Any All-Inclusive Resort Recommendations?

Old Jul 31st, 2015, 09:40 AM
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Any All-Inclusive Resort Recommendations?

Hi all.

I have never been to the Caribbean before and will be heading that way in late December/early January. Altogether I will have about two weeks, and during that time I am looking to stay 4-7 days at an all-inclusive location. I will be travelling with my wife, so we would be looking for something more couples oriented but that wouldn't necessarily be make or break. Overall, I guess we are looking for a place that has good value, nice facilities, clean and updated rooms, and good food. We haven't decided on an island yet but we have settled on the Caribbean because of travel time. We will be coming from the east coast of the US. Any recommendations? Anything is welcome;I have started researching on my own but would love to get the experts' take - especially from people who have been to the Caribbean a number of times. Thanks for all the help and happy travels.
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Old Jul 31st, 2015, 12:02 PM
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We need more info from you.

If going for 2 weeks what type of accommodations do you want for the 7 to 10 days you are not at the All Inclusive?

Do you plan to stay on the same island for the "second" portion of your visit?The answer could have a major affect on the recommendations you get - it is not always easy or inexpensive to island hop from some islands.

Do you have a budget for your accommodations - both the AI portion and the other accommodations? Again your budget will greatly influence the recommendations you receive.

Do you have a budget for airfare?

Define what you mean by "good food". Many AI's have lot's of "food" (think plenty of buffets) but while the quantity is there the "quality' can leave a lot to be desire (unless you are staying at a very high end resort).

What type of island are you seeking - large island, small island, lush mountainous island, arid flat island???? Every island is different and no one island "has it all".

For what it is worth you'll find the greatest concentration of All inclusive in the Dominican Republic, followed by Jamaica, Cancun, Playa del Carmem and Cozumel so you might want to narrow your search to those islands.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2015, 01:39 AM
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Is that late Dec/early Jan of this year/2016? I would think most things are booked up by now.

Americans do tend to go for the biggest islands where the biggest concentration of AI properties will be and probably offers the easiest, shortest and cheapest connections from the US, but that doesn't mean there aren't AIs on smaller islands, there are just not so many of them and might be less easy for you to get to. There are many types of AIs, from 3 star right up to 5 star where the food is not buffet style. Even in the mediocre range AIs I have stayed in, lunch and dinner has not been a buffet.
Odin is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 08:00 AM
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That is prime time in the islands, so prices will be very high to insanely high. If you can possibly go early January right after New Year's, you will find slightly more reasonable pricing.

But first... what is your budget? We can all make recommendations, but without knowing the amount you would like to spend, it's not helpful.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2015, 08:19 AM
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We have been to many AI resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. The most value for your money in an AI is going to be Mexico, Jamaica and the DR. We love Mexico and it's our favorite destination. We have found that the pools in Mexico in the winter months are really too cold for us to use. We are pool people, so that is a big issue for us. The ocean temps are fine though. Some of the upper AI's will have a heated pool, but there are not very many. Some also charge an upgrade fee or room type to get access to them, which I do not care for. My absolute favorite AI resort in Mexico is the Royal Playa del Carmen. Great adult's only AI resort within a 5 minute walk to 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen. You get the best of both worlds with AI and location. Also look at the Secrets, Iberostar and the El Dorado resorts.

We've been to Jamaica in a November and no issues with pool temps there. We loved the Jewell Dunns River resort in Ocho Rios. We've been to Jamaica twice and though it is a gorgeous Island it really wasn't one of our favorites. You really need to go with resort tours or hire a private driver when going off the resort. Also, look at the Couples Resorts. There are many Sandals resorts in Jamaica. After staying at two of their resorts, not in Jamaica, I do not care for that chain. Too much hype and overly expensive for what they offer.

We've been to the DR once and didn't care for it to return. It's a great place to just plop at an AI resort and let that entertain you. We are very active on vacation, so that doesn't appeal to us. Again, you need to go with the resort tours when leaving the property.

As for AI's in the Caribbean, we have been to several. The overall value, inclusions, and hotels compared to Mexico and Jamaica are not the same. You get way more for your money in Mexico and Jamaica. Also, there is a difference in an AI resort and a hotel that offers an AI plan.

There are several Caribbean Islands that do not offer AI and some that do that really shouldn't. Though we love AI and prefer that type of vacation, depending on the Island, we have sometimes opted not to go AI.

Here is a good reference for AI in Mexico and the Caribbean:

If you're interested I have all of our AI and Non-AI vacation photos posted at:

If you have any questions I will be happy to help.
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Old Aug 24th, 2015, 03:07 PM
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Sandals Montego Bay. Very nice resort. We have stayed there twice and planning our third trip. It can be what you make of it, R&R or go outside for tours. Friendly staff and Good Bartenders.
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