Editor’s Note: Some of the information below may be out-of-date. The U.S. Virgin Islands were heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. Please visit caribbeantravelupdate.com or the specific hotel’s website for updates. Please visit usviupdate.com for updates.
The term all-inclusive gets a bad rap. The new breed of all-inclusives offers top-tier extras like gourmet meals, 24/7 room service, plush rooms — even plunge pools and stellar spas. We scoured the globe to find the all-inclusive honeymoon resorts that truly stand above the rest.
Sandals Emerald Bay - Exumas, Bahamas
Is the water made of Berry Blue Kool-Aid? Guests often ask that question — or a version of it — on arrival at this plantation-style resort. Emerald Bay boasts 183 ocean- and beachfront villas and suites with British-colonial touches like mahogany four-poster beds and soaking tubs. Opt for one of the highest-level suites, and your questions will be handled by the team of butlers (trained at the Guild of Professional English Butlers in London, of course). And yes, that is a fire pit in the middle of the zero-entry pool.
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
This 267-room resort has picked up AAA’s five-diamond rating four years in a row, thanks to touches like three fine-dining restaurants, top-notch service (think sushi delivered to your poolside chaise) and a beautiful three-tier pool overlooking Banderas Bay. Chic suites have separate sitting areas, marble baths and white-dressed mahogany beds draped with bright Mexican serape blankets. Need to de-stress from your wedding? Luxuriate with the signature Pearl and Moon treatment at the Balinese-inspired Grand Velas spa; it uses real pearls to give you a radiant shimmer. Golfers booking the Unimited Golf Package get access to two 18-hole courses at Vista Vallarta Golf Club.
Excellence Playa Mujeres - Riviera Maya, Mexico
Sure, it’s in Cancun, but Excellence Playa Mujeres is far from "spring broken." While this adults-only all-inclusive is only 25 minutes from Cancun International Airport, it’s tucked into a previously untouched peninsula neighboring a wetland preserve. (Read: ideal for honeymooners taking a vacay from Wi-Fi.) The guest rooms feature king-size beds, private Jacuzzis, and furnished balconies or patios. Or you can really go for it and book a swim-up suite with direct access to the private pool.
Live Aqua - Cancun, Mexico
The talcum-soft sand blends seamlessly into the white hotel behind it, just like the infinity-edge pool appears to empty into the Caribbean. Sleek serenity is the vibe at Live Aqua, an adults-only all-inclusive. Consider this: Each room comes with its own zen garden, an aromatherapy kit featuring Live Aqua's custom scents, and a pillow menu. If you’re not totally relaxed after that, head over to Aka bar. A sampling of the local tequilas should do the trick.
Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita - Cancun, Mexico
Blending ancient Maya rituals with modern amenities and a host of thoughtful touches (from private chauffeured airport transfers to free in-room international calling), AAA five-diamond Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita appeals to couples in search of low-key extravagance. In the 90 Zen-like suites accented with local handicrafts and antiques, find perks like sunken tubs, espresso machines, and bars stocked with wine, champagne and tequila. Recover from wedding-planning stress at the spa, the first in North America to be certified by the International Thalassotherapy Federation.
Cayo Espanto - Belize
Located on a tiny island with no lobby, restaurant or bar, this seven-villa resort offers ultimate privacy. On arrival, you’re escorted straight to your digs, so you literally never have to run into another guest. Each uniquely designed abode is set on a private stretch of beach, with a large seating area opening to the outdoors and a plunge pool overlooking the sea. Outside, wraparound porches boast hammocks; inside, canopy beds beckon. Radio for your houseman, and he’ll appear as if by magic, bearing cocktails, snacks, meals or whatever else you desire. When you want to explore, take a kayak trip around the island, or hop a water taxi to Ambergris Caye and cruise through the beach town of San Pedro on a golf cart.
Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino - St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
The resort’s website taunts you with a real-time update: “It’s a pleasant 88 degrees. Time for afternoon snorkeling.” We won’t hold it against them since Divi Carina Bay recently converted to all-inclusive, making it the only such resort on this 28-by-7-mile isle. When you’re not enjoying a poolside rum punch and a performance by local mocko jumbie dancers, grab your mask and fins: Buck Island is a snorkeler’s dream, and Salt River Canyon has some of the best scuba diving on earth.
Excellence Riviera Cancun - Cancun, Mexico
Do you have travel ADD? Then you’ll love this 440-room resort, where you’ll never run out of things to do, courtesy of 10 bars, eight restaurants, miles of white sand, easy access to Cancun’s nightlife and shopping, and myriad activities like windsurfing, yoga and basketball. You can even learn to play tennis, speak Spanish, salsa dance and turn out perfect enchiladas. No kids are allowed, so a couples-centric attitude prevails. Mediterranean-themed rooms boast four-poster king beds and whirlpool tubs; water lovers will want to check out the Excellence Club ground-floor suites, which offer swim-up access, a private beach, and fruit and flowers delivered to your room daily.
Hotel Remota - Patagonia, Chile
Want to truly get off the grid? The name says it all at this middle-of-nowhere resort set at the southern tip of the vast Andes mountain chain. Yes, it’s challenging to reach — you’ll have to fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina, or Santiago, Chile, catch another plane and then shuttle to the hotel — but one look at Patagonia’s awe-inspiring glaciers, crystal lakes, razor-sharp mountains and gaucho culture is so worth it. The resort proves that remote doesn’t necessarily mean rugged: Metalwork, pottery and textiles created by local artisans fill the public spaces, and beds in cozy rooms are draped with colorful wool blankets. The organic kitchen even has local farmers on speed dial. Excursions include kayaking through an iceberg-strewn fjord, trekking across a glacier or hiking to lunch at an authentic estancia (estate).
Jumby Bay - Antigua
This private-island resort exudes the kind of restrained glamour for which Grace Kelly was made famous. (Small wonder it’s a favorite for celebs; bold-name check-ins include Sir Paul McCartney, Hilary Swank and Eddie Murphy.) A town car whisks you from the airport to the resort’s private launch for the short trip to the resort. There, elegant rooms with British-colonial furnishings and romantic outdoor garden showers await; some have private pools as well. Spend your days biking along shady paths or lazing on one of two spectacular beaches.
Likuliku Lagoon Resort - Fiji
Likuliku* means “calm waters” in the Malolo dialect, and here in the lagoon, you’ll see them in every shade of blue imaginable. The above-water surroundings are equally compelling: Choose from overwater or beachfront bures (bungalows) with amenities like king beds, complimentary Wi-Fi, spacious sun decks, blossom-filled foot-washing bowls and cookie jars that seem to replenish themselves. For pure relaxation, soak in the infinity pool that overlooks a white-sand beach. Or for a touch of adventure, follow the resort’s hiking trails; after disappearing into the emerald mountains behind the resort, they lead past historic ruins to lookout points with remarkable views of neighboring islands.
Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas is known for many things. Honeymooners make the trek to Lover’s Beach, a cinematic stretch of sand at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula. (The Pacific side, where the waves crash violently into the rocks, is known as Divorce Beach.) Anglers come to Marlin Alley to hook billfish. Whatever’s on your Cabo wish list, Riu Palace puts you in the perfect spot. And yes, it’s palatial.
Sandals Regency La Toc - Castries, Saint Lucia
Perched on a bluff overlooking a pretty crescent of beach, this 327-room playground is filled with activities, but it’s also got plenty of nooks where honeymooners can stake out a bit of alone space. All rooms come with four-poster king beds, and a whopping 19 different room categories means there’s something for every budget. Book select suites and enjoy the services of a personal butler who will unpack your suitcases, fill your bar with your favorite beverages, and have a fragrant bath drawn whenever you wish.
Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa - Bayahibe, Dominican Republic
Three hours after departing Miami, you’re at the entrance of Dreams La Romana, a tropical getaway that is equal parts “ooooh” (the gourmet seafood at Oceana) and “ahhhh” (the hydrotherapies at Dreams Spa by Pevonia). Other activities range from standard-issue resort fare like catamaran outings, snorkeling and windsurfing to more out-of-the-box offerings (mechanical bull ride, anyone?).
Fiesta Americana Condesa - Cancun, Mexico
From the thatch-roof palapas to the glass-topped ziggurat tower, this resort, set between the mangrove-laden Nichupte Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea, takes plenty of inspiration from Mexican culture and architecture. The Miiluma Spa utilizes ingredients from the natural surroundings, and Restaurante Kambú serves up grilled specialties from northern Mexico. Guest rooms range from the garden-view superior room to the three-bedroom, oceanfront presidential suite.
Secrets St. James Montego Bay - Montego Bay, Jamaica
At this sprawling, low-rise property, set on a secluded peninsula facing west (cocktails at sunset!), the code word for all-inclusive is “unlimited luxury.” Your stay includes accommodations (every room has a private balcony), breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, top-shelf cocktails, and 24-hour room service. Don’t sweat a late-night mini-bar raid: The contents — and refills — are complimentary.