As a houesguest is it appropriate to ‘tip’ the housekeeper following a weekend stay with a close friend or family member? We are by no means high-maintenance, tried to make our stay as low-impact as possible while in residence, and emptied the wastebaskets and stripped the beds before leaving. But we did, of course, incur extra laundry and the rooms would have to be cleaned following our departure.
As I would in a hotel, I felt I should leave something for the employee who would clean up after us but my husband was not sure that would be looked upon favorably by our hostess. Your opinion on the matter would be welcome.
–Hoping To Be Asked Back, New England
About the etiquette for houseguest tipping.
Mention to your host that you would like to leave a tip for their employee: house cleaner, cleaning lady, or housekeeper. Ask how much of a tip she would suggest –keeping in mind that some hosts don’t want their staff to expect a tip, when not all guests are thoughtful enough to leave one.
The amount of the tip would depend upon the length of your stay, the number of people (a couple vs. family) and how much time the staff member spent assisting you by, say, ironing your husband’s trousers or your dress, or walking your dog.
It goes without saying that when someone went out of their way to help you connect to the Internet or babysat your child for the evening, you would compensate them.
For a couple such as yourself, a twenty dollar bill — preferably in an envelope with the person’s name on it and the words “Thank you” — would be a fair tip for a weekend visit. However, you would check with your host saying, “We wanted to leave Mary a token of our appreciation, if that’s alright with you?”
Especially when you’re a houseguest abroad or in the islands, be sure to ask what the custom for tipping is in the household. In some cases, the host may even suggest that you leave a tip and let you know how much is expected.
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Accepting A Compliment