So you want to go to an all-inclusive resort? Great news! You’ve scrimped and saved to pay the high nightly fee that these resorts set, and you want to have a no frills vacation for your honeymoon, to celebrate an occasion, or to just relax and let somebody else do everything for you without thinking about opening your wallet for cash or swiping a credit card. All-inclusive resorts can be quite a great experience, and if it’s your first time, I have 5 tips for what to expect before you actually set foot in the resort.
1. Eat all you can
If you love to try out cuisines from all over the world, then an all-inclusive can be good for you. Some of the bigger resorts have themed restaurants and the variety is excellent. Craving French? Italian? The local cuisine? They’ve got it! However, some of these restaurants only operate during certain times, and may require reservations, especially for dinner. So, if you are planning to have dinner at a particular restaurant, call them in advance to set up a reservation. If the resort is a bit busy, you may end up waiting a few days, but they might just be able to squeeze you in! Don’t feel like going to a restaurant or waiting until it opens? Some all-inclusive resorts have room service! In a time when hotels are closing down room service, you can still enjoy having your food sent up directly to your room, 24 hours a day!
2. Tours and activities
If you get bored of staying in your resort, you also have other tours and activities readily available to you. Want to explore downtown? Head to the tour desk and they might have something to offer you. Note that these tours may cost a bit extra, but to save a bit of money, you can opt for a packed lunch from the resort (just pay a minimal amount that’s less than 10 USD for the box), and off you go! Don’t feel like spending? Non-motorized activities like going on a sailboat or kayaking are normally included in your stay! And of course, some of them have game rooms as well, where you can play billiards or video games free of charge!
3. Pack the right clothes
Most all-inclusive resorts are located in a beach setting, with oceanfront resorts, infinity pools, and water activities. These resorts are located in tropical climates, so you would think your first option will be to just pack flip flops, swimsuits, and cover ups, right? Wrong. Some of these resorts have dress codes during dinner time. They call it resort casual, which means a collared shirt (a polo or a button-down would do) paired with jeans or khakis for the men, and a dress, or at least a skirt/pants, with a nice top on for women. Definitely no flip-flops allowed, so bring boat shoes (for the men) or dressy sandals or cute shoes (be it flats or heels) for the women. For women, it’s best if you bring a scarf or a light sweater as well, as some evenings can have a slight wind breeze that may be a bit chilly (depending on the season and which resort you go to).
4. Leave your wallet in the room
Once you have paid for your all-inclusive resort such as the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Jamaica, you won’t need to carry around a few hundred dollars worth of foreign currency in your wallet. You may opt to bring a few dollars as tips to great servers or your bell hop, but other than that, you don’t really need to pay for anything (aside from tours and alcoholic drinks). However, some resorts even throw in free alcoholic drinks during your stay too! And for everything else (such as a bottle of wine during dinner, which is not free), well, there is your credit card… the one that you presented when you checked in.
5. You're never going to be bored
Activities are widely available at an all-inclusive resort. Every day, there is a schedule of events that they publish, so all the guests will be informed and make decisions on which activities to take part in. Beach volleyball? Check! Ping-Pong tournament? Check! Some of these activities have small prizes that they give out if you come out as the eventual winner. You get a free souvenir and bragging rights too! Some bigger all-inclusive resorts have game rooms, where you can play video games and other arcade games. For everything else, you have the beach and the pool to lounge around in or read your book! How’s that for a great vacation?
Stress free vacation and top notch service
Oh the glories of the all-inclusive resort. The service is top notch, and some of the bigger resorts have great restaurants that will definitely make you want to go back and sample some more fares. You’ll feel very pampered and have a great time during your vacation. I hope this guide helps you prepare before you book (or go) on your all-inclusive trip. Just a quick note - some of the photos taken from this article are from the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall. While the author has stayed in other all-inclusive resorts (i.e those that just give out buffet lunches and dinners, and without a dress code), this resort definitely topped the list - so in case you’re planning to stay at an all-inclusive, you may read more about it in my review!
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