The low down on tipping at Sandals

Who is allowed and not allowed to accept tips at Sandals Resorts?  I think it’s important to discuss this with all of my Sandals clients.  Generally tipping is not allowed at Sandals and I love the policy.  I hate when you are at a beach bar (not Sandals) and it’s hard to get a drink because you didn’t drop a 20 on the bar.  Sandals no tipping policy really puts everyone on a even playing field when it comes to service.  Since the staff is not allowed to accept tips the only thing that gives you good service is your smile!  I tell people all the time, a smile is all they need.  However there are a few people that you can and should tip when on a Sandals vacation.

Who can you tip?

Airport porters: The guys carrying your bags at the airport do not work for Sandals and work solely on tips.  I suggest tipping them $1 to $2 a bag.

Shuttle bus drivers and/or private drivers: Once again, the bus drivers are outsourced by Sandals and are allowed to accept tips.  While it’s not mandatory, we suggest tipping your bus driver based on the distance to the resort.  While their is no set amount to tip I suggest the following.  If you are only a few minutes away a dollar or two is fine.  If the resort is an hour plus ride or longer drive I usually tip at least $5.  If you hired a private driver you may choose to tip higher if you wish.

Once you are on Sandals property there are very people you can/should tip.  Housekeeping, wait staff, bartenders, bellmen, etc are not allowed to accept tips.  Don’t feel too sorry for them because Sandals considers this when setting their salaries.  Sandals is one of the only Caribbean hotels that gives health benefits and a retirement plan to their staff.  The staff is well taken care of and they do not rely on tips for their salary.  The only people allowed to accept tips are butlers and spa personnel.  You can bring cash to tip them or if you wish you can have the tip billed to your room on your credit card (just ask at the front desk or Club Sandals lounge).

Butlers: There are a lot of thought on how much you should tip your butler.  I’ve heard people say anywhere from $10 to $100 per day.  You are more than welcome to tip $100 per day if you wish, however they certainly do not expect a tip that high.  You must remember that each butler usually has at least 4 rooms (with the exception of over water suites).  Salaries on the island are less than the states so $20 a day goes much further than it does here at home.  I generally recommend an average $20 per day tip for your butler team.  Obviously if you don’t use your butlers much that number can be lower.  If you use the butlers non-stop all day because you want to be pampered you may consider a higher amount.

Spa Personnel: The staff at the spa is also allowed to accept tips.  Once again the amount is up to you.  Generally, my wife and I tip $10 to $20 for a couples massage.

Tours/Excursions: Since the tour guides do not work for Sandals and you are leaving the Sandals resort you can tip them.  A few dollars is usually acceptable.  You will notice many people will not tip them because they don’t realize they are allowed to.  However, they really do a good job and tips are a considerable portion of their salary.

What happens if you insist on giving a tip?

If you won’t take no for an answer and you insist on tipping, the staff member is required to report it and turn the tip in to the office.  They do get secret shopped so they are afraid not to do so.  Any tips collected are split among all workers from laundry to bartenders.  If you absolutely insist on giving a tip you can do so at the front desk.

How you can show your appreciation without giving a tip?

Since staff members can’t accept tips the best thing you can do is compliment them.  There are a few ways to do so.  One of the most popular ways is to mention them by name on your resort review on sites such as tripadvisor.com.  We also suggest while you are still at the resort go to sandals.blazeloop.com.  The site will recognize that you are at the resort and give you an option to compliment the resort staff.  Simply click on the compliment button and write a quick review mentioning the staff member by name.  Bonuses and promotions are partially based on these reviews.  In fact it’s better than giving them a money tip.  This will help them progress their career with Sandals.  How is that for a tip!

As always message me if you have any questions on this or any other topic.

Larry – EMvacations.com