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All Inclusive vacations - Like Sandals etc.
Old 01-15-2014, 08:12 AM   #1
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All Inclusive vacations - Like Sandals etc.

DW and I, and some friends are discussing prospective holiday plans. I am all for the Pay once and be done with it deal.

Has anyone had any good or bad experiences with the all inclusive providers like Sandals?

I am curious what destinations and properties would be a good choice.

thanks
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:33 AM   #2
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We have been to many all inclusives in or near Cancun. Everyone we have been on have been wonderful. Drinks, food, entertainment all provided on premises free all day long. Well, actually you are paying for them in your package but it is nice to have to carry around any currency. They usually say in your package that tips are included but a buck or two to your server once in a while goes a long way in making their day and yours. I gave a guy 5 dollars once in the early afternoon and it was like he was my personal butler for the day. They are really nice people who make very little money. The food is usually not typical mexican and usually excellent. There is a resort area just outside of Cancun called Playa Del Carmen that is to die for. It may cost a little more there but no much more. We stayed there at a resort called Rui Mexican Palace. The place was fabulous.
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:42 AM   #3
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I agree with all ripper1 had to say, but I am not a big fan of All Inclusives. My biggest reason is I like to go out to local resturants and usually spend a fair amout of time outside the resort. Also, I am not a big drinker and it may even be cheaper to pay as you go in this case.

I also do not have kids... if you have kids going with you, having food and unlimited drinks around is handy.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:05 AM   #4
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I'm all for all inclusive whether it be in Mexico etc. DW and I do our share of drinking, eating etc and with several restaurants to choose from and around 40 different activities it's almost impossible to take advantage of everything they have to offer in just one week. The first time my son and I went scuba diving was in an all inclusive and since it was free, that activity done twice would have cost half our trip when you included the lessons here in Canada.

I'm all for pay one price, eat, drink and play till ya drop.............you can rest on the plane flight back.............well almost. In out Toronto area, hotel, food, activities would cost more than three times the price.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:14 AM   #5
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Any Provider recommendations?
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:17 AM   #6
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We've had good experiences with all inclusive vacations spots and it worked well when we went with kids. One child likes active sports the other does not. As others have said,
the all inclusive is well done but now that the kids are on their own, it is unlikely that type of vacation will be a choice for us. We would prefer to experience the country outside of the resort.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:38 AM   #7
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Our favorite all inclusive in the Cancun area is Excellence Playa Mujeres. The rooms are wonderful. Eight different restaurants all ala carte at night, all with no reservations. Top shelf liquor. Unfortunately their popularity has grown, and so have their prices. This year we are doing our warm weather get away on a Celebrity cruise. They have been running a special that includes an all inclusive drink package, and we are getting 11 days for around the price we would have paid for a week at Excellence.

We did our honeymoon at a Sandals, and were not that impressed. Did not try all inclusive again until more than 10 years later. We have also tried the Iberostar Grand in Cancun, but enjoyed the Excellence more due to the restaurants and no reservations.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by My Dream View Post
I'm all for all inclusive whether it be in Mexico etc. DW and I do our share of drinking, eating etc and with several restaurants to choose from and around 40 different activities it's almost impossible to take advantage of everything they have to offer in just one week. The first time my son and I went scuba diving was in an all inclusive and since it was free, that activity done twice would have cost half our trip when you included the lessons here in Canada.

I'm all for pay one price, eat, drink and play till ya drop.............you can rest on the plane flight back.............well almost. In out Toronto area, hotel, food, activities would cost more than three times the price.
Aw, you have my drink of choice as your avatar!
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:06 AM   #9
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I've been to resorts in Mexico (cancun and playa del carmen), Dominican Republic (punta cana), Jamaica, and Costa Rica... By far my favorite on Weather, Luxury and Price was Punta Cana... The beaches there great and the food good too. I'd usually go in the off season, like in early December. It was like $1000/per person with flight for a week for a 4 1/2 star place. Hot tub in my room and a pool bar a few steps out of my room. very nice and relaxing, especially if you don't need to do much outside the resort. Some of the resorts are actually pretty huge, with 30 buildings and a little trolly that takes you around.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:12 AM   #10
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Our next trip in March is to Live Aqua Cancun. It is an all-inclusive adult only resort. Looked very nice online and rated very high. Has anyone ever been here?
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:11 AM   #11
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Our next trip in March is to Live Aqua Cancun. It is an all-inclusive adult only resort. Looked very nice online and rated very high. Has anyone ever been here?
Was there last Feb., first time in Cancun and at an all inclusive, had done several cruises prior and wanted to try something different. It was great! We got up when we were awake, did a beach walk, ate when we wanted trying various restaurants, drank what we wanted though not huge amounts. Not much in the way of spa activity, just DW getting daily foot massages with our cabana, included since we sprang for a suite. We picked a slow week and booked about 6 weeks in advance so it was a decent price, looked at them this year but didn't see it that low. As someone else mentioned, I took a stack of ones and a few fives, those extra tips go a long way to improving your service!
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:23 AM   #12
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We are big fans of all-inclusive resorts. We have been to Club Med Cancun and Punta Cana twice each and also to Fiesta Americana Condesa in Cancun twice. All have been fantastic, especially with our teenage boys.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:36 AM   #13
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We have been all over Both coasts of Mexico with Apple Vacations
And had good experiences every time.
Cost of the property will reflect the quality /variety of food,drink and entertainment you'll get.

AI's are kinda idiot proof and nice if you have a group of folks
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:44 AM   #14
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We enjoyed Club Med Martinique a lot. As long as you realize you're not going to get 5 star accommodations, dining & activities for 2 star prices, it's a great deal. You still get what you pay for more or less.

We really enjoyed all the activity options, though they don't push joining in - if you just want to sleep on the beach every day, no problem. But at least some of that activity expense is included in the AI cost, and some costs extra.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:58 PM   #15
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We also used Apple Vacations. Booked the '6 apple deal' or something like that. We didn't know which resort we would be at but knew we would get a 6 apple rated location- their top score. It saved us about $500 each compared to actually picking a comparable resort. The Iberostar Cancun where we ended up was great. Very clean, good food, top shelf booze.
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:30 PM   #16
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Celebrity is offering a pretty decent deal on cruises that include the classic drink package.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:42 PM   #17
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I'm a big fan of Playa del Carmen. Check out the Iberostar Tucan. Went there 2 years ago and it was phenomenal; best vacation we've had. It was my first all inclusive with 3 kids and was surprised how much easier it made everything.

We used cheapcarribean.com and I was very happy with the price and service.

Iberostar Tucan | CheapCaribbean.com

The private van service from Cancun airport to the resort was well worth the money. As we the private tour service to the mayan ruins at chichen itza.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:00 PM   #18
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We've been to several all-inclusive resorts in MX and Central America - mostly Riu resorts; they have several.

+1 to the value of unlimited food and beverages for teens.

As for the adults, the buffet line restaurants are average (but we're spoiled living in LA and SF), but the so-called specialty restaurants tend to be a bit better -- but some things aren't included there.

We only drink moderately, so not a huge value to us to have unlimited open bar, but we've traveled with some extended family/friends who have found real value in the included booze.

Also have found these good destinations for multi-generational trips as there are a range of activities day and night that appeal to most from age 8 to 80
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Old 01-15-2014, 03:06 PM   #19
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We have been to the El Dorado Royale on the riveria maya, between cancun and playa del carmen, three times. Adults only. wonderful. Great food. about nine restaurants to choose from with different themes. Fondue, Italian, seafood, etc. Multiple pools each with a swim-up bar. tennis courts with a pro, and a great martini bar.
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Old 01-15-2014, 04:03 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by NanoSour View Post
I'm a big fan of Playa del Carmen. Check out the Iberostar Tucan. Went there 2 years ago and it was phenomenal; best vacation we've had. It was my first all inclusive with 3 kids and was surprised how much easier it made everything.

We used cheapcarribean.com and I was very happy with the price and service.

Iberostar Tucan | CheapCaribbean.com

The private van service from Cancun airport to the resort was well worth the money. As we the private tour service to the mayan ruins at chichen itza.

Good Luck.
Just before Christmas I spent a week at the Grand Bliss Riviera Maya, which is part of the Grand Mayan resort and not an all inclusive. It is very close to one of the Iberostar all inclusive resorts; I could see the Iberostar from my suite, which was 1100 sq feet and had a plunge pool on the balcony. The cost of my vacation was a flight, some points that I exchanged from my interest in another property, plus ~$400 in expenses for the week. That included all meals, entertainment, food that I bought and prepared, drinks at the swim up bars the airport shuttle (it was free going to the resort) and several tours, including Xcaret and an all day trip to Chichen Itza on a luxury coach. There were several guests from the Iberostar on the coach and at the end of the tour we drove into the Iberostar to drop them off. They all spoke highly of the Iberostar. I checked the Iberostar website, which quoted an all inclusive daily rate of $600 ($4200 for the December week just before Christmas). I would not have paid that. I presume you got a better deal at the Iberostar you stayed at.

Addendum: I just checked the Iberostar Hotel Paraiso, which is comparable accommodation to what I had. $2975 US for a week in January for one person.
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