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.
What comes to mind when you picture an all-inclusive resort? The answer may be all-you-can-eat buffets, pool parties and a frat-boy atmosphere. But that’s not what you’ll find at these properties, where upscale accommodations, Michelin-starred dining and private-islands excursions are all included. Yes, room rates are pricey, but we believe they’re worth every penny.
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Jumby Bay Island, Antigua
Located off the northern coast of Antigua on a 300-acre private island, Jumby Bay Island is a luxurious all-inclusive resort with impeccable service and an emphasis on privacy. (The island is only accessible via boat or private plane, and airport transfers are done on the resort’s high-speed private boat.)
With 4½ miles of pristine beach and just 40 villas, solitude isn’t in short supply here. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be left to fend for yourself: beach attendants tend to your every need and bring around treats like fresh-squeezed watermelon juice or ice cream while you enjoy the sugar-white sand.
Twice weekly excursions on the resort’s private yacht, the Yennecot, and access to turtle watches (where you can potentially see sea turtles nesting or hatching) are among the activities. If you truly want to get away, the Castaway Escape for Two excursion whisks you both away to uninhabited Maiden Island, where you can play on the white-sand beach, enjoy a made-to-order picnic lunch and side-by-side massages.
The resort’s signature Estate House Restaurant, which recently underwent a 6-million-dollar renovation, is a fine-dining restaurant located in an 1830’s manse. Upscale Caribbean fare, including spiny lobster and Monkfish, is served in a refined setting with terraces that offer unparalleled views of the island landscape. Bespoke five-course private dining experiences on the beach showcase local Caribbean ingredients under a star-lit sky. — Lori Barbely
Winner, Editors’ Choice: Namale Resort & Spa, Fiji
Bula! It’s an effervescent greeting you’ll instantly adore at this serene, adults-only South Pacific resort that seamlessly blends authentic Fijian culture, modern romance and holistic wellness.
Located on the island of Vanua Levu overlooking the Koro Sea, Namale Resort & Spa features 19 unique bures (traditional Fijian bungalows) and villas set on 525 acres offering access to white-sand beaches, blissful waterfalls and some of the top dive spots on the planet. From the secluded Garden Tropical Bures with their airy vaulted ceilings to the 2,000-square-foot Dream House Grand Villa with its private infinity pool, the accommodations, spa and two restaurants showcase local materials and craftsmanship to their posh and polished best.
But while here, you’ll sense that what truly sets Namale apart is more personal: the welcoming spirit of the Fijian staff. It’s not just their heartfelt greetings, but their genuine smiles, infectious laughter and melodious singing voices that will make you treasure your daily interaction as much as your luxurious surroundings. — Donna Heiderstadt
Winner, Editors’ Choice: The Brando, Tahiti
Going to Tahiti and not staying in an overwater bungalow seems somewhat counterintuitive, but the untouched natural beauty of The Brando, located on Tetiaroa Lagoon, will make you feel like you’re living on your own private island in French Polynesia.
Your trip starts at Papeete airport, where you’re whisked away to a private terminal as you await a 20-minute Air Tetiaroa flight to the atoll. Tetiaroa was once Marlon Brando’s personal retreat, and he was passionate about preserving the culture and beauty he found there. The Brando is his dream brought to life, offering 35 secluded one-, two- and three-bedroom villas.
The resort’s all-inclusive rate includes one 50-minute spa treatment per day for a one-bedroom villa, plus one excursion per person per day. But you may not want to leave your 1,000+ square-foot villa, complete with its own media room, private pool, and luxurious bathroom with alfresco bathtub.
Tetiaroa also has a special place in Polynesian history: It served as the vacation retreat of Tahitian royalty for many centuries. That history is evident in the resort’s Varua Polynesian Spa, the same spot where the Royal family used to indulge in beauty rituals. Opt for the Te Ora Mana Signature Experience, which begins with a body scrub followed by a Polynesian massage using coconut oil.
After a day of pampering, head to Les Mutinés for French cuisine, with a menu designed by two-star Michelin chef Guy Martin. The design of the restaurant simulates the feeling that you’re floating on the lagoon — who needs an overwater bungalow, anyway? — LB
Winner, Readers’ Choice: Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
There’s nothing quite like it. Even though there are other resorts with a similar concept — a nonexistent fourth wall, so your room is open to the sea and sky — we can honestly say that Jade Mountain guarantees you a one-of-a-kind luxury experience.
Let’s start with the rooms, which are called Sanctuaries and are designed in a stunning blend of wood and stone elements. They’re massive (1,400 to 2,000 square feet) and layered atop each other, each with its own equally large (450 to 900 square feet) infinity pool offering unobstructed views of St. Lucia’s twin Piton peaks and the sapphire-blue sea.
The effect is so mesmerizing, you won’t want to leave your posh cocoon (which, by the way, doesn’t have a TV, telephone or clock). But dining at the rooftop Jade Mountain Club (with seasonal local menus by James Beard Award-winner Chef Allen Susser) is equally sublime, and exploring the property’s 600 acres by foot or mountain bike is a highlight for active couples. — DH