Have it all without the hassle: Best Caribbean all-inclusive resorts for 2013
(Photo: Courtesy of Tamarijn Aruba)
Ever since Club Med promised the “antidote to civilization,” all-inclusive resorts have increasingly blanketed the Caribbean island-scapes. Once cookie-cutter, they've increasingly diversified in a battle for tourist dollars. Today they come in every conceivable style and price range, as wonderfully varied as the Caribbean itself. Some cater to family fun, while others put the sin in scintillating for couples. One thing hasn't changed: no hassles. Pay one fixed price for all you can eat, drink, and do... then leave your wallet—and worries—at home. Small wonder so many travelers swear by them.
Best Beach: Tamarijn Aruba
Druif/Manchebo Beach, Aruba
Aruba is famed for its champagne-hued beaches, rock formations, sizzling nightlife and whipping winds that bend the divi divi trees at a 90-degree angle. All rooms at the Tamarijn Aruba look out on Druif Beach, which opens into the wide grin of Manchebo Beach fronting sister resort Divi Aruba. Guests at the quieter Tamarijn enjoy all the Divi’s facilities: two resorts for the price of one, including nine restaurants, seven bars, three pools, a 9-hole golf course and the nearby Alhambra Casino. The resorts take advantage of that long stretch of beach with aquatic activities aplenty, including snorkeling and windsurfing. Everyone gets their rocks off getting a grip on the 30-foot oceanfront rock-climbing wall.
Insider Tip: Savor tuna Carpaccio with avocado-mango relish while admiring the Murano art glass on display at the signature restaurant, Paparazzi.
(Photo: The Leading Hotels of the World)
La Romana, Dominican Republic
Casa de Campo means “house in the country”—as in a Kennedy-esque compound designed by Oscar de la Renta. Worried you’ll weigh too heavily in the lap of luxury after indulging in the sybaritic spa and fine dining? Casa offers tennis (13 courts), horseback riding, a sporting clays shooting center replete with safari-themed clubhouse, and sailing or fishing (deep sea and freshwater) from the Portofino-inspired marina. Golfers snarl at “Teeth of the Dog,” a Peter Dye-abolical design featuring seven water holes, trademark railroad ties, wicked bunkers, sharp drops in elevation and unfair fairways.