Are you looking to get away from the cold and snow? Or are you planning ahead for a romantic spring break with just you and your significant other? All-inclusive resorts take a lot of the planning, research, and stress out of your dream vacation.
There are some things to keep in mind about an all-inclusive resort vacation. First, know that you’ll be paying a package rate for the hotel room, all meals and snacks eaten on premises, drinks (most often, including alcoholic beverages), the resort gym, pool, and other amenities.
You should be aware that all-inclusive packages may not include golf or spa treatments and certain sports, such as water skiing. Some resorts have an upcharge for certain restaurants, and some may charge extra for top-shelf liquor. Tipping is prohibited at Couples and Sandals resorts, according to Oyster.com. But other resorts allow – and the staff may even expect – tips.
Since you can’t tip based on a percentage of the bill at an all-inclusive resort, you’ll have to just decide on an amount based on how much you ordered and the quality of service. Tipping $1 USD per drink, between $1 to $5 USD per meal, and about $3 to $5 per day for housekeeping should be adequate to reward the staff for a job well done and also help encourage attentive service at the resort’s bars and restaurants.
When you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort, you’ll want to consider a few aspects of the trip before you make your choice. Think about these questions before you book your trip.
- How far do you want to travel?
- Do you want a resort based in the U.S. or are your seeking an overseas adventure?
- Do you want a family-friendly resort or one for couples only?
- Do you want to experience an active vacation with sports and classes, or just relax poolside and enjoy fine dining and cocktails every evening?
- What are the must-have amenities you desire?
- What’s your budget?
With thousands of all-inclusive resorts across the world – including 250 in the Caribbean alone – you have plenty of options to find exactly what you’re looking for.
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Sandals all-inclusive resorts are perhaps the most well-known in the world. Sandals Resorts has been named the world’s leading all-inclusive company for 26 years in a row from World Travel Awards. Sandals’ reputation has one of the best romantic getaways for couples is well-earned, with 16 luxurious locations across the Caribbean Islands.
If we had to choose a favorite, it would be Sandals Grenada, which earns a top spot on several “best-of” lists for those seeking an all-inclusive adult resort. Sandals says guests will find an “innovative and intimate” mood at the resort, with swim-up rooms and unlimited water sports. Premium liquor is included in the price at the resort’s 6 bars and in any of the 10 on-resort restaurants. The resort won TripAdvisor Travelers’ Best of the Best Awards in 2021.
Royal Plantation received even higher ratings than Grenada, offering more of a laidback vibe and 74 ocean-view suites. The resort has five restaurants and two bars. If you like golf, it’s the place to go with unlimited green fees included.
If you’re concerned about your travel plans being disrupted by Covid, Sandals has a generous policy that includes travel insurance (including medical expenses), free on-site COVID testing before your return trip, and free on-resort quarantine up to 14 days if you test positive.
Nestled on the edges of top Caribbean beaches in Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic, Excellence Resorts deliver luxury for couples, swim-up suites, and proximity to off-site adventures including golf and shopping. Excellence Resorts are consistently ranked near the top of TripAdvisor lists.
If we had to choose one, we’d suggest Excellence Playa Mujeres, ranked Best All Inclusive Hotel in Mexico and third Best All Inclusive Hotel in the World by TripAdvisor in 2021. The resort includes a dozen restaurants, and nine bars and lounges, from the upscale Martini in the main lobby to the Blue swim-up bar. Just 30 minutes from Cancun’s International Airport for easy access from the states, Playa Mujeres is also conveniently located near national parks and the famed Tortuga Beach.
Excellence Resorts are known for their culture of outstanding customer service. One Expedia reviewer called it, “One of the best vacations we ever had, if not the best.” Expedia customers gave the property a 4.9 out of 5 for cleanliness and an overall 4.7 stars.
To make the most of your trip, book an Excellence Club suite to gain access to a private lounge and exclusive bars and restaurants, as well as tons of additional in-room amenities.
Nature lovers and the eco-conscious will love Jade Mountain Resort, recognized as the first Caribbean hotel to earn LEED certification, which means the resort meets specific standards for healthy, efficient, green building practices.
The resort boasts 29 private suites, deemed “sanctuaries,” that cater to the mind, body, and spirit of guests. Two dozen of the sanctuaries include private infinity pools and vary in size, location, and view. The priciest of the sanctuaries, the Galaxy sanctuaries, average 2,000 square feet with a 900-square-foot infinity pool and panoramic views of the mountainside. Five of the sanctuaries feature a whirlpool built for two in lieu of an infinity pool.
The rooms have no televisions, radio, or telephones, but do have Wi Fi service. Guests can contact the service team using a “firefly” communications device, further reducing guests’ reliance on their smartphones. The Jade Mountain concierge can arrange excursions, book dinners, and even shop for guests.
Jade Mountain offers all-inclusive packages, as well as sanctuary only rates, and packages that include breakfast, dinner, and amenities. The resort also offers adventure packages and scuba diving packages for those who prefer a more active vacation.
Guests can opt to dine in their room, enjoy dinner on the Celestial Terrace, choose a private dining experience on the grounds of the resort, or dine at any of the restaurants at nearby sister resort Anse Chastanet.
While Mexico and the Caribbean have some of the best luxury all-inclusive resorts for couples that you can find, you don’t have to leave the U.S. (and deal with Covid testing or vaccine requirements) to enjoy luxury waterfront experiences. Located just 20 miles northwest of Austin, the Lake Austin Spa Resort in Texas welcomes guests over 16 years of age.
All-inclusive packages include meals and nonalcoholic beverages plus an array of spa treatments and lake activities, including kayaking, pedalboards and hydro-bikes, as well as fitness activities and lake adventure outings. If you’re seeking an active vacation with healthier meals and a focus on wellness, Lake Austin can offer the rest, recreation and rejuvenation you want. If you’d like to balance daytime activities and spa treatments with a dose of decadence, you’ll also enjoy easy access to Austin’s awesome night life, including world-class bars and live music.
If your couples experience includes your furry friends, you can even bring your dog to the resort, where they can enjoy pet-focused amenities and activities. While the resort is rated as a 4-star hotel, not 5, it reviews and was rated #2 in Best Austin Resorts and #9 in Best All-Inclusive USA Resorts by Trip Advisor.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in the Florida Keys offers travelers the best of both worlds: A tropical vacation in a secluded destination without the pandemic-related hassles of leaving the States. Travel & Leisure voted Little Palm Island one of the top 10 resort hotels in Florida and one of the 15 best beach resorts in the U.S.
Travelers enter the island via seaplane or private boat, enjoy cocktails at the island’s onshore lounge, and then settle in to enjoy island isolation in a bungalow suite with no phone or TV. The resort offers an all-inclusive package (sans alcoholic beverages) and a breakfast-only package. Both packages offer a $100 Spa credit per person per night. It’s important to realize that, at Little Palm Island Resort, “all-inclusive” does not cover watersports, excursions, scuba diving, snorkeling or other activities you can enjoy on the island, so you’ll want to budget for activities you want to experience.
Dining options include private dining on the beach with a menu created by Chef Brendan Mica, who has experience at renowned restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, and London, dining in the resort’s luxurious restaurant, The Dining Room, or dining privately in your Bungalow.
So whether you’re looking to relax on some of the world’s finest beaches or enjoy stateside luxury, an all-inclusive resort is a great way to bond as a couple without stressing about every dollar during your trip. From the Caribbean to the Florida Keys, you can find an all-inclusive resort that meets your expectations for luxury, service, and amenities.