Resort Jobs: Pay and Experience

Working at a beach resort of hotel will not make you rich, as the majority of former employee will tell you, but it is the people you meet and the wonderful experience that makes this one of the most sought after jobs in the world.

Working at a Resort Will Provide you With Plentiful Experience While Earning a Modest Paycheck as Well

The fact that you don’t require any formal qualification is also an appealing part of these jobs, and they are perfect for students or entry level workers looking for a break into the hospitality industry.

Even if hospitality work is not your ultimate career goal, working at a resort hotel will give you the chance to make money while travelling and acquire various skills that can help you branch out into other careers. The pay you receive as a resort worker will depend on what job you have and where you work.

Most of the service level jobs offer entry level minimum wage with weekly pay, but tips are normally added to this basic wage, which is a huge attraction. Management and supervisory positions offer a more substantial salary paid monthly, with no tips. All resort workers are offered various additional benefits including dental and medical, as well as free meals and discounts on resort facilities. Free accommodation is another major benefit of resort work and is what attracts many employees to work at exotic destinations all around the world.

For seasonal resort workers, the wages they earn are used for further travel and to explore the areas surrounding the resort. For those interested in full time employment, the ability to quickly advance in your choice of career along with the added incentive of free meals and board, makes for a very attractive package, even though your initial salary is not that high.

Most people decide to embark on a resort job to have an adventure in a new country, gain experience, meet people, and enjoy a working vacation. In the words of one former employee,

“I wasn’t really worried about the money. I was more interested in having a great experience.”

A dishwasher working at a ski resort commented on his experience and pay,

“Washing dishes at the ski station is probably the best job in the resort, specifically if your ultimate goal is to go skiing or snowboarding. After the main lunch rush, you and the chef are the first to leave and you have the rest of the afternoon out on the slopes. You will make less money than the waiters (around $1,000 per month), but who cares? The ski pass costs basically nothing and you can rent cheap skis. Your employer also usually gives you a great apartment to share with one of the waiters. By the spring, I had made enough money to travel around some more.”

If you are looking to earn a good salary, however, these are rated the best cities in the U.S. in which to find higher paying resort work:

  • New York, New York
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Houston, Texas
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California

Entry Level Resort Wages

There are lots of entry level positions that you can get working at a beach resort including food servers, housekeepers, sport instructors, childcare minders, and more. As an entry level worker with little or no training, you normally earn the minimum wage, but tips are also added to this, so your earning power is limitless. Here is an idea as to what you can earn if you land one of these jobs.

A cook at the Ritz Carlton Hotel earns between $11 and $24 per hour while The Phoenician Resort and Hotel pays their cooks $9 per hour.

A food server or waiter at the Ritz Carlton Hotel makes $4.26 per hour while food and banquet servers at the Kellogg earn between $8 and $10 per hour. Cocktail servers at The Mirage earn $9-$10 per hour and Statler Hotel pays their banquet servers between $9 and $13 per hour.

If you have a particular skill in an activity or sport, there are plenty of instructor jobs which pay anywhere between $9 and $36 per hour, with a tennis instructor at Teton Pines Resort being paid the highest at $34 to $36 per hour or between $67,000 and $73,000 annually. Ski and snowboard instructors earn between minimum wage and $19 depending on where they are based, and an Assistant SCUBA diving instructor at the Homestead Resort in Utah earns around $12 per hour with commission on sales adding about $5,000 to his yearly compensation.

Lifeguards, valets, service cashiers and front desk clerks all earn fairly low hourly rates ranging from minimum wage to $12 per hour depending on the type of resort you approach and how much previous experience you have. Here are some other hotel industry jobs and how much they pay on average according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Maintenance and repair workers: $12.47 per hour
Cooks: $12.27 per hour
Janitors and cleaners, except maids: $10.76 per hour
Bartenders: $9.55 per hour
Food servers: $9.38 per hour
Hotel and resort desk clerks: $9.34 per hour
Dining room attendants and bartenders: $8.97 per hour
Waiters and waitresses: $8.85 per hour
Maids and housekeeping cleaning staff: $8.75 per hour
Gaming dealers: $7.29 per hour

Resort Management Pay

According to, out of 7,306 resort hotel managers, the following is the average salary range to be expected:

General Manager, Hotel: $50,165 per year
Assistant General Manager, Hotel: $35,623 per year
Hotel Manager: $40,545 per year
Guest Services Manager, Hotel: $36,287 per year
Shift Manager, Hotel Front Desk: $35,215 per year
Resort Manager: $50,005 per year

Managers at resort hotels also receive great benefits including dental and medical, with free housing and meals only offered at certain resorts.

Comparing Hotel Compensation from 2 Resorts

Let’s take a look at 2 popular resort hotels in the United States, the Kahala Hotel and Resort in Honolulu, Hawaii and the Starwood Hotels and Resorts group with establishments worldwide, including The Sheraton and St Regis, to find out the average salaries and wages that they are paying their staff. These figures are taken from and cover various different resort hotel jobs.


Security Officer: $15 – $16 per hour
Japanese Guest Services Assistant Manager: $39,000 – $41,000 per year
Director of Food and Beverage: $87,000 – $93,000 per year
Asia/Group Coordinator: $39,000 – $42,000 per year
Assistant Hotel Manager: $38,000 – $41,000 per year
Japanese Guest Service Manager/SPA Supervisor: $31,000 – $34,000 per year
Housekeeping Manager: $36,000 – $38,000 per year
Banquet Manager: $46,000 – $50,000 per year
Asia/Group Sales Coordinator: $39,000 – $43,000 per year

Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Front Desk Agent: $9 – $14 per hour
Sales Manager: $43,000 – $70,000 per year
Front Desk Manager: $32,000 – $50,000 per year
Hotel Front Desk Manager: $35,000 – $46,000 per year
Front Desk: $9 – $12 per hour
Revenue Manager: $49,000 – $60,000 per year
Front Desk Supervisor: $12 – $15 per hour
Director: $89,000 – $124,000 per year
Manager, Systems Development: $85,000 – $90,000 per year
Restaurant Manager: $35,000 – $52,000 per year


To get any resort hotel ob, there are varying amounts of experience that one needs. The experience ranges from no experience at all to years of experience at the more prestigious hotel chains. The experience required is also dependant on what type of resort job you are interested in applying for.

The lower paying jobs generally do not require any previous experience and training is provided on the job. These jobs are normally seasonal with new staff being hired on a regular basis. These are the ideal jobs to get if you want to gain more experience and work your way up the ladder to the higher paying hospitality jobs.

Managerial positions usually require some level of experience and managers, directors, and executives have usually worked at the resort before in other lower level positions before being promoted. There is a fairly good hierarchy in place for most resort jobs and promotions are easy to come by for those interested in working full time, or for seasonal workers who return to the same resort year after year.

Experience can open up other possibilities in better resorts or give you the chance to be employed by cruise line companies who often have land based resorts that their cruise ships lead passengers to. Most cruise lines require 1 to 3 years of previous hospitality experience before they will hire you, except for the lowest paying positions such as dishwasher or linen porter.

The amount of experience you have will dictate the pay you receive and usually those with the most experience in any of the jobs will subsequently be given the head or executive position in their department. This does not necessarily have to be a designated position, but could be created for someone who stands out from the rest of the staff within in the same area of employment.

As job turnover is generally high in resorts, there is often a need to create positions on a continuous basis as the hotel deems necessary. Additionally, during peak seasons, resort hotels and theme parks will hire more staff to cope with the excess of visitors, so employment rates and job positions remain fairly flexible, depending on the demand.

Quick Summary:

  • Minimum wage pay for entry level workers
  • Hotel and resort Directors and managers can earn over $100,000 annually
  • The highest paying hotel and resort jobs are to be found in Orlando, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada
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