All inclusive resorts: Ask the operators

All inclusive resorts: Ask the operators

The range of product that now comes under the 'all-inclusive' banner is simply staggering, with options to suit every client's taste and budget.

And travel agents are reporting an increase in demand for all-inclusive holidays as travellers become more worried about controlling their budget.

But too much choice can be confusing. If a client wanted a short-break all-inclusive, or an all-inclusive family holiday or wedding, what would you suggest?

And what exactly constitutes an all-inclusive holiday? In some resorts, all drinks and meals are included, while at others your client may be asked to pay extra to eat in a certain restaurant.

Travel Weekly asked product managers to suggest suitable all-inclusive options for different clients, and, based on what is included in the price, we've given each an 'all-inclusive rating' out of five...

 

Watersports

 

Riu Bachata Spa hotel, Dominican Republic

Suggested by: Thomson Holidays

Details: A four-star property, one of Thomson's Beach Club resorts, on Maimon Bay, Puerta Plata. Guests can also use the facilities at Riu's sister properties within the resort, Riu Merengue and Riu Mambo. Riu Bachata's private beach is the base for watersports such as windsurfing, kayaking and bodyboarding. Scuba diving is available at an extra charge.

What's included? Local alcoholic and non-alcoholic-drinks, 24-hour snacks and dinner at a choice of two all-inclusive restaurants - a themed buffet and a steakhouse/grill. An introductory scuba diving lesson is part of the all-inclusive option.

What the operator says: Thomson Holidays acting general manager - long-haul product Shona Swain said: "Riu Bachata is the ultimate all-inclusive experience, particularly for those who have worked up an appetite on the water all day. The Bahia Maimon beach is stunning and the hotel is great value for money. It's the perfect Caribbean choice." All-inclusive rating: 3.5/5

Price: Thomson Holidays offers Riu Bachata at £679 per adult and from £419 per child. The property is 24-hour all-inclusive, so you can get drinks at any time of day, and the rooms feature a free mini bar. (Tel: 0871 231 3235)

 

Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort and Spa, Guardalavaca, Cuba.

Suggested by: Thomas Cook

Details: Activities at this adult-only, five-star property include aerobics, archery, bike riding, kayaking, mini-golf, sailing, snorkelling, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, waterpolo, windsurfing and an introductory scuba taster session. Frequent daytime activities and evening entertainment includes dance classes, Spanish lessons, pool/beach games and music.

What's included? Buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a choice of four a la carte restaurants for dinner (one evening reservation per week at each a la carte restaurant, subsequent reservations subject to availability) and 24-hour room service. Hot, soft and local brands of alcoholic drinks, and some international brands. Mini-bar stocked with local soft drinks, juice, beer and water. Sunloungers at the beach and pool are extra.

What the operator says: Thomas Cook product manager Emma Gray said: "The Paradisus Rio do Oro has a beach location and is close to more secluded beaches, making it a great option for water sports fans. It offers kayaks, pedaloes, sailing, snorkelling, water polo, windsurfing and an introductory scuba taster. The hotel has also recently opened a luxurious new spa. It's an adult-only hotel, so ideal for couples and honeymooners looking for a peaceful and romantic atmosphere with modern facilities."

All-inclusive rating: 4/5

Price: Thomas Cook has 14 nights at Paradisus Rio de Oro Resort and Spa from £1,199 per person. (Tel: 0871 230 2399)

 

Rest and relaxation

 

Sandos Caracol Beach Resort and Spa, Cancun, Mexico

Suggested by: Cosmos Distant Dreams

Details: This four-star property is situated in a quiet part of the Riviera Maya. It is laid out as a self-contained village, so guests get a feeling of going into individual restaurants rather than hotel dining rooms. The hotel has a gym with sauna, steam room and health and beauty treatments.

What's included? Offers a generous all-inclusive programme to suit gourmet travellers with seven bars offering unlimited international and local wine, local beer, cocktails and soft drinks served 24 hours a day and a selection of restaurants from Mexican buffet-style to Mediterranean a la carte. Watersports included in the price are windsurfing, canoeing, sailing and boogie boards.

What the operator says: Cosmos Distant Dreams product manager Alison Pritchard said: "This property is near exotic jungle surrounded by luscious vegetation where you can discover all the beauty of the Mexican Caribbean, but sufficiently close to Cancun if you want hustle and bustle. It really offers a chill-out experience for a fraction of the cost of other all-inclusive resorts."

All-inclusive rating: 4/5

Price: £439 per person. (Te; 0871 423 8518)

 

Reethi Beach, Maldives

Suggested by: Hayes and Jarvis

Details: The Maldives is synonymous with rest and relaxation and this four-star property is a friendly, casual, charming resort with good sports facilities. About 35 minutes north of Male by seaplane, in the unspoilt Baa Atoll.

What's included? Breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main restaurant (25% discount in the others), most drinks, including selected spirits. Two half-day excursions per week and use of windsurfing equipment, fitness centre, tennis, squash and badminton courts; one introductory dive.

What the operator says: Hayes and Jarvis programme director Lesley Rollo said: "For clients looking to completely get away from it all in a remote location, Reethi Beach on Foniagoodhoo Island in the Maldives' Baa Atoll is an ideal spot for rest and relaxation. There are plenty of secluded spots on the beach and the waters are clear and unpolluted for snorkelling and scuba diving."

All-inclusive rating: 3.5/5

Price: one week costs £1,475 per person. (Tel: 0871 664 0246; hayesandjarvis.co.uk/agents)

 

Family friendly

 

Holiday Village Sun Tropical, Lanzarote

Suggested by: First Choice.

Details: First Choice's own Holiday Village is a self-contained resort, specifically catering for families. There are five swimming pools, four spa pools, four restaurants and four bars, and extensive activity programmes for kids up to 15 years old. A choice of four restaurants: Italian, Spanish, grill and Chicken Shack.

Lots of activities for the whole family to do together, such as raft building and Olympic sports days.

What's included? All meals (either buffet or one of four à la carte restaurants, which can be visited once each per week). Kids' drinks and ice creams; local beers, wine and spirits. Kids club activities (apart from crèche charges for 0-2 years, which are payable locally, and some of the academy sessions, such as Reebok Soccer Academy).

What the operator says: First Choice lifestyle product development manager Tommy Lynch said: "Our Holiday Villages offer the ultimate family experience at a great price. The Holiday Village Sun Tropical in Lanzarote not only offers luxurious accommodation and great family rooms but excellent kids' clubs, including the chance to zip line, raft build, take DJ lessons and sing, dance and act at stage academy. It also boasts the biggest pool on the island."

All-inclusive rating: 4/5

Price: Seven nights at Holiday Village Sun Tropical starts at £509 per adult and £279 per child. (Tel: 0871 664 9019)

 

Voyager Beach Resort, Kenya

Suggested by: Hayes and Jarvis

Details: Four-star property themed as a cruise ship, with activities ranging from water polo, volleyball, parachuting and mini water Olympics. The more educationally minded can also use the interactive Adventure Centre to find out about indigenous animals and their habitats or learn about local communities and their cultures. An additional selling point is the opportunity to add on a two-night safari.

What's included? Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea from 4-5pm, dinner and selected snacks; local alcoholic and soft drinks. All-inclusive guests get a 50% discount of à la carte restaurant meals. Sports and water sports (excluding scuba diving, motorised water sports and windsurfing lessons) and nightly entertainment.

What the operator says: Hayes and Jarvis programme director Lesley Rollo: "This is a great alternative for a family holiday that's all-inclusive but a very different option to the traditional Caribbean resorts, with a similar flight time. Voyager has an imaginative programme of activities for children of all ages, including sports, games and educational activities."

All-inclusive rating: 3.5/5

Price: Seven nights costs £1,079 per adult and £499 per child. (Tel: 0871 664 0240; hayesandjarvis.co.uk/agents)

 

Short breaks

 

Hotel Jupiter, Majorca

Suggested by: Cosmos

Details: This three-star property in Alcudia, Majorca, offers excellent facilities for families, with its own children's village including playground, mini-club, mini-train, circus day, shows, entertainment zone and mini-disco.

Other activities include tennis, badminton, five-a-side football, mini-golf, boules, archery and rifle-shooting, water polo and pedalos on the hotel's own lake. The hotel also runs a wellness activity programme, including tai chi and pilates classes.

What's included? All meals, as well as snacks throughout the day and local drinks from selected bars from 8am to midnight. Ice cream for kids is free from 10.30am to midnight.

What the operator says: Cosmos product manager for Balearic Islands Jody Clapham said: "The Hotel Jupiter has been one of our most popular all-inclusive hotels for many years. It works well for short durations, as the journey time from the UK is very short and once there guests don't need to leave the complex. It gives exceptional value for money."

All-inclusive rating: 3.5/5

Price: Five nights costs £309 per person. (Tel: 0871 423 8518)

 

St Raphael Resort, Limassol, Cyprus

Suggested by: Olympic Holidays

Details: Cyprus is a good option for a short break as it has a wide range of flight options. This four-star property is in a quiet area, 20 minutes from the main part of Limassol. It has a good entertainment programme for kids and adults, with shows several times a week. There is also a health club and gym, with sauna and steam room.

What's included? Watersports and activities such as archery, badminton, volleyball and tennis. Choice of eating at four restaurants. Snacks and unlimited domestic and imported (house brands only) drinks until midnight.

What the operator says: Olympic Holidays commercial director Photis Lambrianides: "This resort has its own marina and is an excellent base for long, picturesque walks along the promenade or beach.

All-inclusive rating: 4/5

Price: four nights starts at £1,223 for two people. (Tel: 0844 499 4449, olympicholidays.co.uk/agents/signon.asp)

 

Weddings

 

Sentido Perissia Hotel, Side, Turkey

Suggested by: Thomas Cook

Details: A luxurious, romantic five-star property with a range of sports and leisure activities which include aerobics, aqua aerobics, basketball, darts, table tennis, tennis, volleyball and waterpolo.

What's included? Buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner in the choice of up to four à la carte restaurants (two in winter), for which reservations are required. Snacks served at selected times between meals. Unlimited hot, soft and alcoholic drinks served 24 hours a day in summer and a minimum of 12 hours per day in winter. Minibar is replenished every other day. Some international alcoholic drinks cost extra.

What the operator says: Thomas Cook product manager Vanessa Freeman said: "Set in the outskirts of Side, Perissia has fantastic beach and sea views. This property is based around the concept of awakening the five senses, with specially composed music, mood lighting and signature fragrances to create a unique atmosphere and making it an ideal location for a wedding."

All-inclusive rating: 4/5

Price: Seven nights costs from £569 per person. Wedding package costs from £599, including upgrade to honeymoon suite if available. (Tel: 0871 230 2399, thomascookworld.com)

 

Suggestion two: Paradise Cove Hotel and Spa, Mauritius

Suggested by: Hayes and Jarvis

Details: This five-star property on Anse la Raie is smaller than other hotels in the region and offers a more intimate wedding experience. Very secluded, yet only three miles from Grand Bay and near to the traditional Goodlands market.

What's included? Buffet breakfast, lunch at the Bikini Bar or snacks at the Cozy Corner bar, afternoon tea, theme dinner buffets or à la carte. Local spirits, local beers, house wine by the glass during lunch and dinner, local bottled mineral water, soft drinks, juices and coffee. Mini bar includes one daily refill and contains local beers and rum, soft drinks and juices.

What the operator says: Hayes and Jarvis programme director Lesley Rollo said: "Paradise Cove has proved a firm favourite for weddings for several years now because it is smaller and has more of a boutique style than many competitors in Mauritius. One of the benefits of this is more attentive and individual service. There are also some great offers for weddings and honeymoons, with free upgrades at particular times of the year and generous discounts for brides."

All-inclusive rating: 3.5/5

Price: £1,605 for the groom and £1,069 for the bride (the bride gets a discount). The wedding cost is £459. (Tel: 0871 664 0246; hayesandjarvis.co.uk)

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