All-Inclusive Resort Tipping Etiquette
Gratitude Without the Guesswork
All-inclusive resorts offer a luxurious escape from daily life, where relaxation and enjoyment are top priorities. While the concept of “all-inclusive” implies that everything is covered, tipping etiquette can sometimes be a bit murky. All-inclusive resorts are known for offering various services and amenities under one bundled price. These can include meals, drinks, activities, and more. However, it’s essential to recognize that tipping practices may vary between destinations and even individual resorts themselves.
Does Tipping Differ Between Resorts?
One of the most common questions when visiting all-inclusive resorts is whether tipping policies vary. The answer is yes; they can vary greatly. While some resorts operate a no-tipping policy, others have guidelines that suggest or include gratuities. Before jetting off, make sure to research your specific resort’s policy, as this can help you understand what will be expected and ensure you have enough money to cover the costs for the duration of your vacation.
Most all-inclusive resorts, particularly high-end luxury properties, have a no-tipping policy. This means that they’ve factored in gratuities into the overall cost of your stay. These resorts often make it clear to guests that tipping is neither expected nor necessary. Complying with this policy helps create an equal experience for all guests, ensuring that staff are fairly compensated for their services. Occasionally at these resorts, although no tipping is required, they also have no issues with guests providing small tips to particularly outstanding staff members.
On the other hand, many all-inclusive resorts suggest a general tipping policy, which is great for guests who want a guideline for who and how much they should be tipping. In such cases, the resort might recommend a specific amount per day or per guest. These suggested amounts can vary between resorts, but they typically fall within the range of $10 to $20 per day per guest. This information is typically shared upon arrival or in the resort’s documentation, so it’s worth checking your in-room guide or even asking when you arrive.
Service Charge vs. Tipping
Some all-inclusive resorts automatically add a service charge to your bill. This fee is not to be confused with tips. The service charge is a mandatory fee that covers gratuities to be distributed among resort staff. This means that, even if you’re not individually tipping, you are still contributing to the overall compensation of the resort’s employees.
Even in no-tipping resorts or those with suggested tipping guidelines, it’s customary to reward exceptional service. If a staff member goes above and beyond to enhance your experience, a gesture of gratitude is always appreciated. This could be a discretionary cash tip or a handwritten thank-you note. Many people choose also to provide this to staff members they may not see behind the scenes, such as room cleaning staff at the end of the stay.
Who Should You Tip?
Tipping at all-inclusive resorts extends beyond just your server or bartender. There are often hundreds of staff members working in large, all-inclusive resorts, and you don’t need to tip them all. But those who you interact with regularly or who provide a particularly special experience warrant tipping.
In restaurants and bars, it’s common to tip servers and bartenders for their excellent service. The suggested amount can range from $1 to $5 per order of drinks, while for meals, it can be higher – between 10 – 25%, depending on the resort.
For your room, housekeepers work diligently to maintain the cleanliness and often miss out on tips so leaving a daily tip of $2 to $5 is a customary practice. If you indulge in spa treatments or wellness services, tipping the therapists at 10% to 20% of the service cost is fairly standard – this also applies to staff who provide other extras, such as entertainment, tours and activities in or outside of the resort. For airport transfers, shuttle drivers and tour guides, 10% -20 % is fairly standard, although this often depends on the original cost of the tour, services provided and how long it lasts.
Other Things to Consider
Many people aren’t sure if they should tip in cash or by card. This depends on a variety of factors, for example, many all-inclusive resorts will have their own electronic system for tipping via room charges, apps or transfers. Tipping at bars and restaurants is also generally something you can add to your bill when paying by card.
However, if you’re out and about, such as on a tour, or leaving for the airport or using an external service in your destination, cash might be preferred, particularly by locals. These people may prefer cash tips either in US dollars or local currency if you have them available. Paying a tip in cash specifically to an outstanding person also means you can be confident they receive it, rather than it being shared amongst many different people.