While some New Year's resolutions focus on getting fit and saving money, other goals (like ours) are geared toward travel. For all those who fall in the latter camp, we compiled a collection of new and newly renovated all-inclusive resorts, from Cancun to the Canary Islands. So when you start plotting your 2019 escape, consult this list first. New year, new vacation.
Opened in November 2018, the 156-room Iberostar Cancun Star Prestige is an adults-only all-inclusive property with a stellar beachfront location a 14-minute drive south from the Hotel Zone. Guests have access to all the facilities and eateries at next-door Iberostar Cancun, as well as an ocean-view infinity pool with a swim-up bar, large lounger-equipped beach area, and restaurant serving excellent buffets for breakfast and lunch and tasty a la carte dishes for dinner. Spacious rooms are modern and stylish, with ocean-inspired decor, ocean-view balconies with hot tubs, and dining tables. It’s worth noting that the spa and gym are in the kid-friendly section, and nearly all Iberostar Cancun restaurants allow children.
The Fives Azul Beach Resort is an enormous all-inclusive luxury retreat located in Playa del Carmen, a 20-minute drive north of the main drag of 5th Avenue. The 480-unit property caters to families, and offers bright, modern rooms plus large suites with kitchenettes and up to three bedrooms. Amenities here are extensive and include a spa, all sorts of activities, clubs, play areas for children, and a ton of adult-friendly activities ranging from archery to rock climbing. The dining options are equally impressive, with cuisine from around the world; there are optional all-inclusive rates. In 2018, the resort debuted Villa 19, a 43,000-square-foot space with two new heated pools, a day club and grill, and 53 new rooms (one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites).
Opened in January, 2018, the Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa is an all-inclusive located directly on beautiful Bavaro Beach — one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the Dominican Republic. Looks aside, there are plenty of amenities to take advantage of as well: Guests here have access to the FlowRider wave riding machine, a 1,200-foot lazy river, mini-golf course, casino, spa, several restaurants, and 24-hour room service. Non-motorized water sports, including paddleboarding and snorkeling, are also on offer. Rooms come with stocked minibars, balconies or terraces, and free Wi-Fi.
Opened in 2018, this all-inclusive is located approximately 15 minutes from downtown Cabo San Lucas. When not out exploring, guests can while away the hours on the sand (the property is on the beach), fuel up at one of seven gourmet restaurants, raise a glass at one of six bars, or take a refreshing dip in one of four outdoor pools (there’s even an infinity option with a swim-up bar). The spa, which features a hydrotherapy area, hot and cold plunge pools, and a sauna and steam room, is another on-site highlight.
Thanks to a 45-million dollar renovation completed in late 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 luxurious Sandals Montego Bay is a solid beachfront all-inclusive option for couples who don’t want to travel far from the airport or cruise port. The 1981-opened hotel is mostly modern thanks to renovations in 2018. The revamp brought a fresh, airy style to the lobby, as well as most rooms and some public areas, but some of the 264 rooms still have colonial-style decor. Additionally, some only have shower/tub combos or walk-in showers. All, however, come with outdoor spaces, minibars with wine and beer, and king-size beds. Plenty of activities and dining options are on-site, including specialty Italian and Japanese restaurants, ocean-view pools and whirlpools, a full-service spa with a free-to-use sauna and steam room, unlimited non-motorized water sports, and daily entertainment. On the downside, planes from the nearby airport can be noisy and bothersome, and room service is only free for butler-level units.
Tucked away in a quiet part of Costa Teguise, the beachfront Melia Salinas is an upscale adults-recommended hotel known for its beautiful gardens and iconic architectural style. Fully renovated in 2018, the 270 rooms and suites are stylish and contemporary, with a wide range of amenities such as free Wi-Fi, Dreamax beds, rainfall showers, and minibars. For something even more special, villas have private pools and classic decor style. Though in need of a refresh, the main pool is big and charming, and there is a separate exclusive pool for guests of The Level. The hotel offers an array of meal plans — from breakfast-only to all-inclusive — but food gets mixed reviews, especially dinners at the buffet.
Opened in late 2017, the massive, 900-room Hotel Xcaret is an eco-minded, upscale all-inclusive resort that draws equal amounts of families and couples thanks to its plethora of on-site features and free access to area parks. Expansive grounds house several pools, stunning architecture utilizing natural rock, 10 restaurants, eight bars, a kids’ club, and swish spa. The lounger-equipped beach is lovely, and kayaks are available to weave through a river. Gorgeous rooms have local decor, jetted tubs and separate showers, comfy beds, and furnished terraces with hammocks. Buffet and a la carte dining covers Mexican, Asian, and international cuisines, but a few are exclusive to certain guests or require an extra fee. Travelers won’t feel the number of guests outside of check-in and check-out, and overall, the atmosphere is largely peaceful and relaxed.
Formerly the Gran Caribe, this upscale, all-inclusive resort in the Hotel Zone is one of the best values in Cancun. The competitive prices draw a fair number of partiers, and there are lots of poolside activities such as tequila volleyball. But the resort draws plenty of families as well, thanks to its two pools (neither very large or with a swim-up bar), kiddy splash park with a pirate ship and slides, and evening entertainment. Multiple restaurants and bars include buffet and Italian options, and food receives mostly positive reviews. Renovated in 2018, the property now has a modern and cheerful look. The 458 updated rooms are stylish and beachy, all with hammock-equipped terraces (some with stunning views) and showers. On the downside, walls are a bit thin and shade is limited around the beach, plus some areas are undergoing renovations.
Opened in 2017, the luxury, 150-room Breathless Montego Bay Resort & Spa is an adults-only all-inclusive property with a young, hip vibe. Guests here — a mix of couples and groups of friends — have unlimited access to seven on-site restaurants, including buffet, Latin, and Caribbean fare, as well as all facilities at the next-door Secrets St. James and Wild Orchid. A large main pool area has foam parties, DJs, and fire pits, plus there’s a rooftop infinity with an adjacent bar and lovely views. However, it’s only open to xhale club guests until early evening. All rooms are done in a modern, chic style, outfitted with jetted tubs on terraces, big flat-screen TVs, and minibars. Resort-wide techno or house music and open glass showers limiting privacy may be downsides for some. Also note that guests have to walk a bit to reach the beach.
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