Tipping etiquette for a bed & breakfast

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After finishing off an excellent, home-cooked morning meal prepared by your hospitable bed-and-breakfast host, you suddenly begin to feel uncomfortable. To tip, or not to tip? You don't want to insult your innkeeper either way. Bed-and-breakfasts are different from regular hotels; no standard rules apply for tipping.

Tipping customs can vary from inn to inn.

Owner as Employee

While staying at a bed-and-breakfast, you can see how much work a bed-and-breakfast owner puts in: Often, the inn's host often acts as a cook, a housekeeper, the bellhop and the hostess, and whatever else is required of him. However, the innkeeper is also the person getting to keep the brunt of your money, unless the inn is larger and employs its own housekeeping staff or cook.

Regular Hotel Etiquette

At a regular hotel, the standard policy is to tip hotel personnel, from the bellhop to the doorman to the housekeeping staff. According to "Good Housekeeping" magazine, a guest should tip the hotel doorman and/or bellhop 60p or £1.30 for carrying luggage. The hotel's concierge should receive £3 to £6 for helping the guest arrange for special events and services. A valet should get £1.30 or £1.90 when returning your car. Housekeeping usually gets £1.30 to $5 per day, and room-service waiters should get the standard 20 per cent of your bill's total.

How to Tip

Most etiquette guides recommend to tip any hired bed-and-breakfast staff that helps make your stay more enjoyable. Tip a bed and breakfast's concierge, valet, housekeeper, bellhop and wait staff the same way you would tip them at a regular hotel. Often, a bed-and-breakfast will let the cleaning staff leave a specially marked envelope for guests to leave a tip in; however you do it, make sure your tip is clearly labelled. Many guides recommend to tip as you go, to ensure that your money ends up with its intended recipient.

When Not to Tip

Refrain from leaving a tip if you are told about any policy against accepting tips. Do not feel obligated to leave a tip for the inn owner or the rest of the owner's family, either. The owners will be happy to have your business; you can do them a favour after a nice visit and leave feedback on the Internet for prospective patrons to read.