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‘All Inclusive’ advice – any good experiences?

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  • Wanderlust

    Unusual year ahead where it is looking like I may end up going on 2 holidays with family and the preference seems, in both cases, to be for fly and flop all inclusive resorts. I know these types of resorts generally don’t have the best reputation and I am trying to talk people out of it, but in case I don’t succeed, I was wondering if anybody has had any good experiences at an all inclusive resort, and if so where?

    One trip is likely to need to be within Europe but the other is more flexible within say a 10 hour flight from London.

    Thanks!

    Zara

    Turkey has some great all inclusives. It depends on your groups age ranges etc. But we really like the barut collection and are looking into Maxx royal and delphin for the next year.

    NorthernLass

    You get what you pay for really! Not done AI for some years but I would say pick the best you can afford as you don’t want to end up being stuck with mediocre F & B for the duration of your stay. Caribbean or Mexico would be the obvious choice for your longer flight, there are some nice resorts on the Mayan Riviera where there’s plenty to do for all ages if you get bored with flopping! You don’t say what ages your group are but there are resorts which only cater to over 16s or over 18s as well. At the top end you’ve got Sandals/Beaches or the Body Holiday in St Lucia (and possibly Grenada if that’s still open) where you get spa treatments thrown in!

    NorthernLass

    Back in the 90s when Teletext was the thing we booked an AI Allocation on Arrival to the Bahamas and ended up at the Radisson on Cable Beach which was fabulous – we paid about half the brochure price and that’s probably what kick-started our appetite for luxury travel at a discount! I don’t think it’s a Radisson any more but I still remember how good the filet mignon in the French restaurant was.

    Wanderlust

    Thank-you both for the advice!

    I will have a look at those options in Turkey, hopefully one of those will work for us! I’m also having a look at the “Ikos” resorts in Greece. I also got a decent response to the idea of a short trip to the UAE where there are some AI’s there- so all in all not looking too bad!

    @NortherLass I have vague memories of my parents booking holidays via teletext when I was very little- usually self catering somewhere in France/Spain, but I know I was lucky to be taken abroad at all! For the long-haul trip we are all adults so will see how far I can push the budget lol- I definitely don’t want to be stuck with bad food! We’re taking my Dad away and he’s always wanted to go to Barbados so maybe some kind of points/cash combo to one of the resorts that Marriott recently took over out there.

    NorthernLass

    Lol, we had some pretty amazing bargains from Teletext, half price to Bahamas, Maldives, Kenya and a couple of cruises. Pre-parenthood we could book annual leave at times when prices were sensational. They were heady days having spent my childhood holidays eating ice cream in the wind and rain in North Wales and Southport 😂

    Tracey

    Maldives – most of the island resorts offer an all inclusive option and certainly meet your fly and flop requirement.

    For the long haul, look at Sandals resorts, lots of restaurant choices. Also the royalton resorts (now owned by Marriott) in the Caribbean are on a similar theme, good choice of restaurants on the resort, though not quite as smart as Sandals. If your party includes children, beaches is an alternative to Sandals.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
    SJ

    Have a look at Excellence Resorts for the long-haul trip. Adults only, quite a few restaurant choices (9-10 from memory). They have resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Been to two so far, trying the Playa Mujeres resort at the end of the month. Had good experiences both times so far.

    Ibblybibbly

    I have found that most european AI’s are below par, although IKOS is very good.

    The Palm Tree Court in Dubai is excellent and I would highly recommend.

    tiriavpo

    Depends how much you want to be included – we did Sandals several times in the Caribbean because the diving is included, but it is adults only. Beaches do the same but for families. You can DIY it separately but we also did sandals packaged with flights with Virgin Holidays. Look out for offers – we had a Virgin Upper Class and butler villa package deal in Jamaica.

    To dare is to do

    I’ve just booked the Hilton dalaman in Turkey for a week. Booked on Hilton points, club class seats for 3 booked on points with an expiring 241, total cost of holiday £150 for 3 people AI.
    That might be my best redemption so far.

    ambient

    After a recent stay, can wholeheartedly recommend Heritage Awali in Mauritius – dunno whether you are looking at the luxury end of the market though. There’s two levels of all inclusive, one of which includes spa treatments, excursions and some pretty nice add on experiences. You might be able to find it at a reasonable price too on places like Kuoni, Virgin Holidays etc. Anyway, can say that there was never any worry about the supply or quality of food and drink, or the range of options available!

    Zoe P

    Have a look at Excellence Resorts for the long-haul trip. Adults only, quite a few restaurant choices (9-10 from memory). They have resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Been to two so far, trying the Playa Mujeres resort at the end of the month. Had good experiences both times so far.

    I second Excellence. They are… well… excellent. Also have Finest in their brand which is for families.

    Tom2

    Secrets are very good and have locations all over the Caribbean (but a number of them in Mexico). Part of AM Resorts which were just taken over by Hyatt.

    Wanderlust

    Thank-you all for the helpful advice- some of these places look really nice, and a far cry (thank god) from the images of an all inclusive holiday I had in my mind!

    We did look at Sandals but it is quite a bit over budget, this seems to be because they charge a hefty single supplement.

    Wanderlust

    Have a look at Excellence Resorts for the long-haul trip. Adults only, quite a few restaurant choices (9-10 from memory). They have resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Been to two so far, trying the Playa Mujeres resort at the end of the month. Had good experiences both times so far.

    I second Excellence. They are… well… excellent. Also have Finest in their brand which is for families.

    The Excellence Resorts do seem to be ticking all of the boxes for us, I could definitely imagine spending a week or so in one of their resorts which is a good start lol! (I have this slightly irrational fear of feeling like I am in prison, albeit a very nice one, in a resort 🙈)


    @SJ
    which of the Excellence Resorts have you stayed at, and how did they compare to one another?

    FatherOfFour

    Don’t usually do AI – but we did Bahia Principe Fantasia, Tenerife 2020 with the kids (age 2-7 at the time) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Happy to answer any questions about that resort. We also have Sandals booked for this November as a one off special. I obviously can’t comment on that yet!

    NorthernLass

    Don’t usually do AI – but we did Bahia Principe Fantasia, Tenerife 2020 with the kids (age 2-7 at the time) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Happy to answer any questions about that resort. We also have Sandals booked for this November as a one off special. I obviously can’t comment on that yet!

    We drove past this place several times last August, due to the one-way system which needed negotiating to get to our resort! It looked pretty spectacular (especially if you’ve got young children who love the Disney Princess thing), but it seemed rather oddly positioned, crammed between a row of souvenir shops and pubs and a rocky coastline! Presumably the interior made up for it?

    FatherOfFour

    Don’t usually do AI – but we did Bahia Principe Fantasia, Tenerife 2020 with the kids (age 2-7 at the time) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Happy to answer any questions about that resort. We also have Sandals booked for this November as a one off special. I obviously can’t comment on that yet!

    We drove past this place several times last August, due to the one-way system which needed negotiating to get to our resort! It looked pretty spectacular (especially if you’ve got young children who love the Disney Princess thing), but it seemed rather oddly positioned, crammed between a row of souvenir shops and pubs and a rocky coastline! Presumably the interior made up for it?

    It was fresh and beautiful inside and the location of the bars/shops etc was only noticed when we ventured out for a day trip.
    Admittedly, the rocky coastline/ lack of beach is a red flag for anyone who wants to sit in the sand all day, but the pools and entertainment were great. It was just what we needed.

    NorthernLass

    @FatherofFour – I’m sure it was lovely to stay in, it just seemed a really odd place to put it!

    SJ

    Have a look at Excellence Resorts for the long-haul trip. Adults only, quite a few restaurant choices (9-10 from memory). They have resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Been to two so far, trying the Playa Mujeres resort at the end of the month. Had good experiences both times so far.

    I second Excellence. They are… well… excellent. Also have Finest in their brand which is for families.

    The Excellence Resorts do seem to be ticking all of the boxes for us, I could definitely imagine spending a week or so in one of their resorts which is a good start lol! (I have this slightly irrational fear of feeling like I am in prison, albeit a very nice one, in a resort 🙈)



    @SJ
    which of the Excellence Resorts have you stayed at, and how did they compare to one another?

    Hi Wanderlust,

    First stay was at Excellence Riviera Cancun (south of Cancun in Puerto Morelos). This was our first try of All-inclusive and we were very impressed. Plenty of food options, including coffee shop for snacks and ice cream through the day. Good selection of branded spirits in the room as well (this was 2016). They had some free activities – paddle boarding, tennis, kayak and some ‘event’ on the beach every day. No spa treatments included. We did one day trip which was excellent, but I can’t remember the cost. They have a strict dress code for dinner – men must have long trousers and collars, but I liked this as the food was of really good quality, the kind you’d expect in a restaurant you’d dress up to go to. We had a swim-up room, and bar staff would come round and collect drink orders from us pro-actively.

    Second visit was to El Carmen near Punta Cana. This was clearly a newer resort, the room was modern and spacious. Couldn’t really differentiate the service between the two resorts, and we ended up not leaving at all for the whole week. Definitely no feeling of being in a prison, grounds quite expansive and beach walks give a sense of freedom.

    AndyF

    We’ve stayed in the Excellence Punta Cana. In the Dominican Republic, It’s more of a Caribbean vibe than the modern looking El carmen. Which one day we walked past if you walk down the beach for an hour.

    We really enjoyed it the food and drink was excellent. The resort was lovely and the people. What we particularly liked is that other than breakfast there is no buffets just restaurants. If I had to be very picky we found the sea rough in December so it was a pool experience really. If we go back to the Caribbean we’d certainly stay at an excellence again.

    Wanderlust

    Thank-you @SJ and @AndyF we are looking at the two DR Excellence hotels so will hopefully decide between the two, but it does sound like both are good options!

    Hoping to take advantage of one of the May/June bank holidays to minimise annual leave even if the weather might not be ideal

    NorthernLass

    Some of the best weather in the Caribbean is in May and June. It’s generally too early for hurricanes and not as humid as the late summer.

    Wanderlust

    Some of the best weather in the Caribbean is in May and June. It’s generally too early for hurricanes and not as humid as the late summer.

    Interesting! I do hope it works out that way! I am almost looking forward to this trip now, even if it isn’t my usual type of holiday I can definitely see the appeal once in a while!

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