Inclusive resorts in Caribbean/Mexico
February 20, 2014 9:10 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean or Mexico.

My wife and I are normally very low-key, non-touristy type travelers. But the combination of work stress and a long, cold winter has us looking for something all-inclusive and fancy, somewhere warm.

  • Caribbean or Mexico
  • All-inclusive
  • "Classy" is a weird word, but non-cheesy. Not Sandals, etc.
  • Good food
  • Beachfront or darned close
  • Quiet. Doesn't have to be adults only, but not like CancĂșn
Price is no particular object, although something non-insane would be nice. Nature stuff to do around, like hiking, is a plus, but not required.
posted by Chrysostom to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Fernandez Bay Village, Cat Island, Bahamas
posted by exogenous at 9:12 AM on February 20, 2014

We're not usually resort kind of people, but we really enjoyed two visits to Dreams resorts on the Mayan Riviera (Tulum and Puerto Aventuras, I think there's one further north maybe near Playa del Carmen, and one in Cancun as well as other parts of the Caribbean). The vibe was very relaxed, luxurious without being overly extravagant - classy is a good word for it (no wristbands for example), excellent service, good choice of restaurants, good activities. If we're ever to do a resort again we would choose Dreams.
posted by valleys at 9:30 AM on February 20, 2014

You could try one of the Generations gourmet all-inclusives such as the brand new Generations Maya Riviera, or their adults-only El Dorado.

Grand Velas Mayan Riviera was mentioned in this recent question.

There was also this recent question.
posted by Dansaman at 9:31 AM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Live Aqua--it's in Cancun, but not spring break-y at all, adults only, amazing beachfront, great restaurants, amazing service, and beautiful rooms. There is literally nothing negative I can say about it. We were looking for the same thing--a chance to decompress and rejuvenate and it totally fit the bill. I definitely had this conception of Cancun being awful, but we were pleasantly surprised--if you go you HAVE to do a day trip to Isla Mujeres.
posted by syrenka at 9:31 AM on February 20, 2014

In 2010, I spent a couple blissful weeks at the Hotel Catalonia Playa Meroma in Playa del Carmen. Beachfront, planned activities that are easily ignored, lovely service, great food. All-inclusive, not insanely expensive. Couples/singles/families, all mingled without bother. I found it peaceful in the extreme. Coba ruins or snorkeling at Akumal are nice day trips if you can tear yourself from the beach chairs.
posted by donnagirl at 9:49 AM on February 20, 2014

Grand Velas Riviera Maya, outside of Cancun would fit your bill ("classy" + "beachfront" + "good food" + "very quiet/adults only (in many areas)" perfectly. I had the pleasure of staying there last February with 2 other couples, and it was superb.
posted by hush at 10:14 AM on February 20, 2014

I stayed at the Sugar Beach in St. Lucia in late 2011, when they were finishing up their transition to being part of the luxurious Viceroy hotel group. Because they were still kind of in-between, I got all kinds of crazy upgrades and things thrown in for like 1/3 the current rate - but even then, it was outstanding. The accommodations, the views, the food, the service, the spa - everything was incredible. The guest rooms and views were every bit as amazing as depicted on their website. They have some on-site hiking, but the hotel is situated in between the stunning pitons, and you can arrange to do some off-site hiking. Quiet, though I did see a few families with babies. Not explicitly an adults-only kind of place, but not a lot of kids. They have an "all inclusive" package on their website, among various other special offers.
posted by raztaj at 10:56 AM on February 20, 2014

Here you go. I spent ten days here, I long to return. Very classy. Check it out, read the reviews on Trip Adviser. Gorgeous.
They also have a resort on the west coast, I have not stayed there (yet), but it's probably equally wonderful.
posted by elf27 at 1:00 PM on February 20, 2014

Just back from a couple weeks in Mexico. Like donnagirl spent a few days in Catalonia Playa Meroma while diving off Playa and Cozumel. It's not quite 'fancy', but it's a very good midrange resort. Food was fine, better with privileged status, pools and beach are lovely. We also stayed at the Paradisus Melia, which had amazing rooms, service, food and facilities (get.the.massage), but was a bit too Miami-Vegas for my tastes. The point of going to Mexico is to feel like you're in Mexico, right? Lounging beachside was def the best option there.

Best of the lot was Viceroy Riveria Maya - touch quirky in a dippy holistic way, but very peaceful, private villas with pool, top-notch service, great food, great beach, enough cabanas for everyone. All class. Get to Tulum, Coba, Chichen as well if you can.

I'd agree with raztaj and mark Sugar Beach in St Lucia up with the Viceroy in Playa. If you like to dive or want to roam a bit I'd do Mexico, if you'd prefer to hike and stay close I'd do St Lucia. The island really is spectacular. It's 2hrs+ for the airport transfer in St Lucia vs 45 minutes in Mexico if that's a factor.

I'd also (slightly less enthusiastically) recommend Nonsuch Bay in Antigua if you want something well away from the madding crowds - wonderful staff, lovely villas, very good food - but for better or worse you are very much on the quiet side of the island, and you'd need to sail or kayak to make full use of the resort. Side benefit of staying here (or somewhere else in the Caribbean) is flying to the domestic airport in St Lucia - it's a much shorter hotel transfer. Beach is good without being spectacular. Do the party Sunday night at Shirley Heights, it's a blast.
posted by bookie at 3:02 PM on February 20, 2014

I've always found the service in Cancun is amazingly good, and others who have replied here seem to be saying the same. That's not the case in every Caribbean location. For example, I'd say it is the case in Barbados but not the case in Anguilla. So in addition to looking at specific resorts, you probably should also look at the reputation and customs of specific locations as a whole.
posted by Dansaman at 8:21 AM on February 21, 2014

Wife and I had Honeymon last year at El Dorado Maroma near Playa Del Carmen. Quiet (around 100 rooms) and adults only. We had a great time.
posted by GnomePrime at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2014

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