From housekeeping to the bar and restaurant, to the front desk, Bucuti’s associates are the most essential element of your guest experience. Many of our visitors develop close relationships with some of our associates, and some of these colleagues have been with us for many years. Management does its best to show appreciation to our associates, and that is done in part with the compensation package we offer. The package includes a variety of unique benefits as well as programs to help stabilize their income through the various vacation seasons.
One of the programs involves a service charge we add to our restaurant and bar bills, which some guests have had questions about. Some wonder if the service charge is a tip or not, and if an additional tip is expected. So, we wish to give an explanation of that particular practice, to help you be more comfortable when signing a restaurant or bar check.
Like in most countries, our restaurant/bar staff earns a base salary plus service charge. At Bucuti, the service charge is distributed in the form of points.
The way it works is that we automatically add a 15% service charge to each restaurant/bar check. This mirrors a common practice on Aruba and other islands in the Caribbean, and represents a standard guideline most guests would normally add to a check in many countries. At Bucuti, the points that staff receives are their share of the 15% service charge added to the checks. We divide the service charge in the following manner:
Dining room and bar staff – 12%
Kitchen staff – 1%
Reserve fund (for vacations) – 2%
The purpose of the Reserve is to pay staff their average income when they are on vacation and would not traditionally be earning tips/points, as they are not serving guests during that time. So, the intent is to equalize their income over the year, so they don’t earn less during their vacations.
If a guest feels that the service received was excellent and above the normal 15%, we encourage an additional tip for that server, which is very welcome but not a must.
On Aruba, many restaurants add the service charge automatically to the bill and distribute it to their staff (using a variety of percentages, depending on the restaurant). Some add more than 15%. Other restaurants calculate a service charge into the price of each dish, and expect the guest to add a tip. Please note that any restaurant or bar that automatically adds a service charge to the check should denote it on their menu, and have it clearly listed on the check.
For non-restaurant staff, it is customary to tip the bellman or housekeeping, etc, at your discretion. The following guide is used internationally for some of these situations:
Spa service: 15% to 20%.
Bellman: $1 per bag for bringing luggage to your room ($2 minimum for just one bag)
Housekeeper: $2 to $5 per night
Bucuti also has a “Bucuti’s Best” program to recognize exceptional associates on our property. Anyone that is mentioned by a guest on the “Bucuti’s Best” cards or on TripAdvisor, qualifies for special recognition and a cash prize.
It helps us tremendously when our guests assist us with the feedback to reward our special associates who genuinely share their friendliness and helpfulness and consequently make your relaxing celebration event or beach vacation a special one. We are grateful to you for keeping the dialogue alive with us, and we will continue to try to answer all your questions as best we can.
Ewald K. Biemans
Owner & CEO