It's that time of year! No, not Christmas time (you may have already blocked it from your memory, but that has come and gone); now is the time of year for vacation planning. Whether you're the type who travels for spring break or during the summer, with the tots in tow or one-on-one, the month of January is really when you should be getting your vacation agenda in order.
All-inclusive resorts will always be popular picks -- and it makes sense; with everything included, they significantly reduce stress and often save you some serious cash. But when travelers think "all-inclusive," their minds often jump to Caribbean mega-resorts and Mexico spring break magnets; this also makes sense, and isn't necessarily a bad thing. But the downside to this is that vacationers often miss out on all the all-inclusive options stateside. Okay, "all" may make it seem like there are a ton -- and, comparatively, there really aren't. But the U.S. is home to some all-inclusive gems that offer cool (all-inclusive, of course) experiences you won't find abroad. From luxe farm retreats to tranquil beachside escapes, here are eight awesome all-inclusive resorts in the U.S.
The Travaasa Hana, overlooking Hana Bay, delivers rustic luxury in the middle of Maui's lush, secluded east coast. Guests can expect incredible service, a top spa, excellent food, a long list of things 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. The all-inclusive package includes three meals daily, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and a $125 daily resort credit per person, which can be used toward spa treatments and private classes. It's hard to reach unless you fly, but worth the trip.
Set on 3,000 acres between Phoenix and Tucson, the White Stallion Ranch is an all-inclusive, family-oriented dude ranch with 41 Western-style rooms. Family-run for 50 years, the White Stallion looks like a movie set, with desert, mountains, enormous saguaro cacti, and genuine cowboys filling its grounds. Activities include horseback riding, rodeo skills, rock climbing, and hiking for all ages and skill levels. The ranch has an authentic Western feel, from the family-style dining room to the rustic-luxe cabins. All-inclusive rates include three meals and all-day snacks.
Mackinac Island’s best known property, Grand Hotel is a tourist destination unto itself. Built in 1887, this big white building with a vast porch has 390 guest rooms, and charges non-guests admission to experience its preserved 19th-century grandeur. There’s plenty to do besides shop and eat at the four-pearl, resort-like property, which has a 220-foot-long swimming pool, two nine-hole golf courses, and a full schedule of children’s activities during the summer. One of the biggest draws is the five-course dinner in the hotel’s Main Dining Room, which maintains a strict formal dress code in the evening. This meal is included in the all-inclusive rates, as is breakfast and a lunch buffet.
This gorgeous farm hotel is a secluded, serene haven for foodies and nature lovers. Guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of the Appalachians by enjoying the venue's 4,200 acres of land and all the various activities offered. The restaurant, The Barn, offers a true farm-to-table dining experience as a majority of the produce is picked from the property's garden. There's also a stunning, tranquil spa and two pools that visitors can enjoy. Guests can stay in luxurious cottages or in a charming room in the Main House. All-inclusive packages include meals and access to stocked pantries; spa treatments and certain activities will cost extra.
Deep in the Poconos, The Lodge at Woodloch is an upscale adult-only retreat with a spa aesthetic that makes guests feel miles away from the area's infamous gaudy honeymoon suites and heart-shaped hot tubs. It has all the usual perks of an all-inclusive resort in the region, with acres of woodland, a private lake, and an adjacent golf club, but the restaurant here is a grown-up farm-to-table affair with some of its produce sourced from its own garden. The all-inclusive rates also include group fitness classes and lectures, guided group excursions, and chef's cooking demonstrations. On top of substantial rates for rooms that are somewhat dated, alcohol and extras don't come cheap, but couples looking for a relaxing spa holiday should find what they seek here.
Travaasa Austin is an upscale spa resort set on the hilltop of a gorgeous nature preserve with forested canyons, about half an hour from downtown Austin. Its 72 rooms are housed in seven buildings and offer private balconies with beautiful canyon or garden views. Hiking trails, an infinity-edge pool enclosed by a wooden deck, and a luxurious spa are just some of the amenities here, and there's a restaurant serving organic, local fare, with many of the ingredients used sourced from the hotel's own farm. The serene atmosphere is furthered by the over-16 policy. Guests can choose to stay a la carte, or opt for the all-inclusive package, which comes with the addition of all meals and a $175 daily resort credit per person to use towards spa treatments and private classes.
This stunning wellness retreat is a peaceful desert oasis, which takes advantage of its natural surroundings with open-air rooms that allow for great views. Set on 400 acres, Miraval features sleek and modern rooms, suites, and villas, as well as extensive facilities: three pools, a large spa, a fitness center, a ropes course, a yoga center, an equestrian center, beautiful gardens, several dining options, and more. All packages include three meals a day, Tucson airport transportation, and various fitness and yoga classes, but there are three tiers of rates, so guests can opt to go all-out and have even spa services and luxe "signature experiences" included if they so desire.