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.
Most all-inclusive resorts offer similar amenities. Of course, there’s the all-you-can-eat-and-drink aspect, plus pool parties, fitness classes, butlers and nightly turndown service. All of these added perks are fun — and expected from an all-inclusive stay — but we found a few that stand out from the pack. From learning Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics to driving your own powerboat, these are the best all-inclusive resort amenities.
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Fowl Cay, Bahamas – Power Boat
We thought we’d seen it all when it comes to included amenities. From daily spa treatments to butler service to jars of homemade cookies, we’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of plush perks.
But few can top the bonus included when you stay at Fowl Cay, an all-inclusive private-island resort in the Bahamas, where each of six water’s-edge villas comes not only with a golf cart, but also with its own boat — even gas is included.
Island staff offer lessons, maps and a picnic lunch, and then it’s off on your 17- or 18-foot Angler powerboat to explore a few of the 365 pristine and largely deserted islands that are the Exumas’ claim to fame. Swim with nurse sharks at nearby Compass Cay; skinny dip with your sweetie in the Windex-blue waters surrounding Twin Cay; visit the islands’ famous swimming pigs.
And then, flushed with excitement from your adventure, return to your 50-acre island oasis, where panoramic sunset views — and an equally appealing rum punch — await at Hill House, the island’s convivial gathering place. — Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, Mexico – Sound of Your Stay Program
A stay at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun proves that you’re never too old to live out your fantasy of being a rock star — minus the Behind the Music-style drama. PICKS, part of the resort’s Sound of Your Stay program, which allows guests to borrow one of the hotel’s 20 Fender guitars and a pair of Blue headphones, will have you shredding on a Stratocaster like Stevie Ray Vaughn in no time. (Or at least you can pretend.)
If you always dreamed of being a DJ, take advantage of WAX, which provides a Crosley turntable and a curated collection of 10 iconic albums during your stay. Trust us, everything sounds better on vinyl. Or, if you’d rather just listen, TRACKS is a personalized playlist that will set the mood for your stay.
The party vibe continues around the resort with DJs by the pool, a Michael Jackson tribute show and nightly live music in the Smash Bar. From its guitar-shaped rotunda, rock memorabilia scattered throughout the resort (much of it worn, played, or autographed by musicians), and in-room liquor dispensers, you can truly live the rock star lifestyle, if only for the week. — Lori Barbely
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Travaasa Hana, Maui – Hawaiian Cultural Experiences
The scenic Road to Hana is long and winding, ending at the tiny town of Hana, home to just 1,200 residents. This is the true Hawaii, rich in culture and tradition. It’s also where you’ll find Travaasa Hana, one of the only hotels in Hawaii to offer an all-inclusive option. Like most resorts around the islands, Travaasa offers the standard ukulele and lei making classes, but it’s the Hawaiian Bamboo Pole Fishing and Hawaiian Throw Net experiences that are truly unique.
Head to Kapueokahi, also known as Hana Bay, and learn about the history and cultural practices of bamboo pole fishing. Before casting off you’ll learn about the craftsmanship that goes into creating these unique fishing poles. You can also try to catch your dinner with the Throw Net experience. A tradition passed down through generations, throw net fishing is done with intricately woven handmade nets and no bait.
Don’t despair if you come back empty handed: The resort’s open-air Preserve Kitchen serves meals inspired by local ingredients in a relaxed atmosphere. Ocean Bungalows and Garden Suites are ideal for couples, while families will enjoy the Waikaloa Family Suites with a full kitchen. — LB
Winner, Readers’ Choice: Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil
What’s better than witnessing Cirque du Soleil acrobats whip through the air? Learning how to do it yourself. Club Med Punta Cana offers Club Med CREACTIVE, an all-ages experience staffed by professional circus performers for a new twist on fitness.
Live out all your circus fantasies, from flying on a trapeze to walking a tightrope to aerial silk performances. But even if you’re not quite ready for heights, there are seating areas to watch, along with tamer activities like face painting and juggling.
Bonus: there’s no extra fee for CREACTIVE, which is open daily, so long as you’re a lucky guest.
Need to refuel after hours of jumping on the trampoline? The resort offers three restaurants and four bars to choose from. And if you’re feeling sore from the all the Cirque activities, book a treatment at the Spa by L’OCCITANE. — Kristine Hansen