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This Boston Hotel Proves That Good Service Does Not Depend on Tipping

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 1 Seaport Lane [map], Boston, Massachusetts , United States, 02210
April 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM | by | ()

When this writer checked into the 428-room Boston Seaport Hotel, one of the first things the clerk went out of her way to tell me was that there was no tipping at the hotel. I figured I'd heard her wrong, so I asked her to repeat it. She smiled. The craziest part is when she told me it's not a new thing - the hotel has had a no tipping policy since it opened in 1998.

Fifteen years ago, it put its then 260 employees through 35,000 hours of training on all aspects of guest service, from opening doors to room tidiness, and taught them to do it all without expecting a tip.

We've talked a lot about tipping on this site in the past, and there's always a debate about who should be tipped and for what. I found the no tipping policy at the Seaport to be extremely refreshing and impressive. Two reasons stand out in particular. 1) When receiving help from the staff, I didn't immediately feel like I owed them money and 2) I felt like the employees genuinely wanted to help me, and when it comes to the travel industry, that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle when money is involved.

During my stay, I saw employees hustle to open doors for guests. I saw them hailing cabs, helping with luggage. I heard the concierge exercising patience and answering questions completely. I myself asked the front desk to help me with the subway schedule, to advise me on how to get to Fenway Park, and for recommendations on how to get to the airport. When I stop and think about it, I realize that I saw something pretty special: A hotel staff that doesn't accept tips offering the same level of service as a hotel staff that relied on the guests for its income.

Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? None of the employees would show me their tax returns, but they're obviously compensated appropriately for their hard work by their employer, which is an absolute breath of fresh air in the service industry here in America. As a consumer, I personally think this concept should be praised and even demanded in the future. At the very least, we shouldn't be convinced that good service is dependent upon tipping.

We stayed recently during the crowded marathon weekend, so were options were limited in terms of room selection. When you go, request a room at the northeast corner of the hotel for killer views of the downtown skyline, shown above from ground level at the edge of the port. Another cool thing to check out is the indoor pool, where music is played underwater.

Rates start at $229 during the summer months, but typically hover around $300/night.

[Photos: Facebook/WP Boston]

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