A new year brings new beginnings, new adventures, and fortunately, even new hotels. But before we focus on the future, we’d like to take a moment to look back at this year’s most popular properties. Digging deep into our data, we found the most sought-after all-inclusive resorts around the world. Take a look at our list and get some travel inspiration for 2019 while you’re at it.
The Majestic Colonial Punta Cana is one of three upscale all-inclusive sister properties on a beautiful stretch of Bavaro Beach. The property closed completely for two months in 2017 to thoroughly renovate the lobby and restaurants. It now operates almost as two resorts: the family-friendly side and the adults-only Colonial Club side. The 658 suites are attractive with marble floors, jetted tubs, and some ocean views. Upgrades to swim-up suites are available. Food is above average at eight restaurants, including two lovely buffet options and a fun sushi establishment. The dedicated animation staff keeps the energy upbeat at twice-weekly foam parties. Plus, a 1,300-foot lazy river-style pool meanders down the center of the property and there are always available sun loungers here.
With 1,790 rooms, 13 pools and restaurants, 23 bars, an 18-hole golf course, 65,000 square feet of meeting space, a massive spa and fitness center, and the Dominican Republic’s largest casino, the word “huge” doesn’t even seem big enough to describe the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. But the Hard Rock isn’t all about size — the massive luxury property also happens to be one of the nicest all-inclusives in Punta Cana. It’s equally suitable for families, couples, and those just looking to have a good time. With so much space, it’s easy for each group to find its niche, and the hotel’s mile-long list of amenities ensures everyone will find something to keep themselves occupied.
This 450-room luxury all-inclusive is set in the heart of a private resort community to the north of Cancun. Modern, luxurious rooms are huge and have big whirlpool tubs; all have balconies and some have ocean views. Certain categories have swim-up access or private plunge pools. All the features expected for this caliber of resort are here, including seven pools, nine restaurants, 11 bars, and a high-end spa. The secluded location is part of the appeal for many, but may be too isolated for some — and the white-sand beach, while tranquil, isn’t as impressive as those in the Hotel Zone. This is one of the top luxury options in the Cancun area, and is for adults only.
Jade Mountain is one of the most romantic resorts not only in the Caribbean, but the world, thanks to its incredible Piton views and extraordinary design. The 29 enormous suites, called “sanctuaries,” are hands-down the highlight. Through the innovative, open fourth wall, each has a sea view from the entire room — from the canopied bed, raised whirlpool tub, and (in all but the entry-level category) private infinity pool. Organic cuisine is served from a chic open-air restaurant, and guests can expect unwavering peace and quiet throughout (there are no TVs or children). Though there is no beach, guests can take a short shuttle ride or hike down to use the two beaches, free water sports, and dive center at sister property Anse Chastanet. All in all, Jade Mountain is well worth the price and bumpy ride to get there.
With its upscale boutique vibe, The Caves is considered one of Jamaica’s most romantic escapes. The 11 unique, private cottages and suites at this upscale all-inclusive property unfold along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs carved with steep stairways down to the water and into incredible grottos. There’s a clifftop bar, a grotto bar, and private candlelit cave dining on offer. Top-notch food celebrates local ingredients, and the scene is laid-back and bohemian — suited to travelers who appreciate outdoor showers and artful decor in favor of conventional luxury. However, a stay here doesn’t come cheap.
The Zoetry Agua is one of the most luxurious and tranquil all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic. The rustic ambience and zen energy are on the opposite end of the spectrum from what you’ll find at the booze-fueled all-inclusives around Bavaro. Instead, Zoetry offers an uncrowded white-sand beach, 96 spacious suites with butler service, a long pristine pool, and one of the area’s best spas. The resort prides itself on offering Endless Privileges, which includes no formal check-in/check-out times, limitless top shelf liquor, and free laundry service on top of four gourmet a la carte restaurants (no buffets), a cafe, and three bars (one swim-up). Guests also get a free 20-minute massage and free horseback riding on the beach. Plus, it’s a 45-minute drive from the airport, about as far as you can get in Punta Cana.
This 174-room romantic all-inclusive luxury resort looks like a Spanish castle town and is perched on a cliff by the ocean in the still developing Cap Cana complex, near the airport but a bit far from the main resort area. Its beautifully decorated pools, spa, and restaurants are all among the Dominican Republic’s best.
The sprawling Secrets Wild Orchid is one of the more luxurious adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay. It has a laundry list of features, including 10 restaurants, eight bars, a theater, a spa, a water sports and dive center, a shopping center, and a casino. But the resort shares virtually all of its amenities with the next-door Secrets St. James, and some of the best amenities and freebies are reserved only for the Preferred Club guests.
The luxurious, 260-room Le Blanc Spa is the best (and priciest) adults-only all-inclusive in town. It stands out for its gorgeous white-sand beach in the heart of the Hotel Zone, decadent spa (guests get free access to the hydrotherapy area), stunning pools (two with swim-up bars), and especially its pampering service, from the butlers who will unpack your clothes to the pool attendants who will provide cool towels for your eyes. It has a hip, gorgeous aesthetic throughout the entire pristine white property, and the modern, bright rooms have two-person whirlpool tubs; most have either ocean or lagoon views. The chic restaurants have great food and don’t require reservations (aside from the stunningly designed Lumiere). The fitness offering also impresses, and there are multiple daily classes, including aqua spinning and Pilates. All of this luxury, naturally, comes with a price. Still, for many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and will be well worth it.
One of four Paradisus resorts in Punta Cana, the upscale, 554-room Palma Real has a romantic Caribbean setting and feels bigger than its sister properties, with a palatial lobby leading to a jaw-dropping courtyard, pool, and beach area. The food and beverage offering here is a highlight; there are impressive international buffets as well as a la carte restaurants (one from a Michelin-starred chef) that will appeal to adults and honeymooners. Suites are decorated with classic mahogany furniture and marble tile floors, and have coffeemakers, minibars, and free Wi-Fi. For a more luxurious experience, Royal Service offers additional amenities and special access to a posh lounge. A beautiful spa is also available.
Thanks to a 45-million dollar renovation completed in 2017, the Excellence Punta Cana is now one of the best luxury all-inclusive properties in Punta Cana. Kids aren’t allowed, so expect a peaceful scene at the spacious beach, two outdoor swimming pools, and two-story luxe spa with a hydrotherapy circuit. Lobster and premium alcohol are included at the 12 bars and 10 gourmet restaurants — only the teppanyaki restaurant requires reservations. The 450 contemporary suites are divided into six categories, and all have romantic in-room jetted tubs, but some don’t have ocean views. Upgrade to the Excellence Club for extra perks like better beach beds and a private swimming pool. The only real downsides are the 45-minute drive from the airport and that the ocean can be too rough for swimming.
The Riu Palace Paradise Island, located next door to mega-resort Atlantis, is one of the few all-inclusive resorts in the Bahamas. Those familiar with Riu’s palatial Caribbean resorts — like the one in Aruba — might be disappointed by this aging property, with crowded pool and beach areas (saturated with vendors) and rowdy groups that come for free booze. Riu is slowly making progress, though. The 379 rooms and suites have been renovated with contemporary decor, and include Riu trademarks such as stocked minibars with liquor dispensers and 24-hour room service (both free). The buffet spreads change often, thanks to the talented, long-standing executive chef, and four a la carte options help stave off all-inclusive monotony. After dinner, there’s typical all-inclusive nightly entertainment as well as an all-night sports bar. The Riu brand spa, Renova, offers couples massages and treatments. To top it off, the convenience store sells a nice selection of wine for those who want to enjoy drinks on their balconies (many rooms face the ocean).
The Dreams Punta Cana is a lovely upscale all-inclusive property in Bavaro. Like many similar resorts in the area, it sits on a white-sand beach and offers a long list of features, such as water sports, daily and nightly entertainment, and numerous kid-friendly amenities. But the Dreams goes above and beyond with one of the largest pools in the D.R. (it never feels crowded), and above-average food at its many restaurants. Rooms are on the small side for the price, but overall, this is a great option for families and couples.
The best of the three Iberostar resorts in Montego Bay, this 295-room all-suite hotel is light years beyond its neighbors in terms of decor, food, and features. While some elements remain shared with the lesser Iberostar Rose Hall Beach and Iberostar Rose Hall Suites — for instance, the spa, fitness center, casino, nightclub, and shops — guests at Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall get the pick of the litter with free access to all three resorts’ restaurants, bars, pools, and beaches. The rates might be higher, but for good reason.
With six pools, a sprawling water park, a shopping center, a spa complex, and more restaurants than you can shake a breadstick at, the family-friendly Beaches is clearly the Turks and Caicos resort with the most features. But many of the rooms could use an update and the romance factor is virtually non-existent. Still, an all-inclusive resort with this many amenities is enticing — unless it’s peace and quiet you’re after.
The 1,402-room Palace Deluxe is the main resort at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace, and features tons of on-site features, including an attractive spa, a 24-hour casino, four pools, and 11 restaurants. But aside from substantial lines at the front desk, the guest capacity of the resort rarely shows: Guests do not have to search for spots at the pools and beach, and reservation requirements keep restaurants organized. Couples, families, and partiers all mingle seamlessly at the property. Though the adults-only sister property has a slightly more romantic vibe, plenty of couples opt to stay here as it is where most of the features are located.
This 225-room luxury all-inclusive resort is for couples only and one of the newest additions to the Sandals brand. It’s spread over a sprawling 17-acre property on the southwestern tip of the island, but all the main property features are centrally located, so it’s not difficult to find your way around. With five pools, a lovely spa and fitness center, numerous activities, and 10 restaurants, couples won’t be at a loss for things to do. It’s the romantic touches such as fire pits, gazebos, and swinging chairs on a pier overlooking the water that make the property distinctly Sandals. However, the romance may stop short at long walks on the beach — the beachfront area is limited due to rough waters on this part of the island, and ocean swimming is reduced to a roped-in cove.
The largest of four Paradisus resorts in Punta Cana, this 683-room property still manages to feel uncrowded due to its expansive grounds. Guests can expect to walk or hitch rides on the regular shuttle service to get to the beach, pools, luxury spa, yoga studio, and impressive restaurants around the resort. There are also bike stations for those who prefer to cycle. The beach doesn’t quiet down at night as it can at other resorts, but rather comes alive with a party scene appealing to both young and old visitors. Plus, the Royal Service upgrade — expect a sales pitch upon arrival — allows access to the private lounge and a separate pool and beach area.
The Royal Hideaway is a member of exclusive hospitality consortium Leading Hotels of the World, and as such is one of the most luxurious properties in the area. It features upscale rooms with high-end amenities, a full-service spa with great treatments, several pools, and the best food around. The beautiful grounds, overall sophisticated vibe, adults-only policy, and beautiful beachfront location a short drive from shopping on Playa’s Fifth Avenue make it one of the most attractive options for couples in Playacar.
Overlooking Hana Bay, the Travaasa Hana, Maui delivers rustic luxury in the middle of Maui’s lush, secluded east coast. Guests can expect incredible service, a top-notch spa, excellent food, a long list of stuff to do, and only 70 rooms on acres of uncrowded property. The rooms are large, clean, sleekly furnished — and stripped of TVs, air-conditioners, clocks, and radios. It’s hard to reach unless you fly, but worth the trip.
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