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Costco Connection: All-Inclusive Resorts

Many people are drawn to the experience of an all-inclusive vacation—it can be seamless and give you the freedom to concentrate on the true value of the experience rather than focusing on the cost of everything you want to do.

In recent years, most all-inclusives have put greater emphasis on the quality of the complete resort experience. And, especially during the pandemic, when travelers have been seeking assurance that their vacation environment is safe, healthy and secure, all-inclusives have become more attractive than ever as one-stop-shopping destinations.

I recently spoke with a few Costco members about their experiences.

David McKenny and his wife, Kathy, were shopping at Costco when they saw the Costco Travel brochures. That led them to call and speak with a Costco Travel advisor, who walked them through all their choices as well as the COVID-19 international travel rules. They settled on Jamaica, and picked the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa.

As promised, when they arrived the resort was not full, and social distancing was being fully implemented at every turn. “From the moment we arrived, the folks who work there took care of us. They knew us by name. They knew what we liked, and they remembered what we ordered,” David says.

The real highlight for the McKennys was the food. And the price, which covered the entire trip, accommodations, meals and airfare.

“This experience rose to our comfort level,” David says, “and my wife is already booking a return trip to the same place for next year.”

Jay Groff says he and his wife, Rebecca, “just needed to get to a quiet beach. We wanted a place about 85 degrees where the water temperature was close to that.”

After talking with Costco Travel, they found it: Sanctuary Cap Cana, an adults-only, all-inclusive resort with a white sand beach in the Dominican Republic.

“From the moment we got there,” Jay reports, “it was all about choice. Five separate restaurants, five separate pools, and we also had activities off property as well.” The couple spent most of their time at the beach, then took an all-terrain vehicle tour along the back roads of Punta Cana.

“We had looked at just taking a trip to Key West,” Jay says, “but when we deconstructed the costs of the airfare, the hotel, the meals and the rental car, going the all-inclusive route was the only way to go. We didn’t have to think about much. We’re definitely going back.”

Costco members Beverly and Ajay Sutton vacationed at the Serenity at Coconut Bay in Saint Lucia.

“Before we took this trip, I didn’t have a great impression of all-inclusives,” Beverly says. “I thought you’d be trapped in your room or surrounded by too many people, with nothing good to eat. But the key for us was having that conversation with the Costco rep—it wasn’t just about reducing our fears, but about discussing the possibilities for the trip.”

They took a sunset catamaran cruise and a tour of the island, and had a romantic dinner for two in a cabana on the beach. The couple also took an excursion to a volcano, snorkeled, took mud baths, went sea kayaking and took countless walks on the beach.

“We thought it would be boring,” Beverly says. “In the end, it became our 36th anniversary present to ourselves.”

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