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 OMAAT readers’ opinions are on this.
Luxury hotels escorting guests to rooms…
At luxury hotels, it’s pretty standard for the front desk associate to offer to escort the guest to their hotel room after checking in. Reader JP asked the following question when I mentioned this in the context of my review:
One very stupid question…but from everyone’s experience, what’s the purpose of the “do you need me to take you to your room” offer? Is it for tips? Is it just legacy? Given that most people have travelled for years, and the ones who have never travelled probably won’t tip thinking it’s part of the service, what purpose does this serve anymore given that I’ve never been “lost”…
(That said…my partner does say I do excessive research ahead of time for everything)
This is a great question, and it immediately reminds me of the below scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm, where Larry David is escorted to his hotel room. The hotel employee shares all kinds of useless information, and then Larry realizes he doesn’t have money to tip the guy, and the situation gets awkward.
My take on being escorted to a hotel room
I’m with JP on this one, I don’t really get the concept of being escorted to your room, at least at a 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 they’ll escort you to your room, as it can make it kind of awkward to reject them
- I do think there’s value to this at hotels that are really spread out and have multiple buildings, or where the way to the room isn’t obvious; however, that’s a small minority of hotels, in my experience
- In many cases when you’re escorted to your room, all kinds of unnecessary information will also be shared with you, including how the TV works (you use the remote), how to use the Wi-Fi (use your name and room number, how novel!), that the stuff in the minibar isn’t free, etc.
- For hotels that do escort guess to rooms proactively, I at least appreciate when they ask if you want more information about the room, rather than just reciting their script automatically
Then there’s the question of what the right policy around tipping is in these situations? For countries or areas where tipping is generally expected, here’s my take on how that applies for being escorted to the room:
- If you’re being escorted by a bellman and are getting help with your luggage, it’s appropriate to tip them (since they’re helping with your luggage)
- If it’s a front office associate escorting you to your room and they’re not helping with bags, I don’t think it’s necessary to tip
The problem is that in some cases hotel staff seem to almost bulldoze their way into this situation:
Hotel employee: “I’ll go ahead and escort you to your room now.”
Me: “Thanks for the offer, but that’s not necessary.”
Hotel employee: “Oh, it’s no problem, and let me help you with your bag.”
Me: “That’s not necessary, thanks.”
Hotel employee: “I insist.”
In those situations I can’t help but feel guilted into tipping.
Many luxury hotels will escort guests to their room after checking in. In some cases they’ll do it proactively, while in other cases they’ll at least offer it. Personally I almost always reject the offer, unless the hotel has a particularly complicated layout.
I do find the practice in general interesting, because I’m not sure I totally understand the logic, and what the tipping norms are around this (at least for hotels in areas that have a tipping culture).
Where do you stand on being escorted to hotel rooms? Do you like being offered the option, and if so, do you accept it? Under what circumstances do you then tip, if any?