All Inclusive first timers

Jul 3rd, 2007, 08:23 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 13
All Inclusive first timers

We have gone to Key West every October for the past 11 years, we would like to try a All Inclusive this year. We are used to a nice selection of restaurants with good food. A nice beach with walk into the water snorkeling would be nice. We enjoy being pampered by the beach and pool with cocktails that we do not have to have 20 to feel a little buzz. Also we are looking for a direct flight from New York and Dallas. In the order of importance, walking to local places is near the end, but would be nice.
Any suggestion are welcome.
epmcw is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,716
You'll find a lot of AI's in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cancun, Cozemel, Antigua and Playa del Carmen. All of these destinations but Antigua can be reached non-stop from both NY and Dallas (Playa del Carmen requires a 45 minute drive from Cancun airport).

It's hard to make specific recommendations without knowing your budget as AI's run the gamut from inexpensive to ultra expensive. Unless you are staying at the very high-end resort most AI's will not have a "nice selection of restaurants with good food" as the food at most AI's is just average at best. Similar situation with drinks - most will be on the weak side, unless you are at a high end resort.
A_Traveller is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 123
I agree mostly with ATraveller except on the drinks. Because its included in the price, just ask for more alcohol. The "name brand" liquors are not always included. Forget about great wines -- a cheap house wine is the standard with only a few choices available.
On the whole, my wife and I love AI's and have stayed in Jamaica, Aruba, and the Turks.
bean11 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
We prefer AI type vacations and have been to AI resorts in Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Nassau, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas, St. Lucia, Jamaica and Aruba. Of the places we've been, we felt we got the most for our money in Mexico. We enjoyed Aruba also, but the flight is much longer.

AI's come in all price ranges. It depends on what is important to you. Do you want ala cart resturants, pure buffets, or a mixture of the two. House liquor or premium liquor, fablous ocean view room or suite or a standard room. Jacuzzi or plunge pool in your room. Spa facilities. Some AI offer more than others, but of course they will cost more.

I agree that most AI's food is more quanity than quality, but some of the higher end properties are doing much better with taste and varitey. The same for liquor. Many AI's are now serving name brand liquors. Just ask the bartender for the brand you want and can also ask for more or "one the side" if you need it. Some now even have open bars where you can pour you own. No more complaints of water down or not strong enough drinks.

We're staying at the Royal Playa del Carmen in September. It' has lots of nice amentities and is priced well compared to other properties that offer the same type of amentities. The reviews on TA are very good even for the food quality and selection.
KVR is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2007, 07:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 515
I second the Royal Playa del Carmen. It has everything you are looking for except the snorkeling off beach. You can take a boat ride snorkel trip from down the beach for 30pp. The resort is very nice with good restaurants, beautiful rooms, nice beach, servers on the beach and pool, top shelf drinks if you ask and accross the street from 5th ave where you can take walks every evening, shop, dance, have more drinks. Fun place!!! look for reviews on the latin america forum. The price is really a bargain for what you get. I had never done an AI before the Royal Playa and everyone there was saying how nice it was. I'm still not a huge AI fan, but I would return there.
beachbum2 is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 06:47 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 13
Thanks for all the replies, I am looking at Royal Playa Del Carmen in Cancun.
As long as the place has what we want that is all that is important, recommendations in all price ranges are appreciated. It is important to us to have nice meals, service ,and atmosphere. We are two middle aged couples that travel a lot, work hard, looking to relax and not be disappointed. We like a nice buffet, but need ala carte on the side. Hubbie hates buffets. Any good places in Jamaica that you can recommend. Seeing we are in the air more than on the ground, the 2 1/2 hour flight is enticing. We have looked at the Sandals Resorts, they also look nice, any suggestions?
How about Dreams Resort and Spa in Cancun? or Riu Resorts. I believe they are new.
We are going to California for 10 days the end of this month so I want to get my October trip booked soon.
Thanks again for all inputs.
epmcw is offline  
Jul 5th, 2007, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
There are 2 Royal resorts. One in Playa del Carmen and one in Cancun. The one in Playa del Carmen has been open for about 3 years and was orginally known as the Royal Real. It is adult only and they have a sister resort across the street that is family friendly, the Gran Porto Real. Guests staying at the Royal have access to the Gran, but not vice versa.

The Royal Cancun opened in Feb. of this year and has a few more service/amentites than the Royal Playa del Carmen. It really all depends on the location you want to be. I believe the Royal Playa del Carmen has the better beach of the two.

We have stayed at the RIU Tropical Bay in Jamaica and did not care for it. The hotel was nice overall, but the food was terrible and the guests were obnoxious. No RIU is adult only. We felt it was too "partish" for our taste. Based on that experience, we avoid all the RIU's. If interested in Jamaica, for AI my first choice would be a Couples property. I also like the look of the Sunset at the Palms hotel in Negril.

We have stayed at 2 Sandals; the Royal Bahamain in Nassau and the Sandals Grande in St. Lucia. We preferred the Royal Bahamain over the Grand, but liked St. Lucia way more than Nassau. Personally, I think Sandals' numerous room catagories are ridiculous and way over priced for what they offer. You can get practically the same amenities for way less in Mexico.

Additional options you can look into in the Riviera Maya area is Excellance Riviera, Secrets Capri, Royal Hideaway, Iberostar Grand, and Adventura Spa Palace. Just be aware that some of those hotels are pretty far from the town of Playa del Carmen and I've read complaints that some of the beaches in that area have eroded.

KVR is offline  

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