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What Does a Cabana Boy Do?

By Dorothy Bland
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A cabana boy performs a range of general personal service duties related to increasing the comfort of guests at hotels, spas, and beach resorts. Some wealthy individuals may also hire cabana boys to provide services on their privately owned beaches or at their homes. The specific job description, however, will vary depending on location and the individual employer. The terms pool attendant or pool boy might also be used interchangeably to refer to a cabana boy. Although the job descriptions often share many similarities, there may be some differences in job duties.

Generally, cabana boys are required to perform a broad range of customer service duties. Typically when considering applicants, hotels and resorts are looking for young men who are easily able to engage all types of people. Regular job duties usually include greeting and interacting with customers to determine what their needs are and fetching towels, snacks, and drink. This might also mean applying suntan lotion or spraying down patrons with water to help them cool off.

At some resorts, the employee might be required to help guest check in or reserve seating areas for frequent visitors. The employee may also perform cleaning duties, such as cleaning bathrooms, emptying trashcans, and wiping off furniture. In the most exclusive locations, the employee may not serve all of the patrons at the resort, but may only be assigned to a few elite clients to anticipate their needs and maximize their experience.

The job description for those working in privately owned homes will typically differ based on the number of other employees within the home and the needs of the family. For instance, the cabana boy may be asked to take on the typical duties of a bartender and make elaborate drinks. When monitoring people at pools instead of beaches, the pool boy may also have to clean debris from the pool and maintain pool equipment to keep it in top working order.

On average, a cabana boy is a young adult male, usually in his 20s. Sometimes cabana boys are seen as nothing but eye candy, dressed only in a skimpy bathing suit to show off their well-toned bodies. The young age of the males, however, can also be attributed to the high amount of physical fitness required to perform the job duties. Employees need to have a strong back and arms to hoist and set up heavy umbrellas and other beach equipment. Frequent kneeling, lifting, and walking are normally a part of the job description, as is being able to work under extreme temperature conditions.

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Discussion Comments
By chivebasil — On Jun 02, 2012

Cabana boys get made fun of a lot but the money is for real. I had a job at a country club serving drinks around the pool and I made more than a lot of the guys working in the fine dining restaurant and I did half of the work. People are in a good mood around the pool. They are willing to be free with their money.

By Ivan83 — On Jun 02, 2012
It seems like cabana boys are a thing of the past. When I hear about them I think of some Las Vegas casino in the 50s where the Rat Pack is performing.

But of course the idea of a cabana boy has not gone anywhere and never will. People like to look at beautiful people when they are on vacation or trying to relax and have fun. Women like to look at attractive men just as much as men like to do the reverse. It just makes sense that they would hire fit guys to serve drinks to women at the pool.

By whiteplane — On Jun 01, 2012

I worked as a cabana boy one summer when I was in college. I was basically a waiter and a bus boy but even more than that I was someone for the old ladies sitting around the pool to stare at. That was not an explicit part of my job but it became obvious pretty fast who was buttering my bread.

I didn't really mind. I made good money and everyone was obviously very friendly and it was all harmless. Who cares about a little playful flirtation? It keeps things fun, and the ladies loved the attention.

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