A reader raised an interesting question in the comments section of my Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos review, which I wanted to address in a separate post. Everyone has a different travel style, so I wonder how varied the opinions of OMAAT readers are on this.
Luxury hotels escorting guests to rooms…
In luxury hotels, it is quite common for the front desk clerk to offer to escort the guest to their hotel room after check-in. Reader JP asked the following question when I talked about it as part of my review:
A very silly question… but in everyone’s experience, what is the point of the “do you need me to take you to your room” offer? Is it for tips? Is it just an inheritance? Given that most people have traveled for years and those who have never traveled probably won’t tip thinking it’s part of the service, what’s the point of it again given that I haven’t never been “lost”…
(That said… my partner says I do excessive research in advance for everything)
That’s a great question, and it immediately reminds me of the scene below from Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Larry David is escorted to his hotel room. The hotel clerk shares all kinds of useless information, and then Larry realizes he has no money to tip the guy, and things get tricky.
My take on being escorted to a hotel room
I’m with JP on this one, I don’t really understand the concept of being escorted to your room, at least in the vast majority of hotels. A few thoughts:
- I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a hotel offering to escort guests to their room, but I’m not a huge fan of them proactively saying that they will escort you to your room, as it can be a bit hard to dismiss. them
- I think this has value in hotels that are really spread out and have multiple buildings, or where the path to the room isn’t obvious; however, this is a small minority of hotels, in my experience
- In many cases, when you are escorted to your room, all kinds of unnecessary information will also be shared with you, including TV operation (you use the remote control), Wi-Fi use (use your name and your room number, what a novelty!), that the minibar items are not free, etc.
- For hotels that proactively escort rooms, I at least appreciate it when they ask if you want more room information, rather than just reciting their script automatically
Then there is the question of what is the right tipping policy in these situations? For countries or regions where a tip is generally expected, here is my take on how it applies to being escorted to the room:
- If you are escorted by a bellboy and you get help with your luggage, it is worth tipping them (since they help you with your luggage)
- If it’s a desk clerk who escorts you to your room and doesn’t help with luggage, I don’t think it’s necessary to tip.
The problem is that in some cases, the hotel staff seem to almost work their way into this situation:
hotel employee: “I will accompany you to your room now.”
Me: “Thanks for the offer, but it’s not necessary.”
hotel employee“Oh, no problem, and let me help you with your bag.”
Me: “It is not necessary, thank you.”
hotel employee: “I insist.”
In these situations, I can’t help but feel guilty about tipping.
At the end of the line
Many luxury hotels will escort guests to their rooms after check-in. In some cases they will do this proactively, while in other cases they will at least offer it. Personally, I almost always refuse the offer, unless the hotel has a particularly complicated layout.
I find the practice in general interesting, as I’m not sure I fully understand the logic and what the tipping standards are around this (at least for hotels in areas that have a tipping culture).
Where are you getting escorted to hotel rooms? Do you like being offered the option, and if so, do you accept it? Under what circumstances, if any, do you tip?