Well, one thing is pretty clear -- everyone is ready to escape this snowy weather. We did some research to find out which of Oyster's thousands upon thousands of hotels were the most popular in the last thirty days, and -- perhaps as no surprise to anyone -- they're ALL located in sunny destinations. In fact, not one resort can be found stateside. Instead, Oyster fans who are making travel plans are setting their sights on spots like the Caribbean and Mexico. And we don't blame them. Here are Oyster's 10 most popular hotels right now. Take a look at our hundreds of photos and comprehensive reviews of each, and you'll understand why everyone's antsy to hit their sandy shores.
The 176-room Sanctuary Cap Cana looks like a small Spanish village perched on a cliff by the ocean — note the breathtaking views. Its beautifully decorated pools, spa, golf course, and restaurants are all among the D.R.’s best, so we’re not surprised it tops our “most popular” list, with over 1,500 more views than our second-place hotel, up next…
Arguably Jamaica’s most romantic escape (for adults only), the Caves’ 12 unique, private cottages and suites are tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs (there’s no beach). High-quality, locally focused cuisine, a top-shelf bar, and intimate, incredibly attentive service make it Jamaica’s best all-inclusive, though nearby Tensing Pen and Rockhouse offer similar settings at cheaper prices.
This resort is certainly popular thanks to its low all-inclusive rates, and basic rooms that have received slight refreshes. Three pools, trapeze lessons, and tennis are available, but most guests flock to the beach, where a beautiful sunset can be enjoyed every evening. It may come in at number three on this list, but it tops our list of the “12 Best Bang-For-Your-Buck All-Inclusives Ever.”
The massive, all-inclusive Hard Rock is a sleek option in Punta Cana, located on a gorgeous stretch of white-sand beach. Getting from one place to the other on the sprawling property can take some time, but the hotel provides a shuttle. In addition, the size allows the resort to have broad appeal — it attracts families, couples, and partiers. The signature Hard Rock rocker vibe can be seen throughout the hotel, whether it be in the music-themed decor or the free guitar rentals. On-site amenities such as tennis, golf, and horseback riding help keep guests busy. There are plenty of dining options as well.
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 Spain-based 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, and 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. The convenience store sells a nice selection of wine for those who want to enjoy drinks on their balconies (many rooms face the ocean).
A 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. The tradeoff? Its remote locale comes with rocky, man-made beaches.
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.
This adults-only resort lives up to the Excellence name, offering the standard amenities of the luxury chain: multiple attractive pools, numerous dining options, dozens of activities, and a solid spa with beachside treatment huts. The abundance of marble and columns throughout the property might be a bit too ostentatious for some, but it’s definitely impressive — as are the rooms. The rooms feature whirlpools and open bathrooms, which shouldn’t be a problem for most visitors choosing an adults-only resort. All have terraces or balconies, and a gorgeous stretch of beach is right outside the door.
This luxury resort offers a nice all-inclusive experience with tons of variety — multiple dining options, several beautiful pools, a gorgeous spa, and dozens of wonderful activities. The rooms here are large and contemporary, with large modern bathrooms, whirpools, and high-end amenities such as big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and iPod docks. Some have large rooftop terraces with private plunge pools and ocean views. However, note that the beach is less attractive than others farther south, and that there are no attractions nearby. Still, though, compared with the nearby, comparably luxurious Beloved Hotel, the Excellence has more to offer in terms of options. It’s also quieter, since it’s adults-only.
El Dorado Seaside Suites is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort located on a secluded beach halfway between Playa del Carmen and the famous Mayan ruins of Tulum. This hotel offers 282 spacious suites with double whirlpools, terraces or balconies, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. While the location is fairly isolated, this resort has a long list of amenities including a great spa, tennis court, outdoor yoga sessions, and scuba clinics. There are many spots here to relax, including three pools and a total of 12 restaurants and bars.
These hotels just barely missed the top 10, but we still think they’re pretty great. Take a look below at our honorable mentions.
The Delano’s 195 all-white rooms don’t come cheap, but you’re paying for surreal, Philippe Starck style and all-night parties at the “water salon.” To some, its hip factor has been bested by the Gansevoort or Shore Club, but their style doesn’t compare, and good times are still to be had.
The sprawling Secrets Wild Orchid is one of the more luxurious adults-only all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay, and has a laundry list of property features, including eight restaurants and five bars, and a host of activities: a theater, spa, watersports and dive center, shopping center, and casino. Note, though, that the resort shares virtually all of its amenities with the next-door Secrets St. James.
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 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.
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