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SXM Blog

Tipping in St Martin

1/26/2013 - By Ted

When visiting St. Maarten and St. Martin, vacationers are sure to need some kind of service, whether it be a bellhop or waiter, waitress, taxi, villa or condo housekeeper or excursion leader.

Knowing the right amount to tip while on the island will land travelers better service, and shows knowledge about the island which can lead to a more enjoyable vacation.

There is a service charge on both the Dutch St. Maarten and the French St. Martin  hotels and restaurants, and tipping people for services such as chambermaids and taxi cab drivers is customary.

In Dutch St. Maarten hotels add a 15 percent service charge and 5 percent government tax to the final bill. In French St. Martin, the service charge and tax is between 4 and 15 percent. 

Tipping can be a bit tricky to tourists. That's because there is nothing called "tipping" in France. It is called "service". And service is included usually in your hotel rate and in your restaurant prices.




In regards to restaurants, if the service is included the menu will have clearly written on it "Service compris" meaning that service is included and it's usually 15% of the tab. But local custom is that if you are very satisfied with your waiter's service then you may leave a few spare change in addition.




The tricky part is when a patron asks the waiter if the tip is included in the total and the waiter will say "no". That's because it's true, there is no tip so he will say "no". Then upon hearing that the patron will leave a tip of 15%.


Recall that the service of 15% is included already in the total so the service plus additional tip will have come up to 30%!




So don't ask if the "tip" is included-ask instead if "service" is included. If yes, then no need to leave anything unless you are very happy and satisified with your server; in that case leave some loose change or so in addition.






The Dutch side of the island restaurants will add 15% as a line item to your check. This represents the service charge as explained earlier for the French side.

Many hotels include gratuity in your bill, so be sure to ask your hotel concierge whether or not this cost is covered in the final bill. If the gratuity is not included in the final bill, then a tip for the chamber maid of $3 PP per day is apreciated. this also is true for housekeepers who maintain your villa or condo.

In St. Maarten and St. Martin, airport porters generally expect a tip of about $1(USD) per bag, taxi drivers usually get a $0.50(USD) to $1(USD) tip depending how long of a cab trip was taken, and if they had to handle any luggage.  if you are staying in a villa or condo and have an escort or transfer, don't forget to tip the driver, especially if he or she assists with your luggage. 

Want to get a great beach chair on Orient Beach, tip the Beach Boy even if the char is provided free by your resort. When departing that great excursion wher you had a day of sun and fun, don't forget to tip the staff who made your day possible.

Gratuity and tipping is an important part to many people's income, and should not be overlooked by vacationers. It is customary to tip people for their good service and it shows that as a vacationer, you understand the culture and traditions of St. Maarten and St. Martin.

Call the island experts at St Martin Reservation Center for more information about tipping and to review aSaint Martin villa or hotels in Saint Martin...800 480 8555.

Want to see pictures of beautifual luxury villas for rent check out St Martin Luxury villas.
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