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Gifts to resort workers

What was the most appreciated gift you have given to the staff at the resort you have visited? I noticed in another thread someone gave the chef a whisk and he loved it. We always take gifts but it makes you feel extra good when you give something that is unexpected and very useful besides the regular gifts like tylenol, bandaids etc. which we will also be bringing.

Any ideas??? thanks

Hi Chewbaka,
I’m taking whisks this year. Just to get into the kitchens and have a look around.
Most appreciated gifts last year were small jewelery items. Given directly to the recipients, they didn’t have to be shared with their “pool” of workers.
Earrings for the maid, a small bracelet for the Maitre De, and a broach for the desk angel as long as some other stuff like a CUC or two was thrown in for the “tip” the recipients got to keep the special stuff.
We brought hats, shirts and lots of other stuff but it’s the special things that count … or give cash that’s divided up.
I’m taking Spark Plugs for a Bartender who ownes a 56 Chevy, Big Towells to leave for the maids, Small diamond/ish stud earrings for “Special” staff and Centavos/CUC’s for everyone else.

I think the most appreciated gift I have given resort workers as well as people off of the resort is a good set of sharp knives.

I often bring knives, scissors, tarps, etc… stuff that people usually do not bring to give away. Also any kind of sanitary products are very much appreciated. :wink:

Freedom Ryder 8-)…

It was me that gave the chef the wisk. - it was nice to see the smile and the others wishing for the same. then their smiles when I brought down a few more the next day (only dollar store ones)

Other suggestions:

The mosquito head gear for anyone working outside

kitchen gloves for your chambermaid.

O - rings for the dive team and extra mouth pieces or neopreem gloves

Vice Grips for the handy man - now that was a huge smile

Fishing line, Guitar strings, fish hooks, Violin strings, balls for a pool table, tennis balls.
The groundskeepers liked the all-in-one tools and swiss-army tools/knives.

I’ll come back to this thread and post more items, but something that comes to mind quite readily is “Hairstyle Magazines” for the hairdresser on & off -resort. They rarely get access to the ‘latest in hair’ and yet are usually responsible for ‘dolling up’ all those beach brides, bridesmaids, mothers, and grandmothers! And besides, they LOVE to look at them!
I was offered free ‘highlights’ (which I declined) for the last set of nice mags I brought! And if you know a good salon here, they may be willing to give you their discarded mags!

I take a bottle of “extreme blonde” every year for a hotel worker who likes to be a bleach blonde. It’s always great seeing her the day after her day off - when she returns to work all blonde again!

The most appreciated gifts had to be last year when I gave a gardener a hat, some work gloves and a bit of cash the day I was leaving. I thought he was going to cry! That, and the eyar I went and found one of the cooks who had always had a smile for me and gave him a small tip! He is about 6’6" tall (a very big man), and every year when I return, he gives me the biggest hug imaginable (I’m a little over 5’) and I just about disappear!

Thanks so much everyone for the novel ideas for gifts!!! I know they appreciate everything they receive however my trip to the dollar store will come with much more imagination before we go this time…btw we got an amazing deal to villa cojimar…297 plus tax for the week…so that leaves me extra money to spend on things to take along…woohoo
thanks again… chewie

leftover sunblock and (new) spf lip balm seem to be prized

I would like your opinions. I am one of those that bring a suitcase of things. Once the summer sales start I buy children sandals, mens womens and childrens clothing, etc… etc… etc… All my experiences of giving has been well received and appreciated but I hear some comments on other forums that money only would be better… Do most of you still bring gifts or just tips. Have any of you talked to the Cuban people and they have specified that they prefer tips. We had 2 years ago in Santa Clara but there seems so much talk about not bringing gifts that sometimes I wonder. Tipping would be cheaper for me but I am trying to give back for such good hospitality…What do you think…

When I bring down gifts, for some staff memebers, the gifts are a instead or a suplement to their CUC tip. I try to bring down worthwhile items that cost me very little compared to their value. For example, sanitary napkins, Stayfree 18 ct, I purchased for $0.37. So if I was to say tip 1 CUC or the sanitary napkins, I’m sure the waitress/maid/cleaner would be happier to receive the napkins. At least I would hope so. Another example, I purchased childrens vitamins at costco, who indroduced new packaging so the old packaging were on sale for $6.99 for 2 bottles of 120 pills each. That means that it is costing me say 3 CUC for a bottle of childrens’ vitamins. When I befriend the staff and know who has children, I’m again pretty sure, they would prefer the childrens vitams to 3 CUC’s.

So to answer your question of what they prefer, my impression is that if they are worthwhile gifts they are more valuable than CUC. I’m sure the black market will allow them to sell/trade whatever they don’t need, and this will bring in more CUC then the equivalant cost to me.

I think it’s entirely your decision, and you should do whatever you are comfortable with! I can assure you that children’s sandals and clothing, and quality footwear for kids or adults, are always very appreciated, as are multivitamins for kids and seniors. Cash tips can be very useful, but many times, things are simply not readily available for purchase in Cuba.

Again, tipping with gifts or money is a very personal decision, you should simply do what feels right for you.

ive just returned from playa turquesa and noticed one of the ladies cooking eggs on two cast iron frying pans and using toilet paper wrapped around the handles to stop her hands from burning i guess she could do with a oven glove , the carvery chef was carving pork with a spoon and a knife so if anyones going there …

The one item that we were asked to bring when we return in a couple of weeks is party decorations for the front desks daughters 15th birthday in Oct. The can get a few items but she would really like balloons and streamers and cake decorations esp in pink. this is a very special birthday for girls in Cuba so we are happy to oblige.

You know its damned if you do and don’t. Go with your gut.It’s not a perfect world. If you don’t help you feel like crap if you do its perpetuating so called begging. Who’s really the concern here. Just my 2 cent’s

IMO it’s more of giving to the have instead to the have not, I would urge more giving to people off the resorts as some do here. Can you imagine just how much stuff these workers have to trade in the black market after each week of people giving to them like it really going to them ::slight_smile:

So many good intention going to the haves in Cuba, sad eh !

JMHO :sunglasses:

Anything good for the kids…shoes are a big one, clothes, medicine, pretty much anything for the kids and they are happy!

We have always taken a trip to our local dollar store prior to departing. This past November we took sewing kits consisting of 10 spools of coloured thread, some buttons, and 8 needles. They cost us a buck each. Probably one of the best gifts we have ever taken and given out. Panty hose for the ladies, birthday candles, colouring books and crayons, eye shadow, t- shirts, ball caps, leather work gloves, all appreciated per what we have experienced. One other gift we took prior that was was very well received was those shaker type LCD flash lights not requiring batteries. Keep in mind, and I believe this was something I read on this forum prior… If it looks cheap to us it was also look cheap to the recipient.
My wife wrapped a box of Turtles with gift wrap and a little ribbon this past November and gave it to the piano player at MSM. The next evening when the lady came to our table to thank us I thought she was going to cry she was so appreciative of it. Made us both feel fantastic knowing this was something special that is certainly not available to her.

We introduced our friends down there to Yahtzee a couple of visits ago. So on our visit last april we brought them their own game, 1 box of spare score pads and instructions in spanish. 6 months later they only had 1/2 a score pad left. They and their friends enjoy playing it. So I am sending down 4 more boxes of scorepads for them next month.

Also popular with the adults and kids was Connect Four. We are thinking of Battleship for next time. As the dad likes strategy games and that will work. Yet easy enough the kids can understand.

Relaxation where did you get the spanish yahtzee instructions? The net maybe ?