12 Best Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts in the Caribbean, 2017
Gleaming beaches, glamorous guest rooms, and gourmet cuisine are just some of the features of the best luxury all-inclusive Caribbean resorts. Knowing your stay includes food, beverages, and many activities creates a totally relaxing vacation, where you don't have to worry about dealing with money. The Caribbean offers all-inclusive luxury hotels to suit every type of traveler, whether you want to unplug from the workaday world or sign up for a busy schedule of tropical adventures. You can escape to a private island, hide away at an adults-only haven, or frolic with the family at an activity-packed resort. Return guests are a testament to the quality of a resort, and all these contenders boast hordes of loyal followers. From private islands in Antigua and the Bahamas to honeymoon havens in St. Lucia, and family-friendly hotels in the Turks & Caicos and Grenada, these luxury all-inclusive Caribbean resorts are the best of the best.
1 Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, Antigua
Accessible only by boat, the superlative Jumby Bay sits on 300 palm-dappled acres at the end of an exclusive, car-free private island off the coast of Antigua. Jumby comes from the Antiguan word "jumbee" for "playful spirit," and it's an apt description of the relaxed elegance and care-free vibe here. The staff genuinely seem to love what they do, anticipating your every whim.
In a country known for its beautiful beaches, those on Jumby Island more than live up to the hype, with glittering white sand and crystal clear water, and the cuisine here is as impressive as the beaches. Meals in the fine-dining Estate House rival that of Michelin-starred restaurants, and more casual options beckon by the pool and beach.
The 40 air-conditioned luxury guest rooms and villas come with features like romantic four-poster beds, wrap-around terraces, Italian linens, Bose sound systems, large TVs, and private outdoor gardens with rain showers. The red-roofed villas and homes add extra features like swimming pools, private chefs, and personal butlers, but all the accommodations boast dazzling palm-framed views of that impossibly blue sea. You can spend your days honing your body at the gym; swanning around at one of the pools, including a stunning infinity pool; cycling around the island; playing tennis or golf; or luxuriating at Sense Spa, with a "Castaway Journey" that includes a couples massage aboard a private yacht. Guests with an eco bent, can sign up for the island's well-established recycling and conservation projects, such as the Hawksbill Turtle Preservation Program. Children are welcome here and enjoy a special list of activities at "Rosebuds," crafted just for them.
2 Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia
Adults-only Jade Mountain Resort clings to the side of a cliff with one of the most dramatic views in the Caribbean: St. Lucia's twin volcanic peaks, the Pitons, rising from the Caribbean Sea. Every space in the resort - including each guest room - is completely open on the ocean side, making you feel as though you are merging with the mesmerising views. Honeymooners and couples love this tropical hideaway, which caters to those who are seeking privacy and pampering as well as more action-packed adventure - if you can tear yourself away from the resort.
Curvy lines and stacked stone are the most distinctive features of the building, which is built on platforms extending out towards the sea. Bridges lead between the spaces, enhancing the outdoor focus. Sprawling and spacious, the 24 open-sided guest rooms are aptly called "sanctuaries" and come with features like private infinity pools and 15-foot-high ceilings, yet all are totally private. Five SKY jacuzzi suites come with hot tubs, but no pool, and all the suites feature large living areas, four-poster beds, sustainably harvested tropical hardwoods, local stone, jalousie louvers, Frette bathrobes and towels, and around-the-clock butlers ("Major Domos") who can be summoned in seconds. TVs and telephones are intentionally absent to preserve the resort's peaceful ambiance, although Wi-Fi is available.
Fresh produce from the resort's organic farm stars in the cuisine, which flaunts a fusion of tropical flavors. You can dine by the infinity pool at the Jade Mountain Club, or at Anse Mamin or Anse Chastanet, the 600-acre sister resort on the silvery-sand beach below. Favorite pastimes here include swimming in the infinity pool, hiking and biking on the resort's 600-acre plantation, relaxing at the spa, bird-watching, and yoga. Watersports like kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, and snorkeling on the coral reefs, are a walk away down steep stairs at Anse Chastanet beach, or you can hop aboard the resort's shuttle. Fitness buffs can tone at the gym, and day trips to the botanical gardens, volcano, and sulphur springs are also popular. The all-inclusive rates are optional here, but the remote location and high-quality cuisine make them a popular choice.
3 The Meridian Club, Turks & Caicos
Strung along a stunning white-sand beach on a private 800-acre island in Turks & Caicos called Pine Cay, The Meridian Club is your tropical island fantasy come true. This is a fantastic choice if you really want to get away from it all and mingle with a small group of like-minded guests in a relaxed yet upscale resort. Barefoot elegance is the mood here, and shoes are always optional. Beach connoisseurs can bask on one of the most spectacular beaches in the Caribbean, with two miles of blindingly white sand and luminous turquoise water.
The 13 rooms are strung along the beach and typically feature bright tropical colors, outdoor showers, screened porches, and in-room Wi-Fi. Four premium beachfront rooms also come with air-conditioning. Honeymooners love the Sand Dollar Cottage, with its secluded setting, and families usually book one of the island's private homes.
The cuisine spotlights seafood and fresh tropical fruits, with six-course tasting menus, a la carte options, and themed buffet dinners, and dining venues range from the bistro to your own private stretch of beach. Activities are low-key, and you can put your phone away, because water sports take center stage. Snorkeling, diving, and fishing are superb in the surrounding waters, with excellent visibility and flourishing coral reefs. You can also kayak, swim, sail, and paddleboard. Landlubbers can play tennis, bike, beachcomb, or play one of the many games, and the resort offers fun social events like drive-in movie nights on golf carts. Many guests leave here with life-long friends, and the repeat clientele is a testament to the warm, friendly service. This is also an environmentally sensitive resort with many green initiatives to minimize the impact to this pristine island. The resort prides itself that it's what they don't offer that keeps guests coming back here year after year: no phone, no TVs, and no locks.
Accommodation: The Meridian Club, Turks & Caicos
4 Petit St. Vincent Resort, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
On the private island of Petit St. Vincent, you can be a social butterfly or hole up in your private seaview cottage and never see another soul. This unpretentious island resort, a short hop by boat from Union Island, is a good match if you're seeking an unplugged vacation with plenty of sea air, sunshine, and serenity. With a staff to guest ratio of 3:1, you'll feel totally pampered.
Tucked along the hillside or strung along the beach, the bright and breezy stone-walled cottages and two-bedroom villas have dreamy sea views. They are all completely private and feature Italian linens, bright splashes of Caribbean blues and greens, air-conditioning, indoor and outdoor dining areas, Bose iPod docking stations, Nespresso coffee machines, and sliding glass doors that open up to expansive decks. TVs, phones, and Wi-Fi are intentionally absent, so that you can unplug and unwind, though Wi-Fi is available at reception. If you want something, just raise the yellow flag at your cottage, and the attentive staff will answer the call. You can also raise the red flag for total privacy.
The cuisine here spotlights fresh-caught seafood and fruit and vegetables from the island's organic farm. At the Beach restaurant, you can dig your toes in the soft sand while you dine under rustling palms, or you can feast at the main restaurant perched on the hillside. Weekly beach barbecues with music and dancing provide a great chance to mix with the other guests. Activities include swimming and snorkeling in the ocean (PSV doesn't have a pool), sailing, yoga, tennis, golf on a nearby island, and private picnics at the location of your choice. If you need help shifting into relaxation mode, the Balinese-inspired Hillside Spa can help you with its menu of soothing body treatments.
Accommodation: Petit St. Vincent Resort, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
5 Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico
Curving seductively like the contours of the shoreline, this low-rise family-friendly resort hugs a beautiful bone-white beach with turquoise water, a five-minute drive from Playa del Carmen in Mexico. Parents love the Kid's Club and high-tech Teen Club here, which are difficult to find at upscale all-inclusives.
The resort is divided into three accommodation sections: Grand Class, with sea views, is for adults and teens 16 years and older; Ambassador, also with sea views, caters to families with younger kids; and the Zen Grand Natural View is ideal for families and business travelers, with views of the jungle and koi-filled fish ponds. The decor is sleek and sophisticated. Standard features include 42" plasma TVs; Wi-Fi; 24-hour room service; spa-like bathrooms with jetted tubs; and private patios, some with plunge pools. Pillow menus, private butlers, and turndown enhance the luxurious feel here. With eight restaurants on site serving everything from Italian-Mediterranean, French, and Asian cuisine to fresh Mexican flavors, you'll never go hungry.
The bonus about this location is that you have plenty of interesting day trip options, including tours to the ancient Mayan sites of Tulum or Chichen Itza; horseback riding and ziplining in the jungle; and Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, you can enjoy a soothing treatment at the holistic spa, kayak, snorkel, sail, and fish. At the beach, the sea floor is a little rocky in parts, so you need to pick where you swim, but you can also take a dip in the curvy oceanfront infinity pool or children's pool. Diving is excellent around the island of Cozumel, which sits just off the coast, and the gym features state-of-the-art equipment and a range of workout classes. A business and convention center are also on-site. This is the perfect choice for couples and families seeking a beachfront escape with access to technology and plenty of recreational options and cultural excursions on tap.
6 The Caves, Jamaica
Clinging to a cliff-top above a network of sea caves in Negril, adults-only The Caves scores top points for its unique setting and colorful personality. But don't let the name fool you, the bright Caribbean-style cottages strung along the cliff-top here are anything but cave-like. All are air-conditioned and completely private, and each is unique, from the one-bedroom suites to the three-bedroom Clandestino private villa. Typical features include bright Caribbean colors, thatched roofs, white louvres, outdoor showers, four-poster beds draped with mosquito nets, fans, and nightly turn-down service. The colorful Jamaican style continues with the cuisine. Authentic Jamaican jerk barbecue and fresh banana pancakes are just some of the dishes on the menu, which spotlights wholesome cooking and fresh local produce. You can dine in sea-view gazebos, in the dining room, or in a candlelit sea cave. The ability to help yourself to food and snacks in the kitchen and the warm, friendly staff make guests feel at home here.
Cave swimming, cliff jumping, and snorkeling are the most popular activities, with ladders and stairs descending to the turquoise waters sloshing right under your room. You can also take a dip in the clifftop pools and hot tubs or relax with a Jamaican brown sugar body scrub at the spa. While not ultra luxurious, this intimate resort in Jamaica is much loved for its quirky personality, warm hospitality, and spectacular setting.
Address: 144 One Love Drive, Negril, Jamaica
7 Palm Island Resort & Spa, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
On a 135-acre private island in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Palm Island is a honeymoon haven and the perfect getaway for laidback island lovers who want to totally relax and escape the rat race. It's all about the beach here. Five powdery hammock-slung (and yes, palm-lined) beaches fringe the shores, and you may struggle to see other guests as you stroll around the island. Almost half of the guest rooms, suites, and villas edge the beach. The others are only a short hop away. The spacious suites and some of the villas are ideal for families, although the resort only accommodates children older than 12 or 16, depending on the time of year. All the rooms are air-conditioned and come with rustic island features like bamboo and rattan furniture as well as cotton robes, deep tubs, and private terraces. Four villas have multiple bedrooms and infinity edge pools. You won't hear TVs and telephones here, just the gentle slosh of the ocean, although you can get your electronic fix in the lounge.
Dining is a sea-view affair with international and island-inspired cuisine served in the two restaurants. Beach barbecues and social events add to the fun, and the resort arranges private beach dinners and picnics on request. Activities at this relaxing resort are fairly low-key. You can swim, snorkel, and dive in the clear blue waters surrounding the island or at the nearby Tobago Cays, go deep-sea fishing, wander the nature trails, play table tennis and shuffleboard, or explore the island on the complimentary bikes. The resort also has a lovely pool, spa, library, and gym.
Accommodation: Palm Island Resort & Spa, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
8 Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages and Spa, Turks & Caicos
Fantastic for active families with young kids, Beaches Turks and Caicos buzzes with energy. It sits on sublime Grace Bay, one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, but with the dizzying array of activities available here, you might never want to leave the resort. Within the borders of this sprawling property are a massive Pirates Island water park, with a lazy river ride and wave simulator; four themed villages modeled on the Caribbean, Key West, Italy, and France; 19 international restaurants; six pools; an Xbox play lounge; teen disco; a spa complex; and shopping center.
Accommodation choices cover more than 24 different room types, from two-bedroom family suites to four-bedroom villas, and personal butlers are available in the top-tier categories. Typical features include 42-inch flat-screen TVs, X-Box systems, multi-function game tables, marble baths, and rain showers. The choice of cuisine is just as varied, with everything from Japanese and Jamaican to Southwestern and sushi. Free activities include all water sports and instruction - even motorized sports such as water skiing, glass bottom boats, and tubing. Divers will love the free scuba dives, an unusual feature for all-inclusive resorts. Multiple pools tick every swimmer's fantasy box and you can also sign up for a long list of sports and games. The resort's no-tipping policy also makes this a true all-inclusive. If you're seeking a romantic escape free from shrieking kids, this is not the best match, but for social, fun-loving families, it's a hit.
9 Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If you're seeking some serious down time in the Dominican Republic, with a dreamy white-sand beach, sparkling pools, and a deluxe spa, Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana is a top choice - especially for families. This is a big step up from the bustling all-inclusives that seem to dominate in the Dominican Republic. The resort sits only two miles from the busy resort strip of Bávaro, so you can access all the island action and then retreat to this peaceful sanctuary when you're ready to relax. Children are welcome here, and the many enrichment classes, from cooking to painting, mean that even busy bees will have plenty of things to do.
The 96 suites range from one- to three-bedrooms and have a contemporary, island feel, with thatched roofs, hardwood floors, sleek bamboo four-poster beds, deep soaking tubs, and French doors opening out onto private verandahs with either sea or garden views. The resort's 24-hour butler service ensures you can craft the holiday of your dreams. Four chic restaurants, dish up everything from classic Dominican flavors, to organic, European, and Creole cuisine, and in-suite dining is available 24 hours a day. Spa-lovers can relax with a soothing treatment, from bamboo scrubs to deep sea mud wraps, and a gym is on site for fitness buffs.
Day trip possibilities are endless here, with plenty of nearby tourist attractions. You can visit historic villages, sail to secluded islands, go horseback riding, play a few rounds of golf, or choose from a huge menu of water sports. Adults can also sign up for the enrichment classes, which include everything from yoga and painting to cooking, cigar rolling, and horseback riding on the beach. Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana also participates in several green initiatives, making it a great hideaway for eco-sensitive travelers. Sign up for the Endless Privilege package, and you can score extras such as a free massage and horseback ride on the beach.
10 Fowl Cay Resort, The Bahamas
Closet castaways will feel right at home at Fowl Cay Resort, where a maximum of only 28 guests are ensconced on their own private island in the Exumas. This remote island chain in the Bahamas boasts some of the most sublime beaches on the planet, where the water comes in eye-popping shades of blue, and the sand is as white as sugar. This is a place for privacy-seekers who prefer a casual vibe (no need to dress for dinner here). Best of all, each villa comes with your own golf cart and motorboat with unlimited gas - an excellent option for independent types, who love to create their own adventures.
The six luxury one- to two-bedroom villas, with fully-stocked kitchens and wet bars, are strung along the dazzling shores of this private 50-acre island overlooking the luminous sea. Staff deliver fresh fruit and warm breakfast pastries to your villa each morning, and gladly prepare picnic lunches to take on all your adventures. Spend your days here on the island swimming in the pool or playing tennis, bocce ball, or horseshoe. You can also venture out onto the hypnotic blue sea to go bonefishing or deep-sea fishing, or to snorkel the famous Thunderball Grotto, swim with nurse sharks, explore the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, or meet the famous swimming pigs. In the evenings, guests gather at Hill House to dine and chat about their adventures.
11 Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada
Sitting right on the soft sands of Grand Anse, Grenada's most popular beach, the family-run Spice Island Beach Resort is as cute as its name. You won't find flashy discos and butlers at this unassuming boutique resort, just warm and friendly personal service, comforting Creole-style food, and plenty of return guests. Sea grape, lemon, and almond trees frame pretty views of the beach and provide plenty of privacy for the 64 suites sprinkled along the sand. All the suites are decorated in contemporary Caribbean style, and many boast four-poster beds, outdoor dining terraces, and private plunge pools.
The food here is as authentic as the hospitality. Zingy island flavors are served fine-dining style at the beachfront restaurant or terrace, with steel bands and other local music on select nights. Activities range from swimming in the free-form pool, relaxing with spice-infused spa treatments, playing tennis or golf (green fees are included), working out at the fitness center, cycling, snorkeling, sailing, or kayaking. Kids can keep busy at the Nutmeg Pod Children's Activity Center. Eco-friendly initiatives add to the list of things to love about this resort, and Spice Island is also smoke-free. This is a top choice if you prefer an unpretentious vibe, where you don't have to dress up for dinner, and you can spend your days sprawled in a hammock gazing out at the beautiful blue sea.
Accommodation: Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada
12 Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort & Private Island, Montego Bay
Boasting brand new over-the-water bungalows, among the first of their kind in the Caribbean, couples-only Sandals Royal Caribbean is a top choice for honeymooners and hopeless romantics. One of the many perks here is the Play at 3 Program, which gives you unlimited access to two other nearby Sandals resorts and expands your choice of facilities to 20 restaurants, 12 pools, and 10 whirlpools. Roundtrip transfers between the resorts are included in the rates.
The accommodation spans several different tiers, but the pick of the bunch are the new over-the-water bungalows, perched around the resort's private island. See-through glass floors provide a window into the underwater wonderland below, and the outdoor soaking tubs for two and double hammocks amp up the romance. All these bungalows come with butlers, 24-hour room service, air-conditioning, and smart TVs. Infinity pools also beckon from the outdoor decks in some of the bungalows, and water taxis whisk you back and forth between the island and the mainland.
Activities range from lawn chess and bocce ball to beach volleyball, croquet, and water sports. Even motorized watersports and SCUBA dives are included in the rates - another big bonus. You can also shape up at the fitness center, relax with soothing island-inspired treatments at the spa, or mingle with other lovebirds at the nearby sister resorts. The style is decidedly British at this resort, with afternoon tea and prancing peacocks, but you can head to the Thai restaurant on the resort's private island for an exotic taste of the Far East.