Why You Shouldn't Rule Out Cheaper Resorts When Booking A Caribbean Vacation

When you're thinking of booking a resort, you're likely considering treating yourself to something extra special. If your life at home usually involves you having to do everything yourself, it's so nice to book an all-inclusive five-star resort where someone else makes your meals, makes your bed, and drives you places, and you can sit by the pool or on the beach while the staff massage your sore calves and feed you tiny green grapes. Okay, maybe that last bit was just some wishful thinking. Still, when relaxation is the order of the day, travelers often think of five-star resorts before anything else.


However, some globe-trotters aren't feeling what the five-star resorts offer. In fact, they suggest that you will not only enjoy but prefer the resorts with lower star ratings. Author, travel expert, and co-founder of ClubThrifty.com, Greg Johnson, wrote, "Don't think 'luxury' means 'better' beach." He suggested that if you're not too bothered about what kind of room you get and aren't planning on spending much time in your room, the cheaper resorts will not only be kind to your purse, but they'll provide one of the key things luxury resorts offer: access to beautiful beaches and warm sun. Here's why a cheaper Caribbean resort might be in the cards for your next vacay.

Many luxury resorts have a reputation for price gouging

Philippe Kjellgren is a travel expert who has stayed at over 3,000 hotels and resorts, so he knows a thing or two about value for money when booking a place. He told Business Insider that the most expensive hotel or resort isn't always all it's cracked up to be because many charge high prices while overcharging for other amenities rather than including those amenities in the high price tag. "I think that if you look, a lot of times you can get a cheaper hotel that provides a much better experience than the most expensive one in my opinion," he gushed. Later, he expressed his irritation over excluded amenities from pricey resorts: "You're already paying, let's say, $2,000 a night. You don't have to charge $50 for tacos on the beach, which a lot of them do. For me it's not value for money." He advised looking for resorts that include "nice wines, spa treatments, and watersports" in their price tag.


Travel journalist Monica Humphries agreed, writing for Business Insider, that you get more value for money at the cheap places, considering that you mostly use them to sleep. "Do I spend time enjoying the expensive hotel I spent hundreds of dollars on? Or do I explore a new destination that I might not visit again anytime soon?" she expressed. Who goes to a Caribbean resort to stay indoors, anyway? The priority is often beach, beach, beach!

High star ratings don't always equal a good resort

Travel blogger Gwen Engler wrote on Full Life, Full Passport that there are many cons to staying at some top-tier Caribbean resorts, including abysmal food and an inauthentic cultural experience. She also claimed they're known for treating their local staff poorly with low wages. So, it can be hard to figure out if you're wondering which resorts to choose and which to avoid. Looking at the reviews online might complicate your choice when even some higher-rated options have scary warnings and advisories from previous guests. For example, the Secrets St. James five-star resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, has a one-star review from guests who called it dirty and poorly managed. 


Of course, there is a worry when booking a two-star resort for these issues to be exacerbated. Luckily, some of the best cheap resorts in the Caribbean are all-inclusive but won't break the bank, and they include the Royalton CHIC Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, which offers a gym, a spa, and, surprisingly, a casino! Or if you want your resort to just be a resort, it has 24-hour room service. Tacos at 4 a.m.? Yes, please! Another great selection is the Beaches Ocho Rios in Jamaica, which is family-friendly with its marine park and a kids park with autism-trained staff!