Staying at an all-inclusive resort can be the perfect solution for a spur-of-the-moment getaway. They offer guests a hassle-free vacation option where you can sit back, soak up the gorgeous atmosphere, and shake off those work-a-day worries. The best perks from an all-inclusive resort are the ones you actually use. Perks are different for every traveler, and immensely enjoyable when they take your getaway stay from great to amazing.
Below is a list of some of my favorite perks from all-inclusive resorts.
Some information included in this piece was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
1. Adult-Only All-Inclusive Resort
This is by far one of my favorite perks. I adore youngsters, but when I am on a relaxing, it’s-all-about-me vacation, I want to leave the grandbabies at home. Action-packed family vacations, while fun and exciting, are not conducive to a kick-back, adult-only vibe.
My favorite all-inclusive adventure is the floating kind, like this wine cruise on Amawaterways — a blissful oasis where luxury and adult-only travel come together in perfect harmony. While adult conversation bubbles up from corner tables, you can leave behind the high-energy exuberance of youngsters – yours and someone else’s.
Adult-only resorts may conjure up visions of romantic interludes; however, most resorts cater to a crowd that is looking for an escape — active or relaxing and fun for everyone. However, err on the side of caution and check with the resort or your travel agent to confirm your chosen adult-only resort is perfect for your vacation.
2. Kids Clubs Are A Must Have For Everyone
If you choose to travel with your favorite munchkins, be sure to explore the kids club options. We love all the kid-focused fun provided at Camp Dolphin in Disney World. The cost is extremely reasonable, and you don’t have to be a guest at the Dolphin Hotel to take advantage of the child care service.
Kids clubs are an important consideration in your choice of vacation resort destinations. Parents and grandparents will love having some kid-free, unencumbered hours during the day to enjoy all the fabulous amenities, fun activities, or simply indulge in a nap by the pool. Youngsters, tweens, and teens are offered age-appropriate activities under the supervision of hotel staff, allowing vacationing caretakers a few child-free hours each day.
Family-friendly resorts offer great kids club options, like sandcastle contests, tye dying T-shirts, scavenger hunts, and more. Typically, when a child is included in your room or suite, there is a nominal fee per child, per day added to your stay. They also usually offer a kid-friendly menu so dining options are low stress.
Another option is to reserve a suite and bring along your favorite nanny, a more expensive way to travel. It may be worth the cost if you desire a family-friendly vacation peppered with lots of adult time. It can be a great solution for many family group vacations.
3. Private Cabanas Are A Luxurious Poolside Retreat
Gorgeous pools with swim-up bars, poolside chairs as comfy as beds, and in-the-water chaise lounges conjure up relaxing vacation vibes and sun-soaked naps. Grab your towel and score the perfect chair for your day-long poolside respite.
Universal Orlando Resort’s Portofino Hotel Villa Pool cabanas are like having your own private room poolside. We love the privacy of these gorgeous and well-appointed cabanas. They include poolside service, a refrigerator, a large TV, and comfy lounge chairs. Your cares simply drift away when you rent one of these luxurious retreats.
Cabanas are almost always an option; however, they are typically an upcharge. If you want to spend the day luxuriating at the pool or beach, then you may find it worth the extra cost.
4. Exclusive Golf, Biking, And Equipment Access
Many resorts will offer a golf option. If not on-site, then they typically have a partnership with a local course. Booking your round through the resort’s concierge should get you the best rate and tee time.
We loved hopping on a bike for a spin around town when we were at the Divi Aruba All-Inclusive. We reserved a private, guided bike tour to explore the island and took advantage of the e-bikes the resort offers. We are not regular bike riders, and the e-bikes are easy and fun to ride; they offer the rider an electronic peddling assist which helps when you don’t bike regularly.
All-inclusive resort packages offer equipment access options, like snorkeling gear, snowshoes, or small watercraft. Many options are completely included in your package or are offered at a nominal fee and often can be reserved in conjunction with local guides or instructors.
5. Wine And Dining Adventures
For me, a big part of vacation is experiencing the local wines and regional cuisine. One of my favorite ways to explore a new location is through their food and libations, and that’s one of the reasons I love river cruising. On a quality river cruise, there are daily dining options that reflect the local cuisine. As you make your way down river, you can explore a variety of regional specialties paired with amazing local wines.
Day drinking is a pastime at many all-inclusive resorts. Resorts may offer a pre-purchased beverage package like the ones you find on cruises, or an all-day extravaganza of libation options included with your stay. Either way, you can enjoy an all-day buzz and never have to worry about driving anywhere.
Large resorts will have multiple restaurants to choose from, allowing you to sample different types of cuisine. Many offer several up-scale options which may require an additional fee. Most of the onsite restaurants will require dinner reservations. A good tip: Make reservations for your first night before you leave, ensuring you have a hassle-free dinner on your first night on property.
You will find a wide range of culinary differences between resorts. If you are sailing on an expensive river cruise, expect fine dining. If you are on a backpacking expedition, you should anticipate a few fireside cookouts. I find beachside resorts tend to offer an average culinary experience with fine dining options for an additional fee.
6. Easy Booking With Concierge Services
Recently I booked an adventure tour with a local company which ended in a tour guide no-show — big mistake. However, the concierge was extremely helpful in finding us a reputable substitute on short notice. Lesson learned.
The concierge desk is your best resource for all-inclusive stays. They regularly handle all types of vacation requests, from dinner reservations at the perfect restaurant to adventurous excursions. The concierge has a relationship with their local tourist-focused businesses. Because of these connections, they can make magic happen and secure the reservation that will make your vacation dreams come true.
One of the first stops after check-in should be the concierge desk. Grab some brochures, decide on a few activities, excursions, dining options, and shopping ideas. You may have to queue up to make your reservations, but you will have all the reservations you need in one stop. Alternatively, some resorts offer pre-arrival concierge services; this is a must if you are traveling to an area that is super popular because reservations book up quickly.
Many all-inclusive venues require guests to make reservations at the more popular restaurants. This is where the concierge shines. With a quick flick of the mouse, they can view open slots at your desired dining destination and have your reservation wrapped up in a jiffy.
7. Tipping Packages For Wallet-Free Getaways
I love not having to reach into my pocket continually to charge my credit card. However, tipping is the one exception. Tipping is expected even at all-inclusive resorts; it is really the only time you need to have cash on hand. Five dollars for the waitstaff at dinner, a dollar or two for the shuttle driver, and a tip for the bartender are sufficient.
Some resorts offer a tipping package, and this is particularly prevalent on cruises. You pay your tips upfront, then you never have to think about it again unless you are off the resort.
My Favorite All-Inclusive Resorts
All-inclusive vacations are not limited to tropical Caribbean beach vacations. There are a multitude of options available where you can leave all the day-to-day planning behind. On the following list are a few options to consider when you want an all-inclusive resort stay.
- Beach resorts like the Divi Aruba All-Inclusive offer guests a relaxing, carefree, and sun-soaked Caribbean getaway.
- Sophisticated spas are the ultimate in relaxation. Canyon Ranch is a wonderful all-inclusive resort for a guys’ or gals’ getaway.
- Family groups who love camping and a ranch-like feel will love resorts like Hacienda Negron in Ciales, Puerto Rico where you will find great outdoor adventures for everyone.
All-inclusive vacations can be a perfect option when you don’t want to spend time researching and planning your next vacation getaway. Everything you need is at your fingertips. There are times when a road trip is perfect, but having your bags in one spot for the duration of your vacation adds a sense of calm to your getaway stay — this is my favorite vacation perk.
- It doesn’t matter if it is a resort suite, a cruise ship cabin, or a backcountry lodge; unpacking your bags and settling in brings on a mindset shift. The feeling of belonging to the space and the vacation destination is real and everyday life slips away. I find tucking my suitcase out of sight imparts a sense of home, decreases the clutter, and increases my relaxation vibe.
- A trusted travel agent makes a great partner when booking an all-inclusive resort. The agent has knowledge of the property they are recommending and an ongoing relationship with the resort. Often they can secure special perks when you make your booking. They can arrange complimentary passes, champagne in your room, and other small goodies that make a trip extra special.
- Exploring the outdoors with tour groups is a fun way to meet new people and enjoy Mother Nature’s fabulous gifts. Consider hiking through the hills of Vermont like I did in this Inn to Inn hiking adventure.