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When it comes to bedding down in the Caribbean, nothing beats an all-inclusive resort for unlimited food and drink, fun activities, and zero stress from check-in to checkout. We’ve rounded up the best casual-chic and high-end places to stay in destinations such as Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, Mexico, and Grenada. Not only do all offer the wow factor, but they also promise the best bang-for-your-buck.
Sea Breeze Beach House, Barbados
The scene: Sparkling white sands and luminous turquoise waters set the scene at this beach-chic gem on Barbados’ south coast. You’ll be a five-minute drive from the fishing village of Oistins and only 10 minutes from the buzzy bars, clubs, and restaurants of St. Lawrence Gap.
The sleep: Following a multi-million dollar refurb, the smart rooms flaunt modern décor, wooden flooring, colourful artworks, and a beachy vibe. Expect private terraces or balconies, comfy beds with luxe linens, flatscreen TVs, and spacious mosaic-clad bathrooms with rainfall showers. If you desire more living space, the salubrious suites have upgraded amenities and extras such as fridges (filled daily), evening canapés, nightly turndowns, and a personal concierge service.
The stay: You’ll get to grips with the all-inclusive concept from the get-go; especially in the five dining spots offering all manner of Bajan and Caribbean cuisine, including fresh seafood and grilled meats. You’re spoiled further with four bars, a quirky café for rum-infused gourmet coffees, and a pop-up chef’s tasting room. Two private beaches, three pools, a spa, and non-motorised watersports such as sailing, kayaking, body boarding, and snorkelling top things off nicely.
More information and to book: Sea Breeze Beach House
The scene: Surrounded by postcard-perfect tropical gardens and the sugar-white sands of Dover Beach, this just-for-adults paradise takes the all-inclusive experience to the next level. You’ll be a short hop from St. Lawrence Gap and only a 15-minute drive from Bridgetown.
The sleep: Available in varying categories, the 280 rooms and suites are glamorous spaces to play, relax, and retreat. All have king-size Tranquillity Blissful Beds, flatscreen TVs, fridges filled with soft drinks, marble bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs and walk-in rain showers, and private terraces or balconies. For more mood-setting luxuries, book one of the top-tier butler suites that are every bit as posh as they sound (they’re stocked with full bottles of spirits for starters).
The stay: There’s nothing at this childfree playground that will leave you wanting more. Expect three pools, two Jacuzzi tubs, and an exciting activity schedule that includes water polo, beach volleyball, kayaking, hobie cat sailing, pilates, and scuba diving for the PADI-certified. Further thrills include a lovely spa, yoga pavilion, state-of-the-art gym with fitness classes and personal training, 11 gourmet restaurants, seven bars, and excellent year-round evening entertainment.
More information and to book: Sandals Barbados
Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels, Barbados
The scene: Beach meets spa at Barbados’ first all-inclusive mind and wellness boutique hotel for adults. You’ll be overlooking the gleaming white sands of Prospect Bay on the island’s sheltered west coast and within easy distance of the 18-hole championship course at Apes Hill Golf Club.
The sleep: Expect seaside-chic design in the 70 rooms and suites, all of which have appropriate grown-up glamour; think polished wooden flooring, pieces of driftwood above super king-size beds, beachy artworks, and neutral tones with bright sea-blue accents. There’s also flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi, Bluetooth speakers, minibars, tea and coffee-making facilities, yoga mats, and balconies or terraces for ubiquitous lazing. Bathrooms have walk-in showers and bathrobes.
The stay: You’re guaranteed up to four free treatments at the spa - a well-sized pampering space complete with sauna, steam room, and eight treatment rooms for massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, and signature packages. There’s also two superb restaurants for Mediterranean and Asian fusion cuisine, a coffee bar and deli, two outdoor pools, motorised and non-motorised watersports, and plenty of yoga, pilates, and meditation classes to find your Zen.
More information and to book: Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels
St James’s Club & Villas, Antigua
The scene: Setting the standard high for Caribbean-style luxury living, this all-inclusive resort sits on its own isolated 100-acre peninsula in Antigua’s south-eastern corner. There’s two idyllic beaches on your doorstep: Mamora Bay for swimming and Coco Beach for snorkelling.
The sleep: The 251 rooms, suites, and villas come with classic décor, air-conditioning and ceiling fans, flatscreen TVs, tea and coffee-making facilities, comfy beds with crisp white linens, and sliding doors opening onto balconies or terraces (some have sea views). For a real treat, the adults-only Royal Suites feature a king-size bed with a separate sunken living room, floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious bathroom with deep-soaking tubs, and upgraded room amenities.
The stay: Sporty types will have a blast with non-motorised watersports (snorkelling, windsurfing, pedal boating), six pools, and a well-equipped fitness centre. There’s also a spa and salon for treatments, four hard courts for tennis (coaching is extra), and a supervised kids’ club. On the food and drinks front, you’ll find five restaurants, including the fancy Piccolo Mondo for fine dining and the waterside Docksider for weekly buffets with steel band performances.
More information and to book: St James’s Club & Villas
Pineapple Beach Club, Antigua
The scene: Just five minutes from the village of Willikies, this adults-only charmer overlooks Long Bay Beach - the stretch of bright white sand on Antigua’s eastern coast. You’ll be within reach of Stingray City, Shirley Heights, and the spectacular Pillars of Hercules rock formation.
The sleep: Characterised by Caribbean décor, the rooms housed in one, two, or three-storey buildings have customised artworks, rustic rattan furniture, and glass doors opening onto private or shared terraces with gardens, pool, or sea views. Amenities include queen or king-size beds, flatscreen TVs with digital channels, and bathrooms with showers or bathtubs (some have both). The newly-refurbed Tropical Waterfront Rooms offer ravishing views of Long Bay Beach.
The stay: When you’re not sipping ice-cold rum punch cocktails by the two freshwater outdoor pools, make good use of the tennis courts, spa, free watersports, and state-of-the-art gym complete with weights and cardio machines. There’s also five themed restaurants with different menus and settings as well as several relaxed bars for all-you-can-drink spirits, wine, and local beer. For those keen to see more of Antigua, the tour desk can arrange island excursions.
More information and to book: Pineapple Beach Club
Blue Waters, Antigua
The scene: A persuasive draw for sun-lovers, this stylish resort flanked by two white beaches along Soldier’s Bay puts you in the island’s north-western corner. The capital, St. John’s, is a 15-minute drive away and is worth a visit for its excellent Antigua and Barbuda Museum.
The sleep: Spread across 17 acres of tropical foliage (some are up in the hillside), the sea-facing cottages, suites, and large villas feature breezy beach décor, wooden flooring, light walls, and lots of white mixed with sea-blue accents. Amenities include beds with high-quality linens, flatscreen TVs, coffee machines, private balconies and terraces, and well-stocked minibars (for all-inclusive guests only). Bathrooms have walk-in showers, bathrobes, and Elemis toiletries.
The stay: While it offers heaps of sweet seclusion, the facilities are wide-ranging. Expect nine freshwater pools (including one at the beachfront), an upscale spa with Elemis treatments, a floodlit tennis court, and a gym (personal training is an optional extra). Foodies can take advantage of the plentiful restaurants and bars, including Palm for buffet-style international cuisine and local specialities and Bartley’s for refined Caribbean fusion fare.
More information and to book: Blue Waters
Hermitage Bay Hotel, Antigua
The scene: It’s all about the private island vibe at this blissful boutique on Antigua's south-western coast. The buzzy Jolly Harbour marina is just a 10-minute drive away (quicker on the hotel’s speedboat) while it’s about 30 minutes from the island’s capital of St. John’s.
The sleep: There are 30 unique suites, 13 on the beach and the remaining 17 built up on the hillside to maximise views and privacy (these are the best option for their wraparound open-air decks, private plunge pools, day beds, and spacious lounge and dining areas). All are finished to a high spec and offer beds with mosquito nets, flatscreen TVs with DVD players, iPod docking stations, and bathrooms with huge bathtubs and Aromatherapy Associates toiletries.
The stay: The classes (yoga, meditation, pilates), garden spa with organic treatments and holistic rituals, and infinity-edged pool add to the relaxing ambience. There’s also non-motorised watersports (snorkelling, windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hobie cats), speedboat tours, deep-sea fishing, and weekly cookery classes. Elsewhere, you’ll find a restaurant for modern European cuisine with Caribbean influences as well as a sheltered poolside bar for cocktails.
More information and to book: Hermitage Bay Hotel
Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, St Lucia
The scene: Named for the coconut palms that define the 85-acre beachfront landscape, this all-inclusive playground is located on St Lucia’s Atlantic-facing southern shore. The splendid Diamond Botanical Gardens, part of the Soufrière Estate, is a 35-minute drive away.
The sleep: While the accommodation choices are solely dependent on whether or not you have kids in tow, all have ocean-facing balconies or terraces that overlook the pool and gardens. The Splash Wing is designed for families (and it’s near the waterpark), while the adults-only Harmony Wing does grown-up loveliness with loveseats in lounges, oversized four-poster beds, marble bathrooms, and minibars stocked with your own choice of wine and champagne.
The stay: Given its three pools, massive CocoLand waterpark, state-of-the-art gym, oceanfront spa, and tennis and basketball courts, the chances of being bored are non-existent. There’s also an extensive day-to-night schedule, including activities such as paintballing, volleyball, kitesurfing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. The food and drink options available at nine restaurants, seven bars, and a rather amazing beach grill, are equally tempting.
More information and to book: Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa
Serenity at Coconut Bay, St Lucia
The scene: A resort-within-a resort at the aforementioned Coconut Bay Resort & Spa, this adults-only boutique is paradise for those wanting to escape kids - their own, or anybody else’s. The setting is appropriately peaceful and there’s plenty to do within easy driving distance.
The sleep: Known as sanctuaries, the 36 suites are stylish and spoiling. Expect calm and soothing palettes, stone flooring, wooden furniture, king-sized mahogany four-poster beds with pillow menus, and private plunge pools. Amenities include coffee machines, flatscreen TVs with digital channels, and bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs, walk-in showers, and Molton Brown toiletries. You’ll also have a personalised wet bar, refilled as needed by your private butler.
The stay: All guests have access to the facilities at Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, just a three-minute walk away. But for more intimate experiences, the elegant Greathouse Restaurant is worth staying on-site for (private dinners-for-two under the stars are also available on request). Further facilities include an outdoor pool, tennis courts, a bar and lounge, and the option of enjoying massages, facials, and body scrubs from the comfort of your suite.
More information and to book: Serenity at Coconut Bay
Rendezvous, St Lucia
The scene: There’s a lot to love about this insanely romantic resort on Malabar Beach in St Lucia’s northwest. Family-owned and operated since 1966, it wows with attentive service, seven-acres of tropical planting, and a two-mile-long stretch of beach with sink-your-toes-in sand.
The sleep: The 100 oceanfront rooms, split-level suites, and gingerbread-style beachfront cottages all have mood-setting luxuries in addition to mahogany woods, rattan furnishings, seaside colour schemes, and well-furnished terraces with day beds and hammocks. Some rooms have four-poster beds while others feature bathrooms with stand-alone claw foot tubs (some have swimming pools for decadent dips). Please note that no rooms have a TV.
The stay: With a strong emphasis on together time for loved-up couples, this place is a big hit with honeymooners. The facilities are extensive; think watersports and land sports galore, two swimming pools, outdoor hot tubs, well-equipped gym with exercise classes, and remarkable spa with open-air couples’ massages and specially designed his-and-her treatments. You can also enjoy activities such as tennis, archery, bike tours, spinning classes, volleyball, waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, and yoga - or simply while away the hours in the dedicated champagne bar.
More information and to book: Rendezvous
BodyHoliday, St Lucia
The scene: This award-winning wellness resort with its own mantra (“give us your body for a week and we’ll give you back your mind”) overlooks Cariblue Beach at St Lucia’s northern end. While there’s little reason to leave the property, Rodney Bay Village is a 10-minute drive away.
The sleep: Available in varying categories, the 155 comfortable rooms and suites have four-poster or king-size beds, neutral hues with bright colour accents, hardwood fixtures and fittings, bathrooms with showers or tubs, and all mod cons. Thoughtful extras for honeymooners include tropical flowers on arrival, breakfast on the balcony or terrace on your first morning, and appetisers and sparkling wine delivered at sunset on an evening of your choice.
The stay: Nowhere on the island (possibly the whole of the Caribbean) offers as many mind-body-soul activities for an all-inclusive rate. Most standout is the free 50-minute treatment daily at the supersized spa, the array of fitness classes and watersports, and the glorious infinity-edge pool with raised underwater seating. Further resort highlights include three restaurants for wholesome and locally-sourced cuisine as well as a piano bar for end-of-day drinks.
More information and to book: BodyHoliday
St James Club Morgan Bay, St Lucia
The scene: Overlooking the Caribbean Sea from the shores of Choc Bay, you’ll be staying in St Lucia’s north. Both Rodney Bay Marina and Castries are a 10-minute drive away. You’ll also be near to Gros Islet, the town celebrated for its Friday night street party known as Jump Up!
The sleep: Spread across 25-acres of tropical gardens and bordering a private cove, the 335 light-filled rooms have all-white décor glammed up with colourful soft furnishings, tiled flooring, balconies or terraces with garden or sea views, and bathrooms with bathtubs and/or showers. There are also flatscreen TVs with digital channels, tea and coffee-making facilities, beach towels, and safes. Wi-Fi is not included but available for purchase during your stay.
The stay: A multi-million dollar upgrade has seen this place up its game on the facilities front. Expect six atmospheric restaurants (one is not in the all-inclusive package, but worth paying for), five bars, a new café for specialty coffees, four pools, a sea-facing spa, and a supervised kids’ club. You can also count on guaranteed sun-soaked fun by way of beach games, sailing trips, water skiing, paddle boarding, aqua cycling, kayaking, snorkelling, pilates, and yoga.
More information and to book: St James Club Morgan Bay
Spice Island, Grenada
The scene: Named after the island’s prolific spice plantations, this luxe seaside escape (voted #1 in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor) is at the southern end of the showstopping Grand Anse Beach on the island’s south-western coast. The airport is a short drive away.
The sleep: The 64 suites all delight with classy Caribbean décor, breezy outdoor terraces with daybeds, and private gardens filled with lemon, almond, and sea-grape trees. For more opulence, book one of the beachfront suites that have private plunge pools, four-poster canopy beds, bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, hammocks, and vast amounts of living space. Amenities include flatscreen TVs with DVD players, minibars, and tea and coffee-making facilities.
The stay: With its lovely pool, amazing restaurant, watersports centre, gym, tennis court, and new beachside yoga pavilion, this idyllic retreat delivers on every level. There’s also a sublime spa for treatments using local herbs and spices as well as organic Grenadian chocolate, a hair salon for cutting and colouring, and a kids’ club for children aged 3 to 12 years. Please note that the hotel is closed from 29.08.2020 until 30.09.2020 for refurbishments and upgrades.
More information and to book: Spice Island
Haven Riviera Cancun, Mexico
The scene: Opened in 2018, this contemporary-style coastal sanctuary just south of Cancun’s famous Hotel Zone has a pristine and secluded stretch of beautiful beach on its doorstep. For golfers, the course at Cancun Country Club is just a 10-minute drive away.
The sleep: Designed to reflect the oceanfront setting, the 333 splendid suites flaunt upscale Mexican décor with warm colour tones, private terraces or balconies with ocean or garden views, and king-size beds with plush pillows. Nice extras include whirlpool tubs, Nespresso machines, aromatherapy scent menus, personalised minibars, and a bottle of Mezcal Blanco on arrival. Bathrooms have walk-in rain showers for two, bathrobes, slippers, and toiletries.
The stay: It’s no surprise that somewhere so shiny and new has top-tier facilities to match. The global-spanning dining is joyous; especially at Agua Bendita for Mexican cuisine and succulent steaks, Flavours for international fare, and Olios for refined Mediterranean cooking. There’s also a standout spa offering cutting-edge treatments and Mayan-inspired pampering, a state-of-the-art gym, a tennis court, and activities such as Spanish lessons, cookery classes, yoga, and diving.
More information and to book: Haven Riviera Cancun
Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, Mexico
The scene: Hitting the mark for Riviera Maya fabulousness, this resort has all bases covered: quiet relaxation, fun activities, and a whole lot of all-inclusive luxury. It also benefits from a lively location in Puerto Morelos, located between Cancun's southern tip and Playa del Carmen.
The sleep: There are 486 rooms, a good chunk of which are octagonal-shaped and have private plunge pools. All feature inviting and welcoming Caribbean décor, wooden furnishings, flatscreen TVs with digital channels, and balconies or terraces. Bathrooms have jetted aromatherapy whirlpool bathtubs, separate showers, double vanities with speakers, bathrobes, slippers, and toiletries. Minibars are refreshed daily with beer, juices, soft drinks, and bottled water.
The stay: The Unlimited-Luxury® goes well beyond the accommodation. You can look forward to a selection of heated pools, two outdoor Jacuzzi’s, and umpteen water and land activities such as yoga, cocktail-making classes, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, and beach volleyball. There’s also a private white-sand beach, ocean trampoline, signature spa and fitness centre, countless wining and dining options, and well-produced nightly entertainment throughout the year.
More information and to book: Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa