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The art of tipping can be confusing. How many times have you asked a friend how much they tipped the hotel housekeeping staff or how much of gratuity to give a parking attendant?  International travel writer Linda Milks shares everything you need to know about gratuities when you travel to Palm Springs or elsewhere.

How Did Tipping Begin?

Tipping actually began as a custom in Europe. The belief is that wealthy Americans traveling abroad saw tipping and brought this custom home to “show off” their aristocratic class.

The beginnings of tipping started in taverns of 17th Century England where money was slipped “to insure promptness” (or T.I.P.) After all, these tavern imbibers didn’t want to sit around waiting for their next drink.

Mixologist Preparing Cocktails

In America, in the late 1800’s, there was a movement against tipping. The reasoning was that it created an aristocratic class. In fact, six states attempted and failed to pass an anti-tipping bill to make gratuities unlawful. Who knows if this was their true motivation?

What Are Tipped Minimum Wage Employees?

When I started exploring tipping in the United States, I found that there is a tipped minimum wage which is an hourly pay rate for employees who receive tips on a regular basis, and it is often lower than the general minimum wage.

Believe it or not, the U.S. federal government requires tipped employees to be paid at least $2.13 per hour in direct wages, as long as this amount equals the federal hourly minimum wage when combined with tips. To be a tipped employee, an employee must receive more than $30 per month in tips. This tipped minimum wage applies whenever the state-tipped minimum wage pays less than the U.S. tipped minimum wage.

Small Barn Restaurant Server with Tomahawk Steak

The good news for tipped minimum wage employees in California is that at the current time, California requires employers to pay tipped employees full state minimum wage before tips. Currently, in California that wage is $13 with 25 employees or less and $14 with 26 or more employees. This minimum can even be higher in some parts of California, such as the Bay area.

How Much Is The Acceptable Tip At A Hotel?

Just who qualifies as a tipped employee? Yes, it’s the person retrieving your car from valet parking, the person who provides spa treatment, and the hotel housekeeper, in addition to the bartender and server at a winery or a restaurant.

Hotel Housekeeper Preparing to Clean a Room

How much should you be tipping each of the people who are taking care of you? The tipping rate per day for a Hotel Housekeeper should be $3-5 per day or as much as $5-$20 per day in exclusive resorts. It’s best to tip this housekeeper every day rather than at the end of your stay so that the person who does the work for each day gets the tip.

What about the person who brings your luggage to your room? The suggested amount is $1-$2 per bag. If they give you a great orientation, you may want to tip a little more. A flat rate of $5 plus $1 per bag is customary for storing your bag and then taking them to your room.

Shuttle service to and from a hotel should run between $1-$2 per person or $4-$5 per party.

A concierge or front desk attendant giving you detailed information such as obtaining a desirable restaurant reservation or hard-to-get tickets should be tipped at least $5.

How much for valet service? Tipping when your car is delivered is recommended to be $1-$5. Tipping when your car is parked is up to your discretion but not necessary.

How Much Do You Tip Outside The Hotel For Service?

That special hairdresser should be tipped between 18-22%, especially if you have received excellent service.

Hairdresser Blow Drying Customer’s Hair

How about a massage therapist or manicurist? Tipping with cash is the most desirable way for these professionals to receive a tip. A massage therapist should receive between 15% and 20% of the cost of the treatment. For a manicure or a pedicure, a 20% tip is the norm.

Bartenders should get a $1 tip for a drink like beer, but $2 for a cocktail. If it’s a 2-for-1 special, you still should tip on two drinks. Cash is much appreciated rather than putting it on a card. And, whatever you do, don’t wave your money around. This will not get you faster service.

Do you really need to pay 20% tip on a bottle of wine? The answer is “yes.” That bottle is part of the atmosphere where you are dining, it has probably been selected and described by your server, and has been carefully stored for your enjoyment.

Wine Server Pouring a Glass of Wine

Now let’s talk about restaurant servers. Please don’t be one of those persons who deducts the sales tax when calculating a tip at a restaurant. Many times your server shares the tips with the bussers, the dishwashers, and runners in a “tipping pool.” That server creates a special mood while you are dining and deserves to be compensated for that experience. Think of the difference between a pre-tax tip on a $100 meal and an after-tax tip. If the tax is 10% (the highest in the country), then you are paying an extra $2. That is just not worth the thought or effort.

Is a Service Charge A Tip?

Group of Ladies at Lunch Where They Will Be Charged a Service Charge

Be aware that when a Service Charge is tacked onto your bill in California, that Service Charge belongs to the employer. That employer can either give the money to the employees, give part to the employees, or keep it all for themselves. Perhaps that would be a good question to ask the employer when booking a large group where a Service Charge is required.

Traveling, hotel stays, special treatments, and dining are all wonderful ways to treat yourself and enjoy time with others. Make sure you provide an adequate tip for those working in the service industry to keep everyone happy and receiving a decent pay.

Are you in the mood for love, Palm Springs style? This Valentine’s Day, enjoy a safe escape by booking a stay at one of Palm Springs’ intimate boutique hotels. All of our properties are taking serious precautions and have enacted strict cleaning protocols, and because they only have a few rooms with no shared hallways or elevators, you can feel safe and secure throughout your entire romantic visit.

The Paris Suite at Dive in Palm Springs showcases a 1919 brass and copper elevator cage from Paris that has been fully restored and converted into a queen-sized bed and lounge.

There is no other suite in the desert like the two-bedroom Paris Suite at Dive Palm Springs. The centerpiece is a 1919 brass and copper elevator cage from Paris that has been fully restored and converted into a queen-sized bed and lounge. There is also a large private patio with its own entrance, a full sized bar, and gorgeous vintage Parisian chandeliers lighting it all up, ensuring that you’ll never want to leave.

The Andalusian Court provides a most magical getaway for lovers so ask about its romance package.

The Andalusian Court Hotel can be described in one word: Magical. Built in 1921, it retains its Spanish revival charm, and comes alive at night when twinkle lights are turned on to illuminate the lush gardens, water features, and fountains. The Andalusian has seven private villas that are perfect for an amorous escape — be sure to book one that has a personal outdoor soaking tub, and ask about the hotel’s Romance Package, which includes a bottle of the house Andalusian Court Brut champagne, a dozen long-stemmed red roses, handmade truffles or chocolate-covered strawberries, and red and white silk rose petals for the bed.

The Sparrows Lodge is the perfect spot to connect — with no phones or televisions in the rooms, this adults-only property ensures that you can give your partner undivided attention. You’ll likely find yourself lounging by the pool, sitting around the outdoor fire pit, and strolling through the gardens. The on-site Barn Kitchen serves us delicious sandwiches, salads, and small bites until 8 p.m., so you won’t have to go far to enjoy a good meal.

The glamorous Ingleside Inn has been a romantic destination for couples since the 1930s.

The elegant Ingleside Inn has been a destination for couples since the 1930s. Looking for total privacy? Book one of the hotel’s signature rooms with walled patios and outdoor terraces, for a true hideaway experience. Dripping in old Hollywood glamor, the Ingleside Inn’s restaurant, Melvyn’s, is the place to go for a decadent meal and cocktails — outdoor dining is open, and you can also ask about taking your order back to the room.

Behind the door you’ll find the lovely La Maison Hotel, which is regularly voted one of the most romantic hotels in the country.

La Maison is often praised as being one of the most romantic hotels in Palm Springs, and upon your arrival, you’ll see why. The rooms overlook the pool and lush gardens, where flowers are always in bloom. Fountains spread across the property offer a soundtrack of trickling water, and the spacious pool is heated to the perfect temperature. Each room has a comfortable feather bed that is covered in luxury linens, and the renovated bathrooms feature beautiful marble and granite walk-in showers.

For those who want to book a getaway for later this year, gift certificates are available for most of our Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotels.  Just call the hotel you desire and inquire.

Contributed by: Brittany Ryan

Nestled between Indian Canyon and bustling downtown Palm Springs, sits the historic Old Ranch Inn. Here, in this intimate eight-room boutique hotel catering to adults and their pet dogs, is where travelers come to find a home away from home. Although Old Ranch Inn has been offering guests a peaceful escape since the 1930’s, it has recently come under new ownership. Old Ranch Inn is now being looked after by Troy and Jason, and they have big plans for the Inn’s future including an extensive renovation of the guestrooms and public spaces.

Troy, who is a retired partner from the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young, has 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, loved the idea of customers being able to feel like they were staying at a close friend’s guesthouse.

“Old Ranch Inn is designed to offer privacy and intimacy.” Troy explained to me. “Because the property accommodates 16 people total, we are able to provide a completely customer-centric experience for our guests from the time they check in to the time they check out, which is reflected in our Expedia rating of 4.7 out of 5 and a 9.6 rating out of 10 on hotels.com” And since the hotel is located in a residential neighborhood, it’s a peaceful setting.

This customer-centric experience is made apparent in all of the details of the property. When you arrive at this slice of paradise, you’re welcomed by the trickling sound of fountains and birds singing in the trees. Western lanterns line the property offering a peaceful amber glow in the evenings.

Old Ranch Inn Courtyard in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn Courtyard in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

The pool is surrounded by bright teal lounge chairs, each with their own pillow. It’s easy to see why some guests spend their entire trip just relaxing by the pool. Jason and Troy see to it that all of your poolside needs are taken care of – cold water, sunscreen, pool noodles, and floaties. The patio offers a variety of umbrella-covered seating areas. This is a favorite spot for guests to enjoy cocktail hour and dine al fresco under the string lights as the sun begins to set.

Old Ranch Inn Pool in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn Pool in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn is set in the Historic Tennis Club area – one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, founded in 1937. Just minutes from the famous Palm Springs Walk of Stars, Palm Springs Art Museum, the bars/restaurants on Arenas, the Tennis Club was once an under-the-radar destination for Hollywood celebrities, politicians, statesmen, and infamous world travelers. Today, the desert community is considered one of the premiere locations for upscale boutique hotels.

The eight pristine guest rooms at Old Ranch Inn create an instant feeling of coziness. Tasteful western design elements, like Tiffany-style lamps and white quilted linens, are seamlessly blended with modern amenities, like a kitchenette, walk-in shower, and a private patio.

“We wanted to pay homage to the western desert roots that the Old Ranch Inn is known, while still providing a contemporary, relaxing experience for our guests,” says Jason.

Old Ranch Inn Bedroom in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn Bedroom in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Troy and Jason’s vision for a comfortable home away from home is quickly coming to life. The guesthouse caters to both short and long-term travelers. Old Ranch Inn is set in a very walkable location, just a few blocks from local favorites like FARM, a charming, French-inspired eatery, and Wilma & Frieda Palm Springs, a brunch spot with reinvented comfort food. Head in the opposite direction toward the mountains, using one of the Inn’s free bike rentals, to hike one of the popular Tahquitz Canyon hiking trails and get some grand views of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. If you’re lucky, you might even see some big horn sheep.

“We have active guests that love the ease of access to hiking, golfing, shopping, and local dining, and we also have guests that come simply to enjoy the quiet pleasures of relaxing poolside for the majority of their stay,” says Jason.

Old Ranch Inn at Dusk in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Old Ranch Inn at Dusk in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

In short, Troy and Jason’s vision for Old Ranch Inn is to provide a luxury level experience in an intimate setting. The fact that this boutique hotel is perfectly located between the San Jacinto Mountains and Downtown Palm Springs is icing on the cake!

Contributed by: The Santiago

For a real western adventure, and a truly inspiring experience, embrace your inner Cowboy and head out on a horseback ride, take a few tips from our friends at the Santiago Resort Palm Springs, which caters to gay men.

 

 

The Palm Springs area has several stables offering guided tours heading up through the mountains, down along the streams of Indian Canyons and even full moon trail rides at night.  So whether you’re feeling like the Lone Ranger or maybe just Woody from Toy Story, jump on a horse and see the desert in a whole new way. Just minutes away from Santiago, this is a unique adventure!

Insider Tip:  You’ll need jeans and something that looks like a pair boots. Flip flops and shorts will not cut it!

Brittany Ryan Checks out the Horseback riding at Smoke Tree Ranch

Located just a few minutes from Santiago and at the base of Smoke Tree Mountain, the Smoke Tree Stables provide guided hourly and daily rides on over 150 miles of trails right above Palm Springs.  Offering trail rides since 1927, this place is the real thing.  They offer picturesque horseback riding through the beautiful palm oasis and year- round streams of the Indian Canyons.

Even the dogs like the Horse stables at Smoke Tree Ranch

For a more energetic ride, you can trot, canter or gallop through the canyons of Morongo Valley on the private trails of CottonWood Canyon Ranch, The staff gives guided tours through the mountains and riding lessons as well.  It doesn’t get more Western than this!

Also located in Morongo Valley, Coyote Ridge Stable has several different trail rides to choose from. For a truly unique adventure, try one of their full moon rides, blazing your own trail up hills and through washes by moonlight.

Or perhaps you prefer watching over riding?  Check out the tournament schedule at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.  Pack a picnic basket and a bottle of champagne or check out their Tack Room Tavern.  This is a great place to spend an afternoon.  And don’t miss joining in on the lively divot stomp tradition at halftime.

Author: Brittany Ryan

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of downtown sits the newly renovated Bellevue Oasis, a modern, tech-friendly oasis in Palm Springs. With a streamlined digital procedure for self-check-in, this boutique hotel sets the standard for safe social distancing.

Enjoying the pool at Bellevue Oasis Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Prior to arriving, you’re provided with a keyless entry code for both the gate and your room. Private travelers will appreciate the ability to quickly and easily check in and out without any lengthy procedure or human interaction.

From the outside, Bellevue Oasis seems rather unassuming, however this boutique hotel surprises its guests right as they hear the joyful chirp of the keyless entry granting you access to the property. Upon stepping through the threshold, guests are greeted with the exotic smell of jasmine from the gardens and sounds of birds singing in the trees. Perfectly manicured lawn and bright white guest rooms surround the focal point of Bellevue Oasis – an Insta-worthy swimming pool (an essential for every chic boutique hotel in Palm Springs)!

 

Bellevue Oasis Whirlpool in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

The refreshing pool, heated seasonally, is encircled by white lounge chairs. Retro pagoda-style patio umbrellas with alternating turquoise and white panels compliment the pool’s crystal clear blue water. Hidden away under the shade of tropical trees sits a heated whirlpool for guests to relax in. Guests can ask Alexa to play their favorite tunes poolside as they sunbathe and swim.

The ground-level guestrooms at Bellevue Oasis are low-profile to ensure perfect views of the desert mountains from the pool. Each guestroom features a private front patio covered in stylish black and white geometric tiles.

Bellevue Oasis Front Patio in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Bellevue Oasis’ recently renovated rooms are contemporary with a touch of Hollywood glam. Despite a low-profile exterior, every room features high-vaulted ceilings to create a more open, sophisticated atmosphere. Special touches like velvet accents, mirrored dressers, and floor to ceiling marble bathrooms create a luxe ambiance.

As a former network TV producer and a BBC World News journalist, Owner Tayfun King has a keen eye for details. It was important to him that Bellevue Oasis capture the essence of Palm Springs.

“I was captivated by the culture and architecture that Palm Springs had to offer,” says Tayfun. “I wanted to preserve the 1950s Palm Springs aesthetic, while incorporating a global perspective and localized style to the hotel.”

Bellevue Oasis Bedroom in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

Tayfun has curated an aesthetic that many cannot master – Bellevue Oasis blends the best of mid-century modern design elements with the modern luxuries of today. Some of the guestrooms come with a full kitchen and dining area, while every room is outfitted with food and drink options for purchase. Keeping with the tech-friendly theme, all T.V.s at Bellevue Oasis are Roku-enabled and come with Hulu Live.

At first glance, it appears that the room tour ends there, but wait, there’s more! Not only do rooms feature a private front patio, but they also have a private back patio, decorated in the same chic black and white geometric tile. There, guests can enjoy a cocktail or play mini golf in the back of the property, steps outside of the guestroom.

Bellevue Oasis Back Patio in Palm Springs. Photo Credit: Brittany Ryan

One may think that a mobile self check-in may eliminate the chance for a personal touch at Bellevue Oasis, but that is not the case. Tayfun is renowned for his commitment to excellence and customer service, and these values have been adopted by the Bellevue Oasis staff. Hotel Manager, Adam Ramirez, knows guests by name and is often seen on-property tending to guest needs.

“We want our guests to know that we are there for them,” Adam explains. “If guests ever need anything, like an in-room massage or bike rental, they can just shoot us a text or give us a call. Our guests are the reason why we do what we do!”

As Adam mentions, guests looking to get off property and explore Palm Springs have full access to bike rentals. Bike about 4 minutes west to arrive at the Tahquitz Canyon Visitor Center, where you can take an out-and-back hike (2 miles total) and be rewarded with beautiful views of a 60-foot waterfall. Or you can ride about 4 minutes south instead to visit the 1-acre, family-owned Moorten Botanical Garden. Chat with the second-generation owner, Mr. Clark Moorten, who lives onsite and shares his knowledge of cacti and desert plants from around the world.

Whether guests want a whole week with full kitchen access or just a relaxing weekend to get away, Bellevue Oasis offers the ideal Palm Springs stay. Experience the luxuries typically found at larger, chain hotels, but in a quiet, intimate setting.