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Trying to pick the best all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean is like trying to pick the best pizza in New York – there’s lots of room for debate. Exactly what idyllic, sandy setting do you want with your umbrella drink?
The travel site TripAdvisor sought to answer this question in its latest Travelers’ Choice rankings, releasing a list of the top 10 Caribbean all-inclusives according to the quantity and quality of member reviews. The Dominican Republic gets the most love of any country, placing five of the top 10, including the winner, the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection in Samana Province.
The winning resort: Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection. (Courtesy: Trip Advisor)
Bahia Principe is set on a private island and is adults only with a selection of suites and private beach villas, making it an ideal couples’ getaway. Said one reviewer, “
I cannot fault this holiday. From the staff, restaurants, views, pools, overall experience it was perfect. We were waited on hand and foot, with a continuous supply of drinks to wherever we were.”
But we can’t be sure it’s the lack of kids that earned the resort the No. 1 spot, since the runner-up, The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana, is decidedly family friendly – it has a dedicated play zone, a mini-bar with children in mind, and a supervised Kid’s Camp.
No. 2 on the list: The Reserve at Paradisus Punta Cana. (Courtesy: Trip Advisor)
Here are the rest of the top 10 all-inclusive resorts according to TripAdvisor:
3. Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro – Bavaro, Dominican Republic
This is the top ranked of three Iberostar properties in the top 10, and it also rounds out a trifecta for Dominican resorts in the top three. It’s hard to argue with the location of this 272-room, adults-only resort: Bavaro was No. 8 on TripAdvisor’s list of best Caribbean beaches this year.
4. Iberostar Grand Rose Hall – Rose Hall, Jamaica
While some resorts specialize in adults-only or kid-centric activities, this five-star resort can play to both crowds with a kids’ club, windsurfing, kayaking, and more.
5. Galley Bay Resort – St. John’s, Antigua
This laid-back, 40-acre resort boasts a private stretch of three-quarter-mile, white-sand beach, near Galley Bay Beach. The thatched-roof Gauguin Cottages with private plunge pools are a big hit here, as are the bird sanctuary and water sports.
6. Royalton Cayo Santa Maria – Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba
This adults-only resort was No. 1 on last year’s all-inclusives list, and it didn’t slip much this year. Aside from the luxurious amenities and spectacular tropical views, the resort gets props for its international culinary offerings. Said one reviewer: “The resort offers a great balance of relaxation and entertainment, beautiful beaches and pools, exceptional personalized service and some of the best food I’ve had in Cuba.”
7. The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Like its sister Punta Cana property that is No. 2 on this list, this resort goes out of its way to please kids. For adults, there’s golf, the elegant Yhi Spa, dance classes, and sushi-making.
8. Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus – Bayahibe, Dominican Republic
The fifth Dominican resort in the top 10, this five-star property appeals to adults and kids, with everything from a kids’ club to live evening music to a scuba center. “The grounds are well-maintained, the beaches are pristine white sand, drinks are premium and the staff is the most accommodating you will find at any hotel,” one reviewer said.
9. Sandals Royal Plantation – Ocho Rios. Jamaica
It’s called an “all-butler resort,” but non-butlers are allowed here as well. You’ll never go without a drink when beach butlers are on hand to get you a new glass. This is a boutique resort within a coral bluff with 74 rooms, a private beach, and scuba diving.
10. Melia Cayo Coco – Cayo Coco, Cuba
You’ll have to be 18 or over to enjoy the luxuries of this resort, which include overwater bungalows on a lagoon.
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