Top 10 All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts
You go. You eat. You swim. You sip. All the relax-long day. It is hard work, but someone has to do it. Your only job: Choose from our ultimate list of the best places where just about everything is included in one packaged deal.
Book It: Hermitage Bay
On Antigua's west coast, this resort feels like a Caribbean Bali Hai. Along the white-powder shore, chaise lounges and umbrellas invite relaxing days. Although most guests never stray from the property, the resort is only 10 minutes from Jolly Harbour's lively marina and shops. Rates start at $1,048.
Dine: Here, the five-star dining revolves around locally sourced ingredients interpreted in Indian, Chinese, and Jamaican-kissed fare: spiced king fish with jasmine rice and jerk chicken wontons with mango chutney? So awesome.
Don't miss: Learn how to make some of your favorite dishes from the resort in a cooking class. It's pure fun hanging out with the chef in the alfresco kitchen, using organic vegetables from the garden and Caribbean spices. (Book in advance; the class fills up fast.)
—Marion Laffey Fox
Book It: Calabash Cove
The entrance of the open-air, Bali-style Calabash Cove Resort & Spa reveals endless water views. The resort's intimate spaces are ideal for couples looking to relax; 13 Sunset Junior suites overlook Mosaic Beach with private hot tubs, and four Swim-Up Junior suites have lanais that lead to the resort's infinity-edge pool. Rates start at $774.
Dine: All meals are served in Windsong (although the swim-up bar serves a casual lunch menu) or via room service; the menu has an Asian twist, but still draws on local produce and island flavors like the smoky St. Lucian crab backs with mango mojo on organic leaves, and the local octopus tempura with tart pickled ginger and fresh spicy chili seaweed.
Don't Miss: The swim-up bar is the place to be at sunset with a drink in hand. (Try the Lucian Mama, a sweet concoction of orange juice, banana, cacao Creole, and dark rum.) Then watch the golden sun disappear into the sea from the edge of the infinity pool.
Book It: Jumby Bay
Jumby (which means "playful spirit" in Antiguan) completed a $28 million renovation in 2009; the two new restaurants, open-air spa, and accommodations—40 rooms and suites and 14 seaside villas outfitted in soothing tones of sand and cream—feel polished and opulent. Rates start at $1,550.
Dine: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in The Verandah, the buzzy matrix of the resort, with an inspired menu—anything from grilled lobster to house-made mango tarts—that also can be enjoyed on the beach with your toes in the sand.
Don't Miss: Book a stargazing night on Pasture Bay Beach, where the staff will set up lounge chairs for you to spot brilliant constellations and will fill a basket with gourmet treats and champagne.
—Marion Laffey Fox
Book It: The BodyHoliday
The BodyHoliday has a slight edge when it comes to all-inclusive packages: spa treatments. Each day, one 50-minute treatment (from hydrotherapy to massages) is held at the hillside, coliseum-style Wellness Centre. And although the word "spa" conjures feelings of zen, this property is buzzing with energy, from the sleek, white reception area to the sandy Cariblue Beach. Rates start at $900.
Dine: The open-air Cariblue Restaurant is your not-so-typical buffet for breakfast and lunch with an extensive fresh salad bar and made-to-order dishes. The Deli and Clubhouse serve casual meals and drinks, but it's TAO restaurant that takes dining to a new level. The romantic location on a second-tier balcony offers a similar Pan-Asian menu to other TAO locations, including tender flat iron steak with bok choy and a smoky eggplant puree.
Don't Miss: The piano bar is an old-school blast: Cozy up under soft candelabra light with a dry martini or scotch on the rocks and enjoy music from the baby grand piano.
Book It: Curtain Bluff
The curved, white-roofed buildings of Curtain Bluff ascend a rocky promontory like clouds floating between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Here, all 72 rooms and suites have floor-to-ceiling windows for ultimate water views. The breezy interiors are Caribbean-chic, with white, coral, and shades of blue against pale marble flooring. Rates start at $820.
Dine: Breakfast and candlelight dinners are served in the breezy Tamarind Tree restaurant. Barefoot buffet lunches are far from ordinary, with plump barbecued shrimp and made-to-order gourmet sandwiches served in the open-air Beach Café & Bar
Don't Miss: Just a few minutes from the property is Nelson's Dockyard, a national park—the working marina is a great place to spend the afternoon admiring gleaming yachts and ships. It's also home to a collection of 18th-century structures that now house great boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants.
—Marion Laffey Fox
Book It: Spice Island Beach Resort
A home-away-from-home experience keeps 40 percent of Spice Island Beach Resort's guests returning year after year. Indulgences are well within reach in the 64 contemporary suites spread across eight acres. Closest to the pristine sand and the calm, swimmable waters, Sea Grape suites are the most popular room option. Rates start at $860.
Dine: Local spices and ingredients are woven into every dish, from cream of breadfruit (a locally sourced starch) soup to nutmeg ice cream (exotic flavors made from scratch daily), served in open-air dining areas.
Don't Miss: Shop the nearby market for native spices, such as cloves and cinnamon, and hand-woven baskets. For an adventure, drive 20 minutes for a rain forest hike that leads to dramatic waterfalls and natural pools suited for swimming.
—Amy Lowe Mitchell
Book It: Paradisus Palma Real
Despite Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort's rather large footprint (it boasts 554 suites), the resort's guest-centric philosophy makes it feel like everybody knows your name—and if you're staying in one of the 200 rooms designated as Royal Service, the staff is trained to do just that. As a Royal service visitor, you'll be granted access to a private pool, bar, natural juice stand, and (kid-free) beach, where your butler can reserve your own covered Bali bed during the busy season for no extra charge. Rates start at $367 per person.
Dine: Six à la carte restaurants and eight bars offer good variety for all palates. Try a light buffet lunch at the resort's Market Grill to leave room for an indulgent dinner at the Royal Service-exclusive Palazzo restaurant—the beef tenderloin truly shines thanks to a delightful, flavor-rich herb au jus.
Don't Miss: Head over to the Red Lounge or Gabi Beach for after-hours entertainment. Gabi Beach is a nod to Miami, with all-white lounges and tables right on the sand. During high season, the resort hosts daily dance parties that last well into the night. If you want to forgo the dancing and hole up in one spot, Red Lounge is a great alternative. Scarlet walls, crimson furniture, and ambient amber lighting give the place a cozier feel. The bar scene not your thing? Head back to your room early and ask your personal butler for a pillow menu to find the perfect pad for your weary head.
—Brielle M. Ferreira
Book It: The Caves
The limestone-and-coral walls and patios of The Caves sit atop Negril's craggy West End cliffs as if thrust out from the sea along with the volcano-formed cliff face itself. There's no beach here, but you won't miss it: The rustic, romantic getaway trades sand grains for cozy grottoes. Rates start at $540.
Dine: The Caves bypasses the typical buffets and instead serves fresh, organic food grown on local farms. Order the "combo" so you can try everything. The banana pancakes and the Jamaican jerk chicken are musts.
Don't miss: Go underwater with the resort's outdoors guide, who will take you snorkeling in caves (including a bat cave!). Reserve the private hot tub at sunset for a fab view.
—Jennifer Brunnemer Slaton
Book It: Sanctuary Cap Cana
A little more than a decade ago, the 30,000 beachfront acres approximately 10 minutes south of Punta Cana International Airport that make up Cap Cana were nearly untouched. And while a host of resorts and hotels have begun to pop up all along its coast since then, walking on the Sanctuary's sprawling oceanfront property still gives you the impression of having stumbled upon a hidden paradise. Rates start at $344 per person.
Dine: Restaurants here specialize in five different cuisines, but if you're feeling a little homesick, you can still fill up on a full American breakfast in bed, complete with bacon and eggs, thanks to the Sanctuary's stellar room service. Just be sure to make it over to the resort's signature restaurant, the Blue Marlin, for lunch or dinner during your stay to get a taste of the incredible grilled tuna, caught daily by local fishermen.
Don't Miss: If you decide to spend your stay in one of the resort's exclusive Monarch Villas, you'll be able to watch the daily pink-and-purple sunsets from your own private porch on the beach,where the pristine white sand is nearly always deserted save for the occasional romantic wedding ceremony. If you find yourself in the mood for a tad more action, nearby Juanillo Beach is where the locals go to catch some rays.
—Brielle M. Ferreira
Book It: Mango Bay
When the scenery along the bumpy ride from the airport changes from sugar cane stalks and rum shacks to Louis Vuitton and Cartier storefronts, that's how you know you've arrived in swanky Holetown, Barbados. Mango Bay hotel's restaurant, bar, and guest rooms all wrap a palm tree-lined pool like a horseshoe, with the west-facing beach (a prime spot for sunset watching) front and center. Rates start at $425.
Dine: All meals are served at Mango Bay's beachfront restaurant, where local produce and Barbados's signature breaded-and-fried flying fish are menu favorites. At the bar, try the deliciously fruity (and potent) Mango Bay Special rum cocktail.
Don't Miss: Sign up for a Catamaran Cruise (included) to get a tour of the island's west coast before snorkeling with sea turtles; a guide feeds them while you swim in the turquoise water with your new friends.