All-inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean & Mexico

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Sandals LaSource in Grenada
Sandals LaSource in Grenada

The makings of an all-inclusive resort can go as follows: coconut palm trees dotting a white-sand beach; cabanas and lounge chairs found oceanside with a few hammocks swinging in the breeze; a butler in crisp uniform serving guests cool, refreshing cocktails; and a wide selection of onsite restaurants to choose from—let’s not forget that nightly entertainment, as well. The formula is about the same across the board, yet these all-inclusive brands—and their distinctive properties—are each unique in their own way.

We’ve handpicked a few all-inclusive brands to compile this list in order to share with you what’s new and improved about each one—whether it’s new services, packages, accommodations, or family-friendly offerings.


It’s been a bang-up time for AMResorts, with the launch of the adults-only Breathless Resorts & Spas brand in late-2013—and that’s to an already long roster of all-inclusive brands, including Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts, Secrets Resorts & Spas, Dreams Resorts & Spas, Now Resorts & Spas, and Sunscape Resorts & Spas. In fact, the company reported a 23.2 percent revenue gain in 2013—AMResorts most definitely does not rest on its laurels. Here’s what’s new: AMResorts will debut the 441-room Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa this September; the 424-room Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort will open this November; and the intimate, 35-room  Zoëtry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun  will join the roster this December. Then in December 2015, the 425-room Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya and the 500-room Breathless Petempich Riviera Maya will open their doors. In other news, Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya earned the AAA five-diamond award for the 11th consecutive year—the longest streak in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region; and Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun won this honor for the first-time. The latter is one of only two adults-only, all-inclusive resorts to hold the AAA five-diamond recognition. or

bahia principe hotels & resorts

In the Caribbean and Mexico, Bahia Principe rules with its 20-plus properties—an impressive portfolio of family-friendly and adults-only all-inclusive resorts—and as is common within the all-inclusive market, attention to detail is especially given to accommodations, service, and cuisine, all of which Bahia Principe achieves with top-tier status.

What’s new for Bahia? Well, for one, this November the Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal will be re-branded as a Don Pablo Collection resort. The Collection makes up a small segment of Bahia’s resorts labeled so for its ultimate luxury and butler service as well as accommodations with high-end decor in spacious and comfortable suites. Akumal will also add 164 new Deluxe Junior Suites as well as restaurants to the property.

In other Bahia news, this past fall, a few properties added inventory to their room accommodations including the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville in La Romana, Dominican Republic, which recently added 244 Deluxe Junior Suites and 36 oceanfront suites in the same category, along with three new restaurants; a pool area with two jacuzzis; a new lobby with a bar; and guest access to services and facilities at neighboring Grand Bahia Principe La Romana.

At Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, parents can enroll their kids in the new Bahia Scouts program where they will mingle with other children on the property and experience eco-adventure tours and mini-Olympic games on the beach, while Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana and Grand Bahia Principe Coba will both feature new waterparks for kids. or

hard rock

Some come for the rock-and-roll vibe and memorabilia, while others dig its chic and modern accommodations and design, not to mention its luxury all-inclusive amenities. Whatever the reason, Hard Rock knows how to cater to guests looking for more than just a beach getaway in their all-inclusive vacation.

“We market each all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel as a completely unmatched experience that encompasses the Hard Rock vibe, along with luxurious all-inclusive amenities. It’s a fun, vibrant brand that provides an atmosphere with incredible history and one-of-a-kind memorabilia—along the lines of Madonna’s limo, which sits in the lobby of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana,” says Rafael Chapur, COO of the All Inclusive Collection.

The properties that make up Hard Rock’s all-inclusive brand include Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, which is now offering its Kids Stay Free package. If families book three nights or more in a Signature Family Suite, two kids, under the age of 12, can eat, stay, and play for free—travel deadline is Dec. 23.

The newest property, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, bangs it out with 1,264 guestrooms, nine restaurants, eight bars and lounges, the HIT Entertainment’s Little Big Club for kids, and a Teens Lounge & Club. Adults have their own sanctuary, Heaven, which includes the Rock Spa, four restaurants, three bars and lounges, and a nightclub. Rates start at $200 per night.

fiesta americana

Fiesta Americana, part of the Posadas group, which also encompassing Live Aqua Hotels & Resorts, is not resting on its laurels with the debut, last December, of the Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos All Inclusive Golf & Spa, offering such experiences as the SOMMA WineSPA and a golf course—in fact, the resort is in the top 10 on Golf Digest magazine’s list of the “Top 50 Best Golf Hotels in the World.” Additionally, a new all-inclusive, 500-room property will open soon in Puerto Vallarta under the Fiesta Americana Grand Hotels & Resorts brand, and the Posadas company has recently adapted three of its properties to the all-inclusive concept: Live Aqua Cancun; Fiesta Americana Cancun and Fiesta Americana Cozumel.; or

club med

The family-friendly Club Med brand is in the final stages of a multimillion dollar enhancement to its Club Med Cancun Yucatan property, which includes adding 60 beachfront family rooms—30 Family Club Rooms and 30 Family Deluxe Rooms, with their own private reception area—as well as a new Petit Club Med children’s club for 2 and 3 year olds, which will complement the kids’ clubs for 4 to 17 year olds. Also new will be two oceanfront restaurants—a new Argentine grill, La Estancia, and a redesign of Las Cazuelas restaurant—as well as the new Maya Lounge, a trendy bar and entertainment area.

Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, meanwhile, is adding to its golf offerings with a new onsite training facility with a practice green, bunker, nets, and even a smaller scale 18-hole practice course. The property offers oceanfront courses with 45 holes in total at the Tom Faizo-designed Corales Golf Club and P.B. Dye-designed La Cana Golf Club. or

barcelo hotels & resorts

Barcelo Hotels & Resorts has been upping the ante at its Barcelo Maya resort complex, which is made up of five separate all-inclusive resorts. It has completed the first phase of a multimillion dollar renovation, which is focused on Barcelo Maya Beach and Barcelo Maya Caribe. Barcelo Maya Beach now features a new clubhouse, Club Premium Lounge and hospitality area, and a modernized lobby, as well as a Mexican specialty restaurant, and an air-conditioned lobby bar; additionally, the buffet restaurant received a complete overhaul. The resort’s Club Premium suites, with 93 jr. suites and 18 oceanfront premium suites, have been transformed and now feature new jacuzzis on the terraces. The wet bar and main pool have also been remodeled and a children’s play pool was added. Additionally, Barcelo Maya Beach’s Barcelo U Spa received a sprinkling of new spa treatments including the Fish Spa Treatment, where garra rufa fish eat dead cells from the skin, and the Nighttime Spa Treatment, which can be experienced during the day or night, as both the couple’s spa suite or flotation treatment room are designed to simulate the Mayan night sky complete with twinkling artificial stars.

The second phase of the renovation concentrates on Barcelo Maya Caribe, where the property’s lobby, bars and restaurants are being upgraded and they’ll be adding the Barcelo Maya Entertainment Center with a sports bar, bowling alley, teen disco, new kids’ club, waterpark, paddle tennis courts and a redesign of the 18-hole mini golf course. The complete renovation is expected for completion by the end of the year. or

sandos hotels & resorts

Sandos Hotels & Resorts’ all-inclusive properties in Mexico include Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos, Sandos Cancun Luxury Experience Resort, Sandos Playacar Beach Experience Resort, and Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort. Recently, Sandos Caracol added new experiences to its eco program as well as new eco-activities for kids such as yoga lessons held next to a cenote and a behind-the-scenes look at how the resort manages its conservation efforts. The resort also opened its eighth gourmet restaurant, Salvia, catering to vegetarian guests as it serves a large variety of plant-based food and raw cuisine, all gluten-free. And we have great news for travel agents. From now to Dec. 20, travel agents get up to three complimentary nights at each Sandos Mexico property, totaling 12 nights. All you need is a valid travel agent ID to book it. For more information, U.S. agents need to e-mail [email protected]; Canadian travel agents, [email protected]

hyatt zilara & hyatt ziva

With two distinctive brands—Hyatt Ziva, catering to families and guests of all ages, and the adults-only, Hyatt Zilara—Hyatt is the newest entry in the all-inclusive market. The first two Hyatt-branded all-inclusive resorts in the world—Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos and Hyatt Zilara Cancun—made their debut in November 2013, owned and managed by Playa Hotels & Resorts. Guests booking at the beachfront Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, located near San Jose del Cabo, can expect plush accommodations, six a la carte restaurants and two gourmet buffet restaurants, spa treatments, kids’ program and nightly shows. Activities include deep-water fishing, scuba diving, world-class golf and five swimming pools. Over at the adults-only, all-suite Hyatt Zilara Cancun, located on the widest stretch of beach in the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, things sizzle up with suites that offer views of the Caribbean, six gourmet restaurants, The Spa—Cancun’s only oceanview spa—wine and spirits tastings, and enhanced pool and beach butler service. In late-2014, the newest addition to the portfolio of properties will be the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall and Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica—the former Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall, which is currently undergoing a massive $83 million enhancement and expansion project to reinvent this storied resort. Additionally, Playa Hotels & Resorts has big plans to grow both Hyatt Ziva and Hyatt Zilara throughout Mexico and the Caribbean, and will debut more resorts with the openings of Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta in late-2014 and Hyatt Ziva Cancun in 2015.

omni hotels & resorts

Omni Hotels & Resorts offers your clients two choices on Mexico’s Caribbean coast—one, an intimate, 30-room resort in Puerto Aventuras; the other, a 343-guestroom property in Cancun. At the Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas, clients can choose from various accommodation categories: Deluxe Rooms; Premier Rooms; Executive Suites; Presidential Suites; and Luxury Three Bedroom Villas, located in the lush tropical garden/pool area and featuring a dining, kitchen and living area as well as three bedrooms each with private bathroom—multigenerational family booking, anyone? At the Omni Puerto Aventuras Hotel Beach Resort, guests can opt for either the Deluxe Oversized Rooms or the Premium Rooms, each offering a private jacuzzi and a balcony with hammock and garden, marina or ocean views. We’re thinking this is the place to send those honeymooning or 

jewel resorts

Located in Ocho Rios, Jewel Resorts has three properties catering to families and adults.

The newest member of the Jewel portfolio is the Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa, an adults-only, healthy-lifestyle and luxury property that opened last fall. Formerly the Royal Decameron Fun Caribbean Hotel, Jewel Paradise Cove features 210 guestrooms and 15 butler-serviced jr. suites, and is the first Jewel property to introduce an all-inclusive health, spa and fitness theme.

Here, guests can find juice and smoothie bars throughout the property, healthy cuisine options and an extensive list of watersports activities like kayaking, windsurfing, and snorkeling—this is an ideal choice for the health-conscious traveler looking for a Caribbean getaway.

Along with seven onsite restaurants, three pools, and golf at nearby Runaway Bay Golf Club, a par 72, 18-hole championship course, guests are entertained with dive-in movies, beach parties, theme and movie trivia nights, and talent show contests. Guests are also treated to a Dunn’s River Falls tour, while exercise junkies have access to a fitness trail that spans the entire property with workout stations dotted throughout. The resort’s six room categories range from Premier Guest Rooms to Oceanfront Butler Service Junior Suites with room service, newly designed bathrooms, and butler service able to arrange treatments at the resort’s Radiant Spa. or

melia hotels international

To step back a bit, it was in late-2013 when Melia Hotels International took over operations of the Melia Nassau Beach Resort, but now the property is undergoing a complete rebirth to become the new Melia at Baha Mar—date for completion is scheduled for this December.

“We are very excited about the rebirth of Melia Nassau Beach as Melia at Baha Mar, the only hotel in the Baha Mar complex to provide an all-inclusive offering. The family-friendly resort will feature new restaurant concepts, updated pools, and an enhanced lobby area as well as a renovated gym. With its unique, all-inclusive service, the updated hotel will boast the high standards that guests have come to expect from Melia Hotels & Resorts including unparalleled guest service,” says Andrew Tilley, general manager of Melia Nassau Beach.

The refurbishment won’t hinder guests’ experiences while on the property, which remains open until the face-lift is complete. The new Melia at Baha Mar will sit on seven acres in Nassau, Bahamas along Cable Beach, stretching about 1,000 ft. Aside from all-inclusive amenities, guests can enjoy an array of offerings at the hotel, including accommodations in one of 694 guestrooms and 32 suites, offering views of the Atlantic Ocean; on- and off-land activities from golf and sailing to snorkeling; dining options that include, Aqua, The Market Place, O’Grille and Estavida; and kids between the ages of 5 and 12 are welcomed to join the complimentary Melia’s Kids and Co. program. Summer rates start at $195 pp for the all-inclusive plan. or

occidental hotels & resorts

Occidental Hotels & Resorts’ all-inclusive brands—Royal Hideaway, Allegro and Occidental Grand—have locations in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Aruba, with a variety of styles that range from boutique to luxury, and family-friendly to adults-only.

To pick just one, let’s take the Allegro Cozumel Resort—an ideal location for dive enthusiasts as it’s located on San Francisco Beach by the Palancar Reef (a top dive site). It features 301 guestrooms, four restaurants, a fitness center and spa, four swimming pools, a pirate-themed waterpark and kids’ club, as well as a slew of outdoor activities from sailing to windsurfing, volleyball and beach soccer, to deep-sea fishing and golf.

The resort is offering its Ultimate Dive Experience package for scuba divers of all levels. The package features accommodations in a Superior Premium Ultimate Dive Experience guestroom, located either by the beach or pool and featuring amenities and services of a Superior Premium room with private check-in/check-out; complimentary WiFi; fully stocked minibar; one diving tank per day; and free storage and care of diving equipment.

Divers also have access to a special lounge area, discounts at the resort’s dive shop, and boat transfers four times a day to Palancar Reef and other dive spots in Mexico’s Caribbean Sea. The starting rate for the package is $107 pp. Agents, make sure your clients are PADI scuba certified before booking this package. or

karisma hotels & resorts

Karisma Hotels & Resorts keeps on breaking new ground with a couple of openings in the last six months alone: This past February, Karisma debuted Generations Riviera Maya by Karisma and back in December 2013, it opened Azul Sensatori Jamaica.

The Generations Riviera Maya property features 144 all-suite oceanfront accommodations with unlimited butler service and swim-up infinity suites from the the first to fourth floors. Guests of the first floor suites have a water-mirror balcony that takes guests directly into a lazy river that connects to the main pool and swim-up bar. The personal and beach butlers cater to guests’ every need including dinner or spa reservations, serving family-style meals en-suite, and delivering lunch, sunscreen, or reading materials to the pool or beachside.

Azul Sensatori Jamaica, meanwhile, is the first for the brand in Jamaica, and is located on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach with views of the Caribbean Sea. It features 140 oceanview rooms, six gourmet restaurants, bars and lounges, the Vassa Spa, and Azulitos Play House for kids 4 to 12 years old. The second phase of the property, opening in winter 2014, adds 160 rooms for a total of 300 rooms. The resort offers 1- and 2-bedroom accommodations, including beachfront or oceanview categories, each of which are available as swim-up suites with outdoor beds.  A multigenerational section features Family Suites with two double beds or one king-size bed accommodating up to two adults and three children. Larger groups can reserve 2-story Family Loft Suites featuring a murphy bed, a king bed, and two double beds. Couples looking for adult time can experience the adults-only section featuring king-size beds, as well as romantic Honeymoon Suites.

For your clients who are foodies and wine enthusiasts, Karisma is offering the on-going Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series, a wine and food program spotlighting top chefs and winemasters from around the world. Special events include access and insight into highly sought-after wines, vertical tastings, educational classes with sommeliers and winemakers, cooking courses, special pairings and an exclusive Guest Chef and Winemaker Dinner.

Additionally, all Karisma properties offer extensive complimentary fitness classes, and private trainers including beachfront yoga, CrossFit, Zumba, a weekly 5k fun run, spinning, and daily bike tours. or

palace resorts & le blanc

Palace Resorts is an all-inclusive giant that last year saw an increase in occupancy rates for all seven properties—including the more-exclusive Le Blanc Spa Resort—go up 20 percent over its 2012 numbers; the company also saw an increase in its wedding offerings with about 2,500 ceremonies performed last year, a 28 percent growth from 2012. Palace Resorts is made up of seven oceanfront resorts all located in Mexico—Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, and Riviera Maya.

What’s the draw for travelers? Maybe it’s the $1,500 resort credit guests receive when they book a 5-night stay or more that can be used for spa treatments, golf excursions, wedding packages, and off-site tours. Or it could be the all-star line-up of entertainers who performed at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort like Michael Bolton, Usher, classic rock band Chicago, and Ricky Martin.

Gibran Chapur, executive v.p. for Palace Resorts, shares his thoughts: “The success and unprecedented growth of Palace Resorts can be accredited to our high-quality product, indispensable team of service-oriented individuals and commitment to surpassing guest expectations by redefining the notion of what an all-inclusive should and can offer.” And those offerings expanded last year when Moon Palace underwent a $22 million dollar renovation to its Nizuc section, which added 120 guestrooms, a pool, a new mini-golf course, a beauty salon and kids’ club, The Playroom, where kids are entertained with a creativity area, Xbox and arcade zone, movie theater and mini soccer field. Book the Kids Stay Free package and up to two kids 12 and under stay and eat free at four Palace Resorts. All-inclusive accommodations rates start at $172 pp.

Le Blanc Spa Resort itself has garnered a few accolades recently, including another five-diamond award—its fourth in as many years—and a place on Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Places in the World to Stay in 2014 list. Adding to the luxury vibe is a new menu at Lumiere, the hotel’s most exclusive restaurant serving French-fusion cuisine, and the enhancement of spa services. The resort is promoting its healthy side with a buffet at the main restaurant that offers healthy options and a new area by the Sol Pool that offers natural fruit smoothies. or

riu hotels & resorts

RIU Hotels & Resorts is welcoming guests at more spots throughout the Caribbean with the debut of the 252-room Riu Palace St. Martin. The property, located beachfront in Anse Marcel on the French side of the Dutch-French island, offers several restaurants bars, pools, sports and aquatic activities, a mini-club for the little ones, a complete spa and marina, as well as venues for weddings. Over in Aruba, the the 482-room Riu Palace Antilles, which will be located next to the Riu Palace Aruba, will debut next winter directly on Palm Beach and will be exclusively for guests 18 and over. And in case you didn’t hear, the Riu Palace Jamaica, exclusively for adults, opened this past winter near Montego Bay. or

sandals resorts & beaches

In December, Sandals Resorts’ Luxury Included collection welcomed the Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa to its portfolio. Situated on 17 acres along Pink Gin Beach, Sandals LaSource Grenada offers guests posh accommodations that range from Luxury to Club and Butler levels. In fact, the property boasts a total of 225 rooms within three separate villages: Pink Gin, Italian and South Seas. Along with the nine gourmet restaurants, including the brand’s first steakhouse, a fitness center, five pools, and Red Lane Spa, guests can keep themselves busy both on land and in the water with activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, table tennis, basketball, beach volleyball, Hobie Cats, and board games. Sandals LaSource is located minutes from Maurice Bishop International Airport. Room rates for the resort’s Luxury level start at $272 pp.

On the Beaches side, the Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa recently expanded by introducing a new themed village to the property, the Key West Luxury Village. This new addition to the resort, alongside its Italian, French, and Caribbean villages, feature contemporary studios, multi-bedroom suites and villas that are ideal for multigenerational family travel.

Additional upgrades include three new restaurants added to an already long list of dining venues located throughout the resort; an all-new SkySlide at the Pirates Island Waterpark; new butler cabanas circling the pool at the French Village; added hibachi tables at Kimonos restaurant; golf cart transfer service; and a new Sesame Street character as part of The Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street themed activities, Oscar the Grouch. or

sunset resorts

The island of Jamaica is home base for Sunset Resorts, with three all-inclusive properties in Montego Bay and Negril. With summer just around the corner, Sunset Resorts has announced a new program for kids and teens, Sunrise Adventure Camp.

At no additional charge to guests, Sunrise Adventure Camp, which runs through Aug. 31, offers such activities as Marine Exploration trips where kids get a chance to learn about the importance of marine life with experts before boarding a glass-bottom boat to see and feed fish. After the excursion, kids return to the resort to receive an honorary park ranger certificate. There is also the Future Chefs class where they’ll learn from an award-winning culinary team how to make cookies, omelets, pizza, and other scrumptious delights. Mom and Dad can join in on the fun at dive-in movie nights—grab a seat by the pool and watch a movie projected onto the large pirate ship at the resort’s waterpark.

Other activities include photography, soccer, arts & crafts, and mini-golf tournaments. The adventure camp is available at the Sunset Beach Resort, Spa & Waterpark and the Oasis at Sunset, both in Montego Bay.

The brand’s third property is the boutique resort, Sunset at the Palms in Negril—an adults-only enclave with 85 treehouse-designed guestrooms—ideal for a honeymoon. or