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When arriving at a nice hotel, you may be greeted by smartly dressed valet attendants ready to take your car keys and park your vehicle. This optional amenity, known as valet parking, provides guests the convenience of not having to self-park, but what exactly does it entail?

In short, valet parking allows hotel staff to park and retrieve your car during your stay. This service has pros and cons as you decide whether or not to utilize valet at a hotel.

Valet parking is an expected service at many upscale hotels and resorts worldwide. The basics of how hotel valet works are simple, but there are costs, risks, and etiquette to consider before handing your keys to the valet stand.

The Pros of Valet Parking

Woman giving car key to male valet


Valet parking offers a high level of convenience for hotel guests. Instead of searching for a parking spot, guests can simply pull up to the hotel entrance and hand over their keys to a valet attendant.

This eliminates the hassle of finding a parking spot and walking a long distance to the hotel. Valet parking saves guests time and energy, ensuring a smooth and stress-free arrival.

Covered Entry

One of the major advantages of valet parking is the covered entry it provides. With valet parking, guests can drive to the hotel entrance and unload their luggage without worrying about bad weather conditions.

This is particularly beneficial during rainy or snowy days, as guests can stay dry and comfortable while entering the hotel. The covered entry adds an extra touch of luxury and elegance to the hotel experience.


When it comes to parking their vehicles, guests value security. Valet parking offers an added layer of security, as valet attendants are trained to handle vehicles with care. They are responsible for parking the cars in designated and secure areas, ensuring that guests’ vehicles are protected.

Additionally, many valet parking services offer surveillance cameras and round-the-clock security personnel to enhance the parking area’s safety further. This gives guests peace of mind knowing their vehicles are in good hands.

According to a survey conducted by AAA, 85% of hotel guests prefer hotels that offer valet parking services, citing convenience as the main reason. The same survey also found that hotels with valet parking tend to receive higher customer satisfaction ratings than those without this service.

This highlights the importance of valet parking in providing a positive guest experience.

The Cons of Valet Parking

Added Costs

Valet hotel parking often comes with additional costs that can quickly add up. While the convenience of having someone else park your car may be appealing, it usually comes at a price. Many hotels charge a daily or hourly fee for valet parking, which can sometimes be quite high.

This means that if you opt for valet parking during your hotel stay, you may spend a significant amount of money just to have your car parked.

According to a study conducted by Hotel Management, the average cost of valet parking at hotels in major cities is around $55 per night. This can be a substantial expense, especially for budget-conscious travelers.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that valet parking fees are typically not included in the room rate, so guests should be prepared for these extra charges.

Risk of Damages

When you hand over the keys to your car to a valet attendant, there is always a risk of potential damage. While valet attendants are trained to handle vehicles carefully, accidents can still happen. Scratches, dents, and even more severe damages are uncommon in valet parking situations.

A survey by found that 15% of respondents reported experiencing damage to their vehicle while using valet parking services. This can be a frustrating and costly experience, as repairs can be expensive and time-consuming.

Considering this risk before opting for valet parking is important, especially if you have a valuable or sentimental car.

Tip Expectations

Another downside of valet parking is the expectation of tipping. While tipping is common in many service industries, it can add an extra financial burden for travelers. Valet attendants often expect to be tipped for their services, and failing to do so may result in a less favorable experience.

According to The Spruce, it is customary to tip valet attendants between $2 to $5 per interaction. Every time you drop off or pick up your car, you are expected to tip. For longer hotel stays, this can quickly add up to a significant amount of money.

It’s important to factor in these tipping expectations when considering valet parking as an option.

Valet Parking Etiquette and Tips

Valet attendant open car door in front of hotel

Have Your Car Ready

When using valet parking at hotels, having your car ready for the attendants is important. Remove personal belongings, trash, or valuable items from your vehicle before handing over the keys.

This ensures the safety of your belongings and makes the process smoother for the valet attendants. Additionally, it’s a good idea to check your car for any damage beforehand and take note of it. This will help you avoid any disputes or misunderstandings later on.

Greet and Tip Attendants

Upon arrival, greeting the valet attendants with a friendly and polite attitude is important. A simple smile and a “good morning” or “good evening” can go a long way in establishing a positive rapport. When it comes to tipping, it’s customary to give a gratuity to the valet attendants.

The amount can vary depending on the level of service provided, but a general guideline is to tip around $2 to $5 per vehicle. Adjust the tip accordingly if you receive exceptional service or have special requests.

Remember, tipping is a way to show appreciation for the attendants’ hard work and attention to detail.

Give Detailed Instructions

To ensure a smooth parking experience, providing the valet attendants with detailed instructions is essential. Let them know if you have any specific preferences regarding parking location, such as closer to the entrance or in a shaded area.

If you have any special needs or requests, such as requiring a wheelchair or assistance with luggage, don’t hesitate to communicate this to the attendants. Clear communication and specific instructions will help the attendants provide the best service possible and tailor the parking experience to your needs.

Remember, valet parking is a convenient service offered by hotels to make your stay more enjoyable. By following these etiquette and tips, you can ensure a seamless and pleasant valet parking experience.

Alternatives to Valet Parking

Alternatives to Valet Parking

While valet parking can be a convenient option, alternatives are available for those who prefer more control over their parking experience. Here are a few alternatives to consider:

Self Parking

One popular alternative to valet parking is self-parking. Many hotels offer self-parking options where guests can park their own vehicles in designated parking lots or garages. This allows guests to conveniently park and retrieve their vehicles without relying on a valet service.

Self-parking can also be a more cost-effective option, as it is often cheaper than valet parking.

Ride Share Services

Ride-share services like Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular and provide a viable alternative to valet parking. Guests can simply request a ride from their hotel to their destination, eliminating worrying about parking altogether.

This can be a great option for those who prefer not to drive or for those who are visiting a city and are unfamiliar with the parking options available.

Public Transportation

Another alternative to valet parking is utilizing public transportation. Many hotels are conveniently located near bus stops or train stations, making it easy for guests to explore the city without needing a car.

Public transportation can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option, as it reduces the need for individual vehicles and helps alleviate traffic congestion. Additionally, some cities offer discounted or free public transportation passes for hotel guests, making it an even more attractive option.

When considering alternatives to valet parking, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Self-parking offers convenience and control, ride-share services provide a hassle-free experience, and public transportation offers affordability and sustainability.

Ultimately, the best choice will depend on individual preferences and the specific circumstances of each trip.

Also Read:
Do You Pay For Valet in Vegas? Understanding Parking Services in Sin City
How Much To Tip Valet At 5 Star Hotel: A Comprehensive Guide
How to Tip Hotel Valet


While handing your keys over for hotel valet parking comes with responsibilities, costs, and some risks, the convenience of skipping self-parking and covered door-to-door service is undeniable.

At high-end hotels where valet is the norm, embracing the amenity can enhance your guest experience and make arrivals and departures seamless.

With proper etiquette and tips, valet parking is a luxury that makes travel just a bit less stressful.

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