Pros and Cons of all inclusive

Jul 7th, 2003, 04:25 AM
  #1  
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Pros and Cons of all inclusive

Does anyone have any opinions with regard to all inclusive resorts vs non all inclusive ? Which is the better way to go ?



Rusty is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 05:21 AM
  #2  
 
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A little like asking which sport is best: NASCAR or college basketball.
TedTurner is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 05:32 AM
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It's quite simple: If you drink a lot, eat a lot and don't want to spend a lot of money doing so, then all-inclusive is the the way to go.
Luv2LeaveTown is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 05:37 AM
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There seems to be a continental divide on this forum between people who love'em and people who hate 'em.

Pros: You know up front how much money you're going to spend, so there's no sticker shock when you check out of your resort. You can pretty much know what to expect at an AI, no matter which one you choose; there are few to no surprises. You can often find substantially reduced airfare by getting an AI package (notably Sandals and Beaches).

Cons: AIs seldom live up to their hype or lovely-colored brochures. Food is often sub-par, usually served buffet style for 2 out of 3 meals per day. Most people who go AI never leave the resort to sample any local cuisine or culture or explore the island they're on. AIs are very bad for the local economy. In most cases (again, like the major players of Sandals and Beaches, but less so in a place like Curtain Bluff on Antigua), AIs give little back to the local economy. They don't use local vendors for food or supplies, preferring to import them from larger wholsalers in the US. Their guests frequently do not leave the premises, so local taxis, shops, water sports suppliers--you name it--face a constant economic crunch. (And then Americans complain about the poverty on an island!) The service charge calculated into an AI package frequently averages out to well below 10% per employee, so there's less money directly in the pocket of AI employees as well as the local economy. (And then people complain about surly or lackluster service!)

Basically, AIs come into a region and eliminate much local color, preferring to do things within a certain corporate structure. Good for business, bad for the spirit.

On a more personal note, I don't care for the typical AI establishment because of the mentality of a lot of the guests--folks who loudly complain about the service, the food, the slowness of the pace, the smallness of the rooms, or whatnot, and the folks who feel they must get every penny's worth of alcohol out of their stay, whether they can hold it or not.

It's the difference between people who like to shop at Wal-Mart and people who like to support small businesses.
ejcrowe is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 05:37 AM
  #5  
 
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This is opening a huge can of worms.

My advice is to type "all inclusive" in the search bar. There are plenty of very recent posts regarding this topic.

all inclusives are not for everyone, some love them some hate them and there is a big grey area in between. They range from high end to low end.

Do your research then ask a more pointed question on this hot topic. You will get a more informed answer that way. I am just trying to help so this does not turn ugly. There is some great information right here in the archives
SandyFeet is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 06:38 AM
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You miss meeting all the local people and culture. I would have missed eating at the Gallipot and talking with the bartender there on Nevis if I had an AI at Golden Rock. Learned much about the people and environmental problems, including their concerns about the influx of tourists, the numbers of unwed moms on the island by local men and what they plan to do about it, the incredible caring Nevis moms and parents in general show toward their children, the prison problem and their national strategy to rehabilitate offenders, and the problems with unrestricted grazing of wild donkeys, goats and sheep. The last concern put my back home concerns in proper perspective! I asked the owner of the Gallipot, while imbibing in some after dinner drinks and watching an incredible sunset, why the people walking raise their arms up in a kind of half wave gesture. He said their inquiring if you would pick them up for a ride (The thought of picking up a stranger on the U.S. highways makes me shiver). He told me about the "friendliness" on Nevis, and how they all cooperate driving on the two-land "super highway." On the way back to Golden Rock, sure enough, a young boy made the gesture, and my wife and I picked him up. He had a dozen bags full of peanuts and was heading for the 4 Seasons Hotel beach (a panhandler?). We bought 2 bags, ate one and fed the rest to the parrot we befriended at Golden Rock. He told us about his schooling, his teachers, the grades he gets, the school uniform problems (not being able to afford one), and what he plans to do when he grow up...the kid was 11 years old. Nope, AI make one miss too much. Robert
Robert is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 07:11 AM
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It absolutely depends on where you go. I have been to Galley Bay and Palm Island, both are AI's and were wonderful.
Lisager15 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 10:08 AM
  #8  
cdt
 
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I've been spending time on travel boards for several years and have seen more complaints about the food at AI's than anything else.

We've never gone AI and would consider it only if we had chosen an ideal beach location and it was too isolated to easily access independent restaurants.

Maybe if you were looking at an AI which had received unanimously positive reviews (probably an expensive one), it would be okay.

cdt is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:19 AM
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I think you would have to consider the island you would be going to. On some islands, all-inclusive is almost the only way to go (e.g. Cuba, Dominican, Jamaica).

I think that the main drawback of all-inclusive is the lack of variety. After three or four days of eating in the same place, you probably will want something different.
IslandGrl is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:26 AM
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All-inclusive is NOT the "only way to go" to Jamaica, why would you say that?

In my opinion it's the worst way to go. Did it once, never again. Been back to Jamaica since that AI trip more than 10 times and had a wonderful time staying at small beach cottage-style hotels, villas when we had a large group, fancy and not-fancy hotels....all beat our Sandals stay by miles.

Tere is so much to Jamaica beyond the AI gates....
liza is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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I'm also baffled by IslandGrl's comment. Jamaica does have quite a few AI's but it also has just as many if not more charming, smaller non-AI resorts, inns, villas, etc.
Patty is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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To piggy-back on ejcrowe's comments on the economic effects of AIs, I spoke to several people "in the industry" while we were in St. Lucia a few weeks ago - an island that has felt the effects of the tourism slump and the onslaught of the Sandals Chain in recent years with 4 properties. Two cab drivers, a scuba dive master, a manager from the Jalousie Hilton, and a restraunteur to name a few. The comments were quite universal: AI's are VERY bad for the local economy.

As travelers who spend our money in the region - often in great sums - we all have to do what works for us, so choose based on your wants/needs in a vacation. But I do encourage people to keep these points and ejcrowe's comments in mind when evaluating AI's.

An island can't survive on AI's alone.
DAVECAROL is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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Hi Rusty,

We have done both - AI and non AI.

It certainly depends on what type of holiday you are looking for.

If you are after a holiday with adventure, variety and don't mind looking for restaurants and discovering new places -then non AI might be the way to go.

If you are looking for a no-hassles vacation where you don't have to worry about finding restaurants, setting up activities, tipping - and not worry about anything - then AI is a great choice.

My only suggestion would be to do your homework on the quality and reviews of the AI you choose. You certainly want a good one - because unlike non-AI - you are committed to the food, accommodation and atmosphere for the duration of your stay.

FYI - we have had great experiences doing things both ways.

AI resorts have their place - for those with families and very hectic lives - there's alot to be said for a quality place with great food - where you don't have to worry or fret about anything. It has not been our experience at the AIs we have visited that people abuse the drinking privilege - that is a stereotype we are not familiar with. We have encountered great people looking for a relaxing, hassle-free time.
JohnPH is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 12:24 PM
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Everybody is right, what a can of worms!

I have done A/I in Jamaica and loved it. A/I is by no means "THE ONLY to go" in Jamaica. As said before, really depends on what you want out of your vacation.

One thing that irks me is when folks rant against A/I's and claim that if you stay at one you cannot get out and taste the local flavor. Granted, I have only done A/I in Jamaica, but we have never been held hostage, told we couldn't leave the resort. We make it a point to spend a great deal of time in the environs, sampling local restaurants and bars, shopping, etc.. What about an A/I forces people to never leave and see the rest of the world around it? We have always been free to come and go as we wish.

Of course, should you wish to never leave the A/I, that is indeed, possible. If people do that, then obviously, that is what they want to do. Are all you people saying you think that folks on vacation should be forced to get out from A/I resorts even if that is not the type vacation they have paid for and desire? Heck people, it is not your vacation. Make a deal, you do what you want to on your vacation and we'll do what we want on ours. If I don't like a place, I won't go back.

No doubt, there are alot of bad A/Is out there and some that completely misrepresent their ability to service their guests....butt, there are alot of regular, independent hotels and restaurants out there that do the same thing. Hey, there is some really bad food out there and some real horrible service that has no connection to any A/I. The A/Is I have been to had fabulous food, service, amenities and activities. Haven't found anything to complain about, yet. If I happen to run into one that will not allow me to leave and go visit in town, then I will have something to complain about.

It comes down to due diligence. Figure out what you want from your vacation, and research the possibilities.
atticus is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 03:01 PM
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To me, the answer depends on where we are going. We always stay AI in the Mayan Riveira. We never stay AI in Aruba. We have done AI in Provo, T&C but I probably wouldn't next time around.
MuyLinda is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 03:08 PM
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I truly believe that both have their place. I have had great food at AI's. The worst food I have ever had in the Carribbean was at a regular restaurant in the USVI that many people loved. We've also had the most comfortable mattresses in the AI's. I agree that there are certain islands that I would and would not do an AI on. You have to make your own choice based on research. We have never done an AI where we never left the resort and just languished on the beach and drank. We have always used the taxi service on every island, ate at a couple of local restaurants and tipped VERY well. We also shop on each island, bringing back many gifts. Additionally, we tip the AI staff well. We have met many wonderful people and remain friends from some of the AI's. There really is no 'right' answer. The beaches are wonderful everywhere.
Knowing is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 04:01 PM
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I have done several AI trips and several non AI. I enjoyed them all for different reasons. I will say that, on the AI trips, I usually get sick of food by the 3rd day because it seems like you are around it all the time and eat too much. With the non AI trips, I looked forward to each meal.
cartera45 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 08:54 PM
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"What about an A/I forces people to never leave and see the rest of the world around it?"

Nothing except for the fact that you have prepaid for your meals at an AI so if you go out you pay twice. Gets costly if you want to go out much.

"Hey, there is some really bad food out there and some real horrible service that has no connection to any A/I."

True, but if it's not part of your AI package you only have to eat there once, then can avoid that restaurant for the rest of the vacation. If it's the main AI restaurant that you hate, you're pretty well stuck.
liza is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 10:18 PM
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"Nothing except for the fact that you have prepaid for your meals at an AI so if you go out you pay twice. Gets costly if you want to go out much."

If this is the case, maybe one shouldn't try to vacation out of the country on the cheap. Out of a stay at an A/I a few meals outside the property shouldn't break anyone's bank...particularly on certain islands. Now on St Bart's maybe, but places like DR or Grenada..definitely not.

"True, but if it's not part of your AI package you only have to eat there once, then can avoid that restaurant for the rest of the vacation. If it's the main AI restaurant that you hate, you're pretty well stuck."

True, hence the precautionary "DUE DILIGENCE". I'll never understand why anyone would blindly go spending a couple of thousand dollars and never really research their destination...if that is the case...you pays your money/you takes your chances. Alot of A/Is have more than one restaurant and offer several choices of food types. Again, the key is due diligence.

atticus is offline  
Jul 8th, 2003, 05:53 AM
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My husband and I really enjoy staying all inclusive. We are very laid back people and on vacation we are there for each other and the beach. When we find time to take a vacation, we enjoy spending that time doing nothing but vegging on the beach (we are very busy/active at home so vacation is time to be lazy!). We enjoy having food, drinks, watersports equipment, etc. all at our finger tips without having to move far from the beach. Plus it's nice not to think about finances while on vacation. It makes it very carefree and relaxing for us.

I think the main complaint with AIs are the food and service. As I said, we are very laid back and as long as the food / service isn't terrible, we're fine. We had some good meals, not spectacular but good. It all depends on what you are looking for in a vacation.
beachlover99 is offline  

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