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Help me choose an all-inclusive resort

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Nov 15th, 2013, 01:14 PM
  #1
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Help me choose an all-inclusive resort

Looking to surprise my wife with a vacation to celebrate our 15 year anniversary next summer. Looking for beach/relaxation but also seeking adventure. I've never done an all-inclusive resort and looking for suggestions from a variety of the islands. Looking to enjoy some good food as I've read feedback in my initial research that the food isn't that great at a lot of the all-inclusive resorts. Not sure about budget just yet. What would you suggest I take a look at? Not set on Jamaica or the Dominican...any suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 07:51 PM
  #2
 
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I've never done an all-inclusive so can't help with that part. But having been to both islands (DR twice, Jamaica 3 times), I strongly suggest Jamaica as your island choice. Check out www.negrilonestop.com if you want to look at some of the hotels on the beautiful 7-mile beach there, I know there are some AI properties.
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Nov 17th, 2013, 01:31 AM
  #3
 
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St Lucia has beaches and opportunities for adventure plus some great AI hotels. North of the island has better beaches than the south, but the south is more stunning. Food can be great at AIs, depends on which one you stay at. Barbados has several AIs, so does Antigua, both islands have lovely beaches and activities.
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Nov 17th, 2013, 05:45 AM
  #4
 
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The Playa del Carmen area of Mexico offers some wonderful all inclusive resort on great beaches. For "adventure" you can explore ruins, snorkel in cenotes, zip line, etc.
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Nov 17th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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I also love Mexico best. As above, the stretch from Cancun down to Akumal/Tulum especially around PdC offers many AIs.
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Nov 18th, 2013, 05:53 AM
  #6
KVR
 
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We have been to 15+ AI resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. The majority of AI's are located in Mexico, Jamaica and the DR. I have found more bang for my buck in Mexico, which is why the majority of our vacations have been to that area. They have the more lux resorts at lower prices. I have found that the AI resorts in the Caribbean are way more expensive and do not offer the amenities that those 3 areas do. There is also a difference between "all inclusive" and meals/drinks included.

Food is so subjective. We have found in Mexico, the more lux the resort with multiple dining options, the better the food. In the Caribbean it just depends on the Island. We have been to 2 Sandals and felt the food quality there was not with standing of the type of resort they claim to be. Going to a foreign area, many people judge food based on their own expectations and what they are used to. It's better to have an open mind. We have found good food at some AI resorts and questionable at others. We prefer AI's with multiple restaurants and not the ones that consistently offers buffets.

We have also been to several non-AI vacations in the Caribbean and found food in restaurants to be overly expensive and not very tasty so it just depends. We tend to try and go with low or middle of the road type AI's, so we can still experience the destination's local restaurants/bars without feeling like we have wasted our money and have to stay on the resort property.

There are literally hundreds of AI resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean in various price ranges. Anyone can just answer your question with their favorite destination/resort. In order to better help you with your question more information is need. What you are specifically wanting to do on your vacation beside relax? Provide a list of things that are your absolute must haves, things you would like and things that don't appeal to you at all. Every destination is quite different so it's important what you are really looking for. We also need your budget and where you are flying from. A tangible amount is a much since some areas are more affordable than others. What type of area are you looking for: white sand beaches, crystal clear water or jungle, mountains. What type of accomdentations? There are huge family AI's and their are huge adult only AI's and there are smaller AI's. What time of year are you going? In the summer months and holidays, non adult only AI's may be crawling with kids if that matters to you. A smaller, more expensive family resort might not attract so many children. During the designated hurricane months, some Islands may be a better choice weather wise.

To help get you started here is a list of AI's resorts in Mexico:

http://www.mexicoallinclusive.com/me...ve_resorts.cfm

Here is a list of AI's resorts in the Caribbean:

http://www.caribbeanallinclusive.com...ve_resorts.cfm
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Nov 18th, 2013, 01:08 PM
  #7
 
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I agree with KVR, we don't have enough info from you to make a reasonable suggestion. Start with a (ballpark) budget, and then a small list of the most important things you want. Your post is so general in nature that honestly any island in teh Caribbean would fit your current want list.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 05:30 AM
  #8
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Thanks for the suggestions thus far. Right now, I'm looking at a budget of $2500-$3000. I know it's not going to get us any luxury level hotels, but I've found plenty of resorts that are in the 4 star range that have great reviews on tripadvisor, expedia, etc, to get us in that price range.

I've not given Mexico much thought, but will definitely consider it. I'll fly out of Indianapolis or Cincinnati and flights seem to be in the $500-650 range (I am flexible on the dates to save money).

I'm definitely wanting an adult only resort and wifi will be a must as a means to keep in touch via FaceTime with the mother-in-law/kids while we're away.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 07:10 AM
  #9
 
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In my years of staying at AI hotels in the Caribbean, I have never found the difference referred to here between "all inclusive" and meals/drinks included, from those in Mexico to those in the Caribbean. Some people get mixed up with the meal plan definitions however and are disappointed when they find out MAP or FAP does not mean AI.

It is not possible to generalise about food quality and put it down to the island, unless it is in reference to Cuba and even then, great food can be found. I have stayed at different hotels same island with varying quality of food. Have stayed in same chain but different islands and quite different food standards. In the AI I stayed in Mexico this year, the hotel had 3/4 restaurants but only 1 was worth eating in (and it was very good, Italian sadly, very few Mexican offerings) but on other Caribbean islands, I have stayed at some AIs with only one restaurant with great food.
I have also not found huge prices difference between Mexico and the Caribbean either.

I'm not sure I agree about the beaches around PDC either,could be just where we stayed where the beach was not that nice, but the Tulum and Cancun beaches that we saw were lovely.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 07:44 AM
  #10
KVR
 
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Odin, that is because you haven't experienced as many AI vacations that we have, so your observations are definitely different than mine. Also, I've asked you several times to please provide the name and a review on the AI that you stayed in Mexico and to date, you have continued to ignore me. Providing information without others knowing where it came from is not helpful to anyone trying to make a decision.

For your benefit this is the definition of an All Inclusive Resort:

"An all-inclusive resort is a holiday resort that includes a minimum of three meals daily, soft drinks, most alcoholic drinks, gratuities, and possibly other services in the price.[1] Many also offer sports and non-motorized watersports and other activities that are included in the price as well. They are often located in warmer regions of the world, particularly in the Caribbean.

Some all-inclusive resorts are designed for specific vacation interests. For example, certain resorts cater to adults, while even more specialized properties accept couples only. Other all-inclusive resorts are geared toward families, with facilities like craft centers, games rooms, and water parks to keep children of all ages entertained. All-inclusive resorts are also very popular locations for destination weddings."

Food and Drinks included is just that. However, it is important to make sure that the drinks included are alcoholic and not just soft drinks.

Throughout my travels to Mexico and the Caribbean, I have found a true difference. As you travel more on AI vacations, I am sure you will eventually pick up on the differences also.

forgop, the budget you have listed is very doable in many areas. I have found that some resorts offering WiFi do have problems with their services.

From your research, are than any hotels/destinations that you are interested in? If you provide the names, we can provide you with more information regarding them.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 01:24 PM
  #11
 
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I think the requirement for All-Inclusive AND Adults-Only definitely whittles down the list. My suggestion is still the Caribbean coast of Mexico, along the Playa del Carmen area. I just believe that area to have more choices than most of the islands do for that specific category.
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Nov 21st, 2013, 04:02 PM
  #12
KVR
 
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Here's the top 25 AI resort list from Trip Advisor. I am so happy that most are from Mexico especially #1. If any of those fit in your budget they would be great choices.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travelers..._Mode.expanded
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Nov 21st, 2013, 08:02 PM
  #13
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I didn't catch the top 25 AI list. Looking at it now. I'm betting the odds of finding a ~ $300/night resort are pretty slim though. I'll look through them though.

So far, I've given the most serious thought to Excellence Punta Cana for $1382/person with airfare included.
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Nov 23rd, 2013, 01:52 PM
  #14
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I pulled the trigger on Sun Palace in Cancun today. It was listed in the top 25 for AI resorts, but the ultimate deal sealer to me was getting $1500 in resort credits. Total cost was $1338 pp. I just couldn't find anything that could compete with all of that anywhere else.
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Nov 23rd, 2013, 07:51 PM
  #15
 
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I'm not familiar with that resort, but yes Mexico often wins out for bang for your buck. Have a great trip! Glad you got something booked!!
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Nov 24th, 2013, 06:49 AM
  #16
 
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forgop,
Are you a Palace member? If not, don't let them rope you into joining! Just don't take any time share offers.
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Nov 24th, 2013, 10:00 AM
  #17
KVR
 
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Sun Palace is the first hotel after leaving the airport in Cancun. It was updated a few years ago to couples only and into a contemporary style. It's quite far from the restaurants and bars in Cancun, so just hop on the bus if you want to get to any of those places. The beach in that area has not been the greatest, but I know they have spent the last few years updating the beaches. I think the surf may still be rough there. The resorts at the top of the "7" in hotel zone have the better beaches.

For water activities check out Aqua World. We loved the jet ski/mini boats jungle tour and parasailing. The La Isla mall is a good way to spend an afternoon.

Most of the other excursions are located in the Playa del Carmen area. About an hour or so away. I know at one time the Palace resorts offered included off site excursions and tours. I didn't currently see it on their web-site though. They do offer day trips to their other resorts. If you have the time Moon Palace and Cozumel Palace would be worth a trip.

If you are into it, they have a great bar hopping tour there. For "old" people like us it was a good way to see many of the clubs/discos without feeling out of place.

I agree with schmerl. Do not get roped into sitting for a time share presentation. There are sharks everywhere. However, I didn't find as many in Cancun or Playa as I did in Puerto Vallarta and Cabo. Once you hit the green light on the way out of the Cancun airport. Do NOT talk to or look at anyone until you are completely outside. Those people are sharks and they will lie to you to get you to stop. If you booked transportation to your hotel, they reps are outside holding a sign to either the name of your hotel or whatever booking agent you booked with.

Have a great trip! The hardest part now is the waiting.
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Aug 27th, 2016, 08:39 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
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I have used services from https://allinvillas.com/ , I would be pleased to recommend their services for All-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean.

How were they different:
- They Took take care of all our travel hassles by organizing airline tickets, cruise ship tickets, hotel booking, car rental, tours & excursions all around the islands of the Caribbean Sea.

- Dedicated to sustainable, responsible & eco-friendly travels to the Caribbean.


- With them, you get to explore the island, the cultures, and nature, eat out at local restaurants, meet the community and make friends with locals.

-You will get to see the real Caribbean way of living, as well as local businesses, get the benefits too.

I hope this helps.
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Aug 27th, 2016, 09:19 AM
  #19
 
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The Now Lamar is pretty nice
http://www.nowresorts.com/larimar/
Escape to Now Larimar Punta Cana
Located on a palm-studded white-sand beach overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea, combining understated sophistication with Unlimited-Luxury® amenities, Now Larimar Punta Cana redefines all-inclusive and offers the perfect escape for couples, families and friends.
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