There's a certain subset of travelers who look down on all-inclusive resorts. They poo-poo the food, the swim-up bars, the service. And by all means, all-inclusives are not created equal. While there are plenty that excel in the aforementioned categories and many more, there are plenty that deserve to be poo-poo-ed indeed.
But even if you don't think an all-inclusive's for you, there's no denying the convenience factor. In fact, I can't think of a less stressful way to vacation. You pay one price and most everything -- food, drinks, entertainment, gratuities -- are included. Check into the resort and put the wallet away, because you won't need it again until the taxi ride back to the airport.
This summer, a trend of non-all-inclusive resorts offering all-inclusive rates is emerging. Three properties in popular vacation destinations are offering these deals, and it may just be the answer for travelers who want the conveience of an all-inclusive resort without actually going to one.
So what's behind the trend? It's likely that hotels and resorts are getting more sensitive to travelers' needs to set a budget and stick to it. And being that travelers are being nickled and dimed by the airlines at every turn, they sure don't want it from the hotel too.
For the first summer ever, the AAA Five-Diamond Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, just south of the Cancun airport, is offering special all-inclusive pricing starting at $429 per night for a family of four. The package includes all meals and drinks (including alcohol for the grown ups); gratuities; on-property nature walks, bird watching and boat tours; complimentary use of BMW bikes to tour the property; three hours per day of supervised Kids Club activities for children ages 4 to 12; applicable taxes; and of course, accommodations.
Kids 5 and under are free. For children ages 6 to 12, parents pay a meal supplement of $59; for kids 13 to 18, $119. The additional cost is per night, per child and includes tax and gratuities.
This luxury boutique hotel -- only 18 suites -- on the Pacific coast of Mexico is a romantic hideaway set in a nature reserve. But the resort says the summer is perfect for familes too, with activities that include family beach picnics. boat excursions in an eco reserve, surfing, horseback riding and kayaking.
The five-night "Summer Luxury Family Getaway" package is priced from $3,085 with two children under 12 staying free. It includes:
- Suite accommodations for five nights. - Fresh lime margaritas upon arrival and in-room tropical fruit platter. - Three meals daily with nonalcoholic beverages. (This differs from a traditional all-inclusive resort where alcoholic drinks are included). - Family picnic on a private beach. - Complimentary kayaks and one-hour of horseback riding per guest. - Round-trip transfers from Puerto Vallarta or Manzanillo airport. (This is not typically included in an all-inclusive resort price.)
The famous Bahamian resort offers a "summer special" with lower rates and free meals for kids under 12. Adults can purchase a dining plan, priced from $75 per day, so no need to worry about taking your wallet to the restaurant.
And then this one gets a bit more complicated. You can also add on unlimited golf, which is great because even traditional all-inclusive resorts often have a fee for golf. But it costs $95 per day, per adult. There's also a spa pass that costs $100 but gives you $200 worth of spa services.
Wait, wasn't this supposed to make things easier?
The good news is that rooms are priced from $199 per night (typically $459 per night), so you can piece together your preferences to create an "all-inclusive" deal that works for your family.