Gone are the days when an all-inclusive resort meant average accommodations, subpar all-you-can-eat buffets, and no in-town excursions.
In the last several years, large hotel chains such as the Marriott and Hyatt began launching all-inclusive packages, which has pushed resorts to improve quality, an article in the Washington Post says
. Resorts also used down time during the pandemic to add premium features such as private beaches, luxury suites, and butler services. If the idea of effortless daily planning and one or few fees for all of your needs sounds appealing, then an all-inclusive resort may be ideal. Here’s some advice on how to plan, pitfalls to avoid, and some of the most popular all-inclusive resorts for all types of travellers.
Vacationing at an all-inclusive resort is best for when you want to relax in a luxurious setting. If you are in the mood for wild excursions, taking in local culture, and lots of trekking to fulfill an urge to see and do, an all-inclusive resort may not be for you. Or, you could consider choosing a resort that offers excursions as part of its package, or in addition.
And keep in mind that many resorts often cater to certain groups. If you want a quiet getaway, seek out a resort that’s adults only. And if you’re looking to meet someone, perhaps don’t go to a resort pushing couple’s packages. On the other hand, if you’re planning on bringing the kids or taking a multigenerational vacation, family-oriented resorts are perfect. You can do things together then go your own way and regroup. Such resorts often offer kids clubs so the adults can relax. The resort’s website will include details such as whether kids are allowed on the property or not, and you can also get a read on the place by checking out the advertising and reading reviews.
As of spring 2022, the cost of a decent all-inclusive is at least $200 per adult per night
. Of course, there are cheaper ones, but you may be compromising experience. One of the appeals of all-inclusives is a well-rounded experience for a reasonable cost. To ensure that you’re getting a good deal, be sure to compare the cost of the resort to nearby traditional accommodations. You may also want to consider travelling outside of peak times for more affordable rates. The off-season is usually during the school year, especially just after Labor Day, and between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you’re booking a resort in a remote area, consider how you will get from the airport to your accommodations. For drive times up to an hour or more, ride services and cabs can be expensive. Check if transportation to the airport is included in your package, or if there is an additional cost for the resort to transport you.
Not purchasing travel insurance is a big one. If you’re travelling outside of your home province, certain medical expenses, such as ambulatory transportation and accidental dental care, may not be eligible for coverage.Travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance can help you fill the gaps with a wide range of emergency medical benefits for varying budgets
You should also read closely to be sure you are getting the most out of your all-inclusive package. Many services, such as spa treatments, come with additional fees, which can add up quickly. So be sure that your must-haves for a dream vacation are included in the base package. It helps to remember that the cost of the resort factors in all services, whether you use them or not. For example, if you’re not a big drinker; don’t stay at a resort that offers top shelf liquor in its package, while charging additional fees for that guided kayaking trip you were eyeing.
If you love to explore and stay busy, consider booking Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal, a large resort property full of natural beauty, located between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. After a day of windsurfing or playing tennis, spend your evening dining at one of the resort’s many restaurants or dancing at the property’s nightclub. Couples rated the resort 8.6 out of 10 on Booking.com.
The mini water park and pool at Bahia Principe Fantasia Punta Cana is sure to be the highlight of your trip for the kids. Located in the Dominican Republic, the seaside resort is known as one of the best all-inclusives in the Carribean for families with children. And the on-site shops, bars, and restaurants give guests the convenience of not leaving the property for essentials.
The architecturally stunning suites at Jade Mountain Resort in Saint Lucia have a unique feature; the rooms are only bordered by three walls. A fully open fourth side opens onto a private infinity pool with breathtaking views of the Piti and Gros Piton mountains above the Carribean. Jade Mountain is the perfect retreat for couples in search of a luxurious and exclusive experience. With 600 acres of oceanfront property to explore, and meals prepared at the Jade Mountain Club by a James Beard Award-winning chef, this unique resort is sure to please.
The Royal Decameron in Puerto Vallarta is a great option for travellers who want to take in a vibrant city and local cuisine, but still enjoy the relaxation offered at an all-inclusive. The resort offers multiple amenities – spas, five pools, and a nightclub – but is relatively less expensive than other all-inclusives. So, if you decide to eat a few meals downtown and pay for attractions, you won’t feel guilty for the extra spending.
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