Our editors and writers scoured the globe to find the best all-inclusive resorts based on standout offerings, from top-notch dining options and cool bars to over-the-top suites and white-glove butler service. We also asked our readers to vote for their favorites in each category. We’re proud to present the winners of the 2019 Islands All-Inclusive Awards.
All-inclusive resorts and alcohol go together like peanut butter and jelly, so you’re guaranteed a vacation itinerary of beach, eat, booze, repeat. But some bars are better than others, and we chose these because of their standout features, unique settings and knowledgeable staff. So step away from the in-room liquor dispenser and belly up to the best all-inclusive resort bars.
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Mexico — Juana Margarita
As a spirit synonymous with Mexico, tequila bars are abundant in Cancun. But Juana Margarita at Hyatt Ziva Cancun stands out from the pack, thanks to the staff tequilier (think a sommelier for the agave-based spirit) to guide you through more than 25 varieties of blancos, reposados, añejos and mezcals. Try the Martini Ziva, made with mezcal, watermelon juice, lime juice and Blue Curaçao. We also gave the resort bonus points for its sports bar, Tres Cervezas, a legit microbrewery that brews beer in-house.
If your crew is 18+, opt to stay in the adults-only beachfront tower, Turquoize, where the Sky Swim Up Suites offer balconies with private hot tubs and direct access to a semi-private infinity pool.
Families can get a similar experience with a swim-up suite in the Pyramid building, or book a Dolphin View Suite that overlooks the onsite dolphin habitat. The younger set will also love Chevy’s, a ’50s-themed diner slinging kid-approved fare like burgers and shakes. — Rebecca Kinnear
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos, Mexico — Whale Watchers Bar
Cabo is a sweet spot for whale watching between December and April. And the appropriately named Whale Watchers Bar at Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos is where to go.
Perched in a glass-enclosed space with unobstructed views of the Pacific (and hopefully humpback and gray whales), the vibe is like someone’s living room with comfy couches, Wi-Fi, an outdoor terrace and, of course, booze. (Specialties include wines from Mexico’s Baja region and killer cocktails.) This isn’t the only bar: The Stones Club is a lounge with vintage-y sofas and a dance bar.
Nearly every room at the resort has a view, whether it’s the bay or the ocean. Who knows, with a pair of binoculars, you could spot a whale breaching from the comfort of your bed. This is an ideal resort for families as classes range from morning yoga to afternoon musical trivia, and kids will enjoy the Kids Club and the Cupcake Café. — Kristine Hansen
Winner, Editors’ Choice: The Caves, Jamaica — Blackwell Rum Bar
One of the coolest bar settings can be found at The Caves resort, located in Negril’s West End. Descend a coral staircase along the water’s edge, and then cross a wooden footbridge to arrive at the secret cave that is Blackwell Rum Bar. (The only thing missing is a secret knock.)
Located in a limestone sea cavern with ocean views, the bar has an intimate, romantic atmosphere, complete with candles nestled into the cave walls. Grab a stool at the circular bar — both are made of rock hewn from the cliffs — and order up a cold cocktail.
The namesake Blackwell Rum, bottled by the resort’s owner Chris Blackwell, is featured heavily on the menu and makes for potent cocktails. We suggest the Goldeneye, which mixes rum with fresh orange juice, pineapple juice, and ground ice. The bar is a surprise located in a resort full of surprises. Each room at the property is decorated in a charmingly individual style and the resort’s distinctive character is that of pure eye candy. — Lori Barbely
Winner Readers’ Choice: Sandals South Coast, Jamaica — Latitudes Over-the-water Bar
Not everyone has the budget to sleep in an overwater bungalow, but taking a snooze on one of the hammocks that surround the overwater Latitudes Bar at Sandals South Coast is included in the price of any room.
This first-of-its-kind bar in Jamaica is a breezy destination by day, offering a mix of shade and sun to couples perched on stools and enjoying the ocean view or lounging above the sea as they sip a rum punch and soak in some Caribbean sunshine.
Come evening, especially that magic hour as the sun sets in a blaze of tangerine and magenta, Latitudes is the spot to show off your tan in a sexy sundress, meet up with new friends or even pop the question to the person you love in an unforgettable setting.
Beyond this overwater oasis, which debuted in 2017 and is now also at Sandals Montego Bay and Sandals Ochi, the resort has six additional bars, including one with a lively piano player. — Donna Heiderstadt