Not that kind of “All-Inclusive”

As a luxury travel advisor, I often have clients wince when I mention that a resort is “all-inclusive.” Let’s face it, the word often conjures up images of feeling captive in a low quality compound in the Dominican Republic or Cancun where you can eat and drink unlimited quantities—if only it were worth consuming! No matter how “free” something feels because it is “already included,” if the glass of wine, pool-side cocktail or dinner menu options are not quality products, then the proposition holds little value.

There are many so-called “all-inclusive” properties, but when you are pre-paying for your food and beverage along with your lodging, price really does matter.  If one property is priced significantly less, there is a reason for that. You get what you pay for!

Related: You can’t VIP yourself

I like to explain to my clients that the type of properties that we recommend are not necessarily “all-inclusive” but more of an “everything-included.” The true joy in this concept is that you pay for your stay and never have to think about how much anything costs while you are on vacation. You get to feel more like you are a guest in someone’s home being encouraged to raid the snack cabinet rather than having to worry about flagging down a waiter to get the bill after every transaction. You feel free to indulge in maybe just one cocktail more at sunset, and to order just about anything you fancy on any of the menus available. This is a lovely concept when you travel with a bunch of kids, are enjoying a fine and potentially expensive special trip, or when you are traveling as part of a multi-generational family trip or a great group of couples – there is no worry about who is going to reach for the tab!

I would like to let you in on some of my favorite “everything-included” properties below that make for a one of a kind holiday when you are seeking something special and simply want to enjoy the moment!

Often people think of the Caribbean or fun holiday islands when they think of all-inclusive, and two of my favorite “everything-included” properties are on Antigua:

Hermitage Bay, Antigua is incredibly romantic—its privacy and calm are why this place is so great for honeymooners! The onsite chef prepares special and unique menus that change daily.

Curtain Bluff is about as good as it gets for active, social families who want great food and tons do without having to worry about all the extra add-on costs!

Ranch holidays are generally “everything-included,” meaning anything you would like to eat or drink and most of the active adventures including horseback riding, zip lining, ropes courses, fishing, and cycling.

Picture courtesy of The Ranch at Rock Creek

Ranch at Rock Creek near Bozeman, MT is the ultimate western retreat.

Clayoquot on Vancouver Island, British Colombia is the ultimate luxury wilderness retreat, and it’s accessible only by seaplane.

Cruising is a great way to travel and as long as it is the right ship, everything from champagne and caviar on the lido deck to martinis and cheese delivered to your stateroom should be part of the equation. Some of my favorites are Silversea with all suites and butler service, Ponant with small sleek French run ships, and Crystal Cruises with spectacular yachts, river cruises and larger ships.

Adventure trips like cycling the Dolomites, walking the Greek Isles, hiking Patagonia, exploring Alaska, and sailing Antarctica are often “everything-included.” Your guides, hotels, lavish meals, and snacks galore are included while you are out burning calories on your daily adventures. Resort to Laura Madrid works with the very best outfitters and can absolutely ensure you are booking with the best and getting the very best value!

Special hotels in the Northeast that we absolutely love include The Point on Lake Saranac and Twin Farms. These properties are great for summer fun, or simply an excellent place to enjoy the fall foliage. Open bars are set up in the most unexpected and delightful spots making these excellent celebration locations, and each meal is highly anticipated!

Safari life is, of course, a one of a kind experience and may be the most expensive trip you ever take, however you have to remember that, with the exception of leaving staff tips, absolutely everything is included.  At Singita Boulders in South Africa or Singita Sasakwa Lodge in Tanzania, this may even include raiding the wine cellar, not to mention game drives, gourmet meals, mini-bar, laundry, and just about anything you can think of!

Related: What to expect on safari in Africa

My favorite “everything-included” at 14,000 feet is Titilaka, located in Peru on the highest navigable lake in the world.

For those seeking more of a traditional “all-inclusive” (the kind of resort that you do think of when you hear that word), the very best of the best that will definitely not disappoint is Grand Velas Riviera Maya. It has a great variety of restaurants, quality service, all suite accommodations, and the kind of freshly prepared margaritas you really do want to drink!

Resort to Laura Madrid can give you the skinny on any of these special places, take care of your reservations, and ensure you are treated like V.I.P. that you are, EVERYTHING-INCLUDED!

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