Are you thinking of staying at an all-inclusive beach resort? While most include perks beyond an average hotel stay, some all-inclusive resorts are not as inclusive as you might think. Contributing writer J. Shadé Quintanilla discovered five all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico that include unique experiences, complimentary activities and classes, and dining and alcohol options that might surprise you.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Riviera Maya, Mexico
Travelers looking to do more than sunbathe and relax on the beach might want to check out the Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Each day you’ll receive a schedule of activities, such as kayak and bicycle tours, sand castle building, and beach volleyball. The all-inclusive resort even offers educational ecological tours around the resort grounds where you can learn about the Yucatan Peninsula’s native plant and animal species and encounter mangroves and cenotes. The Grand Velas Riviera Maya is also home to some of the top restaurants in the area, featuring critically acclaimed chefs from all around the world. Last year, the resort flew in three chefs from France for a special 10-course dinner that was served at the French restaurant Piaf. This year, the resort will host a similar event, The Best of Mexico, which will feature the dishes of five Mexican celebrity chefs. The event will take place from October 12 to 17 inside the resort’s Mexican restaurant Frida. Special events like this one do not come at any extra expense for guests of the resort.
Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa in St. Lucia
There is plenty of fun for families at the Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa. With a petting zoo, mini rock climbing wall, and a zip line for kids, the resort includes amenities and activities that the entire family can enjoy. The 85-acre all-inclusive is also home to St. Lucia’s largest waterpark with water slides, a lazy pool, and a water playground. Parents who need time away from the kids can drop them off at the fully supervised Kid’s Klub. There, kids and tweens spend a day filled with activities such as beach hikes, turtle watches, and cookie making. The Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa also hosts family-friendly parties and events, like a Caribbean themed night with firebreathers and acrobats, family karaoke, and under-the-stars movie nights.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun in Cancun, Mexico
Along the Punta Cancun strip, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun is an ideal place to stay for food and tequila aficionados. The all-inclusive resort offers guests a diverse culinary experience with its 17 restaurants and bars. Foodies can delight in an assortment of empanadas at the resort’s grill and steakhouse, enjoy a plate of mushroom risotto at the Italian restaurant, and indulge with sweet treats from the dessert parlor. The Hyatt Ziva Cancun even has its own onsite brewery and a collection of 140 different tequilas. Drinkers can try an artisanal beer brewed right on the resort grounds or discover new tequilas at tastings.
Curtain Bluff in Antigua, West Indies
With 72 rooms facing the ocean, Curtain Bluff is a smaller all-inclusive resort that has a country club/beachy feel to it. Here you will find opportunities to experience water sports and explore the habitats of the Caribbean waters. Twice a day, boats transport guests to the Cades Reefs for guided snorkeling trips and whisk certified divers away for scuba diving adventures. All snorkeling and scuba gear is also included in the nightly rate. More thrilling activities at Curtain Bluff lie within the watersports center. There, you can check out water sports equipment, including water skis, Hobie cats, and paddle boards. Curtain Bluff also has tennis courts where guests can play complimentary games and take tennis lessons for an additional fee. Throughout the year, tennis pros and beginners escape to the two-beach resort for its many special tennis events, such as the Curtain Bluff Fantasy Tennis Camp and Antigua Tennis Week.
Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
There are many opportunities to enjoy cocktails and fine wine at the Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana. Upon arrival, you will receive a welcome bottle of rum and find a complimentary mini bar—that is restocked twice a day—inside of the rooms. Included in the resort’s nightly rate is a daily bottle of sparkling wine and unlimited top shelf alcoholic beverages. You can sip on a fruity margarita with a shot of Patron or pair dinner with a fine wine. Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana also offers a complimentary horseback ride on the beach (reservations required) and a 20-minute massage at the resort spa. Located close to other resorts in Punta Cana, guests who want explore the other properties also have access to restaurants and bars through the resort’s Sip, Savor & Dining Experience.
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By J. Shadé Quintanilla for PeterGreenberg.com