5 Luxury All-Inclusive Resorts that Wow

Not just the worry-free pay-all-at-once travel choice, today’s new crop of all-inclusives goes beyond swim-up bars to truly bespoke stays.

A Suite at the One&Only Capetown.

A Suite at the One&Only Capetown.

THE ONE & ONLY | CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

The Scoop: An oasis of luxury in the heart of Cape Town’s Victoria and Albert Waterfront District, this is where you go for a truly chic escape. Those views of Table Mountain deserve a gasp at first glimpse, the Afro-Zen spa (located on its own private island in the center of the resort, no less) delivers the most relaxed pleasure, and celebs like Mariah Carey, Morgan Freeman and Robert De Niro have deemed it Hollywood-worthy.

The Difference Maker: Pull up a stool at the Vista Bar because the Manhattan, with its smoked tea-infused Kentucky bourbon stirred with aromatic bitters and sweet honey, could just be the best thing to touch your lips in the city. Watch the sun set over Table Mountain’s flat peak as you slowly savour your pre-dinner cocktail at Nobu, which is headed up by Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa.

Day Tripper: Adventure seekers: Cape Town was made for you. Get up close and personal with great whites guided by shark expert, author and wildlife photographer Chris Fallows (apexpredators.com). For something slightly more calm, the hour drive to the country’s lush wine region, Stellenbosch, equals a day of full-bodied Shiraz and crisp Pinot Grigio-sipping, plus a little vineyard bike riding.

Visit oneandonlyresorts.com to learn more.

The Casitas at the El Dorado Riviera Maya.

The Casitas at the El Dorado Riviera Maya.

EL DORADO ROYALE | RIVIERA MAYA, MEXICO

The Scoop: The stretch of private sandy, white beach sets the perfect stage for a no-kids-allowed, upscale resort. Beach butlers, champagne at your beck and call and a heightened food experience (there’s no typical, stale all-inclusive buffets here) are all aspects that take this 639-room resort above most in the all-inclusive hotspot of Mexico.

The Difference Maker: Did you ever think 80 minutes could change your life? Trust us, after a Kukulcan Massage at the resort’s NAAY spa you will. A combo of Mexican herbal therapy using protein-rich guajes seeds plus reflexology, shiatsu and Swedish techniques is the ideal mix to get to bliss. Take it to the next level with a couples treatment by moonlight in a private cabana.

Day Tripper: Strap on your hiking shoes, because wandering around the ruins of one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Chichén Itzá, is one of your best off-resort bets. The three-hour drive is worth it to see 1,000 years’ worth of Mayan history. Go early and on a private tour to beat the crowds, then stop at one of the many cenotes or underwater caves for a much-needed refresher.

Visit eldoradoroyaleresort.com to learn more.

A guest suite at the Excellence Punta Cana.

A guest suite at the Excellence Punta Cana.

EXCELLENCE PUNTA CANA | PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

The Scoop: How does parking yourself on one of the most beautiful and private stretches of beach in the world sound? You can do just that in the Dominican Republic. It may sound incongruous given that the Caribbean island and spring break go hand in hand. But 30 miles of palm-lined coastline and personal hammocks for afternoon siestas await at this adults-only resort that will have you rethinking your typical spring break all-inclusive idea.

The Difference Maker: Go for the gold. Seriously. The Dominican Gold Ritual at the Miile Spa takes spa treatments to a new level (your standards will never be the same). This 80-minute treatment contains pure gold molecules that are anti-aging, regenerating and hydrating. The scrub plus botanical body oil finish equals the smoothest, most glowing skin that you’ve ever dreamed of.

Day Tripper: Hire a private boat, because a romantic day on a secluded island is in order. Isla Saona is a tropical paradise where you can pop some champagne for a picnic on the beach, swim on the hunt for starfish and sunbathe in complete privacy.

Visit excellence-resorts.com to learn more.

The study at Roundhill Jamaica.

The study at Roundhill Jamaica.

ROUND HILL | MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA

The Scoop: If it’s good enough for John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie to visit multiple times (he even wrote his inauguration speech in his cottage here), you can bet the privacy and luxury at this resort are at the top of their game. One of the most beautiful and elegant boutique hotels in the Caribbean, this celeb hotspot is a truly  lush escape. It has remained among the most elite resorts since its opening in 1953.

The Difference Maker: The oceanfront guest rooms of the Pineapple House were designed by fashion icon Ralph Lauren, who gave them an easygoing Nantucket vibe. Sink into four-poster king beds and soak in deep tubs, two amenities that never, ever hurt in a hotel room.

Day Tripper: When in the Caribbean it would be almost sacrilege to not test out the waters, including the rivers in Jamaica. Enter bamboo river rafting. Climb aboard a 30-foot bamboo raft and skillfully pole (or have your local captain do the work) the raft through the jade-green waters of the Martha Brae River located in the parish of Trelawny (a.k.a. birthplace of Olympic record-breaker Usain Bolt).

Visit roundhill.com to learn more.

The pool at ME Mallorca.

The pool at ME Mallorca.

ME RESORT | MALLORCCA, SPAIN

The Scoop: Gone are the all-inclusive notions of cookie-cutter and vanilla experiences. A truly bespoke, personalized vacation is what this beachfront hotel on the outskirts of Calvia near the southwestern tip of Majorca island offers. From your room, to eats to activities, each and every element of your stay is customizable.

The Difference Maker: Your own jet. Yes, we said your own jet. Those who thrive on tailored service can opt for a private jet pick-up with all the extras. The resort’s private jet, equipped with your personal crew, will pick you up at your home destination and fly you to the island of Mallorca in first class.

Day Tripper: When in Spain, a visit to anything Gaudi is a must. Nearby Palma’s vast cathedral is a remarkable and major architectural landmark. Take in the scale, its stunning interior features (designed by Antoni Gaudí and renowned contemporary artist Miquel Barceló) for an afternoon. The bonus is that’s only a 20-minute drive from the resort, so it’s a day trip that can be taken on a customized whim.

Visit melia.com to learn more.

This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2014 Issue of Travel & Style Magazine. 

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