All-Inclusive Or Not:
Honeymoon & Destination Wedding Specialist of Magical Escapes
it comes to planning your honeymoon, one of the questions that undoubtedly
comes to mind is: all-inclusive
or not? And even then, it is rarely so simple a question: what does
all-inclusive really mean? Is it right for me? What if I want a
couples-only retreat, or the ultimate pampering in luxury?
The answers to these questions is often where a Honeymoon Specialist
comes in, and can save you a lot of headache and hassle –
as well as securing the best deals – when it comes to planning
your honeymoon getaway. They know the All-Inclusive resorts, and
the differences between them, so they can make certain you have
exactly the honeymoon you want. You’ll also save with them,
because you won’t pay more using a Honeymoon Travel Agent;
in fact, many times you’ll pay less, and may get some extras,
like upgrades or spa credits, thrown in for free.
a single fee which covers accommodations, hotel taxes, tips &
gratuities, all meals, unlimited drinks, and a very long list of
activities available on or through the resort. What’s not
included? Airfare, departure taxes, purchases from the gift shops,
phone calls, rental cars, off-site excursions (with some exceptions),
and spa treatments are generally not included. Note that if you
choose to Cruise, drinks (both alcoholic and not) and tips are also
generally not included, unless you choose a luxury cruise line (like
Silversea or Crystal) or a River Cruise (where even the excursions
are included in your price).
So why should you choose an All-Inclusive resort? The best reason
of all: peace of mind.
spent months and months planning the perfect wedding, stressing
and sweating over every little detail. Now that the Big Day is done
and you’re off alone together on that perfect romantic getaway,
the last thing you want to do is sweat the little details, like
worrying if you have enough money for that romantic dinner together
or if you feel obligated to carry your own luggage because you can’t
spare a tip for the bellman. When you choose an all-inclusive resort,
all of that is already covered for you – you don’t need
to worry about an additional expenses that might add some stress
to what should be a relaxing time.
But it’s also true that All-Inclusive Resorts often save
you up to 25% off the rates of doing it all on your own. When comparing
costs, don’t forget that all meals and resort activities are
included, saving you considerable expense.
You also get the opportunity to try activities, sports, or even
drinks you’ve always wanted to try for free. Activities such
as snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, waterskiing, and more are often
complimentary, though always check with the resort to see exactly
what is included. For golf lovers and scuba enthusiasts, those all-inclusives
not only represent significant savings, you can indulge in the sports
you love most without denting the wallet.
you’re interested in a Destination Wedding, then an all-inclusive
becomes even more attractive: many all-inclusive resorts, especially
in the Caribbean and Mexico, include a wedding package for free
if you stay a minimum number of nights.
So what are the downfalls of an all-inclusive package?
Having that all-in-one price encourages you to stay on the resort,
rather than venture off it. If all you’re looking for is a
relaxing getaway where the beach is the furthest you wish to venture,
then this is definitely for you. But if you want to explore native
culture and cuisine, you may want to look at alternatives, or choose
an All-Inclusive that has several properties in the region and offers
sharing privileges (so that you can visit the other resorts and
enjoy their restaurants and activities). There are two big exceptions
to this rule, however: Couples Resorts, with four (soon to be five)
properties in Jamaica, and Palace Resorts, with properties in Cancun
and the Riviera Maya, Puerta Vallarta, and (soon to be) Dominican
Republic, offer tours and activities to local attractions as part
of their all-inclusive rate. For that reason, these two All-Inclusive
chains are among the best value properties out there – and
that’s not even going into the amazing resorts they offer.
As mentioned before, some extras – such as Spa treatments
– are not included, so if a Spa getaway is your ideal Honeymoon,
be certain to choose a resort that offers either an “all-inclusive”
spa package, or one with spa treatments already included. You can
save headache and money by pre-booking your treatments.
Choose your all-inclusive wisely: a long list of inclusions and
activities means very little if all you want to do is lounge on
the beach. But even if that is your goal, an all-inclusive may still
be the way to go if you don’t want to worry about money or
extra expenses during your honeymoon.
now you’ve decided you want an all-inclusive, but where should
you go? Here is just a sampling of some of the resorts and destinations
that you can choose from:
First, if you’re looking at Hawaii, think again. There are
no all-inclusive resorts in Hawaii. That being said, your Honeymoon
Specialist can help you put together a package including activities
and some meals to help you save.
Likewise, Tahiti & Her Islands
do not offer all-inclusives (with the exception of Club Med on Bora
Bora, though it does not offer overwater bungalows). Most resorts,
though, offer Meal Plans (usually a significant savings off of purchasing
the meals once you arrive), and you can pre-book most major activities
to create an all-inclusive package.
If you crave the South Pacific,
however, and want a try All-Inclusive experience, look instead towards
Fiji. Many resorts on these islands offer all-inclusive packages,
complete with meals, activities, and drinks. You’ll find that
many of these packages are the same cost as an all-inclusive in
the Caribbean, but offer a much more exotic and unique experience.
Or head on Down Under, to the Great Barrier Reef Islands or the
tropical Rainforest: Lizard Island and Bedarra Island offer all-inclusive
rates in an unforgettable tropical island setting, while Silky Oaks
Lodge set in the heart of the Rainforest offers a different, yet
Want something more exotic? In the Indian Ocean, off the coast
of Africa, look to Mauritius, the Seychelles, or Zanzibar. Combine
this with an African Safari – which are also all-inclusive,
and include all of your game drives – and you have the ultimate
But if you’re looking closer to home, there are All-Inclusive
Resorts throughout all of the Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America
(such as Costa Rica and Belize), even in some of the lesser well-known
area, giving you a wide number of resorts and locations to choose
from. If your mind is boggled by the number of choices, a Honeymoon
Specialist can help you narrow down the options, and find the all-inclusive
that best matches your dreams and budget.
Here’s just a few suggestions:
Couples Resorts in Jamaica. Offering four properties
(soon to be five), they are the cream of the crop when it comes
to All-Inclusives on this island (three of their resorts made Conde
Nast’s Gold List), with the highest satisfaction and repeat
rate among honeymooners. As their name implies, they are Couples
Only, and their all-inclusive rates include shopping shuttles, sunset
catamaran cruises, day trips, first spa treatment, and golf.
Resorts (voted Caribbean's Leading Hotel Brand for
the 13th consecutive year at the World Travel Awards) offers properties
throughout the Caribbean, including the more well-known destinations
of Jamaica and the Bahamas, as well as the romantic isles of Antigua
and St.Lucia. They offer not only Concierge service, but on most
resorts offer Butler Service as well for that true pampering experience.
Even better, they have a hurricane guarantee, offering a free return
trip if a hurricane interrupts your honeymoon (a great deal for
those with weddings in hurricane season).
SuperClubs offers resorts in the Bahamas, Brazil,
Curacao, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, and include all the
creature comforts plus scuba diving, golf, and nude beaches at many
Palace Resorts in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Puerto
Vallarta, and (opening this year) the Dominican Republic, offers
both Adults only and Family properties, with golf included in some
locations. Their Passport Promotion includes sightseeing, activities,
and tours throughout the local regions, all included!
Elite Island Resorts, with properties in Antigua,
St.Lucia, Grand Cayman, Tortola (BVI), St.Kitts, and the private
island resort of Palm Island, offers more upscale all-inclusives
in some locations for those desiring a little more elegance and
Karisma Resorts, in the Riviera Maya, offers exceptional
properties. The El Dorado Seaside Suites is one of Forbes.com “Most
Romantic Hotels,” and El Dorado Royale has earned AAA’s
prestigious Four Diamond award. And for total stresslessness and
the ultimate in pampering, look no further than Azul Blue Hotel.
This is vacation sanctuary designed especially for rest, relaxation
and tranquility, and everything about Azul Blue Hotel has been designed
with that in mind. Its 96 suites boast marble baths, plasma-screen
TVs and iPod docking stations, as well as Butlers who unpack or
But if luxury is truly on your mind, then Royal Hideaway
Playacar is the All-Inclusive Resort for you. The first
adults-only all-inclusive resort to win the presitigious Five Diamond
award from AAA, Royal Hideaway is a place where service and style
come together in such grand fashion that it will forever change
the way you view the word vacation. You'll reside in luxurious villa
accommodations, and be waited upon by extensive concierge service
and poolside attendants to ensure you spend more time relaxing and
less time thinking.
If you don’t want to remain land-locked, consider a Cruise.
Accommodations, meals, and all onboard activities and entertainment
are included, with the added bonus of visiting several exciting
ports of call. Cruises are offered all over the world: explore the
Caribbean, or head off to Europe, the South Pacific, even Africa
and Asia. Luxury lines like Silversea and Crystal include drinks
and, in some cases, shore excursions in their prices. Or, if you
want something a little different, take a River Cruise, where drinks
and excursions are usually included, and where you get a more intimate
exploration of Europe or China.
Regardless of which resort or destination you choose, you’ll
find that an all-inclusive resort is the perfect way to ensure a
stress-free honeymoon, where you can focus on each other and not
worry about budgeting meals or activities. Peace of mind is a priceless
extra that you will want to be sure you include in your honeymoon,
and choosing All-Inclusive is one way to do it.
About Michelle Mangio
Michelle Mangio is the owner of Magical Escapes Vacations, based
in Attleboro, MA. She is a certified Honeymoons & Destination
Weddings Specialist, who likes to add that extra special touch to
honeymoon vacations to make them truly unforgettable. With expertise
in many popular honeymoon locations, including Tahiti & the
South Pacific, Australia, Aruba, Hawaii, Cancun, and more, she has
the knowledge and contact to plan that perfect honeymoon getaway.
About Magical Escapes Vacations
Magical Escapes Vacation is a full-service travel agency specializing
in complete destination planning for any occasion. “Don’t
just make reservations. Make experiences. Create memories. Live
your dreams.” Let Magical Escapes Vacations take the stress
and uncertainty out of vacation planning by assisting you in creating
a vacation to remember for a lifetime. Our unique personalized approach
will exceed your expectations. We treat each vacation like it was
our own, and will work with you to find the perfect getaway. So
escape away today… because everyone deserves a vacation.
For more information, contact Michelle at Magical Escapes Vacations
toll-free at 866-698-7849 or locally at 508-717-2535, by email at
michelle @ magicalescapes.com,
or online at http://www.magicalescapes.com
Magical Escapes Vacations – http://www.magicalescapes.travel
(This article originally appeared in the April
2007 Edition of the Wedding