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.
The younger, tech-savvy generation seems to be more discriminating in what they want from a Caribbean beach getaway — and these all-inclusive resorts are bringing it. Modern all-inclusives have overhauled the offerings for young people, from dance clubs for teens to massive waterparks to daily slime moments.
Winner, Editors’ Choice and Readers’ Choice: Beaches Turks & Caicos
With 658 rooms on property, Beaches Turks & Caicos — a collection of four resort villages in one — has the resources to deliver so much more for kids of all ages. Beaches is among the only resorts in the Caribbean with International-Nanny-Association-accredited nannies, offering that Mary Poppins-level of worry-free care for infants and older kids.
Thanks to a partnership with Sesame Street, kids can also meet life-size Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover and other characters during evening parades and as they stroll the resort by day offering hugs and photo ops. All kids, even the ones footing the bill, will love the 45,000-square foot Pirate’s Island water park with four-story waterslides, a surf simulator and lazy river. Plus, the resort’s location on the postcard-perfect Grace Bay, continually ranked as the best beach in the world for its impossibly clear water, offers an ideal playground for paddle boarding, windsurfing and kayaking — all included free of charge.
Beaches’ Trench Town arcade caters to teens with air hockey, pool and electronic basketball. There’s also the Xbox Play Lounge for nonstop gaming. By night, teens rule Club Liquid where only guests under 21 can dance and mingle.
To refuel from it all, Beaches serves up 21 dining options, including Kimonos, a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant where food is prepared at the group table with a show. After dinner, the entertainment is equally exciting as it is during the day, from Sesame Street performances and talent shows, to beach parties and bonfires.
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Grand Sirenis Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Looking all spiffy after an extensive multi-million dollar renovation, Grand Sirenis Punta Cana gets the win for Families thanks to what is now the largest waterpark in Punta Cana. Adventurous kids go nuts for the 32-foot tall tower with its tubes, toboggans and many ways to slip, slide and fall into the pool. Smaller kids, all the way to infants, splash away in bliss here.
A kids club with an actual garden gets a thumbs up, as does the availability of games, water sports and a PADI diving school. Nighttime entertainment options for adults and families scores a few points as well. Themed-dinners, 24-hour snacks and 11 restaurants mean nobody complains about food on this vacay.
Extra points for the colorful decor of the Club Premium mini-suites with home cinema, Nintendo Wii, and dedicated computer area. Parents get their own whirlpool tub and a balcony with a view of the Atlantic. — Diana Lambdin Meyer
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Nickelodeon Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Few kid-centric resorts pack more whimsy, age-perfect details and practical vacation must-haves than Nickelodeon Punta Cana. Aqua Nick, the onsite waterpark, has splash pads perfect for toddlers, plus water cannons and waterslides for older kids, and a lazy river well suited to anyone in need of relaxation. Nearby is the Just Kidding club where youth can kick it with arts and crafts, play in a ball pit or join group games, all available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Guests can opt to get slimed — the Nickelodeon signature moment — either as a group for free, or for an added fee for a private gooey moment. Fun extras included at no additional charge are the donut bar, ice cream at Plaza Orange, foam parties and dance parties.
Yes, the resort delivers the characters that Nickelodeon fans love, with characters from Sponge Bob and Dora the Explorer popping in at Character Central to mix with guests. Should your little one want to meet a specific character, it’s best to invest in the small upcharge for breakfast at restaurant Zest where you can linger longer and have unlimited photo ops with all the Nickelodeon characters.
Beyond Zest, nine onsite restaurants dish up everything from artisan burgers to what the resort calls “international space cuisine.” Bonus points that the property has thought to serve kids’ entrees when adults’ starters arrive, making for a more relaxed dining experience for all.
And for the adults, the resort packs a wine bar, the adults-only Kitchen 23, a new fitness center and a 14,000-foot luxury spa — plenty to enjoy while the kids have their own adventures.