October 28, 2020

Best Caribbean All-Inclusives For 2013 [Cayman absent]


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10-hard-rock-hotel-casino-punta-cana__largeBy Jordan Simon From Fodor’s Travel

EDITOR: Surprisingly Cayman Islands get no listing. We are publishing only the first 5 from the list of 11. I am very surprised at some of the inclusions and of course our own exclusion.

Ever since Club Med promised the “antidote to civilization,” all-inclusive resorts have increasingly blanketed the Caribbean island-scapes. Once cookie-cutter, they’ve increasingly diversified in a battle for tourist dollars. Today’s they come in every conceivable style and price range, as wonderfully varied as the Caribbean itself. Some cater to family fun, while others put the sin in scintillating for couples. One thing hasn’t changed: no hassles. Pay one fixed price for all you can eat, drink, and do…then leave your wallet—and worries—at home. Small wonder so many travelers swear by them.


Druif/Manchebo Beach, Aruba

Aruba is famed for its champagne-hued beaches, rock formations, sizzling nightlife, and whipping winds that bend the divi divi trees at a 90-degree angle. All rooms at the Tamarijn Aruba look out on Druif Beach, which opens into the wide grin of Manchebo Beach fronting sister resort Divi Aruba. Guests at the quieter Tamarijn enjoy all the Divi’s facilities: two resorts for the price of one, including nine restaurants, seven bars, three pools, a 9-hole golf course, and the nearby Alhambra Casino. The resorts take advantage of that long stretch of beach, with aquatic activities aplenty, including snorkeling and windsurfing. Everyone gets their rocks off getting a grip on the 30-foot oceanfront rock-climbing wall.

Insider Tip: Savor tuna carpaccio with avocado-mango relish while admiring the Murano art glass on display at signature restaurant, Paparazzi.

Casa de Campo

Casa de Campo


La Romana, Dominican Republic

Casa de Campo means “house in the country”—as in a Kennedy-esque compound designed by Oscar de la Renta. Worried you’ll weigh too heavily in the lap of luxury after indulging in the sybaritic spa and fine dining? Casa offers tennis (13 courts), horseback riding, Sporting Clays Shooting Center replete with safari-themed clubhouse, and sailing or fishing (deep sea and freshwater) from the Portofino-inspired marina. Golfers snarl at “Teeth of the Dog,” a Peter Dye-abolical design featuring seven water holes, trademark railroad tyes, wicked bunkers, sharp drops in elevation, and unfair fairways.

Insider Tip: Shop and dine at Altos de Chavon, a not-cheesy replica of a 16th century Mediterranean village replete with narrow cobblestone streets and crenellated stone castles.

Beaches Turks & Caicos

Beaches Turks & Caicos


Providençiales, Turks & Caicos

Beaches Turks & Caicos is that rare family place that respects both children and parents. The resort sits on Provo’s showcase strand, Grace Bay. It has 19 restaurants and bars, a 45,000-square-foot water park (with surf simulator, lazy river, and tweens-only section spouting water cannons and spray guns), six pools, Xbox 360® Game Garage, and bountiful beach activities. Kids interact with Sesame Street characters at breakfasts and piratical parades. Edutainment opportunities abound. The self-contained French Village section almost out-Disneys Disney World. Suites in the newer, plusher Italian Village feature a sliding door that seals off the brood’s bunk-bed room for greater privacy. All rooms now feature a personal Xbox® 360 game console, so parents can sneak off guilt-free for Blue Mountain coffee bean scrubs or romantic dinners.

Insider Tip: Spend the sunrise on the dock outside Schooners seafood restaurant (owner Butch Stewart’s favorite location on property), and the sunset drinks at the Italian Village pool tower.

Jumby Bay

Jumby Bay


Jumby Bay (Long) Island, Antigua

This swank resort presides over a 300-acre private island two miles off the Antiguan coast, accessible only by boat. After stopping at Jumby Bay Beach or at the SENSE® spa, nourish your body and soul at the exemplary restaurants. The Pool Grille and Verandah marries the flavors of the Mediterranean to lighter, market-fresh ingredients. The men’s-clubby, stone-and-mahogany Estate House, built circa-1830, channels bygone British colonial glamour. Executive Chef, Sardinian-born Claudio Melis, who has manned kitchens in six Michelin-honored restaurants, has taken its kitchen to a rarified level. His food is distinguished by gorgeous tastes and textures—subtle to lusty, crispy to creamy. Sly touches include parmesan popcorn with the otherwise classic beef carpaccio. Don’t miss stunners like polipo e fagioli (tender octopus and beans); roasted butternut ravioli with truffle butter, parmesan and amaretto cookies; and, especially, the maiale – local famer’s pork, Savoy cabbage, prunes, and dried mushroom.

Insider Tip: Pack white for the resort’s White Night Sunday barbecue and dance party: It is Gatsby-meets-Caribbean.

IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada

IBEROSTAR Costa Dorada


Playa Dorada, Dominican Republic

For value, you can’t improve upon the Dominican Republic, where cookie-cutter compounds have spread in wildly popular Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. Fountains gushing throughout, a sensuous lagoon pool, and the elegant if odd architectural hodgepodge (Spanish Colonial-meets-South Pacific) belie IBEROSTAR’s low prices. Both the billeting (516 rooms in nine cheerfully colored thatch-roof buildings, each boasting its own concierge) and bill of fare, like a Brazilian rodizio (grill), exceed the DR’s budget billing; top-shelf liquors are even included. The Star Friends “ambassador” team helps guests stay entertained (on- and off-property) with activities like water polo, basketball, shooting, tennis, soccer, billiards, merengue classes, Spanish lessons, and more. All for roughly $200/couple in high season.

Insider Tip: Take an excursion to nearby Sosúa (a Latin Riviera with sidewalk cafes and twin sandy crescents) and Caberete (the Caribbean windsurfing capital).

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  1. I’m not surprised Cayman isn’t on this list. How many all inclusives do we have? (One that I know of.) So its not really a market we aim for.

    And the one all-inclusive I know doesn’t match the image of the pictures in the article, as nice as it is for what it is (I’ve stayationed there, though not all-inclusive).

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