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Top tips for what to know before you go to an all-inclusive resort

Arrive at your all-inclusive resort prepared for a stress-free vacation, complete with spacious rooms, diverse dining options and exciting activities. | By Joanna Tweedy | March 1, 2023

What could be more relaxing than a vacation where on-site dining and drinks — at a wide range of restaurants — fun activities for all ages and your choice of rooms are included in the price you pay up front? All-inclusive resorts know what travelers want during a stress-free getaway.

Whether you’re a first timer or ready to dip a toe back in after enjoying alternative types of vacations, this guide will help you plan the perfect all-inclusive stay.

  • Explore: Experience local culture and scenery with one-of-a kind local excursions

  • Relax: Book a massage at the spa or simply soak up the sun on white sand beaches

  • Play: Hop on Jet Skis, reserve an intimate dinner or try your hand at the roulette table

Bedroom Suite Oceanfront King suite
Diverse room categories make booking the perfect accommodations a breeze.

Get the right room for you

The first part of a perfect all-inclusive stay starts with the essentials: Rooms and dining. If watching a dreamy sunrise from the comfort of your bed or knowing you’ll have the same table at your favorite restaurant each night are requirements high on your vacation wish-list, an all-inclusive resort will deliver.

Carefully browsing different room categories before you book your all-inclusive vacation is an easy way to make sure expectations and reality are matched when you arrive. At Hilton Cancun, an All-Inclusive Resort in Mexico, you’ll find Ocean View, Tropical View and Swim Up room options — available as both guestrooms and suites.

Meanwhile, the price you’ll pay for your all-inclusive stay is based on three things: room category, number and age of guests and the number of nights you'll be staying. A top tip is to always state the exact ages of children traveling when you’re exploring options — you might be able to get an extra discount for younger vacationers (plus, at some properties, guests under 2 years old stay for free!).

At Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica, for example, children's fees are less than their adult counterparts, and this pricing variance is common at many family-friendly all-inclusive resorts. More focused on fur babies? Some resorts will also welcome your pet — simply use the reservation filters to include 'Pet-Friendly' when booking your stay.

Planning a group get together for family or friends? If you’re a party of 10 or more, it’s worth speaking directly to the resort's group sales manager. There are likely to be group-focused incentives and discounts that you can access.

Couple in Cabana at Poolside with Champagne shot 1
Upgrade your stay by booking premium access to exclusive packages and amenities such as a personal concierge and private pools.

Premium perks

Splashing out on a premium stay means not only will you enjoy in-room luxury amenities (how does nightly turn-down service and an upgraded mini-bar sound?) but you’re also likely to unlock other in-resort benefits, too.

The best club-level guestrooms offer a slew of perks designed to make your stay extra special, often including treats like a welcome gift upon arrival, premium Wi-Fi, luxurious robes and slippers and a personal concierge at your disposal. Exclusive across-resort benefits may also extend to a private check-in, ensuring you can access your guestroom early and get straight to exploring the resort.

Opting for a premium package can also provide access to pools and lounges reserved for fewer guests. At Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort, Enclave club-level guests enjoy premium suites and entry to an exclusive lounge with dining, drinks and snacks, and an 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. concierge. Two private pools with luxurious loungers are also included alongside wellness and fitness activities and exclusive access to dining at Mexican seafood restaurant Chiringuito Cocomar.

Children playing foosball
Dial down the stress by taking advantage of supervised (and fun!) all-inclusive kids and teens clubs.

Fun for all ages

All-inclusive vacations are ideal for families, with entertainment and relaxation options on offer in equal measures for every age.

All-inclusive resorts put diverse dining options on the vacation menu too, with multiple on-property restaurants serving everything from kid-friendly dishes to fine dining, ensuring even the fussiest eater is likely to love mealtimes.

The swimming pools — and their tangle of slides — may often be the first port of call for children, but there are many other activities to try your hand at during an all-inclusive vacation, with every age group from babies and tots to teens offered tailor-made fun.

Younger children will love the dawn till dusk entertainment on offer at the kids clubs — think treasure hunts, campouts and arts and crafts sessions — all in a safe environment supervised by childcare professionals.

At the other end of the age spectrum, teens up to the age of 17 are just as well catered for. Clubs are often open late (meaning parents can relax too), with activities such as foam parties, gaming, movie nights and sports in the mix.

No matter your travel-style (or companions), choosing an all-inclusive resort for your next vacation is a guaranteed way to ensure maximum enjoyment and minimal stress. Leave the details up to the resort staff while you sit back and relax in a new destination.

Joanna Tweedy is an award-winning travel writer and editor who lives in London.

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