9 Top Resorts with All-Inclusive PackagesNov 17, 2017
Photo: Sugar Beach Resort Aerial View, Credit: Sugar Beach
By: Ed Wetschler
Save this story; Google says you won't find an article like it anywhere else. This is a guide to upscale Caribbean resorts that are not and never will be all-inclusives, yet they offer optional meal plans and/or all-inclusive packages. The upshot: world-class luxury resorts where you can enjoy the convenience and savings of pre-paid meals and more.
Photo: Aerial view of Anse Chastanet Resort, Credit: Anse Chastanet Resort
With its beach near the Pitons and its focus on romance, nature, and local art, Anse Chastanet helped invent the Saint Lucia brand. Insiders tip: The Total Romance package is an all-inclusive in disguise -- a good one, too: It includes transfers, the room, meals, most beverages, the tax and service charge, tours, a snorkeling trip, some scuba diving, one massage per person, jungle biking, T-shirts, and a $500 credit for the next visit. Rates start at $10,014 per couple per week in high season; book early to get a seventh night free for a sum of $8,712.
Photo: Cap Maison’s The Cliff at Cap restaurant in Saint Lucia, Source: Recommend
Resembling a Mediterranean village on a bluff, Cap Maison offers a Cap It All Inclusive Package most the year that includes the room, meals, and wines and spirits by the glass at The Naked Fisherman and The Cliff at Cap Restaurant, which are overseen by Chef Craig Jones, a recent Caribbean Chef of the Year. At press time it would cost $5,563 per couple plus $1,113 tax -- totaling $6,676 -- for one of the Garden View and Junior Suites.
Marigot Bay Resort & Marina by Capella
Photo: Capella Marigot Bay offers a combo of destination immersion, stunning rooms and personalized service, Credit: Capella Marigot Bay
This yachtie favorite isn't directly on a beach (it does provide shuttle service), but Saint Lucia's Capella Marigot Bay Resort offers something else: a combination of destination immersion -- rum tastings, culinary events, boat tours, garden walks -- stunning rooms (traditional decor, updated) and personalized service. The all-inclusive supplement includes meals, beverages, resort activities, classes, and the Kids Club, etc. It costs $420 per couple per day, or $2,940 per week, and rooms start at $342, but at least move up to the Bay View room: $371, or $2,597, for a subtotal of $5,537. Adding tax and service, that's $6,091.
Photo: Contemporary luxury in a tranquil setting, Credit: Carlisle Bay
With mostly two-story accommodations sprawling along a splendid beach, Antigua's Carlisle Bay attracts both families and couples -- European as well as American -- who seek a cosmopolitan setting. It features cool and capacious rooms, superb service and cuisine, an excellent spa, a five-court tennis facility, and a light-filled library where you'd gladly spend hours. With the Fully Inclusive Super Chill-Out package, a couple pays $3,150 a week, so with a $7,000 room, the total, including 22.5% tax and service, is $12,434.
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas
Photo: La Piazzetta at Casa de Campo in the D.R., Source: Recommend
This Dominican Republic classic offers guests a range of accommodations and the luxury of doing anything and everything, from polo to gallery hopping (the resort has its own art colony) to championship golf. The Casa de Campo Inclusive Experience package includes meals, cocktails and wine by the glass, unlimited horseback riding, tennis, non-motorized water sports, skeet or trap shooting, and family activities. For a week at a 538-sq.- ft. room in the Pete Dye Golf Lodge, a couple would pay $6,155, including tax, service charge, and a golf cart. Moving up to a 731-sq.- ft. Elite Deluxe Room costs $8,396.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana
Photo: Eden Roc Aerial View, Credit: Eden Roc
One of just four Relais & Chateaux in the entire Caribbean, Eden Roc at Cap Cana has 34 suites and villas, each with its own pool, spa area, and golf cart. Eden Roc offers three meal options: The Full Board Meal Plan starts with the room cost: $6,050 with the Stay 7 Pay 5 deal in a Luxury Pool Junior Suite. Add the meal plan, $120 p.p. per day, featuring a three-course lunch as well as dinner, and the subtotal is $7,730, plus taxes and service for the sum of $9,894. The Endless Summer Package, $8,806 plus taxes and service for a total of $11,272, is for couples who want to have a child (age 4-12) comped. The Play in Paradise Package offers half board plus a $200 spa credit and two rounds at golfing mecca Punta Espada. The entire rate before taxes and service is $8,645, and the final tab is $11,066.
Photo: Private infinity pool sanctuaries with a view, Credit: Jade Mountain
Often named the best resort in the Caribbean, Jade Mountain boasts James Beard Award-winner Chef Allen Susser, stellar service, and 24 three-walled, hillside Sanctuaries with private infinity pools and immense living spaces. Even the lowest category, the five Jacuzzi Sky suites, measure 1,650 square feet. Jade Mountain's all-inclusive Total Romance Package is akin to the one at sister resort Anse Chastanet (above). A week in a Sky suite costs $16,356, or $14,148 with an Early Bird seventh night free. A $21,144 Star Suite with an infinity pool costs $18,252 with the Early Bird.
Photo: View from Ladera plunge pool, Source: Recommend
This was the first luxury boutique resort in Saint Lucia, and maybe anywhere, in which every room and suite had a completely open fourth wall. Its sexy, breezy cliffside dwellings feature hand-crafted furnishings, art, plunge pools, and, despite the missing wall, extreme privacy. All views from rooms, the resort pool, and Dasheene restaurant funnel between the two Pitons, because Ladera is in the UNESCO site. A Hilltop Dream Suite costs $7,105 per week, $8,526 with tax. The all-inclusive meal plan is $280 per couple per day, or $2,352 per week with tax, so the total costs $10,878.
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
Photo: Sugar Beach is set between the World Heritage Pitons, Credit: Sugar Beach
What, another luxury resort in Saint Lucia with an all-inclusive option? Yes, and at a resort near the Pitons with a white-sand beach and excellent snorkeling. The spa features “rustic” treehouse treatment rooms, guestrooms sport soothing white furnishings, and the Great House restaurant mixes local flavors with colonial elegance. A Luxury Sugar Mill Room costs $5,443 plus $1,089 taxes and fees, for $6,533. The optional AI package costs another $4,200 (no additional taxes or fees), so the total is $10,733. The resort pays commissions on $9,643—everything but the taxes and fees.
— None of these hotels and islands sustained damage from Hurricanes Irma or Maria. For information on those islands that did receive impact from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, please visit recommend.com.
Anse Chastanet: ansechastanet.com
Cap Maison: capmaison.com
Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina: marigotbayresort.com
Carlisle Bay: carlisle-bay.com
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas: casadecampo.com.do
Eden Roc at Cap Cana: edenroccapcana.com
Jade Mountain: jademountain.com
Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort: viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/sugarbeach
Lodgings with kitchens, especially popular with families, generally feature the option to purchase full provisioning and book a chef, if needed. In Jamaica, for example, most of Villas of Distinction (villasofdistinction.com) properties are already staffed, so you’d just add about $50-$65 per day per adult (half that for children) for groceries, and the villa itself—one suited for a family of four—might cost approximately $8,000. Or consider booking through a resort: At the Four Seasons Nevis (fourseasons.com/nevis) an all-inclusive for a family of four in a 2-bedroom villa with meals and a chef would start at $3,680 per night, or $25,760 per week plus tips.