No tips required at Elysian

Consider that the ultimate in luxury means never having to put your hand in your pocket to tip for service. Does tipping truly take away from the experience? According to owner/developer David Pisor of the Elysian in Chicago, a posh hotel with 188 rooms only a half-block from the Four Seasons, “guests want better service, not more.”

The Elysian over-sized guest rooms begin at $350 a night, and the hotel boasts 2 restaurants, health club, spa, 24 hour room service, and 24 hour doormen. The need to tip the valet for retrieving your car, tip the bellman for bringing your luggage to your room, and tipping the maid for making up your room everyday is off the table unless you decide to tip. In order to facilitate the mindset of employees, Pisor hires “ambassadors” from the retail or industrial industries where tipping was not expected, and one person is assigned multiple jobs; a desk clerk could check you in, act as concierge, and book you a restaurant and serve you a cocktail while you wait.

The policy of no-tipping is explained at the time of booking, as well as at the front desk. At the Four Seasons Hotel, there is a no-tipping policy, but there is a daily surcharge.

So how does a no-tipping policy affect customer service, and will the trend catch on? On the positive note, it would be nice to be able to walk into a hotel, check your car, have someone take your luggage to your room, book a restaurant for the evening, and find a chocolate on your pillow without all of the outstretched palms. On the negative side, from a strictly business point of view, will hotels pay their employees enough that the best service-minded employees will stay? The hotel business has traditionally been a service-tipping industry, and even though “ambassadors” are being hired from the retail sector, it doesn’t make a customer service representative immune from making a satisfying income. New York’s doormen have boasted revenues far above  what teachers earn. It seems unlikely the best doormen who have the contacts, the clout, and the abilities to make things happen immediately could be replaced so readily.

Although tipping is now a “charge” of the past at the Elysian, there’s always the option to reward someone for their extra-service if a guest deems appropriate. Will that same employee who used to be from the retail sector and not accustomed to being tipped, then expect tips? Representatives from the Four Seasons Hotel have promised to keep tabs on the Elysian’s new policy for future consideration.

photo credit: UggBoy ( photographer without borders )

3 Responses to “No tips required at Elysian”

  1. Polypropylene said:

    Dec 12, 10 at 3:04 pm

    some stores have really bad customer service while others have topnotch custmer service *’:

  2. hot movie downloads said:

    May 06, 11 at 4:15 am

    My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for you? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome website!

  3. Jeraldine Paskow said:

    Jun 23, 12 at 5:02 pm

    I would like to show my thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this particular instance. Right after exploring through the search engines and meeting ideas which were not helpful, I assumed my entire life was gone. Existing minus the answers to the problems you have fixed through your article is a serious case, as well as ones which may have in a wrong way affected my entire career if I hadn’t noticed your blog. Your main knowledge and kindness in playing with all things was tremendous. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not come across such a step like this. I can at this point relish my future. Thanks for your time very much for your high quality and results-oriented help. I won’t think twice to suggest your blog post to anybody who would need direction on this subject matter.