Mystery Solved: How Much Should You Actually Leave in Your Hotel Room for Housekeeping?

Nobody seems to ever know.

Ever wonder how much you should actually be leaving in your hotel room as a tip for housekeeping? There are those who leave nothing, those who only part with their spare change, and those who are happy to leave some serious cash after a weekend of partying. So what’s good form?

“Housekeepers are the heart and soul of any hotel," Provenance Hotels president Bashar Wali told Jet Set by email. "Their hard work and dedication ensures our guests always have an inviting, comfortable, spotless room to return to at the end of the day. The work is hard — and often thankless.”

Thankless might be the right way to put it. When a hotel housekeeper did a Reddit AMA, she commented:

“We get tips now and then. Most people don’t know it is customary to tip a hotel housekeeper and the rooms are expensive, so some of them think the tip must be included. I have gotten anywhere from $1 to $20.”

Indeed, that range is expected. According to Tom Waithe, regional director of operations for Kimpton Hotels, “Any gesture is appreciated unless it is so small to be embarrassing — think pocket change that has many copper coins.”

Wali added, “A housekeeper is the easiest person to forget to tip because they slip in and out and do their job almost magically often without coming into direct contact with guests." He said that $5 cash with a note for each day is the most ideal — emphasis on the note. Without a note, housekeeping might not be allowed to take the tip and might have to process it as a lost and found item instead.

“If you really make a mess, throw a party or leave your room a disaster, don’t hesitate to be a little more generous. Your housekeeper will appreciate it,” he advises.

Waithe is OK with being a bit more discerning with tip money, though. He mentioned that he personally finds it difficult to know who tip among the valet, doorman, and bellhop.

“Tip if someone helps you,” he says.

Granted, neither Provenance Hotels nor Kimpton Hotels are low-budget destinations: They're well-appointed hotels designed for those who prefer to get a little luxe (but not an over-the-top amount) out of their stay. But according to etiquette expert Lizzie Post in Travel + Leisure, the price of a hotel shouldn't dictate the tip.

So our advice, all of these things considered is this: For a typical stay, leave an amount up to about $5 for each night — and leave it in the room instead of at the desk where it may never reach the housekeeping staff. Leave extra if you've been particularly messy or demanding or if the service otherwise went beyond the call of duty. And leave the cash with a brief note of thanks.

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