Even amid the challenges of the travel industry, one sector continues to lead demand: all-inclusive resorts. It’s why more major big brands are entering the increasingly competitive sector — all-inclusive resorts are what lots of people are looking for when they plan their vacations.
Because there’s just something about that combination of convenience and comfort that make this segment of resorts increasingly appealing. And that’s nowhere more true than in the Caribbean, an area that continues to redefine what all-inclusive means — and take a word that used to be a mere technical term and turn it into something of a badge of honor.
The 2021 edition of the best all-inclusive resorts brings you our editorial staff’s favorite all-inclusive options in the region, with examining criteria including design, rooms, food, service, ambience, amenities and location.
It should also be noted that all of these resorts are what we like to call exclusively all-inclusive. That means they’re not EP hotels with all-inclusive options available; they’re full-fledged all-inclusives, meaning you get food and beverages included in any room you choose. From gourmet-focused large resorts to tiny, hidden-away boutique hotels, here are the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean right now.
Hammock Cove, Antigua Elite Island Resorts is constantly innovating, and what the company and Chairman Rob Barrett have created here is the ultimate resort for the new realities of travel, with 42 standalone villas in a dramatic cliffside setting near Antigua’s Devil’s Bridge National Park. All of the villas have their own infinity pools and a breezy indoor-outdoor aesthetic; stocked bars, Bluetooth sound systems and, well, they’re the kind of rooms you’ll never want to leave. And that’s precisely the point.
UNICO 20º87º Riviera Maya, Mexico Authenticity is a big buzzword in the travel industry — but this adults-only Mexican Caribben resort actually deliver it, with an ultra-luxe experience that never forgets its surroundings and community, from the locally-sourced food (and revolving group of chefs) to a dedicated local host for each room.
Sandals South Coast, Jamaica Sandals has 15 all-inclusive resorts around the wider Caribbean, but none is more serene than this Jamaican beach resort, now home to a collection of overwater bungalows and, more recently, the company’s first ever swim-up Rondoval suites.
Curtain Bluff, Antigua A legend. That’s the easiest way to describe this grand beach resort, long a favorite of celebrities, with stunning rooms and suites on a promontory off the island’s southern coast of Antigua. The food is wonderful, the service intimate and attentive, and the ambience makes you feel like you’ve arrived at your own private club for the week.
TRS Cap Cana, Dominican Republic Palladium’s TRS brand launched the company into a new level of all-inclusive excellence, and its Cap Cana outpost is a 115-suite, modern home run, with a modern, clean aesthetic, two pools, a beach, access to Jack Nicklaus’ Punta Espada golf course and an Ibiza-style beach club, among other amenities.
Palm Island, St Vincent and the Grenadines The Caribbean castaway fantasy in all-inclusive form. This jewel in the heart of the Grenadines, which reopens in February, provides a bucket-list Caribbean experience with five beaches, a spa and the kind of breathtaking seclusion you can usually only dream about. It’s reopening in February.
Secrets Cap Cana, Dominican Republic Cap Cana is the luxury enclave of the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana, and this Secrets flagship fits right in, with 457 superb suites and all of the brand’s signature inclusions, from 24-hour room service to unlimited top-shelf beverages. But the real showpiece is Juanillo Beach, one of the country’s most beautiful stretches of sand.
Galley Bay, Antigua It’s hard to imagine a more romantic resort than this Antigua classic, an enchanting property on its own peninsula, with a tremendous spa, large beachfront rooms and and an unparalleled natural setting. It’s hard to choose between the fabulous Gauguin Suites and the toes-in-the-sand beachfront rooms.
The Caves, Jamaica This Negril adults-only resort has long set the standard for the authentic all-inclusive experience, with 12 charming cliffside cottages and a food and beverage program that delivers a real taste of Jamaica.
Ambergris Cay, Turks and Caicos The smallest resort on this list is the halo resort of the Turks and Caicos Collection all-inclusive portfolio. This private-island getaway has a mix of suites and villas, all with their own private pools. But it’s the setting on this jaw-dropping, secluded sandy cay that’s the big draw amid the new realities of travel.
Jumby Bay, Antigua One of two Oetker Collection properties in the Caribbean (along with the non-all-inclusive Eden Rock in St Barth), this private-island destination off the coast of Antigua is a work of art, with a staggering food and beverage offering and a gorgeous mix of rooms and villas.
Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana, Dominican Republic AMResort’s newest property in the Dominican Republic is nothing short of spectacular, with a broad family-friendly offering and a sleek look. Our pick? Go for the Preferred Club suites, which grant access to a private pool and food and beverage concepts.
Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun Palace Resort’s signature luxury stay on the Mexican Caribbean is nothing short of “dazzling,” with magnificent service, beautiful rooms and an impressive wellness program anchored by a 19-treatment-room spa facility. The food is a standout, too.
BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia The ultimate wellness-focused all-inclusive, the party piece here is the complimentary therapy and spa treatment every day of your stay. This is an all-inclusive for active travelers — and one that will almost certainly make you leave feeling better than when you arrived.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico No all-inclusive in the Caribbean has cultivated a more impressive culinary program than this 538-suite Mexican Caribbean institution with a diverse mix of eight eateries, all serving up food that you’d never think was possible at an all-inclusive resort.
Hermitage Bay, Antigua The story starts with the suites — a combination of hillside, beachfront and garden cottages (we’d recommend the hillside pool suites) overlooking a marvelous bay. But the bigger story is the overarching tranquility, the feeling that you’ve journeyed to a rarefied corner of the travel world. Because you have.
Serenity at Coconut Bay, Saint Lucia The suites are the centerpiece of this adults-only, 36-unit resort on the southern tip of Saint Lucia. Each has its own private plunge pool, four-poster bed, Bose sound system, granite-walled bathrooms with soaking tubs and butler service. And that’s what more and more travelers are looking for.
Serenade Punta Cana, Dominican Republic The newest all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic’s all-inclusive capital is a welcome addition, with 625 rooms and a broad campus with everything from a casino to eight different restaurants.
St James’s Club, Antigua There’s something special about this peninsula on the eastern coast of Antigua, something you feel as you spend your days straddling two beautiful beaches, journeying on a diving adventure or enjoying one of the top watersports outfits on the island.
Margaritaville Island Reserve Riviera Cancun The first-ever Margarita Island Reserve in the Caribbean, it’s the product of an alliance between Margaritaville and Karisma Hotels and Resorts. The result is a sparkling new property with some great little touches, like customizable in-room bars.
Sea Breeze Beach House, Barbados Ocean Hotels’ transformed South Coast property is a fresh, cool all-inclusive that also manages to deliver an authentic Bajan experience, from the local art in the rooms to very well executed flying fish.
Beaches Turks and Caicos Sandals’ Beaches brand has turned the family all-inclusive experience into an art form, and this is the brand’s show-stopper, a Grace Bay Beach resort that delivers just about everything a family could ask for.
Cocobay, Antigua The views alone are worth the trip to this adults-only resort, with some breathtaking vistas of Valley Church beach and a barefoot-chic aesthetic highlighted by charming cliffside cottages; make sure you splurge for one with a private pool.
Secrets St Martin Set on the spectacular Anse Marcel, this is the only all-inclusive on the French side of St Martin, and it’s a gem of the AMResorts portfolio, with a serene setting, outstanding food and rarefied vibe. It reopens at the end of January.
Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas Our favorite all-inclusive on Paradise Island is a well-executed, fun experience, with very good food, a beautiful harbor-front pool and crisp, sleek, colorful guest rooms. And considering its location, service and quality, It also just might be the best value of any all-inclusive in the region.