How much should you tip in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?
How much are you expected to tip when in the UAE? It's always a tricky question. Tip too much, and you waste money. Tip too little and you may get a grunt of disapproval. The fact of the matter is that many of those in the service sector who you may consider tipping are paid very badly indeed, and sometimes rely on tips just to get by. In some cases you may not even think that some of the services are required, but feel compelled to tip. However, tipping practices are similar to those any where else in the world. We recommend that you do tip, but in the right way.
On occasion, restaurants, hotels and bars apply a service charge. That service charge is said to be pooled amongst the staff and split accordingly. Some believe that it is unlikely to end up with the waiter or waitress at some other places. So you don't have to give more, but if you do, give in cash. If no service charge is included at a restaurant, add 10 to 15% per cent of the total to the bill. If the service or meal was good, you should tip more.
You can tip bellboys 5 or 10 Dirhams or so, as you might do so for valet parkers or porters. Taxi drivers don't expect a tip, but perhaps you should round up to the next 5 Dirhams, especially if you take a short journey in Abu Dhabi. Tipping in bars is not usually expected but can get you speedier service. It might be worthwhile to do so if you actually have table service. The bag packers at supermarkets don't demand anything, but anything from a few coins to 5 Dirhams is worth giving. Places giving personal services such as salons or barbers do not expect a tip.
There has been some discussion regarding those who check your oil and fill your gas. It may be that they don't receive any of the tips that you give and this money goes to the gas station. If you do give anything, 5 Dirhams is acceptable.
When considering tipping, just bear in mind the personal situation of the people who are serving you. Some receive very little pay, and work very long hours. When it comes to tipping in Dubai or Abu Dhabi hotels, here is some advice:
- Be careful where you tip. Some bills already contain a service charge as well as a tourist tax - and any additional amount may not go to the person that served you.
- If you do want to tip, try and do it in cash, and up to 10% - more if you are generous
- Tipping earlier during your stay will ensure consistent service from the concierge or bellboy for example
- 5 Dhs tip to a bellboy is always appreciated
- If you want to tip cleaners of rooms, leave 20 or 30 Dhs in your bedroom at the end of your stay
- Tipping in bars is not always expected, but if received will ensure prompt service with a smile for the next round
- Be aware of the staff who are probably paid very close to nothing - and live on tips
- Not all hotel staff receive the tips you give them. If you are unsure, then ask!