Question on Delhi

Feb 5th, 2010, 07:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 30
Question on Delhi

We arrive in Delhi at 2am in the morning, we have a hotel car picking us up - is it customary to tip in India for this transfer service?
dreamweaver is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 07:08 AM
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In India EVERYONE expects a tip. Try and obtain some small bills before you leave the airport.
Craig is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 08:46 AM
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Sorry Craig, with the greatest respect, I think the exact opposite.

No, not for a hotel pick-up. You're already paying quadruple the price, a service change and tax on it.

The only people useful to tip are the guys bringing your bags up to your room and the guy that hails you a cab when you need one. 50 rupees max. No, you don't need to tip the doorman, the fourteen people bowing, the security guys, the receptionist, the cleaners in the foyer, the waiters at breakfast, the housekeeping staff or the room-service guy, either. It'll make not the slightest difference to your stay.

If you are staying at a 5*, there's even less reason. The Oberoi chain is non-tipping, for example. What is much, much more useful to anyone working in a chain hotel, as you'll soon discover, is remembering their name and writing it on the ubiquitous comment forms you'll find thrust in your face. THIS is how to tip in 21st Century India.

If you're staying further down market, remember this: they don't EXPECT a tip - they WANT a tip, that's all. This is not custom in the hospitality industry - this is just greed. They see Americans coming from a thousand miles. Transplanting foreign cultural norms to India is inappropriate. IMHO.

If you want some extra service, if you're contemplating staying for a while, if you want to eat regularly at the same restaurant, of you're planning on coming back or just want obsequious grovel, splash your cash, I guess. But all you'll actually get for your tip is a big smile the next time they meet you, a sneer behind your back and the rest of the staff lining up to get a piece of the sucker.

Tip because you WANT to, not because you think you should, certainly not because you're being bullied by some low-life, standing in your room with his hand held out. That's contempt, that's abuse - not custom.

But actually, in the hundred or so hotels I've stayed at in India, that kind of thing is rare these days. I can remember it happening to me half a dozen times, max. If that happens to you these days, you've really staying in the wrong place. India is changing. The hospitality industry is changing faster.

But if you start off by tipping big the minute you arrive in the hotel, then you've created your OWN custom, with you stuck, doling out dollars, living up to the expectation that you have created.

These random thoughts are about IN the hotels, where you are, in effect, held a foreign hostage - not about outside the hotels. That's another post.
dogster is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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I knew my generalization was gonna get me in trouble. Listen to the Dog - he has spent more time in India than anyone else on this board.

I'd be curious to know about tipping OUTside the hotels.
Craig is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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We didn't get any rupees until the morning after our arrival in Delhi (about 10:30 p.m.). The driver did not fall upon our throats. He took us to the airport two days later and I believe MP slipped him a few extra rupees.
indianapearl is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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I actually wrote it with you in mind, Craig. Three sleeps, is it now? Point me to the post where you say where you're staying and I can be more accurate.

I'll try and do hints for outside tomorrow. It's 3.00 a.m. in BKK now - I'm not so acute. We're both imminent - I fly home on the 8th.
dogster is offline  
Feb 5th, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Dog, we are not staying in any Oberoi hotels this time. The closest we will get to luxury is probably the Delhi Radisson and of course the Penn in Bangkok. We took up one of your recommendations and booked a home-stay in Udaipur - Pahuna Haveli. As I think you know, we needed to experience Bruno, the Great Dane of Death so we booked Rashmi/Palace in Varanasi. Finally, we are at one of the Lemon Trees in Aurangabad.
Craig is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 09:13 AM
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Craig, at what looks like $250 - 275 a night I wouldn't tip at all in the Radisson - except maybe the bell-boy with your bags. It'll be a different lot of staff every time you appear out of your room. It's a big chain hotel - there's absolutely nothing to be gained. Do the comment form tip if inspired. Ask their name.

'Thank you - I'll remember that...'

Similarly at the Lemon Tree. There they simply don't, won't ask for or expect tips. Quite the reverse. Again - the comment form is everything, as you'll see. In any Lemon Tree hotel look for the guys with the pony-tails. They are senior management.

Can't speak for Pahuna Haveli, but you're scarcely gonna slip that elegant hostess a few bucks. That would be a place, if you're feeling tip-deprived, to slip ten bucks in an envelope for the staff at the end. No comment forms there. If anybody hovers for a tip, tell Madame. I'll be fascinated to hear your comments about this place.

A tip for the poor sod who lugs your bag up those million stairs at Rashmi is well deserved, similarly for the unfortunate lad who carries your bags on his shoulder through all those winding lanes after their car drops you off. You'll be eating at the roof-top restaurant, so a few rupees at the end may serve you well, but you'll be signing for everything anyway, so it's irrelevant. Again, we're talking 20, 50 rupees very occasionally.

Pappu will be creaming his shopping commissions off you with great skill, so I wouldn't bother much there. Don't fall for his 'pay me what you like at the end' line. Set a price before you go anywhere. Read tripadvisor. Rashmi is a huge mafia. If you stay with the Godfather, you'll be protected, as I was.

I hope Bruno and the giant bouncer/security guy are there for you to quiz about Mr. Dogster's dip in the Ganges. They'll remember. Bruno [the owner's dog] lives in the room just to the left of the first set of stairs outside the front entrance. If he's there, you'll know him. You could scarcely miss him - he'll be bigger than you.

But I wouldn't overly splash the cash - they are quite carnivorous enough as it is. Don't have high expectations for your errr... 'deluxe' room. It'll be TINY. Location, location, location. That's all it offers. In Varanasi, as you'll soon discover, that's all that counts. If you hear music from your room, go down and follow it.

And, off topic, I wouldn't tip anybody for anything at the Peninsula in BKK. Not a damn soul.

In the street - ahh, how to answer that. The reason I told you to put different bills in different pockets, is so you can take EXACTLY what you need for anything, produce it without fuss and just walk away. Everybody, but everybody, will try the 'I don't have any change' line.

India is the place where you make the deal AT THE BEGINNING. Pay them that, not a rupee more - If you fail to do it that way, you're dead meat.

Those tragic beggar leech-children in the tourist areas work for a syndicate. They WILL NOT see a rupee of what you give then, no matter how desperate they look. Full stop. Everything is mafia. They pool their cash or get the bejeesus beaten out of them, then get a tiny stipend from their Fagin at the end of the day.

It's all to do with the look in your eye and the multiple cameras you'll be wearing. Go out dressed as a tourist, you'll be treated like one.

A clue I can give you with persistent hustlers of all ages [AND overly talkative guides] is a quizzical smile, a head wiggle, a finger held to the lips and then a 'Sh-h-h-h-h...'

Do not ignore them, they'll follow you for sport. Do not answer questions, but acknowledge their existence, their right to try it on, at least once but NOT three times, but keep walking. Everybody has their own territory. They won't go out of their zone, 'cos they'll be beaten up by the guys from the NEXT territory.

Just try not to look new. Adopt the 'I've been here a hundred tomes' stance. Difficult to do if you are lugging a ton of Nikon, however. Then, like tipping, you have created your own nexus. It might be simpler to just carry a Neon Sign instead.

I'm sure you know all of this. Don't think I'm being patronising or stating the obvious - but it's an art I've been perfecting. Of course, I fail when my guard is down, just like you will.

The minute you walk out of your room, it's 'en garde'. Then laugh a lot. The GREAT phrase is

'Good Luck for your business today'.

Never fails - except with the leech-children. For them: 'Sh-h-h-h-h...' works quite a lot of the time. Do not say anything else. They'll think you're mad and go away. Failing that, just kill them on the spot. lol lol lol.
dogster is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 30
Well it was just a simple question - thanks guys - Craig and Dogster you both seem to have enjoyed this competitive banter on my simple two line question!! Thanks for the info anyway.
dreamweaver is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 11:13 AM
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Yup, it may have been a case of overkill on my part. lol. But hopefully it's useful for the greater good. Who know? Craig might even try some of my ideas next week. I live to serve,
dogster is offline  
Feb 6th, 2010, 11:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Great refresher course, Dog. I like the "Good Luck for your business today" line...
Craig is offline  

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