When I stay in a US hotel, I like to leave a tip for housekeeping. I usually leave $2 (two singles) somewhere obvious that this is for them - not just something I've left behind by accident. Usually by placing it on an otherwise untouched surface, like on the TV unit or next to the drinks cabinet near the front door. Sometimes on a pillow, but I'm not a fan of this because sometimes it falls off the pillow and I find it on the floor or under the bed later on.

However I've noticed that often (I didn't measure it, but I'm going to say 1/3 of the time) housekeeping does not take the tip.

Is there any reason why not? Am I not leaving it in an appropriate place? Do they think I left the room tidy enough that it doesn't warrant a tip? Do some housekeeping people just not accept tips?

Mostly I'm concerned that my ettiqute about where I'm leaving it is incorrect.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 19:00

3 Answers 3


It sounds like you are leaving a tip during your stay, rather than when you check out.

If you are still occupying the room, then the housekeeper will assume that it is just cash you forgot to put in your pocket. If you want to give it to them while you are still using the room, leave it in an envelope labeled to the housekeeper or give it to them yourself.

Or do like many folks and simply leave a tip when you check out (in the room or at the front desk).

  • 2
    Didn't know that tipping on checkout was an option. I did try it once, on my first time in the US, and I was told by the front desk staff that they couldn't accept a tip for housekeeping and I should have left it daily. I assumed that was universal. I guess some housekeepers are more bold than others seeing as the money is taken 2/3 of the time. I'll be more explicit in the future. Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 17:19
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    I think the daily versus check out depends on the hotel you are staying in. In more upscale hotels, a housekeeper usually has a set group of rooms that they tend to everyday, so a single tip is fine. Lower cost motels tend to assign housekeepers to which ever rooms need cleaning each day, so you might get a different housekeeper each day of your stay. But an issue here is that the one who cleaned your room and for whom the tip for good work is directed might not be the one to next clean your room and find the tip.
    – user13044
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 17:32
  • 1
    Some hotels even provide an envelope for tips in each room. Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 0:15
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    Tipping when checking out is a bad idea, for two reasons - 1. you don't get potentially improved service from your tipping, and 2. Whoever happens to be on service the day you check out, gets it all - most people don't work seven days a week.
    – Aganju
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:01
  • @Aganju - 1) tipping is supposed to reward good service, not be a bribe for better service. If housekeeping starts out doing a bad job, they don't deserve a bonus. 2) upscale hotels with assigned room blocks tend to have tip sharing agreements between housekeepers and their day off replacements, so that things are fair. And as Michael mentioned, often have tip enevelopes with the housekeeper's name.
    – user13044
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 14:32

Generally, when I tip hotel housekeeping in the US (and there's not an envelope provided for that purpose), I'll leave it on the unmade bed with a note that says "thank you." This makes it very obvious that the money is intended for the housekeeper as a tip (instead of money you accidentally left out).

I've still had one or two housekeepers refuse the tip, but they left a reply on my thank you note saying they'd prefer not to receive a tip, so again, it was unambiguous.


Very important thing i learned from my mom who worked wirh the mayor of the Town of mandeville. When a room is occupied never assume that money left in a room is a tip if left on a table or even fallen on the floor they might come looking for it and it puts you in an embarrassing position. Tip should be left under the pillow, often times i travel with a notebook so i leave. Thanks all

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