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Aug 14, 2007 08:24 AM

Aura at Seaport Hotel

Not really sure if this question belongs here or in "not about food", but directly applies to Aura at the Seaport Hotel. I understand that it is their policy to add the gratuity to the check, regardless of party size. The menu indicates that an 18% service charge will be added. Last night two friends and I went there for dinner (RW menu specifically) and while we didn't exactly have the best experience there (which is why I typically avoid RW like the plague), our waiter added a 20% gratuity to the check.

Now I'm typically a generous tipper, 20% is what I give as an absolute minimum. Had that not been added, he definitely would have gotten 20% anyway, so it's not about the money, but rather the principle. So I'm wondering if that was something the restaurant did for the sake of RW, or did I just get screwed. And if so, how do they get away with that?

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  1. That sounds a bit fishy. Maybe the waiter made a mistake?

    We went to Aura for drinks on Saturday night (between the two restaurant weeks), and they included a tip in my bill for a beer and a cranberry/soda drink. I can see adding it for food (and especially for large groups), but it seemed a bit odd having the tip added automatically to a couple of drinks in the bar. I usually tip more than 20% for drinks (sometimes way more, depending on how many I've had, darnit), so I guess in a strange way, it's their loss.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      After similar experiences at other establishments who "force" the customer to pay their helps wages, I have become so turned off by this practice. It is all too presumptuous of the establishment that their servers are providing top-notch, friendly and knowledgable services. I do agree with this practice when there are large parties or groups, but not for individual dining parties. Most diners, and myself included tip 20% or a bit more for good service and at the bar, it works out to about 30% ... or more, depending on the bartender and the buzz.

      1. re: Buddernut

        I don't disagree. I wonder if this hotel attracts a particlarly international clientel for whom "service compris" is more the norm than discretionary tipping. In any event, I did not object to it at Aura because the service was good, it was only 15%, and the server made sure to point it out. (In those cases where a tip is added but they do not make it a point to point it out, I view that as a case of attempted robbery.)

    2. I had a bad meal at the bar a week or two ago and the automatic tip was 15%(which is quite reasonable as automatic tips go). I'd be surprised if the wait staff had the ability to alter the amount; perhaps they up it to 20% for RW.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Blumie

        When I went to Mistral a few years ago during RW, they put an automatic tip in assuming our meal cost a higher amount, or something like that. So I guess they're trying to cover a low priced meal and a low tip on that.

      2. Are you saying the server wrote the tip amount on the check? Have not eaten at Aura but have been to the bar many times and my recollection is the cash register receipt has the tip typed on it. Clearly if it was typed on the slip the hotel is aware of it and perhaps it is related to the RW menu; which I don't argree with. You should have the option of adding to the basic tip.

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