Updated: Jun 29, 2021
By Kim DeSutter
Published May 27, 2021 in The Burg
What do you think of when someone mentions an all-inclusive resort? Poor food? Unappetizing buffet lines? Mediocre drinks? Or do you think of gourmet dining, exotic cocktails and catered service? The former may represent the past, but today’s resorts have changed the game.
In the beginning, the lure of an all-inclusive resort was a low-cost vacation where money was paid up front and all food, drink, and entertainment was provided. Resorts were built in warm climates and often in areas where travelers would not have reasons for leaving the resort.
It was a stress-free vacation, usually geared towards families.
The number of all-inclusive resort options has now exploded with a resort for every
traveler’s style. There are still inexpensive resorts for budget travelers, but there are also ultra-luxury resorts. Restaurants may feature French, Asian or Italian dishes. Often, even the
experience within a resort is customizable as most offer an exclusive option with even higher quality fare for an upcharge. Drink offerings can include top shelf liquor. First rate spas and gyms are a staple. Other amenities can include lavish rooms, butler services, golf, bicycling, kayaks, fitness classes, dance and language lessons, pool parties, and many more activities.
Some resorts are themed and offer a focus on topics like music (Hard Rock resorts) or
Hollywood (Planet Hollywood).
The greatest part of an all-inclusive vacation is it can meet large groups or individual
needs, often at the same time. If Grandma and Grandpa want to treat the family, everything is
paid for up front at a set cost. The myriad of activities keeps all family members of any age
entertained and the diverse dining options can satisfy all. For families with kids and teens, resorts can include water parks, escape rooms, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling adventures, ziplining, or skateboarding. Many resorts have kid or teen clubs including organized activities with certified staff members allowing parents to have an adult night out or a free afternoon.
All-inclusive resorts are popular for destination weddings. Guests can get special rates
and the wedding couple can have the expertise of the resort’s wedding planner. The wedding venues are beautiful!
For those wanting a break from kids, adult only resorts have a minimum age of 18. At
these, the activities are geared towards adults such as cooking classes, wine or spirit tastings or mixology demonstrations. There may be yoga on the beach or water aerobics.
This past April, I experienced the Jimmy Buffet themed resort of Margaritaville Island
Reserve Riviera Cancun. It was a beautiful resort, and small for an all-inclusive resort, with only 148 rooms. There were four restaurants with very high quality food. (I could have eaten at Rita’s Taco House every day!) The resort had many Covid safety protocols in place and all employees wore masks at all times. The breakfast buffet had wonderful food which was plated with your specific selections by staff members. Continuous cleaning was observed, and the resort provided a free covid test for entry back into the USA as per CDC requirements. There was also a plan if someone tested positive.
An all-inclusive resort is a wonderful option for a stress free, relaxing, indulgent vacation where costs are paid upfront and there is no need to leave the resort. Excursions can be added for those who want to venture out. Cruise Planners sell more land travel than cruises! Contact me if you are “all-in” for an all-inclusive experience and I will help you plan your next vacation!
(You can reach Kim at Kimberly.DeSutter@cruiseplanners.com.)