The Bucket List: All-In­clu­sive Re­sorts

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - By Mike Hunter [email protected]­plan­

All-in­clu­sive va­ca­tions have been around for many years but the num­ber of op­tions, par­tic­u­larly in Mex­ico and the Caribbean, has sky­rock­eted. You can prob­a­bly guess why they are grow­ing.

They are pop­u­lar. They also vary widely in what is in­cluded, qual­ity, size, lo­ca­tion, and of course, price.

For the aver­age trav­eler the search for the best fit prop­erty can be over­whelm­ing.

A re­cent Google search for “all-in­clu­sive re­sorts in Mex­ico” re­turned over 40 mil­lion re­sults.

Some of the re­ally big names in this busi­ness are: AM Re­sorts, Club Med, Hard Rock, RIU, and of course, the in­dus­try lead­ers, San­dals (Adults only) and Beaches (Fam­ily).

All-in­clu­sive re­sorts are a bit dif­fer­ent from US ho­tel chains in that ev­ery prop­erty, even owned by the same com­pany, is very unique.

Those of us that have trav­elled a fair bit know that stay­ing in a Hamp­ton Inn in Ge­or­gia is much like stay­ing in a Hamp­ton Inn in New York.

While not iden­ti­cal, they have a lot of very com­mon looks, fea­tures, ameni­ties, etc. But, take San­dals just in Ja­maica, for in­stance.

They have 7 re­sorts in Ja­maica with sev­eral of them next door but each one has a dif­fer­ent look, feel, fea­tures, restau­rants, bars, pools, etc. They even have their own tag lines like:

♦ “Bri­tain to Bali – Ad­ven­tures in Ja­maica” (Royal Caribbean)

♦ “An Au­then­tic Ja­maican Bou­tique Re­sort” (San­dals Inn)

♦ All Beach­front. All Lux­ury. All on Ja­maica’s South Coast” (South Coast)

♦ “Trendy When You Want It. Pri­vate When You Don’t” (Ochi Beach)

While this re­sults in nev­erend­ing va­ri­ety it makes the search for best fit quite com­pli­cated. The per­fect re­sort for one cou­ple/fam­ily may be dread­ful to the next!

So what is meant by “All-In­clu­sive” and what is in­cluded?:

♦ Ho­tel/Lodg­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions

♦ Food (some to many op­tions. Food­ies will love Karisma and San­dals)

♦ Bev­er­ages (al­co­holic and non-al­co­holic)

They of­ten in­clude: ♦ En­ter­tain­ment

♦ Tips and gra­tu­ities ♦ Ac­tiv­i­ties (non-mo­tor­ized wa­ter sports, and games)

BE­WARE of ad­ver­tise­ments that claim “all-in­clu­sive” but are NOT.

A Google search of allinclu­sive re­sorts in Hawaii re­vealed many prop­er­ties but I am not aware of ANY that are ac­tu­ally all-in­clu­sive like I pre­vi­ously de­scribed.

Also, be ad­vised that if you see “all-in­clu­sive” but then see “Eu­ro­pean plan” what they are say­ing is that the room may in­clude break­fast.

On the other end of the spec­trum is San­dals, voted World’s Best 22 con­sec­u­tive years, claim­ing to have “More qual­ity in­clu­sions than any other re­sorts on the planet”.

In ad­di­tion to the in­clu­sions pre­vi­ously men­tioned they al­ways in­clude:

♦ Scuba div­ing (if cer­ti­fied. If not, they pro­vide fair priced train­ing)

♦ Golf greens fees in Ja­maica and St. Lu­cia

♦ Wi-Fi ♦ Sis­ter/neigh­bor­ing re­sort ex­change priv­i­leges as well as free shut­tle there

♦ Air­port trans­fers Why the at­trac­tion to allinclu­sive? For many peo­ple (I think it is the same rea­son many choose to cruise) the abil­ity to bud­get and pay ahead of time and not have to worry about ex­penses and tips and cost while on va­ca­tion; is well worth it.

I was re­cently telling a friend that I found the no tip­ping fea­ture quite free­ing. One less thing to have to con­sider while try­ing to re­lax. (San­dals em­ploy­ees, for ex­am­ple, are for­bid­den to ac­cept any tips).

The cheap­est time to go is Septem­ber while the most ex­pen­sive is typ­i­cally Jan­uary through March.

Fi­nally, tele­vi­sion and other ads may cause you to think these all-in­clu­sive re­sorts are just for the young su­per mod­els and hon­ey­moon­ers.

How­ever, this is just not the case. Es­pe­cially dur­ing the slower sea­son you will see pretty much ev­ery age group.

Ready to book your allinclu­sive re­sort stay or want to learn more about what is best for you? Con­tact Mike Hunter at 678-901-0993.

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