By Emyr Thomas
In the first part of the etiquette tipping series, we looked at customs in the UK, France and the USA.
Now, let’s take a look at how service and gratuities are dealt with in Italy, Spain and Portugal:
Unlike many European countries, tipping is not generally expected in Italy, but it is, of course, always appreciated. In restaurants, a cover charge is normally already included and they tend to charge extra for bread, both of which are considered to replace the usual ‘tip’ or service charge. However, if you think that the service was worthy of reward, a tip of between 5% and 10% is gratefully received.
It’s not obligatory to tip a taxi driver, but rounding up to the nearest Euro is considered good etiquette. For hotel staff, a couple of Euros is acceptable for maid service and for assistance with luggage.
Tipping is not generally mandatory in Spain, but tends to vary with the type of venue – an upscale establishment, for example, will be more likely to expect a tip. In restaurants, service is sometimes included in the prices, but this may not make its way to the waiters, so it is acceptable to leave a further 5% to 10% in cash. When looking at a menu, be careful to note whether tax at 7% is included in the prices, or this will also be added to your bill, by law. In a casual tapas bar, tipping is not normally expected, but leave a few Euros if the service was worth it.
Tipping taxi drivers is by no means obligatory, although between 5% and 10% is considered good etiquette. The same can be applied for hair stylists, especially if you visit the same one regularly. In hotels, a few Euros for staff is more than acceptable.
In Portugal, tipping is usually considered as a supplement to an income at a restaurant, therefore a tip of 10% would be greatly appreciated, although a fine dining restaurant may include up to 15% on the bill.
Taxi drivers normally expect a 10% tip on top of the fare, in hotels a few Euros should be given to bellboys and maids, and remember to tip your concierge if you make use of the service.
Emyr Thomas is the founder of Bon Vivant, a concierge and lifestyle management company in London.
The tipping series continues next week…
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