Imagine your perfect day in the Caribbean lying in a shaded cabana on a beautiful beach with white sand and azure blue waters. This dream probably includes an unlimited amount of your favorite gourmet delicacies and plenty of rum cocktails, all without thinking about the cost. This fantasy vacation is possible and is exactly what many all-inclusive resorts are selling.
A stay at an all-inclusive resort gives guests the luxury of having everything they would want in a vacation rolled into one, Gordon Butch Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts International, told the International Business Times. Once guests arrive, there's nothing to worry about except enjoying their vacation, rather than worrying over all the dollars and cents adding up along the way.
With hundreds of all-inclusive choices in the Caribbean, it may be hard to figure out where to start. The key difference between all-inclusive resorts is the targeted clientele. Some are clearly for families and multi-generational groups while others are better for couples looking for romance. Top-rated family resorts like Beaches, a subsidiary of Sandals, are able to satisfy kids' needs for adventure and fun, while also allowing parents to have the vacation they want.
Beaches Resorts not only caters to the whole family, but to each age group as well, with certified nannies, exclusive kids camps and teen and tween-friendly activities, allowing adults quality time during a family getaway, said Stewart.
Romance resorts, on the other hand, often have age limits and offer a completely different ambiance. These resorts are often smaller, more intimate, and are tailored to relaxation.
It's important to note that all-inclusive usually means most -- but not all -- of the activities and services are included. Some resorts have additional fees for top-shelf alcohol, certain water activities, and spa services. Make sure to check the fine print and see what's really included in the package before booking.
Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Club Med Punta Cana
Club Med is the original all-inclusive resort, so it should come as no surprise they know how to do it right. Parents will love the Mini Club Med (4 to 11) and Club Med Passworld (11-17), included in the package. With this added perk, parents can enjoy a romantic dinner or time to relax at the beach, while kids can do exactly what they want like playing sports, having DJ lessons, or making new friends their own age. There are also plenty of activities for the whole family like circus school with a flying trapeze, windsurfing, and dance lessons.
What's not included: Top shelf alcohol, champagne, and supervision of children under the age of four (provided at an additional charge). Offsite activities such waterskiing, snorkeling, and scuba diving are also optional extras.
Rates: Start at $1,064 for a seven night stay in standard accommodations based on double occupancy
Beaches, Turks and Caicos
Beaches Turks & Caicos
This megaresort is so immaculate it's almost unbelievable. Guests can float between Italy, France, and the Caribbean all within one resort. Got a picky eater in the family? There will be no problem here. With 16 different restaurants, there are endless possibilities. Kids will fall in love with Pirates Island Water Park, complete with seven waterslides, a kid's only swim up bar, and a 50's themed diner. Parents also have the choice to have some fun of their own, such as enjoying a romantic dinner or a beachside bonfire while your children stay with one of the resort-provided nannies.
What's not included: Spa services
Rates: Prices start at $641 per person (adult) per night
More information: http://www.beaches.com/main/tc/tc-home.cfm
Coconut Bay Resort & Spa, St. Lucia
Coconut Bay Resort
Coconut Bay Resort is easily the top-rated all-inclusive resort for families on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Located just five minutes from the island's airport, this resort has both a family friendly side called Splash and an adult's only side called Harmony. Splash features a waterpark, paintball facility, and family pool. Parents also have the opportunity to relax beachside or have a romantic dinner while their kids are supervised by resort staff in the kid's activity area called CocoLand.
What's not included: Adventure tours and child supervision after nine (a babysitter can be hired at the resort)
Rates: Gardenview rooms cost $469 per night based on double occupancy in off season (April 26- Dec. 20). In peak season the same room cost $619.
Cocobay Resort, Antigua
Cocobay Resort (Facebook/Cocobay Resort)
This small and intimate resort is the perfect choice for a honeymoon or a couple looking to find romance. Watch the sunset while enjoying a bottle of wine in one of the 49 private bungalows. Here, the primary focus is relaxation with activities like sailing, kayaking, or snorkeling.
What's not included: This laidback resort offers guests two restaurant choices, though only one is included in the all-inclusive price. Premium spirits also require additional fees.
Rates: Prices start at $290 per couple per night in off season. A standard cottage in peak season costs $380 per couple per night.
Couples Swept Away, Negril, Jamaica
Couples Swept Away
This couples only resort insures romance without the distraction of loud families and screaming babies. Set in the beautiful clear waters of Jamaica, couples will rediscover passion aboard a catamaran cruise, at one of the six distinctive restaurants, or watching the sunset from their private balcony. Guests at Swept Away can spend a private night in or dance the night away to local reggae bands.
What's not included: Spa Services
Rates: Rooms in the Great House Verandah suite start at $713 per person per night, although there are deep discounts for those who book now.
Palm Island, Grenadines
Palm Island Resort
Whether you're honeymooning or celebrating your 25th anniversary, there's no doubt love is in the air at Palm Island Resort. This resort is truly paradise, located on its own private island. Children below the age of 16 are only allowed at the resort between April 3 and Jan. 3. This resort is a great choice for a couple looking to relax and enjoy the amazing scenery, rather than those interested in a bustling town and an action-packed resort.
What's not included: Spa services, motorized sports, scuba diving, island excursions, and specialty a la carte options.
Rates: The Palmview room costs $910 a night based on double occupancy in winter (Dec. 21 - April 14). Summer rates are considerably cheaper at $795 per night.