If you’re going all-inclusive, either go big or go home. At least that’s the impression you get as you stroll the sprawling grounds of Club Med Punta Cana. From the grassy lawns fronting candy-colored white-trimmed low-rises to the seemingly endless palm-studded white-sand beach to a swimming pool so large and meandering that it has its own island, this resort doesn’t just subscribe to the all-inclusive something-for-everyone concept, it defines it.
But you’d expect nothing less from the company that pioneered the concept of the all-inclusive resort back in 1950. And while it has kept current with travel trends — luxurious concierge-serviced suites, a Green Globe certification, a special club with activities designed especially for children of all ages — Club Med Punta Cana hasn’t lost sight of the core traditions on which it was founded: GOs (gracious organizers) still welcome GMs (gracious members) to an amenity-laden, activity-filled resort that brings people together in a joyful, energetic and multicultural environment.
Photo by: Zach Stovall
Beyond the sea of lounge chairs and artfully arranged buffets, you’ll find diversions to suit all ages and interests. Try your hand at boccie ball, take a windsurfing lesson or channel your inner daredevil on the trapeze — knowing that the kids are in good hands as fresh-faced counselors lead them in singalongs and silly games in their own Mini Club Med. When it’s time to unwind, soft sand and calm water beckon, the full-service spa offers a slate of indulgences, and you can cap the day’s adventures with an evening filled with warm ocean breezes and frosty libations. And the delicious anticipation of doing it all again tomorrow. —Cynthia Psarakis
From $1,064 per week; 888-932-2582; clubmed.us
MORE CLASSIC ALL-INCLUSIVES
If you loved Club Med Punta Cana, you’ll love…
**Couples Tower Isle, Jamaica
** Jamaica’s first all-inclusive set the standard — and keeps the bar high to this day. If three pools, six restaurants and four bars don’t provide enough distractions, there’s also a private island where you can bask in the sun sans swimsuit, unlimited golf at a nearby Ocho Rios course, Pilates and yoga classes, water sports galore and a complimentary excursion to Dunn’s River Falls.
From $658, 800-268-7537; couples.com
Photo by: Zach Stovall
**Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, Mexico
** Spain’s answer to Club Med, Iberostar boasts seven resorts on the Riviera Maya, including this standout. The five-star adults-only complex is a celebration of excess, with sprawling grounds, a golden beach lined with palapas, five eateries and a massive central pool. (If you can’t bear to leave the kids, try the family-friendly Iberostar Paraiso Maya, next door.)
From $482, 888-923-2722; iberostar.com
**Sandals Emerald Bay, Bahamas
** The newest outpost of this perennially popular chain has an impressive pedigree: It was formerly a Four Seasons hotel. Now the 500-acre Great Exuma resort woos couples with a mile of pristine sand, seven eateries — including a pub built in Ireland — a host of diversions in and out of the water, live nightly entertainment and a pool that has to be seen to be believed (it even has its own fire pit).
From $770 per person, 800-726-3257; sandals.com