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February 4, 2011 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts?

So thanks to my awesome tax refund, I've decided to go to an all-inclusive resort somewhere in the Caribbean . The only problem is I have no idea what or where I should be looking. I'm hoping someone out there can help me out - I have up to $5,000 to spend total (hotel, flight, + spending money). We are in our late 20s, early 30s. Here are my requirements/details:

It's my girlfriend and I - so pref. couples only. NO NUDE RESORTS.

Pref. most wine/premium drinks to be covered

Pref. most romantic dinners to be covered

Romantic, oriented to younger couples.


Fun activities to do in the Caribbean, including scuba/snorkeling.

If possible, local foods as well

It doesn't matter where in the Caribbean, but if you can justify the area or give some info - it would greatly be appreciated. I haven't been to the Caribbean since I've been 6, so I have no idea where to start. I'm looking to go in the off season as well (Minnesota winters are cold...). Thanks for any help.
posted by lpcxa0 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
posted by k8t at 5:38 PM on February 4, 2011

We like Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica. All food and alcohol is included and there is a no-tipping policy. It skews a little older and nightlife consists mostly of drinking until 2am in the insure disco, so that's probably not ideal. But you could always venture off-resort if you are adventurous.
posted by cabingirl at 5:44 PM on February 4, 2011

Onsite not insure. iPhone.
posted by cabingirl at 5:45 PM on February 4, 2011

Gran Bahia Principe in Punta Cana Dominican Republic. Beautiful, nice beach, fancy, great food. The included booze selection was pretty good, but the top-notch stuff was extra. I can't speak to the nightlife too much, because we didn't go out much at night. The only possible drawback is that lots of groups are families with kids, which for some people is a bad thing. Staff was very friendly.

Also, Sandals in Jamaica was great (we went to Ocho Rios, but I hear the one in Negril is very nice too). Sandals is couples-only (no kids) and there's lots of entertainment and a no tipping policy, which is nice. Food is good (not amazing) and staff are awesome.
posted by Simon Barclay at 5:58 PM on February 4, 2011

Grand Lido Braco, Jamaica. There is a nude side but the resort is divided so you don't have to see any nekkid (unless it's in your room). There is nothing nearby. Pretty isolated, lots to do (swim, tan, snorkel, scuba) and several different restaurants to pick from. We went over the winter holidays in 2005 and really liked it. Adults only, no one under 16 allowed.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:59 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh - once we were in the door, nothing cost anything except the gift shop and scuba. Beach bar open all night.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:00 PM on February 4, 2011

I'd stay away from Sandals and Couples.

We got married at the Paradisus Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. There is another resort in that chain which is adults only and is a bit more luxurious - the Paradisus Palma Real. Both are drop-dead gorgeous and I highly recommend either.
posted by tryniti at 6:01 PM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh man, don't even think about spending 5K on that! I subscribe to and they send me 1-2 travel related emails per week.. One of them is the top 20 deals of the week, and there are always 1-3 caribbean vacations in there, that are 700-2000 bucks, usually all inclusive and usually including airfare. If you have a bit of time, I'd suggest getting a few of their mailings or just checking their site out..
posted by Glendale at 6:27 PM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Moon Palace Mexico-Stayed a week there, awesome rooms, many oceanview/front, marble floors with a huge hot tub right in room, best salsa I ever had. Very nice mega resort. I was treated like a queen.

Punta Cana DR is filled with all inclusive resorts, fantastic white beaches, close to the airport. Can't remember where I was but I remember I loved it. :-)

Good place to start looking for the best deals:

Apple Vacations

Cheap Caribbean

Trip Advisor

If you go to Cancun, you can find many all inclusive's, but be sure not to go during spring break, it's a hot mess. Also, while you are in Quintana Roo there are so many day trips you can take by local bus or water taxi, you can keep busy for hours. The bus is only 50cents US and it's a wild ride with the locals. If you go to Tulum, it's the hottest place on earth, bring lots of water and a bathing suit, there is a fabulous hidden beach there for a refreshing swim after sightseeing. There's also XelHa another wonder of the Mexican landscape you can spend all day in and love every minute!

Have fun, you can memail me if you have any questions, been to a lot of these type resorts.
posted by ~Sushma~ at 6:38 PM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Moon Palace. We had a big sweet hot tub in the room with a great view. We spent no money at all except for some gifts, as everything else was covered. Great food, tons of drinks, absolutely beautiful.

Also, it was a short walk up the beach to one of the other Palaces (can't remember which one) and we could take advantage of all of that one's amenities as well at no charge.
posted by imjustsaying at 2:39 AM on February 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

We honeymooned at the Riu in Negril, Jamaica. It was all-inclusive and the onsite entertainment was awesomely bad (our favorite was the evening where they acted out scenes from Grease, and the guy who played Danny Zuko spoke very little English). You can book "excursions" from the resort for things like snorkeling, parasailing, and sunset cruises, all of which were great. Drinks were generous and food was great. Maybe not the very best option for romance, as there were plenty of families with kids around, who hung out in the pool with the swim-up bar more than I wanted them to.
posted by SeedStitch at 12:13 PM on February 5, 2011

You should know that the cold winter time in Minnesota is the peak season for Caribbean holiday destinations. Everybody wants to get out of the cold! Off season pretty much coincides with hurricane season.

I've been all over Mexico, but never to an all-inclusive and lately with my kid so I'm not the best person to give advice on specifics, but I always double-check hotels with reviews on Travel Advisor. You have to take them with a grain of salt, and some of the posters are clearly obnoxious tourists, but if you keep reading the same thing over and over ("Fabulous!!" "Bed bugs!!") it gives you some clues about what you're getting yourself into.
posted by looli at 8:17 AM on February 6, 2011

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