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Tipping hotel housekeepers

What's a customary tip for housekeeping staff at an Amsterdam hotel?

Posted by
1127 posts

I don't know if there is a customary tip, but in Amsterdam and most everywhere else in Western Europe, we tip the equivalent of c. €5 per night. It probably isn't necessary, and some might even claim to be offended we tip all; but it's not a nice job and if we can afford to stay, then we can certainly afford to leave a gratuity as a thank you.

Posted by
4804 posts

I suppose if it makes you feel good leaving money around, for some unknown person to find, more power to you.

Not needed, not expected, they may even be confused as to why someone would forget money in the room, if you leave it while you are still staying there, they may just leave it where you left it.

Now if you are staying in a smaller place, have interaction with the housekeeper, and you are requesting specific service, then maybe a small gift or gratuity might be nice, but should be given directly to the person with thanks, rather than left on the dresser.

Posted by
4680 posts

I would suggest,especially to Paul, that if you see the housekeepers are members of a minority group or do not speak Dutch to each other, you should assume that they are the lowest paid workers in the place, and probably do not get to fully participate in the "welfare state" that their country used to be. This question was posted in the Netherlands forum, but now that we know that places like England have applied austerity to many parts of the (former) social safety net, you should not assume that service workers anywhere actually get the service charge you may see on your bill.

Posted by
4941 posts

The question that was asked - as it almost always is - was "What's a customary tip . . . ", not "what do you as a relatively wealthy foreigner choose to give".

Posted by
7125 posts

I leave €3 every morning on the bed so they know it’s for them. I get better service when i leave it every day vs at the end. Plus, i want the person who cleaned my room that day to get it.

Posted by
7640 posts

Having worked in the hospitality business in Germany, I imagine it is much the same in the Netherlands or any place else in Europe. The housekeepers are overjoyed when they get tips. They are never confused, they are never offended. This is truly one of the hardest jobs around as well as the lowest paid. Leave a few coins or a 5€ bill on your pillow, so it is obvious. Do leave it on a daily basis instead of at the end of your stay as the same housekeeper may not do your room each day.

I will never understand how people think nothing of tipping a dollar to someone who has done nothing but poured a beer in a bar, but think it is over the top to tip someone who just cleaned your toilet, got your hair out of the bathtub and sink, changed your sheets, and all of it done under time pressure if they are in a large hotel. If lucky, they have to do all of this in 15 min. Having seen how some guests leave a hotel room, it would shock you to see what these women have to clean up.

Most housekeepers are new immigrants, as the job is considered unskilled and you don't have to speak much of the language of the country you are now living in. They would, of course, have to be legal, be paid the going tariff for housekeepers or minimum wage, participate in the tax system and the health care system of the country. Most of them are women, they may be supporting their family in a 3rd world country, not seeing their kids for years, but their trade-off for doing this backbreaking work is that their kids get to go to school and college. That at least has been my experience with the many housekeepers I have worked with. They are admirable, hard-working, and take pride in doing a good job. Sorry, if I am ranting a bit, but I do wish people would tip them more often.

Posted by
4804 posts

I in no way intend to start an argument, my point is that if it makes you feel good, then fine, but it is not required or expected...as stated, Customary.

I am fully aware that housekeeping (or the person at the desk, or the person setting out breakfast..) is likely at the lower end of the pay scale and would appreciate some extra cash, but then we are talking more charity rather than a tip, which again, is fine if you are so motivated. For the record, I do not typically tip the front desk person or the Breakfast person either.

To be honest, and I actually will be in the Netherlands for a few nights this coming week, the nicest thing I often do while traveling is to set out the "do not disturb" sign, or if I see housekeeping, let them know I do not require my room serviced. I do not need my bed made daily and all the towels changed out, and will clean up after myself, saving them 15-20 minutes out of their day.

Posted by
7640 posts

I would never tip a front desk clerk, nor the person setting up the breakfast. No one here said you should and I cannot imagine why anyone would think to do so.

If the housekeeper only cleans your room when you leave, then yes, you should leave them a tip on your pillow.

Posted by
3221 posts

Ms. Jo,

It is the American way: tip everybody for no apparent reason other than they glanced your way.

I have tipped the breakfast person because they refilled my coffee cup (remembering I only drink decaf), removed my used plate, asked if I needed anything else, etc. I have never tipped the front desk person, I have seen people do it thinking they would get a "better" room or whatever.

Tipping is just a difficult thing to get right. :-)

Posted by
4804 posts

My only point about the front desk person and the person who sets up breakfast is that they too are likely at the bottom of the pay rate (At least the night desk person I see the most), often entry level positions, work hard, and as another implied about housekeeping, possibly from an immigrant community. People at the desk have been very helpful to me, recommending restaurants, markets, off the beaten places for a walk; and the breakfast person has often chatted me up, checked my coffee, and helped with any clean-up. As has been noted...I, and many, would never think to tip them, or maybe would think it awkward. In my humble view, I see no difference in standard housekeeping service.

Now I do recall a post on a similar thread from a gentleman that stayed at the same hotel repeatedly, engaged with the staff, requested additional effort (turning the towel heater on or something like that, several other things....maybe even putting his slippers by the bed...i can't remember) In that case he made a point of tipping, may have even just been a box of candy or a gift, but that is a great example of when you do. And as I have said, if it makes you feel good to leave something, great, do it, but I disagree with the sentiment that it is customary or required.

Posted by
7640 posts

Paul, if someone is working the front desk in a hotel in Europe, they have probably had 3 years of training at a minimum. This is not an unskilled job for immigrants who can barely speak the local language. The pay is also reflective of this kind of trained position.

Unskilled labor cleans hotel rooms, washes dishes, works as a prep cook, scrubs floors, cleans public bathrooms, mows the grass, cleans the pool, picks up garbage. Just like in the US.

To compare being a housekeeper with setting up a breakfast room or being a front desk clerk boggles the mind. Please do think about the work involved and how backbreaking or filthy any of these jobs might be. I hate to keep coming back to this thread, but I simply do not understand this lack of job knowledge.

Posted by
326 posts

Working in Hospitality for over 20+ years in the USA as a hotel manager - tipping housekeeping is a must! Its THEE hardest job in a hotel, and the lowest paid- I always leave a note- thank you for the lovely clean room and place the tip on top- of course if your room was not cleaned well then I would suggest a complaint to mgmt, (as that means the housekeeper and supervisor were both not doing their job)...in my experience people leave a few euros per day per stay - I know for a fact housekeepers are thrilled to get tips and its very appreciated! Tipping daily is good as it is not always the same person cleaning your room.

As for tipping front desk- in the USA its usually done for a better room or special request- or if the clerk gave excellent service- I tip when I feel the clerk went above or beyond or gave me a great upgrade.

As for the post above claiming front desk are paid well- that may be so in Europe- but not in the USA- its usually minimum wage with a few days of training- 8 hours of standing on your feet- and doing much more than just checking in a guest to a room- im not sure why poster Jo wants to fight about comparing jobs- a breakfast person also works very hard behind the scenes- not just what you see “in front of the house”. If they remember what you drink, refill without you asking, clear your dirty plates, by all means tip them for their “service”.

Posted by
5485 posts

Here is why Mr. Pink (Reservoir Dogs) doesn't tip:
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Reservoir_Dogs

Close your ears/eyes about the bad words. Movie is R rated. In part:

Mr. Pink: Uh-uh, I don't tip.

Nice Guy Eddie: You don't tip?

Mr. Pink: I don't believe in it.

Nice Guy Eddie: You don't believe in tipping?

Mr. Blue: You know what these chicks make? They make s***.

Mr. Pink: Don't give me that. She don't make enough money, she can quit.

Nice Guy Eddie: I don't even know a f**ing ** who'd have the b**** to say that. Let me get this straight: you don't ever tip, huh?

Mr. Pink: I don't tip because society says I have to. Alright, I mean I'll tip if somebody really deserves a tip. If they put forth the effort, I'll give them something extra. But I mean, this tipping automatically, it's for the birds. As far as I'm concerned they're just doing their job.

You can view Reservoir Dog film clips on the scene by Google searching for "reservoir dogs mr pink on tipping". Just be aware that the movie is R rated for language and violence.

Posted by
226 posts

Just this past June 2019 I stayed one night at a hotel close to Schiphol airport for our early flight back to the States . I was there with d-i-l and grandkids . Kids wanted to go one more , last time , to Zandvoort and play on the beach and in the North Sea .
Asked Anouk at front desk what the best and fastest way to beach was . Received a print-out on the spot . Full directions and times to get to beach by Public Transport . Asked how she became front desk person. Had already 3 years !! Hospitality college behind her and was now an Intern for a year . She also called a reliable taxi driver for our short trip to airport . So , NO , not an unskilled job ! And yes , she got a well deserved nice tip .

Posted by
16748 posts

I strongly suspect housekeeping staff are not well-paid in some of the former Iron Curtain countries. I assume they are on the lowest rung of the hotel-wage ladder. I had a long conversation with a desk staffer in a mid-market chain hotel (US brand, but I presume a franchise operation) in a Serbian city that was not Beograd. The desk person had a college degree, spoke multiple languages (including excellent English), and was paid under 1 euro per hour as of 2015. I realize the cost of living is a lot lower in Serbia, but that's still precious little. I can only guess the housekeepers were paid less.

Posted by
23384 posts

this thread has been going since May. With a really long gap from May until today. I guess that maybe mfkohn not only has their answer but has been and returned by now... their cruise was in June.

Posted by
10 posts

As no one from the Netherlands has responded to the question let me explane something.
Everyone in the Netherlands makes at least the minimum wage. This is when working full time enough for a descent way of living without much extra's. Only people that are paid per item like package delivery are at risk to earn less than the minimum. This is a different situation than in Germany where a minimum wage was introduced in 2015 but still millions are paid less than this. The reason that people working in house keeping can barely speak Dutch is that this is considered an unskilled job and that people who are skilled and speak Dutch have the better paying jobs. Only in hotels in more rural areas you see native Dutch for housekeeping since the majority of jobs is located in the cities.
A person working at a hotel reception has been in school until at least the age of 20 years and for someone working at hotel middle management or at the reception of an more expensive hotel this is 2-3 years longer.

This all being said i would suggest a tip of 2-5 euro per day but only if you are happy with the service. Don't feel that you need to tip because someone needs it to make their living. The same goes with waiters a restaurant. 5 euro is quite normal or you could add up to round your bill from say 88 euros to 95. Nobody is offended by receiving tips and at some restaurants they are distributed among the entire personnel.

Jerry