Travel for Two: All-Inclusives Remove the Surprise Costs From Resort Escapes

Travel for Two: All-Inclusives Remove the Surprise Costs From Resort Escapes
All-inclusive resorts, such as Blue Haven Resort in the Turks and Caicos, offer a stress-free Caribbean getaway without having to worry about additional costs or surprises. Most all-inclusives provide meals, accommodations, drinks, watersports and much more, all wrapped up in one neat package. (Gary James/Blue Haven Resort/TNS)
Tribune News Service

By Mary Ann Anderson From Tribune News Service

When my husband and I married more than 30 years ago, we honeymooned in Jamaica at an all-inclusive, all-couples resort. Until our travel agent told us about it, I wasn’t really aware of all-inclusives, but I liked the concept. Everything was built into one price, including airfare on Air Jamaica, food, drinks, watersports with diving classes and dives, and even tipping. There were no surprises or hidden costs, which meant no stress and plenty of relaxation without having to worry over whether or not to have that extra celebratory glass of champagne.

While all-inclusives now span the globe, the Caribbean in particular is clustered with them. The pioneer of the idea, though, was Club Med, which officially became a brand in 1950 when the first one opened in the Balearic Islands of Spain. While Club Med wasn’t luxurious, the all-inclusive resort has since metamorphosed into a galaxy of five-star suites with private plunge pools, plush extras like mahogany beds and Egyptian sheets, private islands, gourmet cuisine and top-shelf wines and spirits.

A quick search on the internet provides dozens and dozens of lists of the “best” all-inclusives in the Caribbean. I’m not fond of the qualifier “best” since it’s so subjective, so I instead asked my travel agent for her clients’ firsthand recommendations of their favorite resorts. Here are a few to consider when planning your next romantic getaway.

Blue Haven Resort: Turks and Caicos

With only 49 studios and suites, Blue Haven Resort on Leeward at Providenciales offers privacy and intimacy in a boutique resort setting. Set on a private beach and edged with warm, shimmering water, Blue Haven has an onsite marina providing ample opportunities for diving, deep-sea fishing and stand-up paddle boarding. You’ll love the infinity swimming pool, especially, as it seems to flow directly with quiet harmony straight into the Caribbean. The atmosphere is fresh, clean and peaceful.

Blue Haven has three restaurants: Fire and Ice, Salt for Italian cuisine and Jammin’ by the Sea, a beachside grill. Three bars dot the resort for creative, colorful tropical cocktails, including a swim-up bar in the infinity pool.

With all meals included in the rate, all-inclusive resorts are convenient and often practical. Usually an all-inclusive offers the option of several restaurants, including gourmet dining, and in the Caribbean especially, fresh seafood is frequently on the menu. (Steve Passmore/Blue Haven Resort/TNS)
With all meals included in the rate, all-inclusive resorts are convenient and often practical. Usually an all-inclusive offers the option of several restaurants, including gourmet dining, and in the Caribbean especially, fresh seafood is frequently on the menu. (Steve Passmore/Blue Haven Resort/TNS)

Rates include accommodations, all taxes and service charges, all meals, unlimited domestic and premium beverages, 24-hour snack station, all-inclusive access and shuttle service to its sister resort of Alexandra Resort, wi-fi, bicycles, 24-hour fitness room, spa discounts, tennis courts, and use of water trampoline, snorkeling gear, kayaks, sailboats and standup paddleboards. Not included are room service, retail store purchases, spa treatments or massages, motorized water sports, diving, airport transfers or local tours.

Visit or call for reservations at 855-832-7667.

Secrets Wild Orchid: Jamaica

The lavish Secrets Wild Orchid is set on a peninsula with more than a mile of designated sun-soaked, secluded beach that leads into iconic Montego Bay. The AAA Four Diamond resort is perfect for honeymoons, romantic getaways and carefree vacations. Jamaica’s Blue Mountains rise in the background, and the resort’s hallmarks are gorgeous views, incredible sunrises and sunsets, tons of activities and excursions and, probably most important, the exquisite joy of total pampering.

Dining in its seven a la carte gourmet restaurants, a buffet, a grill and a café includes cuisines such as Mexican, seafood, Jamaican and French. If you prefer just the two of you, meals are available in your suite or beachside. Hungry at 3 o’clock in the morning? That’s why Secrets Wild Orchid has 24-hour dining options.

Included are all meals, drinks, wi-fi, kayaking, snorkeling, entertainment and shows, four swimming pools, and introductory in-pool scuba lessons. Tipping and spa treatments at Our Secrets Spa by Pevonia are not included. Access to its sister property, Secrets St. James, is available.

Visit or call for reservations at 866-467-3273.

Sandals Regency La Toc: St. Lucia

Set on 220 acres of verdant hillsides and surrounded by sparkling emerald- and turquoise-hued water, coral bluffs and tropical blooms, Sandals Regency La Toc is an amalgamation of glamour, romance and beauty. The beach is shaped like a half-moon, with the color and consistency of crushed pearls. The suites are spacious and designed for comfort and luxury, and depending on your whims you can request rooms with private plunge pools, balconies, soaking tubs or two-story accommodations.

All Sandals resorts are adults-only and have exclusive airport arrival lounges in St. Lucia and Jamaica.

So much is included, with the list including unlimited fine dining at nine restaurants, anytime snacks, unlimited premium liquors, eight bars, stocked bars in every room, unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines, tips, taxes, gratuities, roundtrip airport transfers, green fees for Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Club and Sandals St. Lucia Golf and Country Club at Cap Estate, PADI-certified scuba diving, snorkeling, paddleboards, kayaks, personal butler service, private transfers in most top-tier suites and more. Not included are optional onsite and offsite experiences, spa treatments at Sandals’ Red Lane Spa and phone calls or purchases in gift shops.

Visit or call for reservations a 888-726-3257

Excellence: Punta Cana

Consistently on those subjective “best” lists, Excellence Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is stylish and high-end. The water here is deep cerulean mixed in with lapis lazuli and sea green. The all-suite resort blends traditional Caribbean architecture of dark woods, mosaic tiles and pastels with beach chic. Swim-up suites and private plunge pools only add to the romantic allure of the resort. The sand is light golden and reflects the sun in glowing warmth, while an extensive palm tree grove provides rhythmic background music of sea breezes.

Excellence Punta Cana is situated in the Uvero Alto region on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, only 35 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport.

Inclusions are special welcome cocktails and cool towels, full meals with nine a la carte dining options, a buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch, 12 bars, unlimited natural fruit juices and soft drinks, unlimited premium and domestic alcoholic beverages, 24-hour room service, pool and beach waiter service, four swimming pools, four outdoor Jacuzzis, nonmotorized watersports, nightly shows, tennis clinics, a fully equipped fitness center, wi-fi and all taxes and gratuities.

Visit or call for reservations at 866-211-6223.

Jumby Bay: Antigua

Slow Caribbean breezes, open skies and dancing palms fringe Antigua’s Jumby Bay. You’ll feel cocooned in comfort with lofty ceilings, wide verandahs and open-air bathrooms. With just 28 tastefully decorated suites and luxury vacation villas, the island paradise, two miles off the coast of Antigua, offers a lightshow of Caribbean colors with confectioner’s sugar-soft beaches, crystalline water and natural surroundings. It’s almost like having your own private island at your fingertips.

Jumby Bay, sophisticated and elegant, is the recipient of the 2021 and 2022 Five-Star award by Forbes Travel Guide.

The all-inclusive experience provides all-day dining, complimentary cocktails including Moet and Chandon champagne, rum tastings, Caribbean cooking classes, watersports, around-the-island boat trips, snorkeling, fitness facilities and tennis courts. Spa treatments at Jumby Bay Spa are additional.

Visit or call for reservations at 800-749-1802.

Travel for Two gives you inspiration for selecting the perfect destination for your romantic journey. 

©2022 Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Related Topics