Resorts: All-Inclusive Fun
by Paris Permenter & John Bigley
Looking to leave your wallet at home on your next vacation?
Consider an all-inclusive.
Perhaps the most common phrase in the Jamaica is "no
problem." Requests, from more champagne to extra towels, are met
with this promise delivered in the lilting accent of the island residents.
And perhaps no place is that phrase heard more often than
in the all-inclusive resorts which started on this island almost two decades
ago. Today all-inclusive resorts have sprung up across the Caribbean and
offer their guests the opportunity to vacation without keeping an eye
on the pocketbook because, while they're on the property, everything is
theirs for the asking.
"Here all our guests are
equally rich because you can't spend money while you're here," says
John Issa, the man who began Couples, the first totally all-inclusive
resort for couples. Today Issa heads SuperClubs, a chain of all-inclusives
with properties in Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Couples is now one of numerous all-inclusives in the Caribbean
where lovers can enjoy a holiday without a billfold or purse. The all-inclusives
that cling to the Caribbean's white beaches are as varied as the vacationers
that frequent them. Two large chains dominate the couples all-inclusive
market: SuperClubs and Sandals. Many other all-inclusive resorts offer
one or two locations. They all have one thing in common: all-inclusive
fun. Meals, drinks, tips, transfers, watersports, and sometimes even weddings
are offered in one tidy all-inclusive package.
Who should check out an all-inclusive? Travelers who are:
on a tight budget. Thrifty travelers know how much
to budget for the entire vacation before they ever buy a ticket. Upon
arrival, they're free to live like a king and never have to count
how much money's left or how close they're approaching the credit
card limit. All-inclusives, like other hotels, come in a varied price
traveling with the kids. Couples can still have a romantic
trip thanks to all-inclusive resorts with children's programs. The
kids will have fun doing age-appropriate activities, making new friends,
and learning about a new culture, while parents enjoy a romantic respite.
receiving the trip as a gift. All-inclusive resort
vacations are increasingly popular as wedding gifts. They permit parents
to pay for the trip up front and for honeymooners to enjoy themselves
without feeling like they're running up a huge tab for parents or
getting married on the honeymoon. Several all-inclusives
offer free weddings; all offer various wedding packages. Experienced
wedding planners at these resorts who can simplify paperwork and make
the wedding day special and hassle-free.
Selecting an all-inclusive resort is a matter of personal
choice. The two of you should ask yourself the following questions:
Do we want an all-inclusive that's couples only? Some,
such as the Sandals chain and Couples, permit couples only. Others,
such as Hedonism II and Grand Lido, are adults-only (singles or couples).
Do we want to participate in group activities?
Is our main goal relaxation or sports?
Do we want to learn new watersports?
Will we want professional golf or tennis instruction?
Do we want to scuba dive?
Will we be happy taking most of our meals at one property
or would we want to sample restaurants at other hotels? The Sandals
chain permits guests to dine at other Sandals locations. Other properties,
such as SuperClubs, cover meals on-property only, although guests
have a choice of several elegant restaurants at the resort.