All Inclusive Vacations
5 Tips To Come Out Ahead On All Inclusive Vacations
Many people have a love-hate relationship with the infamous all-inclusive vacation package. As with anything in life, there are pros and cons to these mega-resorts in the sand. (Okay, not all of them are located on beaches but the vast majority are.) Some of them are affordable and ridiculously convenient. Let's face it. When travel becomes work, as it so often does, an all-inclusive resort fits the bill if all we want to do is lounge on the beach, enjoy a nice meal, and get some good spa time in. (Note: The French word for work is travail, from which the word travel stems.)
Places with limited culture and tourism are perfect for all-inclusive packages. Think Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. If what you want to do is eat, drink and be merry at one place only, because you're not all that gung-ho on venturing out for safety purposes or whatever reason, an all-inclusive is the way to go.
It's important to book in advance if you would like to try one of these packages because there are often substantial discounts for early bookings. While a number offer last minute deals, most of them do not. It's also a good idea to travel in the low-season when prices go down. As many of these resorts are found in the Caribbean, low-season in the fall is the best time to get a decent rate. If you're traveling during hurricane season, be sure to buy travel insurance.
Because you'll be spending nearly most of your time if not all of your time at the resort, do your research. Ask others that have been there what they thought of the place. Scour the online reviews and websites. Look at the photo gallery and comments from guests. Do your homework.
Many resorts are geared to different interests. If you enjoy fine dining, select an all-inclusive known to be geared towards foodies. If you're into wellness, find one that focuses on well-being, etc. etc.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Now that we've looked at a few tips, let's travel to some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the world. The Grand Velas Riviera Maya has been named one of the best on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. There's tequila service, butler service, ginormous suites and even your own personal hot tub on the balcony. A huge infinity pool is on tap for the entire family. Waiters serve your every need at both the pools and beach. Premium brand liquors are available at the doors and the Virtuoso Spa is spectacular. "The Journey Through Ancient Mexico Treatment" is a guest favorite. The 1,600-foot white sand beach is more than picture-perfect. It's a true beach heaven. And of course the restaurants here are sublime.
Chang Mai Thailand
In Chang Mai, Thailand, Howie's Homestay wows guests with lush gardens and rooms so artfully-appointed they've been featured in Architectural Digest. As you might imagine, this is the type of all-inclusive where you get out and see the sights. Elephant-trekking, shopping trips and temple visits are some of the many activities here. And get this - only one family, group or couple can book this place at a time. So be prepared to be pampered. It's the perfect place for a honeymoon or quiet seclusion.
The Hotel Portillo
The Hotel Portillo in Chile is the world's only all-inclusive ski resort. Mount Portillo is located high in the Andes Mountains and it's known as the premier ski mountain in the region. There's actually no other place to stay in town so the resort is like its own village, offering your lift tickets, lodging, four meals a day, yoga classes, movies in a theater, a disco - there's even a boot and ski valet. How's that for service?
Dunton Hot Springs
Dunton Hot Springs in Dolores, Colorado is situated in a former ghost town. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, part of the Colorado Rockies, this resort screams rustic luxury.
Local cuisine is served in a historic saloon while the spa offers all-natural treatments. There are some lovely packages from which to choose. The Sip & Soak Package is a 3 night inclusive getaway that includes accommodations, all meals and beverages, a nightly pre-dinner wine tasting, a welcome bottle of wine, a Sutcliffe Vineyards Tour, unlimited use of equipment for activities such as biking and cross-country skiing, round-trip transfers from/to Telluride, Durango, or Cortez, and a 1-year membership to the Sutcliffe Wine Club.
The Caribbean has so much to offer in terms of the perfect all-inclusive resort destination, it's really hard to choose. However, one of the most amazing resorts is the Jade Mountain Resort in Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia. The fabulous honeymoon suites open up to gorgeous views of the Caribbean with the emerald Piton mountain peaks looming in the distance. Each suite has their own infinity pool. This is tropical luxury at its best on one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.
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