"But, Christine, don't most all-inclusive resorts include gratuities?"
Well...while many "all-inclusive" resorts claim to include tips, you will still find staff members with their hands out or tip jars waiting to be filled. This can add a significant cost to your "all-inclusive" vacation and, personally, I think it adds an element of stress to what is supposed to be a relaxing escape.
At Sandals and Beaches Resorts, things are quite different. Not only are tips included, staff members are forbidden from accepting tips*. In fact, they can be fired if they are caught accepting tips or gifts from guests. (Don't get me started on the people who say, "Sandals can't tell me what to do. I'll tip if I want to tip." Right...you could cost someone their job if they succumb to temptation). Many employees even wear buttons remind you that tips are not something you need to worry about.
"That's great news! I can leave my wallet at home on my next Sandals or Beaches vacation!"
While Sandals and Beaches employees cannot accept tips, not everyone you encounter during your trip is actually employed by Sandals/Beaches and they may depend upon tips to supplement their income.
Here's a quick rundown of who you should tip during your Sandals or Beaches vacation and how much:
Baggage Handlers The airport skycaps who take your luggage to the transport vehicle are not resort employees and should be tipped. $1 per bag is the norm.
Drivers The friendly drivers who ferry you to and from the airport are not employed by Sandals/Beaches. Generally, if your ride to the resort is under 30 minutes, $5 is a standard tip. For longer rides, tip $10.
Spa Employees The spa therapists are employed by a third party and should be tipped. 15%-20% of the service cost is standard, just like at home.
Excursion Guides If you choose to take an offsite excursion, you should tip your guide depending upon the length of the excursion. For a half-day excursion, $10 is appreciated. For a full day excursion, tip $20.
A Note About Butlers
Butlers Butlers are the one category of Sandals/Beaches employees that are allowed to accept tips. Generally, $20 per day, per butler (you will usually have two) is the norm.
Remember, US dollars are gratefully accepted by the staff on all of the islands, so bring some small bills with you to cover tips.
Ready to escape to the Caribbean? Contact me to book your Sandals or Beaches vacation today!
Remember, doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, military and Department of Defense employees receive an additional 10% discount on all Sandals and Beaches vacations on top of all other discounts!
*At Sandals Barbados and Sandals Royal Barbados, tips can be accepted by Sandals employees. Barbados law does not allow Sandals to forbid tipping, but it is still strongly discouraged.