The Bucket List: All-Inclusive Resorts
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.