Best All-Inclusive Resort Pools: Islands All-Inclusive Awards

What makes a pool at an all-inclusive resort great depends on what you want — a party vibe, a Zen zone or family-friendly waterpark features. These resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico have something for everyone.

January 17, 2019
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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.

There are beach people and there are pool people, and if you’re in the latter group you know that just any old pool won’t cut it. Today’s resort pools are more than just a respite from the hot tropical sun. They’re an extension of a hotel brand’s identity — as in let’s get this party started or we’re all about family-friendly fun — and resorts with great pools earn rave reviews from guests. These resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico offer something for everyone.

Winner, Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Choice: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, St. Lucia

Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa features its own waterpark Courtesy Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa

Simply having five pools might have qualified this upscale all-inclusive resort on St. Lucia for honors, but the fact that it’s also home to the island’s largest waterpark guaranteed it.


Set on 500 acres on the south coast, Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa has amenities that appeal to all types of sun-seeking water lovers. Singles and couples can channel a grown-up vibe at the adults-only Harmony wing, which offers sunning and frozen-cocktail sipping at two pools.

Families, on the other hand, can make a splash (literally) in the kid-friendly wing called Splash and its Cocoland Waterpark, which features a 1,500-foot Lazy River complete with drenching waterfalls and waterslides like the exhilarating Coconut Canon.

Even the tiniest guests can get wet and wild amid the spray fountains and water geysers of Cocoland Waterworks. And when you crave a little salt water, there’s one mile of beach to enjoy, too.


Winner, Editors’ Choice: Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa, Jamaica

The Main Pool at Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa is the largest in Jamaica Courtesy Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa

Jamaica is home to dozens of resorts, but the Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa has a grand distinction: Its Main Pool is the island’s largest at an impressive 48,437-square feet — that’s more than an acre — and has a lively ambience, swim-up bar (daiquiris for everyone!) and adjacent water park that will keep kids cooled off and excited.

But there’s more: Tranquility reigns at the resort’s Roselle Pool, while adults-only merriment is on tap until midnight at the Coral Pool (located in the adjacent Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton). All three feature built-in Jacuzzis surrounded by striking contemporary versions of ancient Roman pillars.

Grand Palladium also has a Spa Pool, located within its 64,500-square-foot Zentropia Spa, but unless you’re a Travel Club member or a Royal Suites by Palladium guest, you’ll pay a fee to access it and the thermal suite. As Jamaicans like to say, no worries — there’s enough free H2O to keep everyone happy.


Winner, Editors’ Choice: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Central Pool is one of 13 pools at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana Courtesy Hard Rock Hotels

What’s harder than picking your top 10 desert-island albums? How about choosing a favorite among the 13 (yes, 13!) pools at this sprawling, music-centric resort?

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana has made the decision a bit easier by reserving two of them for Vacation Club members, restricting one to Rock Royalty Level guests and giving each remaining pool a theme.

Head to the expansive Central and Eclipse Pools for classic Hard Rock ambience and fun activities, or the Family Pool for teen-friendly music and waterslides (the Kids Pool also has one).


Craving something more low-key? Find a chaise at the Bongo Pool (for soft rock from the ’80s) or the Sax Pool (for no music at all). For a high-energy vibe — plus an adults-only, European-style, bikini-tops-optional setting — choose the Eden Pool. Rounding out the options: the Woodstock Pool, the Guitars and Bongos Pool and the Moon Pool.

Stay for a week and you can check them all out as well as dine at nine restaurants, flirt with Lady Luck at the casino and dance the night away at the Oro Nightclub.


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