5 weeks in Rajasthan

Old Aug 11th, 2017, 04:40 PM
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5 weeks in Rajasthan

We are 2 people about spend about 5 weeks in Rajasthan over Sept/Oct. We've spent a lot of time in Jaipur and travelled out from there to Shekhawati area and Alwar and our accommodation has been varied. From hotels where, being shown our room we've discovered an old goat sitting the bed (an experience some might say they have on a nightly basis in the comfort other own home!) to the occasional 5 star property and everything in-between.
On this trip we're doing one of the usual tourist trails - Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Delhi and this time we're staying in 5 star hotels, bar one, all the way - Taj Lake Palace, Raas etc. My request for advise concerns tipping.
Is it ok to leave a single tip at the end of the stay - we're staying from 3 - 6 nights at each place. If so, should we tip housekeeping and room service separately?
It's not that we mind tipping, in fact I think we are quite generous tippers, but the smarter places bamboozle me as to when and how much?
What is your experience/opinion.

I'm quite new to Fodor's and I'm so pleased to have discovered such an interesting and informative site. Some of the trip reports here are really wonderful.
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Old Aug 11th, 2017, 05:30 PM
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My feeling, having stayed at some upscale hotels in the same cities, though it applies everywhere in every sort of establishment, is that staff should be tipped daily at the time they provide the service. If you wait and leave it at the end of a stay, some of the people who have provided service will likely not get anything. So I always give the tips personally when possible and in the case of the maids who make up the rooms, leave it on the bed or bedside table. These people need these small amounts (to us) to feed their families on a daily basis and so that's when I give it.
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Old Aug 11th, 2017, 07:13 PM
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Story time. On my first trip to India some years ago I was staying at Woodville Palace, a raja's home in Shimla, 3 stories, public rooms on the ground floor, family's rooms above and 4 guest suites on the top floor. After several days I become ill in the worst sort of way and only wanted to die but didn't. The first night I decimated the palatial period bathroom and in the morning called for help. They sent a lovely man, the sweeper, one of those employed to do the jobs no one else will.

When I recovered enough to come downstairs a couple of days later I asked the manager if I could speak to the sweeper. The manager's immediate thought was that something terrible had happened and I assured him that it was quite the opposite, that I wanted to thank him. They immediately called the sweeper and the senior staff lined up as if it was a receiving line as the poor man entered the room looking terrified. Though I realized that I'd made a mistake by not just waiting until I saw him in the course of things, there was nothing to do but proceed and I thanked him and gave him something to show my gratitude.

That evening I told the story to my friend who worked for the State Department who was also staying there, experienced with the ways of India. Her eye-opening evaluation of the scene was that she felt it was likely the senior staff simply relieved the man of his tip as soon as I left the room. And that's why I now give tips discreetly and in a timely manner or those who most deserve our largesse most may never get it.
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Old Aug 11th, 2017, 07:32 PM
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Welcome, Bluekito!

Totally agree about tipping at time of service, to the person providing it, if possible. Even with "tip boxes" seen in some places (not just in India)...I wonder who is opening it, and how it is divvied up.

Great story (glad it ended well!) and lesson for all, Mme Perdu. Oh those lines of eager employees, some of whom are offering (or not) assistance, and whom you're seeing, for the first and only time during your stay! They miraculously know the exact moment when you'll leave and presumably be tipping.
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Old Aug 12th, 2017, 11:02 AM
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CaliNurse and MmePerdu, thanks for your replies and advice.
A good story MmePerdu although perhaps not for sweeper.
Here is my tip tale.

We were checking out of a beautiful hotel in Jaipur and were waiting for our car to arrive. We had decided to stay longer in the city and had splurged enough on the accommodation so we were moving to a considerably less expensive hotel and were waiting in the lobby, the car was late arriving. The lobby was quiet, low level chatter with guests coming and going and we waited and watched as the beautifully groomed staff with their impeccable manners ushered guests to and from the smart cars that swooped in to and out of the hotel portico.
There was one particular staff member who had gone to great lengths to help us and we bumped into him in the hotel lobby. I caught his eye and we thanked him for his wonderful service and by then I already had a note in my hand to give to him but we were interrupted by a screaming din coming from the hotel driveway where a beat-up old car with its motor screaming at high revs had appeared. The engine spluttered then died and the car died about 50 meters away from the entrance. The entire lobby came to a standstill as we watched the hotel staff run out and push start the car back to life. It roared up under the portico, the driver revving the engine lest it die again, Yes, it was our car. We were led out and as they opened the car door, billows of dust came from inside the car. I remember the half smile on the doorman face and as we screamed away into the streets of Jaipur I realised I still had the tip in my hand.

After the initial embarrassment, we spent the rest of the day laughing about it and I’m sure the hotel staff a laugh.
We will return and who knows, maybe I will have the chance to hand over the tip.
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Old Aug 12th, 2017, 02:15 PM
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Good story, very India. I'll readily admit I wouldn't have gotten into the car. I have my limits!
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Old Aug 12th, 2017, 05:46 PM
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I wouldn't have gotten into the car either had there been an alternative speedy exit!
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Old Sep 8th, 2017, 08:42 PM
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CaliNurse and MmePerdu have good advice. Never give the tip in front of any of the other staff and never to management. Tip boxes while we might feel are a good option rather than finding the staff to give the tip to is open to fraud. In our first hotel in the Shekawati district at a well known hotel, we wanted to give the restaurant staff and room staff (who were not around) a tip. We were told by the manager that we could put in the tip and it would be shared. We did so and left. As we left, I turned around to see him taking out the money, counting it and placing it in his pocket! Even leaving it in the room is fraught with difficulty as often they have a more senior person come into the room before it is cleaned and they pocket the tip. So keep a lot of change and give it out as and when it is needed. Don't wait to find the person at the end of your stay, they are unlikely to be found, have a different shift and if they are found and they accept the tip, it is likely to be in front of the person/s you asked and they would have to share with them. This is a country of extreme poverty and extreme graft.
In Amritsar we found a small restaurant where we liked the food. The "manager" was a fat baboo who sat crossed legged on a bed outside and a poor small boy was the one who ran around fixing air cons, cleaning up and serving meals. We decided that we would tip him. We were very careful that the manager and his friends could not see us and we kept the boys body between us and the manager and gave him the tip. He carefully looked over his shoulder to see if he was seen and I slowly shook my head. He smiled and quickly hid the money in his pocket. Hopefully that covered his family's meal for the day.
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