Zach Wilson is a Certified Travel Consultant, ASTA Certified Travel Consultant, Master of CLIA Cruises Consultant, and owner of Daydream Vacations travel agency in Granbury. www.DaydreamVacations.com
Are All Inclusive Resorts Really All Inclusive? What does it all really mean? Is the experience worth the expense? Is it really a good deal? I hear these questions often.
The truth is that there is no standard definition for this term. So how do you determine if a deal is really a good deal? Speak to a professional travel advisor who specializes in all-inclusive resorts. But for all you do-it-yourself travelers, here’s what you’re looking for.
The reason why some all-inclusive resorts are suspiciously cheap while others seem pricey is the quality of their contents. Some of the properties are old and 1 star while others are 5 star luxury resort. Bed comfort, pillow and linens make a big difference. The resort’s location, beach quality and view is an important factor. Some resorts do not even have a sandy beach, but rather a rocky one. Others are in an area struggling to combat the overwhelming sargassum (seaweed) that blankets their shores. Resorts on famous beaches will undoubtedly cost more.
One of the biggest differences is food and drink. While they all offer you all the food and drinks you care to enjoy, the quality and variety of the offerings are very different. Low-cost resorts may have two or three dining venues with limited menus, quality food, and low-cost drink brands. The luxury resorts will feature a variety of dining venues and a rich menu of gourmet cuisine and fine alcoholic beverages. If you are a foodie, wine connoisseur or prefer branded liquors, I highly recommend 5-star luxury resort brands like Karisma and Sandals.
The quality of the staff is an important detail. Did you know that the butlers at Sandal Resorts are trained by the Professional English Butler’s Guild? This is a luxury that will definitely enhance your anniversary or honeymoon.
Several low-cost all-inclusive resorts in Mexico have a sister property next door to timeshare apartments. Do you want to feel annoyed during your vacation to buy a time share in the neighborhood?
Your traveling companions also affect your vacation experience. Do you prefer traveling with large college groups on spring break, family reunion groups, or a romantic getaway with other couples looking for privacy? This will affect the resort you choose.
Activities have a huge impact on your vacation experience. On-site inclusions vary a lot between resorts. Some may have a pool, beach volleyball, and some other criteria. Luxury resorts often include snorkeling, snorkeling, Hobie Cat sailing, golf, and more. But read the fine line.
For example, while golf green fees are included in their golf course, you either need to bring your own clubs and shoes or pay a rental fee for the equipment. Spa treatments are not included. If you want a massage, facial or pedicure, you will pay extra. Many resorts offer extras like a private dinner on the beach, photo packages, or off-site activities like a boat trip or swimming with dolphins.
In the end, “all” does not actually mean all. I call these resorts “mostly all inclusive”.