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How to Set Table in the Hotel

hotel table

Setting hotel tables used to be common knowledge that everyone thought a quick-fit approach would suffice. This is not the case with hotel table settings requiring ingenuity and brilliance in their placement and tableware arrangement.

The hotel table setting has been a centrepiece that sets the right atmosphere and mood for hotel restaurant food that sets the tone for guest comfort.

Choosing table essentials, positioning plates, and arranging centrepieces and decor has become challenging for most hotels.

Although there are various needs for hotel table settings ranging from dinners, one-off breakfasts, and expensive dining restaurant settings, the methodology required for setting a hotel table is a universal entity but only slight variations.

We take you through the detailed instructions on setting a table that fits each hotel guest’s dining needs. You can also check our article on How to choose table for hotel 2023 checklist, I hope it can help you.

Table Setting Essentials

hotel table

The first rule of hotel table setting is to get your essentials right and ready. Your choice of tableware and centrepieces should fit perfectly for the type of settings you want to create and the formality required by the gathering.

A casual family dash at a hotel restaurant requires bare table setting essentials, while a formal business setting necessitates a touch of fanciful tableware and decor. 

Tableware and Utensils

These are used to set the hotel dining table, display, and food serving. There is no one size fit for the type of tableware and utensils used in a hotel table setting because of varying guests’ dining needs ranging from basic, casual, and formal tables. 

1. Plates and Bowls. Plates and bowls are regarded as serving ware comprising pots of soup, casserole, and other dishes used to bring food to the table. This category also includes utensils containers, ladies, and a pair of tongs. 

2. Silverware. Silverware is another beautiful hotel table setting piece that includes spoons, forks, and knives in various shapes, levels of elegance, and forms depending on the formality of the hotel guest’s dining needs. 

3. Glassware. Glassware or drinkware includes all the items used to drink. This category contains glasses, mugs, and cups. It would help if you made this choice based on the scope of the hotel table settings and the guest’s needs.  

4. Napkin and Linens. Napkins and linens have become staples and popular in hotel table settings. Table napkins enhance the table settings and protect guests from spills. 

Centrepieces and Decor

The importance of centrepieces and decor in hotel table settings is undeniable. Centrepiece is the accent you place in the middle of the table, while the decor piece makes up the other part that draws attention and sets the table’s theme and level of elegance.

1. Flowers. Flower is among the most commonly used item for hotel dining table centrepiece and decor. Well-arranged flowers that are curated based on the hotel guest dining need to introduce a personal touch and add freshness to the aesthetic feel of the hotel table. 

2. Candles. Combining candles with the artificial dining light gives the hotel table setting a flickering glow. Candle provides a brilliant means of adding dimension and ambience to the hotel dining table space.  

3. Tablecloths. A dining table without a cloth is a body without life. This versatile decorative element protects the table and adds pop colors and style to the overall settings.  

Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Table in a Hotel 

hotel table

The universal table setting scope most widely accepted in Europe does not satisfy the growing urge of guests who use the hotel table for varied purposes.

The three most popular hotel table settings are primary, casual, and formal. No worries, we cover these with our expert-recommended step-by-step process that elucidates every one of them. 

1. Basic Hotel Table Setting

A basic table setting is suitable for everyday dinner or weekend breakfast as required by the guests or walk-in visitors who enter the hotel restaurants for one-off events. This type of setting only requires the following essentials:

1. Placemat

2. Napkin, 

3. Water or drinking glass 

4. Cutlery 

5. Napkin. 

How to Set Basic Hotel Table

1. Lay the placements on the table; this can be made from lace or silk materials. 

2. Put the flatware or serving plates at the centre of the placemat. 

3. Spread the napkin to the left of the scale, 2-3mm apart. 

4. Put the fork on the napkin and ensure it stays in the middle. 

5. Now go to the right side of the table and place the knife beside the play with the blade inverting inside. 

6. Place the spoon close to the right of the knife. 

7. Ensure all the bottoms of each utensil and plate maintain a straight line and level. 

8. Put the water glass above the plate, and ensure the water glass stands in between the knives and the dishes. 

9. You can set the napkin on the scale to add a touch of formality and etiquette to this hotel table setting. 

Casual Hotel Table Settings 

Understanding the intricate process of setting casual hotel tables requires tact and high-level strategies. This type of table is mainly used for a laid-back dinner, an informal get-together with 4 to 6 guests, or walk-in visitors who might request a three-course meal.

The following are the table essentials required to set a casual hotel dining table: 

1. Placemat 

2. Soup Bowl 

3. Dinner or Plate 

4. Glassware 

5. Cutlery 

6. Charger Plate (A large decorative plate that acts as a base for the dinner plate.)

Guide for Setting a Casual Hotel Table

1. Lay the placemat on the table as it’s done for the basic table. 

2. Place your charger plate in the middle of the laid placemat, and put the dinner plate on top of the charger plate. 

3. If they are starting with a salad course, you should put the salad plate on the dinner plate. 

4. If the guest prefers to start with a soup course, remove the salad play and replace it with a soup bowl on top of the dinner plate. 

5. Spread the napkin to the left of the charger plates. 

6. To the right of the charger plate, set the knife closest to the plate and follow that with the spoon. 

7. Directly above the knife and spoon, drop the water glassware. 

8. On the right side m, directly above the water glassware, you should place the wine or beverage glass if required. 

9. If the settings require salt and pepper shakers for each guest, place them directly at the top of the placemat. 

3. Setting Formal Hotel Table 

A formal hotel dining table is the hallmark of hotel restaurants that is distinguished by the use of charger plates and round placemats in contrast with the casual and basic standard. The following are the table essentials needed for a formal hotel table setting. 

1. Tablecloths 

2. Charger 

3. Dinner plate 

4. Salad plates 

5. Salad fork 

6. Butter knives 

7. White wine glasses, etc. 

Click to Learn About: A list of must-have hotel supplies in 2023

Instructions for Setting Formal Hotel Table

1. Spread the well-ironed tablecloth to cover the entire table. 

2. Set a charger plate for each seat. 

3. Place the soup bowl on the charger plate. 

4. Put the bread plate at the top left edge of the charger plates. 

5. Lay the napkin to the left of the charger. 

6. Put the salad fork with the other dinner fork on the left side of the charger. 

7. Place the utensils, such as salad knife, dinner knife, etc, inside out on the right side of the large charger plate. 

8. Put the water glass above the dinner knife, and the wine glass should be put slightly to the right of the setting 

9. Set a cup or saucer above the soup bowl, somewhat to the right, if required. 


The art of hotel table setting is an endeavour to make guests feel special. Thanks to the exclusive feelings that dominate the world of hotel culinary, table settings have taken centre stage. They are used for various reasons and occasions, including casual, primary, and formal.

The careful understating of the scope and guides to navigate the complexity of these tasks is a desirable feature that sets your hotel apart.

From carefully selecting the right table setting essentials to the ingenious placement of the wares, George Intl helps you navigate each process with our dedicated collections of hotel table essentials that make your hotel dining area look beautiful and unique. 

Related Reading: What are the four most important types of furniture in hotels


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