Yea and nay to all-inclusive resorts

Beach at all Memories Azul in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. Best beach ever,

Beach at all inclusive Memories Azul in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba. Best beach ever.

I’ve booked into more all inclusive resorts than I can remember. I recently booked another for a vacation to a part of the Caribbean I’ll be visiting for the first time in 2014.

All inclusives have some advantages:

    • Cost saving and peace of mind from bundling airfare, hotel, transfers. One stop travel shopping.
    • Food, beverages supplied.
    • Some hotels have kid’s pools & activities, and nightclubs for the adults.
    • Everything you may need can be found on site.
    • Most have security gates and guards. They’re extremely safe.

But there are downsides too:

  • Because you’ve pre-paid meals, you’re less inclined to explore eateries outside the resort.
  • Free alcohol. Enough said.
  • Waiting around the airport for the hotel transfer to happen. Rounding up all the people heading to one property can take a while.
  • Double occupancy. You pay a single supplement if you travel solo.
  • Buffet food can be boring and predictable after a few days. A la carte restaurants book up quickly.
  • The “crime” of chair reserving.  See my entry on the problem.

I typically stay in all inclusives if I’m visiting a destination for the first time. Once I get the lay of the land, I’m more inclined to seeks out more economical accommodation on subsequent visits because I don’t need opulence and don’t want to pay for it. Plus, I like to eat around. And I like to stay near the dive shops I patronize because I carry my own scuba gear.

All inclusives are popular because they take most the worry out of traveling. Worth a try if you’ve never booked one in the past.

Sheraton Buganvilias, Puerto Vallarta. A favourite of mine.

Sheraton Buganvilias, Puerto Vallarta. A favourite of mine.

Another view of the Sheraton.

Another view of the Sheraton.

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