9 Secrets High-End Resorts Don't Want You to Know

High-end resorts can give you plenty of fun in the sun, but your stay might be even better if you know about these hush-hush perks.
Last updated April 3, 2023 | By Jenny Cohen Edited By Chris Kissell
swimming pool at caribbean resort

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You're in need of a vacation, which is why you picked a few possible destinations at high-end resorts in hopes of getting some luxurious time away.

But these resorts might have a few secrets, and uncovering them could make your stay more enjoyable. In fact, not knowing these hidden realities might cause headaches if you don’t know what to look for.

Following are a few secrets you may want to know about before you head out on your next trip. Additionally, you want to book your stay with one of the best hotel credit cards to take advantage of generous rewards and perks. 

All-inclusive may not include everything

xl1984/Adobe catering food

There are some incredible resorts that are all-inclusive, making your vacation easier with meals, entertainment, and other perks included in your package. But there are things that may not be included in “all-inclusive.”

If you’re trying to save money, it might be a good idea to research what is — and is not — included as part of your all-inclusive deal. For example, some resorts might charge you additional fees for high-end liquor or premium menu items at the resort’s restaurants.

Good tippers are treated well

sosiukin/Adobe  female hand holding a pack of money

The word will get around to staff if you’re a good tipper. Employees assume you also will want to tip them well or will simply be easy to deal with, so tipping well could help make your stay more pleasant.

Here’s another reason to tip well: Although they may not announce it to guests, there might be perks that hotel employees can give out depending on the circumstances. Rewards can be offered at the discretion of the staff for basic things such as being a good guest or being considerate to the staff.

Check your bill to see if the gratuity is included along with other resort fees. If the amount doesn’t seem to be enough, consider tipping staff a few more dollars.

Pro tip: Try to tip staffers on a daily basis or at the beginning of your stay rather than at the end. They might remember the interaction and make sure you get the best possible service during your vacation.

Last-minute purchases will cost you

Mazur Travel/Adobe Street view in the Kas old town with boutique shops at evening

Resorts may have boutiques or a small shop on site that can easily help you get anything you forgot to pack. The shop may include everything from basic items like sunscreen or toothpaste to bigger-ticket items such as a good pair of sunglasses or a swimsuit.

However, that convenience comes at a price, with products usually marked up to get the maximum profit from you. So, you will be better served by making a checklist before you leave home and packing everything you need before getting to your destination.

Pro tip: If booking an all-inclusive stay is going to put a serious dent in your wallet, consider these additional ways you can boost your bank account to help pay for your vacation. 

Frequent travelers may get better deals than others

Travel man/Adobe asian businessman with suit sitting in business first class seat

Just as a frequent flier may get a bump to first class, a frequent traveler may also get an upgrade. Hotels may include information about how often you stay at one of their properties, and this data will likely be relayed to the next place you’ll be staying.

Your loyalty to a particular chain can be rewarded with a room upgrade, complimentary food or drinks waiting for you, or any additional perks set aside for returning customers.

Some perks may be hard to find

luismolinero/Adobe blonde man over yellow wall taking a magnifying glass

Some perks may be advertised, but you’ll only see them if you look in the right place — for example, advertised on social media.

When you book your vacation or check in to your hotel, ask for a complete list of the things included for your package. You may be surprised at some of the additional benefits that aren’t advertised on the resort’s website. It’s crazy to miss out on these goodies simply because you are not aware of them.

You might get perks for celebrating your celebrations

JacobLund/Adobe cheerful bride and bridesmaids celebrating hen party

Are you taking a long-awaited vacation to celebrate your birthday, anniversary, or another important milestone? Remember to mention the fact when booking your vacation as well as when you arrive on the property.

Some resorts have extra perks to give guests who are celebrating such occasions. These may include treats for your room, special spa treatments, or perhaps even a room upgrade to make you feel more special.

Activities may cost money

Olesia Bilkei/Adobe father and son having fun on jet ski

You may want to double-check the costs of activities on the property before you hop on that Jet Ski or paddleboard. Activities — even those on the resort property — might cost an extra fee. You might not find that out until you get a surprise charge on your bill at the end of your stay.

Pro tip: If you do plan to take part in some fun in the sun, make sure you have some of the best travel credit cards, which often can get you extra perks or savings.

Booking excursions after you arrive can save cash

Rawpixel.com/Adobe Guests checking in to a hotel

Even if you are excited about sitting at home and checking out the beautiful areas around your resort, it can pay to hold off on booking excursions until after you arrive at the resort.

A resort concierge or other locals might be better at helping you find the right excursions and trips off the property. They might also have deals with local providers that could help you save a little extra cash if you book through the resort.

There may be spa perks

triocean/Adobe massage room in spa salon

When you go to a relaxing resort with a spa, you probably expect to pay for services such as a massage, facial, or other special treats. But your hotel’s spa might offer special deals and perks if you remember to ask. There also might be spa perks tied to the resort’s loyalty program.

Bottom line

Kittiphan/Adobe Young woman traveler relaxing and enjoying the sunset

With a little research, you may be able to take advantage of additional benefits or high-end secrets that other patrons do not know about. Finding out about these perks can help you have a more relaxing stay. Remember to book your stay with one of the best hotel credit cards to reap additional rewards and perks. You can also pick up a side hustle or two for extra money to help pay for that luxurious vacation you so desperately need. 

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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.