Encore at Wynn Las Vegas Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Opened in December 2008, the 2,034-room Encore is about pure opulence; not surreal, family-friendly showmanship. Its giant rooms one-up even the Wynn's (Encore's sister next door) and include such snazzy features as bedside curtain control, beautiful design, and an enormous bathroom. The rooms stand toe-to-toe with the Palazzo's as the best in Vegas.
Dreams La Romana Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Reopened in 2008, this shiny new 751-room mega-resort has immaculate pools, beautiful rooms, an excellent kids' club, a great cocktail menu with name-brand liquor, and some of the D.R.'s best all-inclusive food -- from fine French cuisine to fish and chips. It's a great pick, though the beach is fairly small and unimpressive.
Majestic Elegance Punta Cana - Luxury All Inclusive Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Opened in late 2008, the 600-room Majestic is newer, cleaner, and more modern than most all-inclusives. Its giant pool, soft-sand beach, great beds, Jacuzzis in every room, and brand-name liquor make it a cut above most D.R. resorts. But the buffet, like anywhere, isn't great -- a bit disappointing for the price.
Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort And Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls
A brand-new mega-resort, the Grand Palladium feels like a shopping mall but is expansive enough for privacy, romance, and fun. It has five pools, large rooms, name-brand liquor, tasty breakfasts, mini-golf, and more--all for lower rates than lesser-equipped all-inclusives. But its remote locale comes with rocky, man-made beaches.
Library Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
A homey, 60-room, literary-themed boutique, located down the block from New York's famous Public Library, and among Midtown East's corporate skyscrapers. It's one of New York's best values, mostly because of the perks: an upscale bistro on the ground floor, a lively bar on the penthouse floor, free Wi-Fi, free gym passes, and free daily pastries, wine, and cheese.
Majestic Colonial Punta Cana Rating: 4.0 Pearls
A giant pool, a wide selection of quality food, name-brand liquor, and a crowded but beautiful stretch of white-sand beach draw families, retirees, and young partiers alike. With 659 rooms, it's not intimate, and service is impersonal, but the Jacuzzi-outfitted rooms have a more romantic vibe than at most all-inclusives.
Bellagio Rating: 5.0 Pearls
This 3,933-room Italian "villa" is the embodiment of Vegas luxury -- an extravagant five-pool courtyard; formal room service; a superb fitness center and spa; the best buffet on the Strip; and attractions like the indoor botanical gardens and the famous dancing fountains. It's an excellent hotel, but its standard rooms aren't quite as large as those at the Encore, the Palazzo, or THEhotel.
Venetian Resort Hotel Casino Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Like the Paris and New York-New York hotels, the 5,030-room Venetian is an enormous and extravagant tribute to a place far from the desert, complete with gondola rides and a replica of Saint Mark's Square. Compared to the other theme-driven Vegas properties, the Venetian distinguishes itself with enormous guest rooms, a world-class spa, and more than a dozen premier restaurants.
ClubHotel Riu Negril Rating: 3.0 Pearls
A friendly resort with a mellow beach, free minibars, and a surprisingly solid buffet -- the Riu Negril is a great value. Rooms aren't spectacular, and many activities require a long walk across the sprawling resort, but most guests are sold once they join revelers on the dance floor.
Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Big, elaborate, and packed with the kind of luxuries you see at the Bellagio and the Wynn, the Palazzo has some of the best and biggest standard rooms on The Strip. Its world-class spa, seven pools, busy casino, and name-brand fine dining all connect to its sister property, the Venetian, via an haute couture mall. Less theme-y than many Vegas hotels, but right at the top of the list in terms of glitz and extravagance.