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minamax10 Sep 24th, 2016 11:45 PM

Tipping in different situations in Spain

A few times servers at restaurant came to me and said "service is not included. please don't forget..." For someone who comes from Japan where tipping does not exist, it's always quite a bit of a stress trying to figure out what is appropriate and how to proceed.

Would you live a tip and how much --

Bellboys at hotels?
Taxi drivers?
Private bus charter transfers?
Private guides? I understand that for "Free Tours" it's expected and common courtesy to tip the guide. In our case, we hire the guides (and pay quite a lot to begin with) .

Restaurants? This one is always the trickiest.
Individual meal / cafe break -- what's appropriate?
Group meal with a check for the whole table. for example, our last night dinner is kind of a splurge. Will be about 100-120EUR / person with drinks. times 7 people. That's like 700-800Eur. 10% is about 80Euros. An 80euro tip sounds kind of a lot, no?

I understand that there are no clear cut rules, but just wanted to see what the general consensus would be. What you personally would do in these situations.

Thank you!

kimhe Sep 25th, 2016 12:57 AM

"Just When Do You Tip in Spain?" is spot on:

ribeirasacra Sep 25th, 2016 02:09 AM

Several articles from the Spanish press have recently reported about the art of giving a tip (propina)

Some of the news illustrates just how generous the Spanish can be. The article in English seems rather measly after reading the Spanish press.
However, it is also said the most generous are the foreigners. The North Americans being the best tippers and the Chinese giving nothing at all.
Use an online translator if your Spanish is not so good, except for the videos ;-) .

WoinParis Sep 25th, 2016 02:35 AM

I never tip in Spain. Except sometimes rounding up. And the colleagues/friends I was with didn't tip either.

bilboburgler Sep 25th, 2016 02:42 AM

I only ever round up, like you I come from a society where tipping is "difficult" and within Europe I only ever round up except for exceptional service. So if I just spent E 727 I would round to somewhere between 730 and 750 (750 being the more normal)

Never used a bellboy in my life, though once had to buy my bag back from a Egyptian who snatched it from my hands in a hotel

kimhe Sep 25th, 2016 02:51 AM

And it's a point now that after the economic crises started, many waiters, maids etc work on much lower fixed wages than before and the propina/tip therefore becomes much more important.

Never seen a bellboy in Spain, perhaps in María Cristina in San Sebastián, but I use to leave some 2-3 € pr night in the hotel room if everything was fine. Round up to the nearest couple of euros in bars, a couple of éuros in taxis and some 5-10 % in restaurants after a good experience.

Glad for the habit of leaving some euros in the hotel room when I forgot my passport in budget Hostal Victoria in Málaga. Didn't find out until many hours later when boarding the train to Sevilla, but it was taken care of by the maid and left in the reception. She would of course have taken care of the passport anyhow, but street market value would be some 2-3000 €.

nytraveler Sep 25th, 2016 04:26 AM

Well we come from a tipping culture and while I know that the usual 20% we give for everything is not what most locals do - we definitely tip in restaurants, cab drivers, etc - and leave at least 10% (which to us seems very cheap).

And IMHO yes, if you eat an upscale meal the tip should be appropriate. You don;t pay 100 euro for dinner and then leave 2 euros for the waiter - IMHO it's insulting.

And we do use bell staff if we have large luggage (more than a weekend carry-on) and give a couple of euros per bag. Just as we tip if we ask for something in the room - more towels or whatever.

WoinParis Sep 25th, 2016 04:37 AM

'Never used a bellboy in my life, though once had to buy my bag back from a Egyptian who snatched it from my hands in a hotel'

Same for me : I hate to have somebody carry my bags. I find it insulting... so I carry my own bags (and my wife's, and my kids').

'You don;t pay 100 euro for dinner and then leave 2 euros for the waiter - IMHO it's insulting.'
I totally agree but diverge on the net result : I don't give a tip - I consider I have paid enough with the bill. If I tip, I usually tip the guys in low scale eateries, where I feel there is the biggest 'need' since their wages will the lowest. I tipped recently in a ... McDo.

Southam Sep 25th, 2016 04:37 AM

Just back from Spain and tipped only once, a few euros in an expensive restaurant where the server was a great help in choosing the meal. Percentage tipping? Never in Spain or elsewhere in western Europe -- and I come from a tipping culture too where it's like a surcharge, almost automatic and damn annoying. Pay scales are different in European hospitality trades and make more sense.

ribeirasacra Sep 25th, 2016 04:58 AM

****and tipped only once, a few euros in an expensive restaurant where the server was a great help in choosing the meal.****
Not heard abut the psychological tricks which encourages diners to spend more?

bilboburgler Sep 25th, 2016 05:55 AM

To be fair I generally don't tip in upmarket restaurants, i am so often underimpressed and seldom find the groveling worth a tip.

"help in choosing a meal", you're having a laugh... what else are staff in restaurant there for... you'll be paying them next for bringing the bill :-)

The issue is about damage to a "culture", you would no more go to La Scala and start stripping during the final arias than give a big tip in most of Europe.

bilboburgler Sep 25th, 2016 06:00 AM

Back to the OP

coffee break, nothing unless say the price is E1.27 say when 1.30 makes more sense.

Taxi, well if he carried your bags up three flights of stairs you might add E5 but normally just round up or pay what is asked (I normally just pay what is asked)
Private bus charter, what is asked
Private guides, it depends, as you say if a free guide say E5 for half an hour and stretch it up to E10 for a full hour for a couple of you.
Private guide with fixed fee, only if you are amazed would you enhance the deal.

Mimar Sep 25th, 2016 06:02 AM

But the OP is leading a group. That's a slightly different case. How many people, minamax?

emily71 Sep 25th, 2016 07:22 AM

I always tip the hotel maids-usually a euro a night, especially if they do a good job. If I'm in a sit-down restaurant I will usually leave a 10% tip but not at bars.
For taxi drivers I always round up a euro.

minamax10 Sep 25th, 2016 08:51 AM

Thank you for all your replies!

Yes, I think the situation is complicated because I'm thinking in terms of a group. There will be 7 of us.

Our last few trips had more people in the group, and thus when booking hotels we were required to pay "porterage service in & out" usually about 4EUR/person. Which to be honest simplified thing and the ladies were happy that we didn'T have to worry about "how much ?" or "what's the appropriate way of doing it". I'd rather have a particular amount stated in agreement than trying to figure out things and taking care of it on the case by case basis. This time, if there's a porter, I guess we'll do 1-2 Euros.

We always leave a 1 Eur under the pillow at the hotel. It was interesting that last year in Romania, most of the coins were placed back on the side table. Even when we mentioned that we wanted the maids to have it, they would still refuse to take the money.

Interesting comments about the fine dining tipping. I guess if the bill is 20 euros paying 22euros makes sense to me. But when the bill is 1,000 euros, leaving a 100euro tip makes me pause. I guess I just don't have too many experiences with bills that high!

I mentioned that in Japan there is no tipping system. After thinking a bit more about it, I have to make a slight amendment. At some restaurants for groups of people, they do add say 10-15% of service charge. I remember seeing that at a Park Hyatt Restaurant in Tokyo. Again, once it's clearly stated on the menu how much and that it's a rule, then it's easier to accept.

Private guides. I kind of feel that a 350eur rate for 6-7hours, including time spent enjoy meals, is quite generous already. So I am glad to know that tipping is not required.

mikelg Sep 25th, 2016 11:34 PM

Most of my visitors are Americans and are usually generous at tipping...but it´s true that some of them have read about tipping rules in Spain (Basque Country, specifically) and they don´t tip at all. Well, when they ask me at a restaurant, I normally tell them to tip whatever they feel comfortable with, but not to follow the 20% rule. For a 50eur meal, 5 eur would be customary here. For a 100 eur meal, 6 or 7 eur would also be OK. But if someone does something extraordinary for you, I always advise to tip a little extra. No tipping at taxis, spare change for drinks or coffees. Private guides...well, it depends on his work and how he/she met or surpassed your expectations...350eur without transport for 7 people may be fine, but with a transport it´s cheap.

minamax10 Sep 29th, 2016 06:16 PM

Thank you Mikelg, I see that it's all relative. If the service is great and we are having a terrific time, we might add a little more. I have had these experiences before in my travels when it actually made me happy to tip someone for a great job. On occasions when I was not so happy and still felt that I "had" to tip, those are the times that even later you walk and wonder "why did I have to pay extra?" this time I will be more savvy and not a bit of a push-over. Or at least try :))

Looking forward to visiting Andalusia and hoping for great trip!

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