-- Forget everything you know about all-inclusive resorts. Wipe your memory clean of ho-hum service, bland buffets, and run-of-the-mill menus that bore you to tears. Dusty, old all-inclusive packages have the reputation of being sheltered, dull, and subpar vacations. Not so today. Today’s resorts wouldn’t stand for any of those outdated stereotypes and neither should you. Instead, indulge in the stress-free luxury of a pre-paid vacation while gorging on some of the best food the world has to offer.
Places as exotic as Fiji, Indonesia and even Botswana are offering exciting trips that will fulfill the needs of even the most adventurous traveler. Hoping to explore the wild and spot a few animals in their natural habitat? Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp in Botswana offers everything a luxury safari needs, including catered bush walks with fresh and delicious pan-African meals.
That’s right, resort dishes are no longer limited to the unimaginative items on a children’s menu. The Grand Velas in Riviera Maya includes restaurants serving everything from molecular gastronomy to Basque cuisine to new wave Asian fusion. Even big name chefs, like Le Cirque’s Maccioni family, are getting in on the action with The Beach Club at celebrity favorite Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. The new emphasis on spectacular meals extends to the bar as well, with places like Sugar Beach in St. Lucia taking their liquor selection so seriously that they’ve employed a full-time “rummelier.” Take your time sipping on these magnificent rum creations; you’ll be peering out at the gorgeous mountainous Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We’re so enamored of this new wave of all-inclusive trips, in fact, that we’ve included an upcoming resort opening in the French Alps this December. We can’t wait to hit the slopes and sample the menu from locally born chef Édouard Loubet who has been awarded 2 Michelin stars.
So, we say reconsider your stance on all-inclusive vacations. The new (and upcoming) one-stop shops are well worth raving over.
Emily Sher is a contributing writer to The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @shershare
One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef
This Australian getaway never fears a gastronomical risk featuring gourmet salt soaked and dried in cabernet sauvignon and even Meduse shisha pipe-smoked cocktails. We recommend grabbing some of the 20 seats at the coveted Chef’s Table or participating in one of their many events, especially the “Under the Stars Dining.”
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
When the Maccioni family of Le Cirque fame takes on a project, you know it has to be something special. The Beach Club on the private Minitas Beach features fresh seafood, grilled meats, and that distinct Le Cirque service with a Caribbean charm. There’s a reason this luxurious resort is a favorite of the rich and famous, like Bill Clinton, Shakira, and Alex Rodriguez.