World's Best All Inclusives for 2012
When you think "all-inclusive" do you think Caribbean, fruity drinks, and waving palms? Well, in some cases, you'd be right. But the all-inclusive is not exclusive to island getaways. We've gathered the best all-inclusives from our Fodor's 100 Awards, and they traverse the globe, from Tasmania to Alaska, and everything in between. And sure, for you beach bums, you'll find a few Caribbean retreats sprinkled throughout. Now go get inspired!
Camp Denali and North Face Lodge
Denali National Park, Alaska
If there's an ultimate way to experience the Denali National Park and Reserve, it's at one of these two lodges at Camp Denali and North Face Lodge. Guests can revert to summer camp days—minus the sleeping bag—in the rustic log cabins with fireplaces and outhouses at Camp Denali, or choose from slightly more contemporary rooms at North Face Lodge. Activities range from daily guided hikes with wildlife experts focusing on everything from birding to botany, to special-emphasis courses such as literature, botany, wildlife, and Alaska history. And meals are hardly an afterthought here: the breakfast bell rings promptly at 7:30 a.m. and includes hearty pancakes and homemade granola.
Imagine sinking into a luxuriously deep, claw-footed tub in the midst of a secluded pasture surrounded by trees, long grasses, and the open blue sky. This is a signature experience at Kingsford Homestead, one of the Barossa Valley's newest and most exquisite inns. A stay here doesn't come cheap, and a minimum of two nights is required, but the rates include a bountiful breakfast made from the freshly harvested ingredients of Barossa growers and producers, alternating five- and three-course gourmet dinners, and drinks and canapés at sunset—plus the aforementioned Outdoor Bush Bath. The valley's top wineries are just a short drive away, so you can spend the day touring or opt to explore the 250-acre property on foot; don't be surprised if you spot kookaburras, parrots, or even kangaroos.
Spice Island Beach Resort
St. George's, Grenada
Stretched across 8 tropical acres, the family-run, all-inclusive Spice Island Beach Resort offers elegant accommodations among fragrant lemon, sea grape, and almond trees. Some rooms have beachfront access, while others boast private pools; all feature upscale amenities like Frette linens, Jacuzzi tubs, and terraces or balconies. Guests may choose to relax on the resort's golden sands, or pursue a menu of included activities, such as kayaking and snorkeling. Meals—showcasing local and international cuisine—are served at two eateries with sparkling water views, typically accompanied by live island music. As a bonus, tennis court fees and bike rentals are included.
Viceroy Riviera Maya
Quintana Roo, Mexico
Chic yet rustic, pampering yet laid-back, this collection of 41 private-villa accommodations offers guests an all-inclusive beachfront experience with barefoot elegance. Scattered among the resort's lush tropical acres, guest rooms at Viceroy Riviera Maya are more like deluxe cocoons, with deep soaking tubs, high-thread-count enrobed beds, and enormous terraces or gardens set with hammocks and private plunge pools. Meals can be taken anywhere at any time, and for those who choose to emerge, the main pool, sparkling beach, and palapa-roofed restaurant are popular draws. The Mayan-inspired spa and regional-themed perks—like the Shaman welcome, with a plume of local copal incense—add to the escapist experience.
Casa de Campo
La Romana, Dominican Republic
Featuring three world-renowned golf courses designed by some of the biggest names in the game, Casa de Campo is a golfer's dream destination. And when you select a rate that includes greens fees, it's also a tremendous deal. Not that golf is the only attraction here: between the beach, the spa, the pools, the shops, and the marina, non-golfers have no shortage of pampering activities. The sanctuary-like spa offers holistic therapies and services using natural products made in small batches at the on-site Spa Pharmacy. All rooms come with a golf cart, making travel within the resort a snap (though after indulging at a few of the property's 13 restaurants, you may just choose to walk).
Palm Island Resort
Palm Island, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Among the 30-plus islands and cays of St. Vincent and the wind-swept Grenadines is the sugar sand-ringed, private Palm Island Resort. Hiking trails wind across the palm-studded setting, and foot paths lead to the 43-room property's popular activity centers, including the driving range, turtle sanctuary, and snorkeling beaches. A cycling center, tennis courts, and croquet pitch are also on offer, as are an intimate pool, picturesque lagoon, and guest rooms tucked among the tropical foliage or right on the gleaming beach. Two restaurants feature Caribbean-fusion cuisine, as well as afternoon tea, special weekly cocktail hours, and festive beach barbecues. A snorkeling trip to a nearby caye on the resort's private boat is the only thing not part of the all-inclusive rate—but that, too, is worth the trip.
St. John's, Antigua
Nothing says "away from it all" quite like a private island, and at Jumby Bay, there are 300 secluded acres of your very own to explore. This all-inclusive resort just 2 miles off the coast of Antigua is perfect for both couples and families, with an exquisite selection of guest rooms, suites, and villas to choose from. In addition to the expected nonmotorized water sports and sunset cocktail cruises that are included in the rate, the resort also throws in some unique extras that make it stand out. Among these: outdoor movie nights featuring blockbuster hits; weekly beach barbecues with a live steel band and dancing; Caloi bicycles for exploring the island's 3 miles of trails; the fabulous Camp Jumby program (for 3- to 12-year-olds); and stargazing on the beach with the resident astronomer. If you're visiting between June and November, you also have the unique opportunity to participate in the Hawksbill Turtle Program, one of the longest running turtle-monitoring programs.
Cap Estate, St. Lucia
From scuba and Spinning to spa treatments and water sports, the 159-room BodyHoliday on St. Lucia puts an all-over wellness spin on the all-inclusive concept. In addition to the above inclusions, archery, golf, tennis, group fitness classes, and personal training are offered. To facilitate deep relaxation, guests are also invited to indulge in daily spa treatments, including Reiki and Ayurvedic experiences, from an epic menu (many treatments are part of the all-inclusive rate). Though wellness is a big focus here, this is an island vacation, and you're also welcome to kick back and enjoy perks like wine tastings, gourmet multicourse menus, booze cruises, and tropical island views from the secluded beach—with a frozen cocktail in hand—any time you like.
The far-off location, postcard-worthy views in every direction, and avant-garde architecture is definitely enough, but it's the valued extras that make the long trip and all-inclusive option price tag worthwhile at the Saffire Freycinet. (Parital board and room-only options are available, but most guests opt for the all-inclusive, due to the remote setting.) After all, there aren't many places where one can literally live off the mini-bar alone. It's pre-stocked—and regularly replenished—with the essentials: a spicy sesame-nut mix, energy bars, locally made sweets, and a selection of full-size Tassie wines, whiskies, and beers. Also on the inclusive list is breakfast, dinner (a gourmet tasting menu and à la carte options are both available), nightly wine hours, and select excursions, from a visit to nearby Freycinet Marine Oyster Farm to cooking demonstrations and archery lessons. And don't forget about the spa—each guest receives a $100 credit.
The Singular Patagonia
Since it opened in late 2011, The Singular Patagonia has been the most talked-about hotel property in Chilean Patagonia. Situated on a National Historic Landmark site, the hotel is the result of a meticulous, 10-year transformation of a former cold-storage plant into a striking industrial-meets-modern property. Half-board and breakfast-only rate plans are available, but the full-board plan is probably your best bet since it includes a selection of spectacular daily expeditions, as well as three world-class meals a day, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, use of the spa facilities, and transfers from Punta Arenas. The exclusive expeditions include a bilingual guide and are divided into categories from "easy" to "strong." Options range from trekking, biking, and boating to horseback riding and kayaking in Torres del Paine National Park or in the hotel's private reserves.
Photo Credits: Camp Denali and North Face Lodge Courtesy Camp Denali and North Face Lodge; Viceroy Riviera Maya:Courtesy Viceroy Riviera Maya; Jumby Bay: Courtesy Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort; Saffire Freycinet: Courtesy George Apostolidis
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