What do Maria Shriver and Marriott Hotels have in common? As of this month, it’s a shared interest in helping housekeepers earn their expected tips.
Across North America, more than 160,000 Marriott-branded hotel rooms will start adding The Envelope Please, a card encouraging guests to tip their room attendants.
Marriott is the inaugeral partner for this new initiative from Maria Shriver's woman’s empowerment organization, A Woman's Nation. She began the program after discovering many visitors don’t tip hotel housekeepers—as many as 30 percent, according to Columbia University’s School of Hospitality.
Marriott representative Angela Wiggins said the tips are still entirely voluntary: “room attendants,” she added, “are paid salaries that are above minimum wage and receive benefits and training.”
While Ehrenreich has painted the programas a front for stiffing employees, we think we could all use a gentle reminder to show our gratitude before turning in our room keys. Even the most conscientious, well-traveled tippers are apt to forget now and then.
Of course, the envelope doesn’t solve the problem created by a plastic currency and mobile payments—few people travel with small bills on them—especially in a local currency.
We’d love to see Marriott integrate a tip feature into their mobile app, or allow guests to tip on the room invoice. “There has been some conversation [about that],” said Wiggins, “but nothing definitive.”
Other hotel brands might soon be flaunting The Envelope Please as early as 2015, said a representative from Woman's Nation.
Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.
The last-minute hotel booking space is getting a little less last-minute, as HotelTonight is unveiling a new feature that lets users book their rooms a full week in advance. The new features, live today, respond to a need to have more flexibility when traveling in certain situations, says CEO Sam Shank, who for the first time talked about demographics beyond the spontaneous weekend traveler when I met with him earlier this week. Business travelers, he pointed out, would especially stand to gain from the new model, which allows you to wait until your schedule is set before deciding which neighborhood (or specific property) might be best suited for a particular trip.
When you’re spending as much as $30 a day for hotel parking, tipping the valet each time he or she retrieves your car can seem like an unnecessary investment. That $30, however, goes only toward the valet’s base pay, which—much like a waiter’s—is calculated assuming that he or she will receive gratuities. If you don’t want to hand out money each day, ask the concierge if it’s possible to leave a total tip at the end of your stay: many hotels pool and distribute tips evenly to the valets.
Today Marriott Hotels launches a brand-new, knock-your-socks-off travel experience that allows you to immerse yourself in a virtual-reality version of London and Hawaii, complete with motion, sounds, and even sprays of water for a “4-D” experience that makes typical virtual reality pale in comparison. The Teleporter, as the experience has been tagged, is being rolled out to the public starting today and over the next eight weeks at select Marriotts nationwide (see the full schedule here). Why should you care? Read on...
Hotel executive Katherine Melchior Ray knows how to stay stylish on the fly.
Although Katherine Melchior Ray, the vice president of luxury brands at Hyatt Hotels, is on the road at least twice a month, she never forgets to pack a touch of home. “I bring my own coffee mug. That way, I don’t feel like I’m in a hotel, especially if I’m in bed and the sun’s coming in.”
A quartet of fresh-faced openings in the Northeast is breathing new life into the B&B.
Lexington, Massachusetts The Inn at Hastings Park (pictured) has 22 tastefully decorated rooms (handwoven blankets; Peter Fasano wallpaper) in three historic buildings just 25 minutes from downtown Boston. Chef Mathew Molloy uses produce from local farms in New England–centric dishes such as seared scallops with gnocchi, corn, and lobster stew. $$
Lewes, Delaware The owners of the celebrated Dogfish Head brewery recently opened the eclectic, 16-room Dogfish Inn. It’s located a mile from Lewes Beach and about three from Cape Henlopen State Park, so beer lovers can swim, bike, and hike, then quench their thirst at the brewery itself, right up the road. $$
At the newly opened Peninsula Paris, there are two entrances. The first is on Avenue Kléber, where steps lead up to a large terrace café and then into the lobby restaurant. The stairs are flanked by two imposing Chinese lion statues in white marble, among the few overt signs of the hotel group’s venerable Hong Kong heritage. The 19th-century limestone building and slate-tiled mansard roof are otherwise classically Parisian, overlooking the wide, tree-lined avenue. Indeed, the hotel is an emblem of Haussmann’s Paris—stately and confident, a block away from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, in the 16th Arrondissement. The stonework façade is intricately detailed and like the entire building has been carefully restored; a glass-and-steel canopy extends origami-like over the entrance. This is the public face of the hotel, promising glamour and the cosmopolitan rush of the city, a place of coming and going, a place to see and be seen.
There’s nothing quite like the hotel spa experience. You can book an appointment last-minute; ride the elevator wearing just a bathrobe (with no shame); bask in a beautifully designed space; and head back to your room without even glancing at a bill.
These days, hotel spas are stepping up their game, partnering with top beauty brands to bring a new level of sophistication to their treatments and products. Here, one of our favorites:
6:24 p.m.: You’re on the verge of sensory overload. It’s golden hour at the new 160-room One&Only Hayman Island, a green haven on the Great Barrier Reef, and you’re reliving the day’s adventures. It began with a seaplane flight over this, the world’s largest living structure, touching down to snorkel in a pristine lagoon that exploded with color: rainbow-hued parrot fish bobbing among forests of staghorn coral, glowing purple and pink; green turtles and manta rays commuting casually by. (And don’t forget the giant clams, whose magenta lips slowly closed into contented grins as you swam past.) Lunch was a picnic and a chilled Barossa Valley rosé on the blazing-white sands of Coconut Beach. Now you’re back in a breezy cabana, met by a server with a tray of tart passion-fruit daiquiris to cleanse your palate for the evening ahead. What next? Take a short hike to Sunset Peak to catch the day’s last light? Maybe. Book an “Ocean Dreaming” massage, performed as you float on the warm tides of the Coral Sea? That sounds more like it. Then you remember you’ve planned a kayak trip tomorrow morning to one of Hayman’s secluded coves, and decide it’s best to tuck in early. So you head back to your suite, order up a platter of Sydney rock oysters, and count the shooting stars.