It’s that time of year when a Caribbean vacation starts to sound amazing: warm weather, sandy beaches, and no worries. That might be why the Caribbean is the most popular spot for all-inclusive resorts. With everything included in the price tag, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy. And with so many options, all-inclusives can mean a huge hotel or a tiny boutique. Here are some of the most-searched Caribbean all-inclusives on Yahoo, to get your vacation planning started.
10. Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort: Water All Around
On the north end of St. Lucia, near Fort Rodney, the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa and Beach Resort sits on a secluded peninsula with water on both sides. Walk out of your room directly onto the white sand. If you get tired of admiring the volcanic mountains or crystal-clear bay, there are unlimited watersports included in your stay, from scuba diving to windsurfing. Or just swim up to the bar. With the resort’s 12 restaurants and six bars, the main problem is that you might not be able to do everything.
9. Meliá Cayo Santa María Resort: A Cay in Cuba
Photo: Meliá Cayo Santa María
Traveling to Cuba is popular right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to be part of the crowds. Cayo (or cay) Santa Maria is linked to the main island by a nearly 30-mile causeway and is known for its gorgeous and windy beaches. Meliá Cayo Santa María, with its old-school tropical feel, is an ideal spot to relax and soak up the Caribbean sun. The resort has four restaurants, plus a well-stocked buffet, and five bars. While there are organized activities and even a nearby bowling alley, you’re not really here for the amenities.
8. Hotel Riu Palace Aruba: Fun and Frolicking in the Sun
Photo: Hotel Riu Palace Aruba
Aruba is basically a synonym for blissful vacation paradise. And the Hotel Riu Palace Aruba lives up to that reputation. The resort is situated on the northwest side of the tiny 20-mile-long island, right in Palm Beach, among a number of high-end hotels. Because the Dutch island is out of the main string of Caribbean islands, close to the Venezuelan coast, its dry climate can almost guarantee a warm, hurricane-free trip. With an Arabian-themed castle, the Riu Palace is a place for couples looking for fun in the resort’s two huge pools, casino, or 24-hour bar.
7. Paradisus Río de Oro Resort and Spa: No Kids Allowed
Photo: Paradisus Río de Oro — Cuba/Facebook
Next to the Bahía de Naranjo Natural Park in Cuba, the Paradisus Río de Oro Resort and Spa is part of the Meliá hotel chain. The adults-only resort offers snorkeling right off its beach at Playa Esmeralda. If you don’t want to snorkel, then kayak, water-bike, or take a sailing lesson. You can also visit the popular nearby dolphin aquarium. An upgrade to the Royal Service package adds a butler to your vacation.
6. East Winds Inn: Hidden in the Tropics
Photo: East Winds Inn
If you want a truly tranquil getaway, then East Winds Inn, on the northeast coast of St. Lucia, is the boutique resort for you. There are just 30 cottage suites tucked away on 12 acres of tropical garden right next to the beach. With birds living throughout the property and lush palm trees growing over the pool, everything at East Winds is about relaxation. Watersports are nonmotorized, and yoga is offered in the main pavilion. The nightly four-course dinner is an event, and you can prepare your own drinks at the bar. Children over 3 years old are allowed at certain times of year, typically around school holidays.
5. Meliá Las Dunas: A Cuban Hot Spot
Photo: Meliá Las Dunas
There’s a reason Cayo Santa Maria is such a popular tourist spot. The cay off the coast of Cuba is world-famous for its serene, picturesque beaches. Meliá Las Dunas is one of the biggest resorts on the island, with separate sections for families and for adults only. There’s plenty for everyone to do too, with four pools, 11 restaurants (both specialty and buffets), and eight bars. The amenities may not be the highest-end luxury, but the setting makes it a deal. And you can always try one of the excursions off the resort: swimming with dolphins or taking a flight to see the sights.
4. Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino: Luxury in the Caribbean
Photo: Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino
Right in Palm Beach, in the heart of Aruba, the Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort and Casino is a luxury spot for pampering and beach lounging in the sun. Leave the kids at Camp Hyatt and enjoy some quiet time at the spa. Across the street is the island’s only 18-hole golf course, and right on the property is a 12,000-square-foot casino with 13 gaming tables and 221 slots. The facilities are all renovated and modern, along with the four restaurants. But the three-story pool, waterslide, and 5,000-square-foot freshwater lagoon are truly unique.
3. British Colonial Hilton Nassau: History and James Bond on the Beach
Photo: British Colonial Hilton Nassau
There are more than 700 islands that make up the Bahamas chain, stretching through the Caribbean. The capital, Nassau, is the largest city and the main spot for resorts. Even among those luxury hotels, though, the British Colonial Hilton Nassau stands out. Originally opened as a massive grand hotel in 1923 (and fully renovated six years ago), the resort has the only private beach in town. The building itself continues to be full of colonial decor, antiques, and marble tiles — along with four five-star restaurants. There’s a reason the resort was featured in two James Bond movies.
2. Iberostar Grand Rose Hall: Another Tier of Luxury
Photo: Iberostar Grand Rose Hall
Iberostar has three resorts in Montego Bay in Jamaica. The Iberostar Grand Rose Hall is the nicest — though your stay gives you access to the other two, which adds up to 11 specialty restaurants. (Staying at the lesser properties does not grant access to the Grand Rose Hall resort, however, meaning guests here get the pick of the litter.) The adults-only resort is full of opulent marble and velvet, and some rooms even come with a butler. Lounge in the infinity pool or on the beach. Golf, tennis, and even dive lessons are included.
1. Meliá Nassau Beach Resort: Jewel in the Bahamas
Photo: Meliá Nassau Beach Resort
Easy to get to from the U.S. and full of lots to do, Nassau is the ideal spot for a winter vacation. And Meliá Nassau Beach Resort, right on the water of Goodman Bay at Cable Beach, is the ideal place to stay. There are six specialty restaurants, three pools (one with a swim-up bar), and an on-site casino. The steakhouse and Starbucks, however, are not part of your all-inclusive package — and not all guests at the resort have opted for the all-inclusive. What is included are the daily activities like dance classes and workshops for the kids, plus one of the nicest beaches in the Bahamas. And isn’t that the whole point anyway?
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