The best thing about an all-inclusive resort is what you don’t have to deal with — namely, whipping out your wallet every time you eat, drink or do virtually anything. We’ve picked nine favorites in the Caribbean and beyond where you can check in, bliss out and order another.
Palm Island Resort, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
For planning-weary newlyweds, Palm Island Resort is a romantic slam dunk thanks to its private island setting at the tip of one of the Grenadines. Here, three meals a day and booze are part of the deal, as well as throwback extras like afternoon tea in the salon and a weekly cocktail hour. Free water sports include snorkeling expeditions to three surrounding coral reefs, kayak rides and windsurfing, but the biggest draw is the island’s five white sand beaches, where there’s almost no other guest in sight.
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya, Mexico
A Jetsetter Best of the Best award winner in the all-inclusive category two years running, this 36-acre beachfront resort shows other Riviera Maya hotels how it’s done. We’re talking à la carte restaurants (seven of them) instead of buffets, unlimited house made cocktails, a bottle of champagne on arrival and even free long-distance phone calls. And in addition to unlimited beach lounging, non-motorized water sports and swim sessions in the huge pools, guests can try scuba diving with an expert, Spanish class without the homework, a Mayan temazcal ceremony in the gorgeous spa, a personalized minibar and hikes through the surrounding mangrove marshes.
Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, Costa Rica
On Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, overlooking Golfo Dulce, this treehouse-style ecolodge flanked by rainforest and the Pacific Ocean is the perfect place to unplug. The all-inclusive setup gets it right, with three meals a day and snacks (most prepared using ingredients from the hotel’s on-site gardens), as well as the use of kayaks, snorkels and fishing equipment. Self-guided hikes around the nature preserve in which the resort is set are encouraged, and the friendly staff is on hand to point out the best paths. Drinks are extra, but most guests turn in after the family-style dinner to rise in time for sunrise yoga on the alfresco platform, surrounded by the rainforest.
BodyHoliday, St. Lucia
It’s all in the name at this beachfront resort at St. Lucia’s northwest tip: Everything is geared toward rejuvenating the body. The moment you book your stay you’re signed up for all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, a daily 50-minute spa treatment (excluding arrival and departure days), scuba diving, group golf lessons and more. The meals are all organic and mostly grown on the 42-acre grounds, and the enormous award-winning spa has more than 30 treatment rooms and offers pampering body scrubs, aromatherapy and ayurvedic massage.
In the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Travaasa is a nature lover’s retreat just outside Austin, Texas. There’s yoga, yes, and vegan food options, as well as reiki sessions and life coaching, yet it’s anything but crunchy, dedicated instead to getting active, bedding down in luxe style and dining on upscale healthy fare prepared by chef Benjamin Baker. The 40-plus activities start at 6 a.m., and most are included in the rate. Our favorites: the class in mechanical bull riding, hands-on cooking demos, slacklining and hatchet throwing.
The Reserve at Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
A playground for families on the DR’s beachy east coast, this boutique resort-within-a-resort gives parents a brain-off beach getaway free from surcharges and itinerary planning. Meals in all five restaurants are part of the package, so the daily eatathon begins with a posh breakfast buffet at Gabi Club, continues with tapas snacks at Hydro Grill, then a huge Italian feast at Olio for lunch (for Reserve guests only), and ends with either teppanyaki specialties at Mizu or Mediterranean favorites at Aqua. And if you need to justify that second or third helping, remember that you’ll be working up an appetite with yoga, tennis, salsa classes or sailing — all of which are included in the rate.
ME Cancun, Mexico
Overlooking the Caribbean Sea along Cancún’s raucous beachfront hotel zone, ME Cancun is the pick for party-loving beachgoers who want to take full advantage of the bottomless bar setup. They also get to indulge in ridiculously good food: Meals at all four restaurants are covered, including the upscale Salt and Silk and the more casual Water Grill and Beach House. The South Beach-style Beach Club is available to guests from Monday to Thursday, which leaves plenty of time time to unwind in the megaresort’s 11,000-square-foot Yhi Spa before the flight home. Treatments are extra but worth the splurge.
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua
You’ll spend a pretty penny on this Caribbean grande dame up front, but once you arrive, the words “check, please” will never leave your lips. Just 40 suites share 300 acres, so you’re paying for peace and privacy whether you set up camp on one of the seaside loungers (an attentive beach butler close behind) or commandeer a cushy white chaise beside one of the two pools. For more active types, paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling, waterskiing and more are included — and don’t miss the weekly snorkel excursion to nearby Bird Island. Meals at the four signature restaurants range from Caribbean-inspired eats in the open-air Verandah and light bites in the Pool Grille to West Indian roti wraps at the Beach Shack and gourmet seafood favorites at the posh Estate House.
Cardio drumming, desert tightrope-walking, and aerial yoga are all on the activity list at Miraval, a 400-acre spa resort in the Santa Catalina foothills. Treatments takes place in one of six tents set in a botanical garden filled with Palo Verde trees or in a building run by health guru Dr. Andrew Weil. What we love most: the swoon-worthy views of the Sonoran landscape.