As price-conscious customers drive a boom in all-inclusive packages, Katie McGonagle looks at the best-value breaks.
It’s easy to see the attraction of all-inclusive breaks. Holidaymakers can set their budget in advance, so costs won’t spiral out of control. Plus, they don’t have to worry about the hassle of finding places to eat or things to do as it’s all sorted for them.
But all-inclusive packages come in every shape and size – and some clearly offer more than others.
With more than 40% of travellers saying value is the most important factor in choosing a holiday, it’s worth searching for the break that offers your clients the most for their money.
BEST FOR FOODIES
Hotels that impose restrictions on snacks and drinks or that offer little more than canteen-style dining can leave guests feeling short-changed. To make sure clients get great value for money, choose somewhere with a wide range of dining options.
Long-haul: The Sandals Grande Riviera in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, has undergone a $60 million makeover and gives guests a vast choice of 15 dining options in stunning locations around the resort, whether they want service straight to their sun lounger or an elegant à la carte restaurant.
Menus include hearty Italian fare, traditional Jamaican jerk, Asian fusion cooking and a beachside grill, plus five bars offering premium brand drinks as part of Sandals’ Luxury Included package.
Prices start at £1,485 for nine nights travelling between August 20 and November 10 with Sandals, including return flights and resort transfers.
Short-haul: Flexibility is the name of the game at the Constantinou Bros Pioneer Beach Hotel in Paphos, Cyprus, which not only gives guests a choice of menus, but also lets them opt for half-board on certain days so they can have the best of both worlds.
Visitors staying in superior rooms can enjoy unlimited dining at the resort’s romantic à la carte restaurant (while those in standard rooms have two visits factored into the package price), plus restaurants specialising in Mediterranean cuisine, Italian cooking and an international buffet – and a stocked minibar on arrival to boot.
The Thomson Couples hotel has been refurbished and reopens in May this year. Seven nights in a standard room starts at £999 per person, based on two sharing, for departures in May.
BEST FOR SPA LOVERS
It’s hard to find a hotel that doesn’t have a spa these days, but that can mean anything from a basic sauna and whirlpool bath to a full-service health suite offering massage, facials and full use of the facilities. For clients keen to relax in style, check whether spa treatments come as part of the all-inclusive package.
Long-haul: Yoga, tai chi and meditation classes held in the garden pavilions are part of the all-inclusive offering at La Source in Grenada. And if that isn’t enough to soothe the soul, daily 50-minute spa treatments are also included, giving guests a choice of body exfoliation, foot or head massage, full body massage, aromatherapy and restorative facials.
The adult-only hotel is also set on Pink Gin Beach with its beautiful pink-toned sand, and boasts three pools, a whirlpool bath and fitness suite. Packages include all meals, unlimited premium brand drinks and activities. A luxury room from Kuoni starts at £1,649 per person based on two sharing for a week in April, including flights and transfers.
Short-haul: The five-star Cavo Spada Luxury Resort & Spa in Crete offers guests the ultimate in pampering. The ultra all-inclusive package provides unlimited use of the sauna, hammam and whirlpool bath plus 90 minutes of spa treatments, ranging from massages, anti-ageing treatments and body detox to manicures, pedicures and hairdressing.
Olympic Holidays offers seven nights’ ultra all-inclusive for £899 in June, including flights and transfers.
BEST FOR ACTIVE HOLIDAYMAKERS
Relaxing on a sun lounger is the last thing on active travellers’ minds, as they set out for an action-packed adventure. Some resorts are more geared up than others to cater for extra activities, and offer on-site sports.
Long-haul: Meeru Island Resort in the Maldives has its own dive centre, which caters for any level of experience. The all-inclusive package features a 30-minute snorkelling lesson around the resort’s beautiful reef, a 20-minute windsurfing session and half an hour’s golf tuition. Plus there are tennis, volleyball and badminton courts, football pitches, kayaks and windsurfing, and a driving range and putting green to keep guests occupied the rest of the time.
A seven-night break with Hayes & Jarvis starts at £1,195 including flights with Emirates in May and in-resort transfers.
Short-haul: The watersports on offer in Bodrum, Turkey, will be a hit with any active holidaymakers. The Hotel Baia Bodrum is one of Cosmos Holidays’ ultra all-inclusive properties. Its tennis courts, basketball, beach volleyball and gym mean there will never be a dull moment. For evening entertainment, there is a cinema, disco and music shows.
A week with Cosmos starts from £479 (departing in October), or £869 per adult and £549 per child during June half-term.
BEST FOR KIDS’ FACILITIES
Keeping the kids happy is a virtuous circle for agents – it’ll keep mum and dad happy too, so they’ll book with you again.
Long-haul: The Savannah Beach Hotel in Barbados has a Pirate’s Cove kids’ club for three to eight-year-olds, or Finn’s Surf Lodge for older ones, up to the age of 16. Its family entertainment centre makes use of interactive social gaming technology as well as sports and two swimming pools.
Family suites offer interconnecting rooms with bunk beds for the kids, games consoles, flatscreen TVs and DVD players.
An all-inclusive week with Virgin Holidays starts from £1,149 per adult and £349 for the first child, with return flights and transfers, between August and October.
Short-haul: For families seeking out varied children’s facilities without a long flight, it’s hard to beat Playa de las Americas in Tenerife. From this year, the Gran Oasis Resort’s package includes unlimited visits to Siam Park, an oriental-inspired water park with thrilling rides and a huge wave pool.
The resort also has a children’s pool, playground and mini disco, and entertainment day and night. Seven nights’ all-inclusive with Jet2holidays.com starts from £2,599 for two adults and two children, including flights and transfers.
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