7 All-Inclusive Resorts That Offer a True 5-Star Luxury Experience – Robb Report
Does the phrase “all-inclusive” make you imagine mediocre meals, watered-down martinis, and overcrowded spring break pools? With a few extravagant exceptions (African safaris, Antarctica cruises, travel aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express), all-inclusive getaways haven’t always been synonymous with sophistication and luxury. But the category is in the throes of its own pandemic pivot: the past two years have seen the emergence of a new generation of all-inclusive resorts promising travelers a much higher experience.
“Following the stress and chaos of the pandemic, many travelers have been intrigued by the simplicity of the all-inclusive model,” says Mark Hoenig, co-founder of VIP Traveler, a travel membership platform.
These travelers are not driven by consumption, according to Hoenig. Instead, they are drawn to the relative safety that comes with staying in one place instead of jumping between locations, and the ease and convenience of reuniting with a multi-generational family. In some cases, would-be vacationers are simply grateful for the chance to avoid “decision fatigue” – a state of feeling overwhelmed by choices, which psychologists say has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“There’s a certain ease and freedom that comes from not having to make decisions and knowing that everything is taken care of,” says Hoenig.
A year into the pandemic, Alila Ventana Big Sur has moved from its a la carte model to all-inclusive, in part to simplify the guest experience. “By adding food and beverage – excluding alcohol – and access to the resort’s signature activities, we’re removing barriers and inviting our guests to truly rest, relax and experience Big Sur at home. Alila’s way – with fewer decisions to make during their stay,” says Mark Ley, the resort’s director of sales and marketing.
Like Alila, resorts and hotel brands offer enticing amenities: a slew of free activities, in-room features like private pools, and, as Hoenig puts it, “truly remarkable family offerings” like nannies. personal, educational programs and more. These forgiving inclusions help the category shed its unfavorable reputation.
Here are seven resorts — from a new lakeside retreat in the Catskills to remote tropical islands — that might make you rethink your all-inclusive vacation feel.
Chatwal Lodge, White Lake, NY
When the highly anticipated Chatwal Lodge opened last spring, it brought a grown-up summer camp sensibility to the Catskills, albeit on a much smaller and more lavish scale. It’s also the perfect fall city getaway, with 11 rooms outfitted with carved wooden beds, fireplaces, and patios dotting 100 acres of serene woodland surrounding the Toronto Reservoir. Chef Jesse Kloskey’s seasonal menu draws from local farms as well as the trout stream that runs through the property. Whether you’re dining at the Rustic Grill, making the most of a sunny day with a gourmet lakeside barbecue, or enjoying daily afternoon tea served with local baked goods, it’s your call. — they’re all included, plus fine wines, premium spirits, and Champagne, and even a mini-bar stocked with G&T Negronis and hibiscus from local brand Pollinator. There are also a host of activities to choose from, from boating and kayaking to paddleboarding. Doubles start at $1,200 per night.
While most “all-inclusive” resorts have at least a few exceptions to their inclusions, Kudadoo Maldives’ motto is “Anything Anytime Anywhere.” A dedicated butler helps plot the perfect itinerary: a floating breakfast of mango and ginger smoothie bowls in your private pool, perhaps, followed by scuba diving among stingrays, d a session in the Himalayan salt room before a Balinese massage and an alfresco dinner on a star-studded sandy beach. Resident sommelier Ilyas can offer pairing advice on the 70 wine labels and impressive champagne list – the Taittinger Prestige Brut Rosé is a favorite. Rates start at $3,627 per night.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Australia
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley comprises 40 self-contained villas in a private valley in Australia’s Blue Mountains, less than three hours from Sydney. Two nature activities per day are included with every stay – choose from options like horseback riding, tree planting, mountain biking and stargazing – plus wellness experiences like yoga and sound baths . Start your day crossing paths with kangaroos on a sunrise bike ride and end it with cocktails by a bonfire. Doubles start at around $3,100 per night.
Alila Ventana Big Sur, California
After temporarily closing during the early days of the pandemic, the adults-only Alila Ventana Big Sur reopened in July 2020 with a new all-inclusive model. Set among the California Redwoods and dramatically overlooking the Pacific Coast, the resort’s 59 rooms and suites with forest or ocean views, spread over 160 acres, now offer in-room, oceanfront dining. the swimming pool or at the Sur House restaurant. There, dishes like Santa Barbara prawns with smoked sea salt are paired with small-production Central Coast wines and offer panoramic forest, mountain, and sea views. Also free: daily hikes and yoga, free access a library of equipment to borrow gear for picnics and adventures and a Volvo to take you on excursions up to three miles. And don’t worry about food on these adventures: the staff will be happy to prepare snacks for you to take away. Rates start at $2,100 per night.
Nayara Alto Atacama, Chile
In the heart of the driest desert in the world, surrounded by vast mountains and salt marshes dotted with flamingos, the spacious rooms of the Nayara Alto Atacama open onto private terraces overlooking cactus gardens and a llamas corral. For the ultimate restorative getaway, book the full experience, with meals showcasing northern Chilean food and drink, plus daily excursions led by local guides, bikes to pedal to the nearby town of San Pedro de Atacama and an astronomy lesson in the complex’s private observatory. . Don’t miss the chance to watch steam swirl over the Tatio geysers at sunrise, followed by a picnic breakfast overlooking the nearby wetlands. Doubles start at $1,160 per night.
o-green, Greenaugh, Montana
The Western Montana Resort at Paws Up has long been the go-to escape for travelers looking to live out their rancher dreams amidst the most luxurious comforts. Then in 2021, the green o opened as a resort within a resort, nestled within the 37,000-acre property in the Blackfoot River Valley. Twelve sublime, self-contained accommodations range from the Light Haus, with floor-to-ceiling windows, to the Tree Haus, perched 23 feet above the ground, and are all clustered around the Social Haus restaurant, a luxury dining room. There, chef Brandon Cunningham serves up a breathtaking seven-course tasting menu each evening, with interactive touches like a sizzling river rock on which diners prepare tender slices of Wagyu beef. Fall asleep gazing at the stars from the lounge chairs hanging on your terrace, then wake up to thermoses of coffee and hot treats from Pastry Chef Krystle Swenson delivered to the door each morning. Days are filled with horseback riding, white-water rafting and fly-fishing the iconic Blackfoot River, all easily accessible by Lexus which is available to you for the duration of your stay. Afterwards, a restorative soak in your private hot tub awaits. Rates start at $2,005 per night.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
One of Fiji’s first all-inclusive resorts, the Jean-Michel Cousteau resort is always a hit with families. Packages can include airport pickup, meals, soft drinks, and a host of off-site excursions, from exploring the nearby mangroves or botanical gardens to snorkeling with the resident marine biologist of the complex. Also included: a dedicated nanny for each child under five and a buddy for children ages 6-12. Fully recharge with a beachside massage as the kids create their own memories, before reconnecting over dinner to recount the day’s adventures. Rates start at $955 per night based on double occupancy.