She is very good at her job, tip or no tip

May 22, 2007 at 12:37 pm
(7) kay says:

If the hotel is good enough for the price I paid I will leave a tip. But sometimes my experience is just awful and then I don’t care nor do I think they deserve a tip.

June 1, 2007 at 1:18 pm
(8) Hypatia says:

I leave $5 each day. For a few dollars more than she might be hoping to get, I can make someone happy who’s not earning very much. Once I even got a Thank-You note from Housekeeping.

September 19, 2007 at 11:58 am
(9) Jan says:

To 6: In the UK, there is no tipping required/expected in the hotel. The maids are paid their wage by their employer. It is the same probably everywhere in Europe. So people do not tip quite often because they do not have the slightest idea they should! Also when I’m on a bussiness trip, my employer will reimburse me the cost of the accommodation, but not the tips. Why should I pay instead?

January 24, 2008 at 11:16 pm
(10) Zigge says:

The easiest would be if the US service industry paid decent salaries and tipping came to an end. Pretty much the norm in the rest of the world. The system will fix itself if everyone stops tipping so I think that is the way to go…

July 4, 2008 at 11:55 am
(11) London Hotel Guy says:

I remember a time I stayed at a hotel in Gran Canaria for a few weeks and the maid service was fantastic. I had a bunch of Euros left over so I had the owner of the hotel bar who I’d gotten to know write a little note in Spanish for the maids and left the cash with the note thanking them.

July 8, 2008 at 8:53 pm
(12) pele says:

I do not understand why we tip the chambermaids, are they not paid an hourly wage or at least minimum wage? As with any job other than a waitress, who gets paid up to $3 an hour and their livelihood is based on tips, I am failing to understand why they deserve a tip for doing their job. Unless I am misinformed, and chambermaids are paid less than minimum wage, I am trying to figure out why we tip people for doing their job.

August 3, 2008 at 3:07 pm
(13) Lola Spalding says:

For several years I have tipped the hotel maid about $3/day which seemed to be prettys standard. However, when we recently went on a trip I felt it inadequate in light of today’s prices of gas, food and other necessities, so I upped my tip to $5/day.

September 24, 2008 at 3:07 pm
(14) Ali says:

Servers in the US seem to think that tables are their little profit centers. Well, they are the place where people eat their food! Why should patrons be responsible to pay servers wages? If they were paid properly, it wouldn’t be such a game or power trip for them!

November 14, 2008 at 1:00 pm
(15) StareClips.com says:

For those who suggests that chambermaids and waiters/waitresses should be paid adequately and, therefore, would not need tips… keep in mind that until (or unless) this changes, they do still rely on tips for their livelihood.

Another thing to consider is that the reason they are paid so little is because employers assume that tips can be relied upon. After all, why should an employer pay so much if they know the employees will be collecting a bunch in tips directly from the patrons?

Given this, a certain amount of control is given to the customers as to the chambermaid’s income. Think of it this way… if you hire a self-employed plumber, you pay him directly what he invoices you. He isn’t being paid an hourly wage… he is paying himself from the money he collects from you. For employment situations where tips are customary (waiters/waitresses, chambermaids, etc…) their income is partly paid by the employer and partly paid directly by the customer. It’s like a cross between a self-employed plumber or a regularly employed worker.

So, when you pay the hotel, you are paying for the upkeep of the hotel, the landscaping, the staff, etc… but only PART of the chambermaid’s income. The OTHER part of the income is expected in the form of tips. By deciding not to leave a tip, you aren’t encouraging the employers to pay more… and you aren’t changing any customs… you’re simply saying that you think the person who cleaned your room should get a reduction in pay, and you are actively controlling this by leaving a tip or not leaving a tip.

December 8, 2008 at 3:26 pm
(16) Jamie Scott says:

to 9: It may not be customary in your country. However, when traveling, it might be a good idea to learn local customs, etc of the country you are going to. It is my understanding that the maids here rely mostly on tips. How much is it to ask to leave even a small amount to try and help brighten someone’s day who works extremely hard for very little money? If you can afford to travel to another country, you can certainly afford it and if your work is footing the bill then that is the least you could do.

January 12, 2009 at 10:31 am
(17) sher says:

I’ve been very frustrated recently. I’d love to know what others think of this situation. Because of circumstances, I’ve needed to stay in a hotel the last two months, about 4 days every other week. Now, since I’m only here four days, and I really need the quiet to study and work, I prefer not to have housekeeping disturb me while I am working. And I also prefer not to have to leave in the morning, especially if I have already started my studies while they are cleaning the other rooms. So I always put the Please do not disturb sign on the door immediately. The hotel is nice – probably about a 3 star – not exorbitantly expensive, but clean and safe. So, I really do like the hotel. But the last time I was here, the maid called me the day before I was to leave and asked if she could collect her tip a day early as she had forgotten her lunch money – even though she had not yet provided any services. I was so stunned, that I went ahead and gave her a tip. The next day, I realized she was off and so felt guilty enough to give the maid that would actually be cleaning my room another tip. This stay: the first day I am here, I walk by her on my way back to my room. She asks if I will be needing services. I smile and say “No, thank you.” As I start to walk by, she laments that she will probably only earn $1 in tips that day. The second day she calls, wakes me from a nap, and asks if I will need services. (The sign is still on my door). Again, I say, “No, thank you. “. Today, again the day before checkout, she calls and says, “Is there any way I can get the tip early?”. Now, she has not entered my room to do any work at this point. As I haven’t gone to the bank yet to refuel my cash supply (today’s agenda), I simply tell her that I don’t have any cash on me. However, I am finding myself outraged at this behavior. It seems incredibly rude and presumptuous to me.

March 15, 2009 at 9:24 am
(18) wearytraveler says:

I have always tipped the hotel maid at the end of my stay, but lately I have noticed that hotel maids tend to decrease their room service if you don’t tip everyday. I end up having to call the front desk for items that should have been replenished. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think a tip should be something that acknowledges a service performed well, but when that service is not performed well, I don’t think a tip should be extracted from the guest just to get the service that has already been paid for with the room. It almost feels like manipulation, and I think this is something hotel management should be aware of and addressing. My first job as a teenager was cleaning hotel rooms, and a tip was always a delightful surprise, not something I felt I was owed.

April 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm
(19) LynneinChgo says:

Many years ago, I worked as a hotel maid. The supervisor always checked the rooms when the customer checked-out. She always pocketed anything ‘good’ that was left. Please leave your tips daily!

January 6, 2010 at 12:26 am
(20) Jen says:

I made $2.10 per room at the HolidayInn in 2004 in wages. Tips were everything and $5 was like a million! Very rare.

February 14, 2010 at 3:59 pm
(21) Kiki says:

I used to work as a chambermaid (one of my many, many jobs I held when I was very, very poor). Every so often, one of us would be tipped something ‘big’ – like $10 or $20. My husband and I are very comfortable now, but I still remember how much being a chambermaid sucked (think feces in the bathroom but not in the toilet, used condoms, disgustingly dirty rooms, etc.) and how little I got paid, and I often leave $20-$50 if not more for the chambermaid, depending on how long I stay (more if it’s just for one or two nights). I am very lucky to be able to do this and it makes me SMILE.

April 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm
(22) powaymojo says:

Another angle on tipping hotel staff: I often decline ‘housekeeping’ but, realized that the staff often get paid by the room so; I inquire as to who, in the hall way is assigned to my room and give them up to $5 to compensate for the ‘lost’ wage for my room.

May 5, 2010 at 12:16 am
(23) Lady Diy says:

If you are only staying 1 night at a hotel and never have need for maid service except the hotel’s next day normal change of linens etc for the next occupant, why would you tip the hotel maid? I always tip of I stay more than 1 night but not for just 1 night.

June 4, 2010 at 11:21 am
(24) K O says:

Daily tipping makes sure your maid receives her tip. Most maids have assigned rooms, but I don’t know of any maids who work 7 days a week. If you leave a larger tip at the end of your stay the maid who gave you service might be off the day you check out. Never leave a tip anywhere the maid can’t touch it. If an envelope can’t be found, on the bed pillow is usually acceptable for the maid to pick up.

June 7, 2010 at 5:41 pm
(25) Tam says:

Here is something that has been bothering me…. when you do tip a maid…. you normally leave it when you leave for the day. But really isnt that tipping BEFORE the service? You wouldnt tip a waiter before the end of the meal…. why do we tip the maid before they have cleaned.

Say you stay in a hotel 2 nights. You get there, sleep, wake up and leave your unmade bed and towels on the floor and $3 marked in an evenlope for the maid.

The maid comes in, gets the $3, and does an AWFUL job. Then when you get back you are mad and decide not to leave a tip the next day. And a new person comes and does a great job (but you will never know cause you are checking out) and gets no tip!

What do you do about that?? I am for tipping. Not to suppliment a wage, not to get favors, but as a reward, a little bonus. If its earned of course.

But what a pain to have to track down the person that you never see and never know if he or she will be back!

July 6, 2010 at 11:32 am
(26) Abbie says:

In USA, I always leave a tip daily. I put it in an obvious place with a note labelled, Housekeeper. If I have any special requests I list them on the note. I always use polite language such as “Will you kindly vacuum today”? I usually tip based on the number of beds & bathrooms, living and/or kitchen area. A normal hotel room I would leave about $2-3 per day, 1 bedroom suite with kitchenette about $4 per day, 2 bedroom 2 bath condo (full kitchen) about $6 per day. We try to leave the room neat and uncluttered, so the housekeeper is able to work efficiently. In the case with a condo or villa I may just leave the area (go out to deck or patio). When I’m there in person I thank the housekeeper (by name if wearing a nametag) & hand tip as they are leaving. Housekeepers are very appreciative of kind guests! Just smililing, speaking kindly and using their names will go a long way towards getting average or great service!

October 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm
(27) Constance says:

Yes, even if you stay just one night, you should leave a tip. One bed, one dollar, two beds two dollars. A five dollar tip is always appreciated and extremely rare. You will also make someone really happy that day. Whats wrong with that? Yes, good service should be rewarded, bad service should not. And should be reported to front desk. And if you make any special requests of your hotel maid, you should always tip because you have just set her back a possible ten minutes or more. Don’t forget, maids are required to make quota- a certain amt of rooms must be cleaned in set amount of time. In general time allowed 2.5 rooms per hour.
To the lady whose maid keeps bothering her for a tip-please report this to the manager or stand up for yourself. She is out of line. This type of behavior is not. acceptable.
Yes, hotel maids make very small wages for the important work they do. In return they perform what can only be termed hard labor in return for a wage that is often below the cost of living. I often think prisoners have it easier than people who have to work these jobs to live and raise children and pay rent and bills on top of it.
I honestly think hotels should be made to pay much higher wages to their staff.
If you don’t want to tip when you are staying more than one night, it is as simple as putting a Do not Disturb sign on your door. If you decide you want someone to come in and clean up after you, then tip. Again,Should you tip after only staying one night? Yes, because someone is cleaning up your mess. It is the decent thing to do.

May 15, 2011 at 9:40 pm
(28) Jenny F. says:

I am working at one of the hotels at Park Ave, mid-town, New York city. I work my best and work very hard to make sure the rooms I’ve been assigned are 99.99% clean, with or without a tip. But I really hate that floor managers always get into the rooms and steal the tip(s) away before our maids do the cleanings–sometimes I can’t find any tip for a straight week after cleaning more than 80 rooms; can you believe that? And the funny thing is a Broken arm/leg floor manager (very, very slow walking with a crane) insisted to come back to work without a sick leave–our maids all knew that she came back just for the tip$$$$ which didn’t belong to her. But anyway, whenever I have a trip and live in a hotel, I always leave a tip ($3 to $4 a day) under the pillow if not seeing the maid.

June 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm
(29) Karen says:

To the folks who insist that the rates at hotels should be raised to ensure that houskeepers can make a living wage. Why do you think that the general public would be willing to pay more for a night. It has been my experience that the average room rate will create epic complaints at most front desks and that given the opportuniy most people will go to any leangths to pay the lowest possible rate for any room in any hotel.

August 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm
(30) sheryl says:

I always tip the maid, but admit to not thinking about doing it daily! Will change to do that from now on. I tip because I’m so glad I don’t have to work in that capacity myself.

I just stayed 1 night this weekend and left $3. Will also mark it in an envelope from now on too and if I see the maid, I’ll hand it directly to her!

October 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm
(31) Tim says:

Please don’t class all Brits the same. I am British and always tip…and keep my room clean!

August 8, 2012 at 10:54 am
(32) Tanya says:

I learned in my early 20s to leave a tip for the hotel maid. I dated an older guy that was very demanding of extra service, so that’s why I thought he would tip the maid. However, I was a companion on a trip with a friend of mine who is a travel agent. She schooled me about leaving a tip for the maid. I always leave at least $2.00-$3.00 per night, per person at the end of my trip. I leave it in the room when I check out. I try to let the particular maid on my floor know that I left something in the room regardless if it’s the same person each day. My hotel experience is usually good. If there is a problem or issue, I get it corrected by notifying the front desk. If I stay two nights, I skip maid service, but still leave a tip for both nights. Maids make very little for what can be a very nasty job. I try to tip a little more and keep the room neat for those who don’t.

August 24, 2012 at 9:11 am
(33) traceyleep says:

I tip a dollar per person in the room. Here in Florida, maids are paid minimum wage, so it isn’t like a restaurant server who is not. I stay at Disney resorts 3 times a year and they do not advocate tipping the maid however you are allowed to at your discretion. I also tip each morning and find it doesn’t really make my room service better or worse. If I happen to not have $2.00 I don’t lose sleep over not leaving a tip. I also am very neat and pretty much clean up the room by myself, so there isn’t much for them to do other than refresh towels. (Yes I make my bed). So in my opinion, if you leave the maid a tip, yay for you- if you don’t it doesn’t really matter anyway. They aren’t cleaning your room for the tip.

February 4, 2013 at 4:45 am
(34) sad says:

I feel like guest should leave tips for maids, especially guest who are terribly filthy. It is sad that guest who are clean leave tips at least some, but you guest that just trash a room, you type of people are the ones who make me sick. I find u absolutely disturbing. I truly feel like quitting my job when i walk into a room that is downright disgusting. I mean have a little respect for yourself to tidy up the dang room for us to clean. Guest who are clean honesty you can keep your tip, because you are so neat and worthy of service. But u trashy type guest, you are the ones i do not like with your no tipping arses.

March 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm
(35) Harold says:

I often leave a gratuity when staying in hotels. I use merci-envelopes which are clearly for tips rather than leaving cash on the side which may be considered as left behind.

April 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm
(36) Cats says:

I too have bought merci envelopes on eBay and usually leave insert 2 where i have stayed in a clean hotel rooms. Once when I stayed in the Hilton Leeds the cleaner made a point of saying that I had made her day for such a kind gesture which was obviously appreciated. It also made me feel good!

May 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm
(37) Kslnm says:

Please tip the housekeeper. Whether you have a stay over or if you check out after one night. We clean your mess. We bust our butts, run up and down stairs, get rained on, get sweaty, lug huge piles of laundry, touch gross stuff. I’m a wife, a mother, a student and a housekeeper. This job gets me and my family trough the summer. Tips from generous and kind hearted customers are greatly appreciated. Thanks to those of you who tip!

July 26, 2013 at 10:29 am
(38) Jon says:

Tipping is a classic source of intercultural misunderstanding. Comments 6, 9 and 16 are interesting. It’s really easy for people to complain about non-tippers that ‘they don’t understand our culture’. Well, you should understand theirs too. You work in a hotel. They’re travellers. They may not even want to be there. For the British and Europeans especially coming from cultures where tipping is limited the amount of extra outlay that’s ‘customary’ in North America can feel like an imposition, especially when you understand that these people have already been hit by extra taxes that they are used to seeing included in the up-front price. In Britain, if a hotel room is advertised at 100, you pay 100, and nobody hates you. In Canada, if a hotel room is advertised at $100, you pay $120-125 or else somebody is angry. To a British person, this is stupid. It feels like you are being deceived about the cost. If a tip is not left, it’s not because they don’t like the service, or because they feel superior. It’s either because they weren’t aware it was expected (they probably should have been) or because they are angry with hotel management that the bill for the stay is working out much higher than the advertised rates. It is worth being aware that in Britain, hiding charges for example by not including tax when it must be paid is not just bad manners, it’s actually illegal.

September 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm
(39) Jude says:

So long as they don’t blatantly demand “How much are you going to tip me?” (happened with a taxi driver; that plus the fact he’d ignored all attempts at conversation with him from me and my fellow passenger meant he got about $3 for a $40 fare) I tip $5 a night.

The reason for this is that I’m not a good sleeper; I have to have the sheets and blankets completely loose and available for me to pummel, wrestle with and snuggle up in before I’m able to sleep (fluctuating temperatures at night are common where I live; I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone to sleep under the covers and woken up on top of them!)

While I go out of my way to keep my room tidy and fold up my own towels, my bed always looks like a tornado’s hit it come morning. I figure the least I can do is pay the poor maid extra tips for the extra work I land her with ;)

November 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm
(40) Courtney says:

I am a housekeeper at a upscale inn. About 50% of our guests tip. It is a frustrating thing. I am sure some of these guests think well this is a very nice inn, I am sure the employees are paid well..But let me fill you in: we are paid min wage or little above. We take pride in our work. Whether the least expensive or most expensive, we clean the same. dont think, o they just make the bed & give fresh towels!! No,we clean the room almost as if it were a check out, minus fresh sheets (unless staying for more then 2 nights) some people are very clean &neat, some people are a bit messy &some people are down right dirty. Our job is hard, we are paid by our employer but not nearly enough for the intensive labor we provide. Our cleanliness and perfectionism is part of what makes your stay enjoyable &part of what makes you want to come back. Tip your housekeepers. They are wiping up your urine, touching your soiled linens, shining your tissue box, etc. it’s a sign of disrespect to the cleaner when no tip is left. as far as tipping each day: we consolidate all tips &split them equally at the end of the week. All of our staff work the same amount of days, &it washes out the rooms that didn’t tip by. But I can understand tipping every day, some people are not honest or fair.
As far as the 1 night stays, your cleaning person has cleaned the room before you arrived, & will have to clean your ‘mess’ after you go.
It still amazes me when people do not tip. I find it very rude. You afforded to travel to where you will stay, you’ve afforded to pay for the room. But you can’t seem to afford $2-$$ to show appreciation for the person that shines &sparkles for you?!
I feel as though anything from $2 &up is adequate. The $2 is at least something to show that you /appreciate the service. Personally I never would leave anything less then $5. National study on tips show $3-5 per person per night.
Happy travels, &please appreciate the hard work being performed for you!!

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