You land in Dubai and the first thing you want to do is grab a bite to eat in downtown. The local food is scrumptious—the shawarma, hummus, and meat kebabs have already become favorites that you’ll seek out again and again over the next few days.
As you finish, the receipt arrives at the table, and you’ve noticed that there is already a “service charge” added to the total payment amount on the bill.
Nevertheless, your waiter did such a fantastic job providing top-notch service that you want to leave a little extra cash behind as a good gesture.
And then it hits you—Do you even tip in Dubai? Well, here’s a breakdown tipping etiquette in one of the world’s most popular travel destinations …
Is Tipping Appropriate in Dubai?
Dubai is internationally renowned for its exceptional hospitality services. From the wait staff at luxury restaurants to the bellhop at your hotel, it’s rare to leave Dubai feeling as if you haven’t experienced high-quality customer service. So, is it customary to leave a tip?
Tipping in Dubai is not mandatory, and nor is it officially recommended, but it is accepted. There are some situations where tipping is customary, but ultimately, the decision to leave a tip depends on your personal preference and the quality of the service you received.
What are the Best Practices for Leaving a Tip?
The best practices for leaving a tip in Dubai depend on the situation you’re in. Let’s break down a few common scenarios and what you should do:
Restaurant/Waiter: Most restaurants will have already included a “service charge” on your bill, but it’s not uncommon to leave a tip for your waiter/waitress. If that’s the case, you’ll want to leave somewhere between 10% and 15% of your tab.
Taxi Drivers: It’s perfectly acceptable to tip your taxi driver in Dubai, especially if they’ve taken extra care to drive safely, provided helpful information, and engaged you in great conversation. A customary amount to give is between AED 5-10, but it’s also permissible to have your driver round up and keep the change.
Bellhop/Valet Driver: Bellhops and valet drivers won’t always expect a tip, but it is more of a customary action to leave some extra cash in their hands. Guests are advised to give between AED 5-10.
Tour Guides: If you’re planning to explore Dubai with a tour group or professional guide, a tip is recommended, but not mandatory, to show your appreciation, especially if they’ve done a fantastic job leading you around the city. It’s been noted that tourists have provided up to AED 100 for a single-day tour, but feel free to tip based on quality.
Spa/Beauty/Massage: Service charges won’t automatically be included in your bill, so if the service and treatment were satisfactory or exceptional, an AED 5-20 is advised.
Here’s Your Final Tip …
So now that you’re aware of tipping etiquette in Dubai, make sure to have some extra cash in your wallet or purse. Always tip in the local currency, AED, and don’t forget that it’s not mandatory or always expected. Nonetheless, since Dubai is one of the best places in the world for spectacular service, just know that you may wind up coming out of your pocket more than you think. Safe and happy travels!