All-inclusive or not

Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 10:12 AM
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All-inclusive or not

My husband really wants to go to an all-inclusive resort in Barbados. I have heard that the better resorts for AI are in Mexico. We went to Mexico for our honeymoon and did the AI and loved it. I think that's why he is so set on it again. Please give your vote to for or against AI. Thanks!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 11:18 AM
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You might want to search on AI or all inclusive, because I know this topic has been discussed before.

It is always hotly debated because there are people who always go AI and love it, never go AI and hate it, or fall somewhere in-between.

The most frequent reasons that I have seen expressed by people like AI vacations is that AI makes things very easy and relaxing (no decisions, don't even need to leave the resort), and you can eat and drink as much as you want without worrying about how much it costs.

In contrast, the people who don't like AIs frequently argue that AIs stress quantity over quality in terms of food and drink, that AI is not the most cost-effective type of vacation if you don't eat and/or drink alot or leave the resort frequently, that it does not let you experience much of the local food/culture, and/or that staying at an AI does not contribute as much to the local economy.

The middle ground is that AIs can be a good choice under certain circumstances and/or in specific countries. Of course, everyone has their own opinion on what these circumstances are. A few of the most common are that AI can be a good option when:

1) traveling to a location that does not have a lot of convenient or safe alternatives for dining.

2) traveling to a location that is known as being a good place for AI

3) traveling with a group of people who have different ideas about spending money for food and drinks on vacation or a family with kids who eat constantly

Personally, I fall into the middle group and usually don't go to AI resorts. I went to an AI in the Domincan Republic. I didn't go AI in Barbados and think I made a good choice. Barbados is a well-developed country with lots of choices for dining at all price levels, and you don't have to worry about getting sick from the food or water there. I stayed on the South Coast, and there were lots of choices within walking distance or a quick bus or cab ride for dining. I spent my days visiting different beaches and usually had lunch at another location and went somewhere different for dinner every night.

So, short answer (finally), I'd vote "no" to AI in Barbados.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 02:38 PM
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I wouldnt do AI in Barbados. Wonderful, diverse restaurants and plenty of them all over the island. Including the little lunch trucks that are in the gap and the fishfry in Oistins.

Don't be stuck in your resort. Explore!

Peace, Greenie
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 03:19 PM
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We are getting ready for our first trip to Barbados in 16 days and in doing research, I have been mesmerized by all the wonderful restaurants they have to offer. Plus there are so many thing we are planning on doing and seeing along the way. I think we would be disappointed if we got there to check in to our AI and found out what we would be missing.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 05:51 PM
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I totally do not comprehend why so many people think that just because someone decides on an AI resort that they are "stuck at the resort" and "don't explore".

We've done AI's all over the Caribbean/Mexico and will continue to do so. We are NEVER stuck at our resort. We freely explore the Island and eat off property on occasion. Especially if we have an excursion planned.

Why do you want an AI property? We mainly choose AI's for breakfast and drinks, since they are so expensive paying by the glass. We also like the convenience of not having to "find" a restuarant, paying cab fare or car rental to get there and back and paying a pretty high price for medicore food. ie: Turks and Caicos and Hawaii.

I have to admitt we stayed at some AI properties with pretty bad to medicore food, but also have stayed at AI's that were really good. It's hit and miss. AI is worth it to us in drinks alone. If your not a big drinker, I would reconsider. My DH will eat anything in front of him 24/7. He also has to have many snacks throughout the day. So it's worth AI for that reason also.

We have not found an AI property better than what is provided in Mexico. Mexico will give you the most value for your money in an AI.

We've not been to Barbados, but we got the same answer of "no to AI" in Aruba. We went AI in Aruba anyway and loved it. We also ate off property at some of the recommended restuarants. Just becasue we paid for an AI, we didn't feel like we were being "cheated" eating off the resort.

My vote is do what's best for you and your budget.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Is there an AI in Barbados?

KVR we totally agree with your comments, and that is also the way we like to travel. (Although we often travel non-AI too.)
We too stayed AI in Aruba but ate off property often....same in Antigua. We also tour and eat off site when we do. We agree it is worth it for the breakfasts and drinks alone, and we don't mean just alcohol. Soda by the glass is also expensive. And we like the convenience. After a hard day of beach-bumming, it is nice to have a nice meal on site!!!
We too have had great food at AI's, especially when there are a variety of restaurants on site.
We never feel "stuck" at the resort.
KVR or anyone, can you recommend some AI's you would return too in a flash...anywhere?
Thanks.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Toppy,

I'd recommend Secrets Capri, Grand Lido Braco (although the beach isnt that great IMHO, but the resort is great), Couples Negril, or any Iberostar resort.

Peace
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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Thanks greenie...so many places...I am so confused. But what a fun decision to have to make.
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Old Mar 15th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Toppy,
There are indeed AI's in Barbados. It's just that the island has so many unique restaurants to offer, that it really would be a shame to do an AI there. Even if you ate off the property some of the time, it would be tough to get even your minimal choices of places to eat in. Every restaurant we ate at was such a special experience that to eat more than one dinner at an AI there would have felt like doing a belly flop. I'm not against AI's, but I would never do one there!
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 11:47 AM
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Toppy,
Resorts we'd return to:

Secrets Capri
Couples Swept Away
Couples Negril
Couples Ocho Rios
Couples Sans Souci (been 2x)
Grand Lido Braco (been 4x)
Grand Lido Negril (been 2x)
Excellence Punta Cana (been 2x)
Aventura Spa Palace

So many places & so little vacation time (& $$) !!

Jackie
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 12:49 PM
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KVR, you're right that it's a generalization that people who book AI vacations don't leave the resort to do other things, and it certainly doesn't apply to you. I think it's pretty easy to suggest, however, that many, if not most, folks who love the AI vacation do not leave the resort for meals because they don't want to "pay twice" for anything.

I never thought I'd choose an AI for a vacation, but low and behold, that's exactly what my husband and I over Thanksgiving this past fall. And like you, we used it mostly as a bed & breakfast & bar! But there were some folks at that resort who were there for two weeks (mostly Brits) and they didn't want to leave the resort much at all! And it's not like it was one of the nicer AI places, either, it was really a budget property!

So yes, you're right that folks who stay at an AI place aren't turned back by the resort police when they try to leave, as some posts might imply. But I do think that you might be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to island exploration and getting as much as feel for a new place as possible.
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Old Mar 16th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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WOW thanks Jackie...I have written all those suggestions down....
your recommendations are exactly what I want...(places that you would repeat)

We always have fun, because it's the Caribbean, the sun, the beach, the drinks.....but I am happy to see repeat visits and positive recommendations.
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:03 PM
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Toppy,
I totally agree w/ your statement: "We always have fun, because it's the Caribbean, the sun, the beach, the drinks....." !!

Jackie
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Old Mar 19th, 2007, 12:50 PM
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You know Jackie, on our last trip (Curacao) the beautiful resort was nearly empty (which was peaceful). The beach was difficult to walk on or swim in without water shoes, and the food was just OK. The same island CD played every night from the bar.
But.... the view was priceless, snorkeling very good, weather perfect, we found food we liked to fill us up, and the bartenders took good care of us. Most of all, my husband is wonderful, and we spent many glorious days together lounging like slugs. Give me the Caribbean sun any day, an island drink, some fresh fruit, and a good book, and I'm in Heaven.
But where shall we go this time??? Ah...the choices. Such a dilemma !
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