For many years, luxury travelers eschewed all-inclusive resorts, believing they could get better food and service when they weren’t paying a single price. But in recent years, all-inclusive brands, both well-known and boutique, have fought against the stereotype and created curated high-end experiences featuring accommodations with all the bells and whistles (think: private plunge pools and butler service) plus world-class dining, all covered within the cost of the room.
Here are five of our newest favorites.
Grand Velas Los Cabos
Just before Christmas, Grand Velas opened its first Cabo hotel, a $150 million, all-suite resort that offers you just about every posh amenity imaginable. The five onsite restaurants serve everything from tasting menus to a special Mexican wine program, while the spa features treatments with local ingredients and a “spa atelier,” a series of educational workshops based on Ayurvedic medicine.
The 304 oversized suites start at more than 1,000 square feet, and all have ocean views and perks like Nespresso machines. Wellness suites even come with private fitness equipment and perks like an aromatherapy kit, a crudité minibar and a private juice bar.
Secrets has long billed itself as an upscale all-inclusive brand — its slogan, “Unlimited-Luxury,” promises top-shelf spirits, butler service and posh rooms and suites. The brand’s newest property, its first in the Dominican Republic, features 457 rooms, eight restaurant, six bars, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, a spa, a marina and stables with a polo field.
We’d suggest the Preferred Club Level, which is an extra tier of opulence consisting of a private lounge and amenities like a private pool, a dedicated beach area and even a pillow menu. Bungalows and swim-out suites are also available.
Sandals Royal Caribbean
Everyone wants in on the overwater bungalow trend but not everyone can deliver a finished product quite like this. This popular Montego Bay resort upped the ante on its already-luxurious product by adding these breathtaking units to the lineup, making it the first Caribbean property with overwater bungalows. The villas, which opened in December, are located on their own private island.
The luxury begins from the moment you land. Start your journey from the airport in private BMW sedans, continue to the island via a transfer on an electricity-powered boat with your personal butler and check in at the villa, where you can then can spread out and enjoy the bungalow’s glass-bottomed floor, infinity pool and magnificent sunset views.
Sandals lovers will rejoice that Royal Caribbean isn’t the only place to get these perks — the brand recently announced it’s adding nine over-the-water accommodations to the St. Lucia property, debuting in May, and Jamaica’s Sandals South Coast.
El Dorado Maroma
Think over-water bungalows require a trip to the Maldives or Tahiti? Think again. Opened this past fall, Karisma Resorts’ El Dorado Maroma presented Mexico’s first over-water bungalows in its adults-only area.
The 30 suites offer glass floors, perfect for gazing at the varieties of fish in the pure blue waters, outdoor showers and indoor Jacuzzis, private infinity pools and full butler service. If the bungalows are full, fret not because the resort allows guests staying in an inland unit to experience waterfront wonders at the new over-the-blue grill and wine bar, the ideal spot for a sunset meal.
Unico 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera Maya
Opening this month, Unico 20˚87˚ Hotel Riviera May, the area’s newest all-inclusive, is designed to reflect its Mexican heritage. The 448 rooms are expansive and feature private plunge pools or hydro-massage tubs on the balconies, but it’s the services that really put this hotel in a special category. You can personalize everything from the room’s scent to the goodies in the minibar.
Expect activities far beyond the traditional beach party, too. Take part in cooking classes, boutique-style fitness sessions or a number of complimentary spa and salon treatments. There’s even a dedicated men’s barbershop equipped with a cart that features craft cocktails, beer and whiskey.