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Good Options For an All-inclusive Vacation


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I did search for this ... I found very little. I probably didn't use the correct key words.... I'm a dope.

 

What say my FBG's about where they recommend spending a week with all of the food and spirits one desires?

We're ready to book our post-vaccination vacation.

Budget would be $4k-$7k for a couple for one week.

Go...

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Caveat.... I'm not an AI guy, so can't give you details.

Mayan Riviera in Mexico jumps to mind. Tons of spots of varying price points. Other stuff to see in the area if you want to leave the resort. A lot of people here have done the AI route there so you should be able to get a lot of good info. We went to Cozumel nearby in Feb- Covid travel there was easy at that point and have to figure it's even loosened up by now.

Dom. Republic has a bunch too.

Both warm, decent water.

Good luck and enjoy!

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Several Caribbean islands (Jamaica, Aruba, St. Maarten, etc) are renowned for all-inclusives, although not sure how things have changed with COVID or even if these islands are overly safe right now. Dominican Republic is probably another as Floppy said, as is Costa Rica. 

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I think it's important that you include members of various communities... Latino, LGBTQ, BLM, and so forth.

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We went to Bahia  principia in Jamaica for our 25th anniversary back in November. It was a great time. I recommend that chain and they have locations all over the Caribbean. Our friends went the same time to sandals in antigua and also had a great time. Have fun!

Edited by Clown Car
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We have gone to the Dominican Republic the last 3 years. It is awesome and the people are fantastic.

For $4-7k you can get a very nice room at a good brand of resorts (this is important). I really think the DR has the best value for what you get.

We have been to:

- Excellence Punta Cana

- Breathless Punta Cana

- Excellence El Carmen (last week for a short trip)

All three were great. Breathless is a little more "party". Food was really good at all three. The two Excellence resorts were very nice, and similar in quality. Staff is awesome and very friendly, and they really take care of you. Beach servers will just keep bringing you whatever you want at your chair under your palapa. Want a full bottle of champagne in an ice bucket on the beach? No problem. Plenty of pool areas and swim up bar service. If you want to participate, the entertainment staff are good people and will do some fun stuff. The nighttime shows are fun. Got to see Queen with Dominican Freddy Mercury last week which was awesome and hilarious. The night club/dance club wasn't open last week but we had fun doing that our first two trips as well.

Couple food pictures from our trip last week. Pizza/burger bar right on the water. Lobster House restaurant overlooking the ocean with a nice filet and shrimp that tasted like lobster.

Cannot recommend the Excellence brand enough and can point you to more resources if needed. This trip they even included private transport in a badass Suburban with roadie beers. Can't beat it.

Edited to add - we got an ocean view room for our trip last week for less than $400 a night. Three years ago we had an absolutely amazing room at Excellence Punta Cana, upper floor ocean front with a giant terrace that had a private plunge pool for less than $500 a night.

Edited by Worm
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2 hours ago, Bossman said:

I did search for this ... I found very little. I probably didn't use the correct key words.... I'm a dope.

 

What say my FBG's about where they recommend spending a week with all of the food and spirits one desires?

We're ready to book our post-vaccination vacation.

Budget would be $4k-$7k for a couple for one week.

Go...

Geez one up day in your stock account and you are ready to blow it all?

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2 hours ago, zamboni said:

Several Caribbean islands (Jamaica, Aruba, St. Maarten, etc) are renowned for all-inclusives, although not sure how things have changed with COVID or even if these islands are overly safe right now. Dominican Republic is probably another as Floppy said, as is Costa Rica. 

Aruba is wide open.  Friend just got back from there.  Don't think the others are.

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We upgraded to an ocean view in Jamaica some years ago.  From our balcony if you cocked your head just right you could see through the trees about 1 foot square & see the ocean.  It was an ocean view though, I guess.  It was Couples Negu ?  Something like that.  It was cool though.

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14 minutes ago, shadrap said:

We upgraded to an ocean view in Jamaica some years ago.  From our balcony if you cocked your head just right you could see through the trees about 1 foot square & see the ocean.  It was an ocean view though, I guess.  It was Couples Negu ?  Something like that.  It was cool though.

I’ll be honest, unless we got upgraded (used to do Sandals every year), the room was the last thing we worried about. If you like hanging out in the room, no worries, but that’s where you can cut back if you like hanging out and the beach/pools all day. The only thing we tried to make sure we had was the stocked mini-bars. Butler service was available but it wasn’t worth it. Unless you are getting an amazing over the water place and you don’t care about how much you pay, upgrade, but I never came back from a trip saying that I was so glad I paid for a better room. I will say our best ever trip in St. Lucia was when we got upgraded to one of those Rondival huts that was a huge room that also had its own pool with hot tub, outdoor shower and hammock (fenced in so private too). That was amazing and more than double what we actually paid, but they upgraded us for free. I’d rather have 2-3 trips for the same not free upgrade price, but it was nice to experience it.

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43 minutes ago, shadrap said:

We upgraded to an ocean view in Jamaica some years ago.  From our balcony if you cocked your head just right you could see through the trees about 1 foot square & see the ocean.  It was an ocean view though, I guess.  It was Couples Negu ?  Something like that.  It was cool though.

The Couples brand in Jamaica is another great option. Our one experience was awesome. We did Tower Isle.

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2 hours ago, Worm said:

We have gone to the Dominican Republic the last 3 years. It is awesome and the people are fantastic.

For $4-7k you can get a very nice room at a good brand of resorts (this is important). I really think the DR has the best value for what you get.

We have been to:

- Excellence Punta Cana

- Breathless Punta Cana

- Excellence El Carmen (last week for a short trip)

All three were great. Breathless is a little more "party". Food was really good at all three. The two Excellence resorts were very nice, and similar in quality. Staff is awesome and very friendly, and they really take care of you. Beach servers will just keep bringing you whatever you want at your chair under your palapa. Want a full bottle of champagne in an ice bucket on the beach? No problem. Plenty of pool areas and swim up bar service. If you want to participate, the entertainment staff are good people and will do some fun stuff. The nighttime shows are fun. Got to see Queen with Dominican Freddy Mercury last week which was awesome and hilarious. The night club/dance club wasn't open last week but we had fun doing that our first two trips as well.

Couple food pictures from our trip last week. Pizza/burger bar right on the water. Lobster House restaurant overlooking the ocean with a nice filet and shrimp that tasted like lobster.

Cannot recommend the Excellence brand enough and can point you to more resources if needed. This trip they even included private transport in a badass Suburban with roadie beers. Can't beat it.

Edited to add - we got an ocean view room for our trip last week for less than $400 a night. Three years ago we had an absolutely amazing room at Excellence Punta Cana, upper floor ocean front with a giant terrace that had a private plunge pool for less than $500 a night.

I will definitely be bugging you about this in the future a few years down the line.

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My wife and I do one week every year at an all-inclusive in MX (5 years now). 

 

Loved Hyatt Zilara Cancun. In the hotel zone, but great view, great pool, great view from the pool, really nice and good pool bar. Zilara is adults only one.

Loved Secrets Puerto Vallarta, most common one we went to when we lived west coast

Meh on Secrets Riviera Maya - older, rooms weren't as dope, weirdly the staff wasn't as nice as the PV location.

 

There are a couple other highly reviewed Secrets ones with supposedly awesome beaches we may try, but Zilara was awesome and the Hyatt affiliation is amazing, especially if you're like me and travel for work and therefore get some status benefits.

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We went to an AI in Jamaica and DR. The one in Jamaica (I believe it was Couples Resort) blew the one in DR (Majestic) away. Dont do AI in Aruba. Too many good restaurants and the island is safe to explore. Not worth it.

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I heard Couples Retreat was cool but you need to find a way to Eden East.  Also, be careful of the handsy yoga instructor.....ENCOURAGEMENT!!!!

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My wife and I stayed at Club Med Turks and Caicos before the pandemic.  Really nice beach and activities, but not much going on off campus.  The Club Med vibe is a little weird (contrived party feel that must seem like groundhog day for the staff) but we had a very relaxing time and it was perfect for us. 

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It’s toward the top end of your stated budget but if it’s just the two of you I cannot more highly recommend chartering this boat and captain.  It made every traditional AI resort we have done look pale in comparison.  World class service, super nice captain, and makes you life the life of a millionaire for a week.  
 

any specific questions feel free to PM me. And FYI I’m in no way affiliated with this charter. Just had an amazing trip with him a few years ago. 
https://www.sailingdirections.com/yachts/5-star-sailing.htm


 

 

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4 hours ago, Worm said:

The Couples brand in Jamaica is another great option. Our one experience was awesome. We did Tower Isle.

Yup, have done Couples Swept Away in Jamaica 4 times...probably our favorite vacation spot!

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all of these places sound neat but for that budget you could buy about three blocks worth of janesville wisconsin and hey its once thing to go to turks and caycos and come back with a tshirt it is another thing to go to janesville and become the largest landowner in the city hell you could bring in parnera and make a mint look all i am saying is play this right and you could come out way ahead take that to the bank brohan

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5 hours ago, Worm said:

The Couples brand in Jamaica is another great option. Our one experience was awesome. We did Tower Isle.

Wife and I did Couples Sans Souci in 2013.  Did some Sandals resorts in between in Negril and St. Lucia, and also a Riu resort in Costa Rica.  The service and experience just wasn't as nice as the Couples resort.  So we just booked a Couples all inclusive for their Swept Away resort in Jamaica.  We are looking forward to it since it has a lot of great reviews.  

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1 hour ago, gobrowns33 said:

Yup, have done Couples Swept Away in Jamaica 4 times...probably our favorite vacation spot!

Wife and I are going in November so I would be interested to hear about your experiences.  She already told me there is no way she is going to the nude island though.  :kicksrock:

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7 hours ago, Worm said:

We have gone to the Dominican Republic the last 3 years. It is awesome and the people are fantastic.

For $4-7k you can get a very nice room at a good brand of resorts (this is important). I really think the DR has the best value for what you get.

We have been to:

- Excellence Punta Cana

- Breathless Punta Cana

- Excellence El Carmen (last week for a short trip)

We are going to the Excellence branded Beloved Playa Mujeres in the Cancun area in mid-May ...never been there before but it looks pretty nice and gets great reviews.  It's an AI but planning a couple of excursions to explore and eat.  There's several great restaurants a short trip away.  Another one has a small island where you rent golf carts for the day and tour around.  Oceanfront junior suite for a little over $400/night.

Will report back.  

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2 minutes ago, Terminalxylem said:

My friend said Bali was great.

Personally, I’d prefer Denali.

I stayed at the the AI lodge inside the park a few years ago.  Amazing.  But it also snowed in August, so... maybe not for everyone?

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1 minute ago, Dinsy Ejotuz said:

I stayed at the the AI lodge inside the park a few years ago.  Amazing.  But it also snowed in August, so... maybe not for everyone?

I stayed on the mountain, with the thermometer bottomed out at -30 and a bucket we used for group excrement.

But the freeze dried pad thai was the best I’ve ever had.

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Just now, Terminalxylem said:

I stayed on the mountain, with the thermometer bottomed out at -30 and a bucket we used for group excrement.

But the freeze dried pad thai was the best I’ve ever had.

The lodge sounds nicer.

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3 hours ago, 3 hour lunch said:

Secrets the Vine Cancun was pretty great and adults only. Grand at Moon Palace also amazing but not adults only. 

I will second the Grand at Moon Palace. Make sure you get the Grand and not one their other resorts on that property. If you are big beach goers I would pick another property. 

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15 hours ago, skillz said:

Wife and I are going in November so I would be interested to hear about your experiences.  She already told me there is no way she is going to the nude island though.  :kicksrock:

It has been about 4 years since we went...were going to go in 2020, but now shooting to maybe go back next year.  It is on 7-mile beach which I believe was named one of the top 10 beaches in the world or something...so the beach and the food is great.  really just a great laid-back atmosphere at the resort.  We snorkel almost every day and night snorkel (extra fee - like 35$ pp) at least once a trip.  We never did the nude beach either...and I thought Swept Away was the only couples resort in jamaica w/o a nude section.  

 

We also love that it is couples only and no chidlren...we go to get away from all that and our 3 kids, so it is perfect atmosphere to just relax.

Edited by gobrowns33
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16 hours ago, skillz said:

Wife and I are going in November so I would be interested to hear about your experiences.  She already told me there is no way she is going to the nude island though.  :kicksrock:

No nude areas at Swept Away.  The nude island is at Couples Tower Isle.  The vibe is very laid back.  We are beach people and sit on the beach most of the day, with frequent trips to the beach bar.  All of the drinks and food are very good.  The rooms are not "fancy" like some all inclusives, but they are not run down either.  They give you more of an island feel.  We went for our honeymoon in 2007 and have returned 5 times since.  

Edited by bcat01
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Only time I stay at them is for President’s Club trips at work. Otherwise not an AI guy. Secrets St James Montego Bay in Jamaica has been the best. But I’m biased because the Jerk chicken cart that roamed the property until 1am was like crack. I’ve done Paradisius in Punta Cana and a Breathless there. Pretty good except for 1/2 the group got the tourista at the latter. Done Cabo, Costa Rica and a Sandals in the Bahamas. Have to get the names and report back. Glad things are opening up!

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5 hours ago, gobrowns33 said:

It has been about 4 years since we went...were going to go in 2020, but now shooting to maybe go back next year.  It is on 7-mile beach which I believe was named one of the top 10 beaches in the world or something...so the beach and the food is great.  really just a great laid-back atmosphere at the resort.  We snorkel almost every day and night snorkel (extra fee - like 35$ pp) at least once a trip.  We never did the nude beach either...and I thought Swept Away was the only couples resort in jamaica w/o a nude section.  

 

We also love that it is couples only and no chidlren...we go to get away from all that and our 3 kids, so it is perfect atmosphere to just relax.

Yep that’s right.  No nude island.  Got my Couples resorts mixed up.  We have 4 kids so the time away without seeing any is wonderful.  A whole different vibe and more relaxing.  We both like snorkeling so hopefully that’s an option when we get there.

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On 4/22/2021 at 10:31 AM, shadrap said:

We upgraded to an ocean view in Jamaica some years ago.  From our balcony if you cocked your head just right you could see through the trees about 1 foot square & see the ocean.  It was an ocean view though, I guess.  It was Couples Negu ?  Something like that.  It was cool though.

 

On 4/22/2021 at 11:15 AM, Worm said:

The Couples brand in Jamaica is another great option. Our one experience was awesome. We did Tower Isle.

 

On 4/22/2021 at 12:05 PM, jobarules said:

We went to an AI in Jamaica and DR. The one in Jamaica (I believe it was Couples Resort) blew the one in DR (Majestic) away. Dont do AI in Aruba. Too many good restaurants and the island is safe to explore. Not worth it.

 

On 4/22/2021 at 3:33 PM, gobrowns33 said:

Yup, have done Couples Swept Away in Jamaica 4 times...probably our favorite vacation spot!

 

On 4/22/2021 at 4:33 PM, skillz said:

Wife and I did Couples Sans Souci in 2013.  Did some Sandals resorts in between in Negril and St. Lucia, and also a Riu resort in Costa Rica.  The service and experience just wasn't as nice as the Couples resort.  So we just booked a Couples all inclusive for their Swept Away resort in Jamaica.  We are looking forward to it since it has a lot of great reviews.  

 

On 4/22/2021 at 5:53 PM, bcat01 said:

Couples Swept Away or Sandals Grande St. Lucia.  

 

On 4/23/2021 at 8:37 AM, bcat01 said:

No nude areas at Swept Away.  The nude island is at Couples Tower Isle.  The vibe is very laid back.  We are beach people and sit on the beach most of the day, with frequent trips to the beach bar.  All of the drinks and food are very good.  The rooms are not "fancy" like some all inclusives, but they are not run down either.  They give you more of an island feel.  We went for our honeymoon in 2007 and have returned 5 times since.  

Leaning towards Couples Swept Away - Jamaica. I like the adults only deal.

We've been to Tulum 3 times ... I really liked it. Food was great ... but we are beach goers and from what people are saying about the seaweed ... is now a deal breaker.

We've been to DR a couple times. Costa Rica once. St.Lucia last year was the best so far but a little pricey.

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8 hours ago, Bossman said:

Leaning towards Couples Swept Away - Jamaica. I like the adults only deal.

We've been to Tulum 3 times ... I really liked it. Food was great ... but we are beach goers and from what people are saying about the seaweed ... is now a deal breaker.

We've been to DR a couple times. Costa Rica once. St.Lucia last year was the best so far but a little pricey.

The beach is amazing.  Join some of the Couples Swept Away Facebook groups and you can ask questions and find out tips about the resort.

Edited by bcat01
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I'll just say we went to CSA once.   I didn't care for it.  They upgraded us to a room closer to the beach that was not an upgrade.  That stalled the start of the trip, then you realize you can't actually get reservations at the restaurants.  

The towel wars are also hardcore there.  Got to the point where I set the alarm at 5am just to get a spot as that's when the wars start.

Constant beach vendors.  The old fat to young hot ratio is about 20:1. 

Would say it was my least favorite vacation I've done.  We stayed at excellence properties 4x since then and those are a step function above Couples although a little higher price point.  

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Everyone in our town raves about Beaches Turks and Caicos, and we booked a trip there for August.  Supposedly some of the nicest beaches in the universe.  

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Another funky thing about CSA, the vow renewals.  It was a near constant train of people doing this in the afternoon. I don't know if this was some package or something.  The spot they put them in to haul them out was about 40 feet to the left of a bar that ran it's blender constantly and then the sort of takeover section of beach where there would be some really bad nudity.  There are other resorts they run that are mostly topless/ all nude but CSA doesn't have it, but yet you still get more than your fair share of fried eggs just by the association.  

One vow went all out with the white bikini and veil and the guy was hammered and sunburned in a white bathing suit with a raging boner.  It was nothing but cat calls.  I mean it's for sure a different crowd.  

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Just now, Otis said:

Um when you guys keep saying “adults only” do you mean, uhhh, adults only?

Usually means nobody under the drinking age of the country it is in.  

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2 hours ago, Otis said:

Everyone in our town raves about Beaches Turks and Caicos, and we booked a trip there for August.  Supposedly some of the nicest beaches in the universe.  

Grace beach is really nice. We did non AI there a couple times a while ago.

I want to say @Reapermight have stayed at beaches there.

I was coming in here to mention T&C as another AI spot for the op.

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@WormWhich of those you listed above would you recommend that is the most bang for the buck? 20th wedding anniversary coming up. 

 

Also, who do I go through to schedule? Please explain it to me like I have never down something like this in my life. 

 

Edited by STEADYMOBBIN 22
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12 hours ago, Bossman said:

 

Leaning towards Couples Swept Away - Jamaica. I like the adults only deal.

We've been to Tulum 3 times ... I really liked it. Food was great ... but we are beach goers and from what people are saying about the seaweed ... is now a deal breaker.

We've been to DR a couple times. Costa Rica once. St.Lucia last year was the best so far but a little pricey.

Seaweed can be real bad, but is very time of the year dependent.  

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4 hours ago, Otis said:

Everyone in our town raves about Beaches Turks and Caicos, and we booked a trip there for August.  Supposedly some of the nicest beaches in the universe.  

I have friends who rave about that place.  We are thinking about a trip there in the fall/winter as well.   

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1 hour ago, Lehigh98 said:

It's been a few years but my wife and I liked this place alot and would go back...

Excellence Playa Mujeres

This is probably the most can't miss of these.  It's not going to blow you away in any one area, but has all the elements at least at a B+ level.  

They offer a lot of upgrades once you get there and before. I've never paid for one, and when having them felt no difference in the experience.  Get a room in the back facing in.  

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