Published March 03, 2013
All-inclusive resorts are not created equally. While some offer the penultimate in luxury, others rely on quantity over quality. There are spa-centric getaways, family-friendly stays, and party-hearty atmospheres to be visited across the wide world of all-inclusives. With so many options, choosing the right resort for you and your posse can be a hassle. Luckily, Oyster has experienced all of the above and can point you toward the best of the best, no matter your style. Looking for a raucous pool scene? We’ve got it. Craving a secluded hideaway? We’ve unplugged there, too. So sit back, relax, and prepare yourself for some fun in the sun — all while using our guide to select the all-inclusive that is right for your style:
If You Want: To Travel Like a Queen
Stay: Half Moon, Jamaica
Drawing everyone from Queen Elizabeth to 50 Cent, Half Moon strives for timeless, understated luxury in Jamaica’s Montego Bay. Stretching over 400 acres (including 2 miles of beach), the 230-room resort offers attentive service, quality cuisine, and seemingly limitless activities, such as golfing and horseback riding. A variety of all-inclusive packages can be purchased in advance which may include lodging, meals, alcohol, airport transfers, golf fees, and sports activities. With several levels to choose from, just about everyone can be happy.
If You Want: To Have a Romantic Getaway
With only 90 suites, the Zoetry Paraiso offers a romantic, wellness-centric experience in the Mayan Riviera. Suites may feature small bath-side gardens or private outdoor pools as well as comfortable furnishings and Bulgari toiletries. The pool area and beach are relaxed with double-wide lounge chairs (perfect for couples), and the on-site dining keeps the resort’s wellness theme alive with delicious, healthy meals. Included amenities not standard at most all-inclusive resorts, such as a “welcome” bottle of tequila, a daily bottle of champagne, a one-hour Catamaran sunset sail, three-times-daily maid service, and private chauffeured airport transfers, make this resort a standout among the area’s finest properties.
If You Want: To Get an Amazing Value
Stay: Riu Palace Paradise Island, Bahamas
The Riu is the only Nassau hotel that offers all-you-can-eat food and all-you-can-drink, name-brand booze as part of its mandatory all-inclusive package. Considering the exorbitant cost of food and drinks at most other resorts in the Bahamas, the Riu can be an incredible value,depending on just how much you’re looking to drink, of course. Plus, the hotel offers a superb beach, large pool, tennis courts, and nightly entertainment.
If You Want: To Stay in an Eco-Boutique
Stay: The Caves, Jamaica
Unlike the great majority of all-inclusives, the intimate Caves eco-boutique features fresh, seasonal ingredients and inventive Jamaican-focused menus in Negril. Highlights include pumpkin ginger soup, saffron crabcakes served over spicy tomato salsa and drizzled with a herb-mustard vinaigrette, and rock shrimp simmered in a savory coconut sauce. And the setting — overlooking the sunset on the coarse rock cliffs or by candlelight inside a natural cave – is beyond compare, making the resort one of Jamaica’s most romantic escapes (the hotel is an adults only property). How does it maintain such amazing perks? Well, with high prices — but many would say it’s worth it.
If You Want: To Have an Adults-Only Romp
Stay: Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya
This all-inclusive, couples-only, clothing-optional resort is only for those interested in a somewhat raucous vacation — but as a 4-pearl resort, it’s a step above some similarly billed hotels. Desire caters to partying types with daytime activities (some more tame than others) and nightly parties, but there is also a nice pool with ocean views and a large Jacuzzi (that some claim can get pretty X-rated towards the wee hours of the morning). Guests can also check out the spa for an additional fee and, unlike at many other all-inclusive resorts, reservations are not required at the four restaurants.
If You Want: To Relax at the Spa
Stay: Marival Residences & World Spa, Riviera Nayarit
If you’re in the mood for a beach-lounging, party-hopping Mexican getaway, you can stop reading about the Marival Residences now. If, however, you’re look for laid-back luxury, residential-style suites, modern amenities, and an impressive array of all-inclusive features, this is the place to be. The main pool is large and sexy. The bars and restaurants on-site are ultra-chic. And a unique amenity: The property’s Melange Spa features eight massage rooms themed by nations, with interior design and massages to match — an intriguing spa concept not found at other area properties.
If You Want: To Party-Hearty
Stay: Viva Wyndham Domincus Beach, Dominican Republic
This is a young party resort year-round, with hot Italian guests (Viva Wyndham is an Italian company) salsa dancing to live music by the bar, an all-day snack bar and all-night pizzeria (perfect for when the drunken — or whatever substance you’re able to procure — munchies hit), and white canopy beds on the stunning, soft-sand beach. Plus, fun activities such as free trapeze lessons from circus performers, racy adult games led by the enthusiastic staff (such as the Kama Sutra, a relay race in which guests have to form suggestive positions to break a balloon), theater performances, a late-night disco, and weekly trips to a local club will appeal to party-minded 20-somethings (and for our wild 30- and 40-somethings — age is just a number).
If You Want: To Have Fun with the Whole Family
Stay: Sea Adventure Resort & Waterpark, Cancun
This all-inclusive caters to families. Located near the tip of Puerto Juarez, it is just 10 minutes away from the downtown Cancun bustle on a (rather small) beach. However, the main draw here isn’t the ocean — it’s the many kid-friendly features, including the kids’ club with arts and crafts, waterslides, and the waterpark playground. While adults are far from Cancun’s main party strip, they can still enjoy unlimited drinks, lounge on the swinging sun beds, and attend nightly shows, such as the Michael Jackson tribute. Most meals are buffet-style, but there are also two specialty restaurants.