Perfect Paradise: All-Inclusives in the Caribbean

For many, relaxation means a beach, pool, awesome service, and the ability to leave your wallet in the safe the entire time. These are our top 10 all-inclusive resort picks. 

By: Donna Heiderstadt

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  • Perfect Paradise

    Perfect Paradise

    Without question, the Caribbean — with its idyllic islands, sparkling warm waters and easy access — is one of the world's most treasured honeymoon destinations. And the all-inclusive resort, with its endless amenities, array of dining options and never-ending cocktail o’clock, is one of the most popular honeymoon hotel experiences. In addition to the aforementioned, the all-inclusive concept — which, it just so happens, was invented in the Caribbean — offers couples the chance to totally and completely kick back, since everything from food and drinks to gratuities and non-motorized watersports are included in one single price. (Even better — many chains offer resort credits to use toward such offerings as golf and spa treatments.) Here are our 10 favorite properties (in no particular order) to go all-in across the balmy Caribbean.

    Photo courtesy of Excellence El Carmen

  • Guana Island

    Guana Island

    Few places make you go “aahhh” quite like the British Virgin Islands, where the clearest blue water, purest white sand and most unhurried pace imaginable are a relaxation-seeker's ideal. Guana Island, an intimate, eco-conscious, private-island resort accommodating no more than 32 guests, is an under- the-radar hideaway for couples seeking to chill. Its Sea View Rooms, located in rustic-luxe stone cottages with — you guessed it — sweeping ocean vistas, have Wi-Fi but no TV or phone because the focus here is on getting in touch with nature — and each other — while kayaking, snorkeling, hiking or sunning on seven beaches.

    Photo courtesy of Guana Island

  • Excellence El Carmen

    Excellence El Carmen

    When it opened in September 2016 with 492 suites, 12 restaurants and 23 pools, this second Excellence Resort in the Dominican Republic brought its sexy, upscale, adults-only ambience to a secluded stretch of palm-lined beach. No matter which category you choose — and there are a whopping 19 varieties, including suites with swim-up access or a rooftop plunge pool —you're guaranteed a private jetted tub and a double rain shower for two. The restaurant options, which range from Italian and French to Asian and Indian, are simply too many to sample in a single week.

    Photo courtesy of Excellence El Carmen

  • Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana

    Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana

    Punta Cana on the golden shores of the Dominican Republic draws fun-in- the-sun revelers, as well as discerning travelers who check into this chic property with just 96 suites. Set amid palms on 400 yards of beachfront, Zoëtry is a luxurious world unto itself (geared to adults, but kids are welcome), complete with “Endless Privileges” that include unlimited top-shelf spirits, free Wi-Fi, Bulgari in-room amenities, organic cuisine and 24-hour in-suite dining. The resort is rich in cool Caribbean decor accents like thatched roof accommodations and features a cool blue river pool, perfect for a lazy swim. The four restaurants serve menus inspired by Latin America and Europe.

    Photo courtesy of Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts

  • The BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia

    The BodyHoliday, Saint Lucia

    Are a few hours without a workout like a day without sunshine? Book into this 154-room, adults-only resort on the northwest tip of St. Lucia, where wellness is the focus. A stay here includes everything from yoga classes, indoor cycling sessions and personal training to a Quadrathlon (mountain bike, run, rappel and kayak) and highlights fresh, healthy cuisine. One spa treatment per person, per day is also included in the tariff. Accommodations range from airy Oceanfront Penthouses overlooking postcard-perfect Cariblue Beach to Garden View Rooms tucked into the re- sort’s 42 tropical acres.

    Photo courtesy of The BodyHoliday

  • Spice Island Beach Resort

    Spice Island Beach Resort

    Lush green mountains, vibrant Creole culture and spice-infused cuisine, along with romantic suites and from-the-heart service are hallmarks of this welcoming 64-suite resort in Grenada. Claim side- by-side chaises on beautiful Grand Anse Beach, swim in the turquoise surf or simply people watch (the resort is family friendly). Seclusion seekers can retreat to private pools in the aptly named suites, and toast with tropical cocktails made with Grenadian rum and nutmeg. The island’s spice heritage is showcased in the resort’s two restaurants, both known for their culinary excellence.

    Photo courtesy of Spice Island Beach Resort

  • Sandals Barbados

    Sandals Barbados

    The newest property in the family-owned Sandals' Caribbean portfolio, this 280-room, couples-only resort has all of the romantic amenities the Jamaica-based company is known for, plus an enviable setting on Dover Beach in the island's lively St. Lawrence Gap area. Barbados is famous for its rum and its food, and you can sample both at the sprawling beach and poolside bars and at 11 restaurants, including a Bajan seafood grill. For a sexy plunge any time of day, book a Crystal Lagoon Swim-Up Suite, which opens onto the Caribbean’s largest river pool.

    Photo courtesy of Sandals Resorts

  • Hotel Riu Palace

    Hotel Riu Palace

    Hot sun, pristine sands, sparkling nightlife and trade winds — that's the island of Aruba — and this classic all-inclusive resort, featuring 450 rooms overlooking the southern end of Palm Beach, is known for it all. Choose from a range of onsite activities (water sports, a casino, a spa and a disco), or kick back in chaises at one of the two pools and chill. Pool bars, live music and five restaurants (one buffet-style and four international-themed) create a Caribbean party ambience that's not adults- only but also not particularly kid-friendly. Guest accommodations are spacious with breezy balconies or terraces.

    Photo courtesy of Riu Hotels & Resorts

  • Paradisus Palma Real

    Paradisus Palma Real

    Swaying palms and manicured grounds create an inviting enclave encompassing two pretty resorts within a property on Bávaro Beach in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. For an oceanfront honeymoon, opt for one of the suites in the adults-only Royal Service category with its beach, pool with Bali beds and exclusive waterfront restaurant. If you're hosting a multi-generational wedding or familymoon, check out The Reserve at Paradisus, with its children's pool, Kids Zone and Family Concierge. Note: Some room categories also have a two-person hydro-massage tub on the terrace to keep grown-ups happy, too.

    Photo courtesy of Meliá Hotels International

  • Moon Palace Jamaica Grande

    Moon Palace Jamaica Grande

    This 700-room resort represents a blend of two all-inclusive power players: The welcoming island of Jamaica (where the concept was pioneered) and Palace Resorts, the Mexico-based chain that chose jungle-meets-beach Ocho Rios for its first Caribbean property, opened in late 2015. The result is lively and lots of fun with swim-up bars, a sexy Noir night club and a tranquil spa — although the family-friendly policy means you will be sharing the white-sand beach and four pools with kids. Rooms are bright, airy and modern; splurge on a balcony to enjoy a bit of breezy privacy.

    Photo courtesy of Palace Resorts

  • Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

    Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

    The must-haves for many honeymoon couples seeking a Caribbean all- inclusive resort — swim-up suites and swim-up bars — are both celebrated here at this 387-room property in Montego Bay, Jamaica. But it’s also family friendly, making it ideal for a destination wedding. Looking to book a child-free honeymoon? No worries: There’s a 234-room adults-only Hyatt Zilara located right next door. Both feature modern-tropical decor with private terraces (or patios with direct access to a pool) as well as an excellent array of international-themed restaurants, nightly entertainment, loads of water sports and spa treatments performed beachside.

    Photo courtesy of Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

Perfect Paradise: All-Inclusives in the Caribbean

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