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  #1  
Old 07-12-2013, 03:06 AM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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And the best all-inclusive resort is...?

I need help! I'm turning 30 in January, and my family will be going on vacation. We definitely want to go to an all-inclusive resort. It's ultimately my decision as to where we go... but I don't know!

We'll probably have about 12 people going - my bf, parents, brothers, aunt and uncle, and 2 of my cousins and their spouses. We range in ages from late-20s to late-60s. I know that may sound as though it'll be hard keeping everyone happy with such big differences in age, but my aunt and uncle, who are the oldest, sometimes party harder than the rest of us!

Because we'll all be flying from different places (NJ, MD, FL, and TX), and so as not to require anyone to have long layovers and travel times, Mexico (Playa del Carmen or Cancun) or Jamaica seem like our best options, but I'm open to other places assuming the flight times/prices work for everyone.

To make everyone happy, I'm looking for all of these things below, but I also understand that to get all of this in one all-inclusive might prove difficult:

- adults-only - but it wouldn't be the end of the world if it wasn't, as long as the place isn't overrun with kids
- restaurants/bars/a resort that's "open" late - I know that most of us won't want to be back in our rooms and asleep by 10:30.. but we also don't want it to be party central, either
- a decent number of food options
- a big/long beach - my parents and brother especially enjoy taking long walks on the beach
- good service! I'm usually willing to ignore some of the shortcomings of a resort if the staff is friendly and helpful
- and I'm pretty sure my family might disown me if the place doesn't have a swim-up bar!

Are there any places that you all would suggest?
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Last edited by ASTalumna06; 07-12-2013 at 03:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2013, 04:44 AM
amanda6035 amanda6035 is offline
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Ironic that you would post this - I literally just got a list of places TODAY from my travel agent to check out because we're planning a trip next April.

Of the list he sent me, my favorite, and the one I'm pushing for is Secrets at Punta Cana. Three reasons I like this one: no all inclusive wristband required to be worn (many others will require this), top shelf drinks, and the restaurants do NOT require reservations. (and yes, there is a swim up bar!)

Side note - a friend just returned from Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana that had a very limited selection of so called premium drinks. She said she had a good time, but does not recommend this resort.

My second choice is a family resort, but if you go during a time that most kids are in school, you shouldn't have to worry about too many kids. This one is in cancun: http://www.iberostar.com/en/hotels/r...araiso-del-mar

Here are a few others my agent gave me to review, that I personally decided against for various reasons, but you may find appropriate:

Punta Cana:
http://excellence-resorts.com/caribb...nce-punta-cana
http://www.melia.com/hotels/dominica...ort/index.html


Jamaica:
http://riumontegobay.com/index.htm
http://www.riu.com/en/Paises/jamaica...-bay/index.jsp
http://www.iberostar.com/en/hotels/m...ose-hall-beach


Lastly, when we honeymooned 5.5 years ago, we did Palace Resorts in the Maya Riviera/playa del carmen. You may check them out. http://www.palaceresorts.com/default-en.html
It appears that the resort we stayed at may no longer be a part of that chain. We stayed at a resort in playa del carmen, which was GREAT, except that at the time, there was no actual beach for this resort - it was a rocky surface, but instead, alot of pool area to lounge by, which we had to make do with. We were disappointed by that. It was specifically labeled as a Spa resort at the time, so if you choose playa del carmen, make sure whatever resort you choose, check out their beach surface first, before you book, if this is something that is important to you.

edit - found it - http://www.aventurarivieramaya.com/spa/default-en.html < - dont go here if you want long beaches to walk on. Otherwise, we loved it. It looks like it IS changing to a different resort chain. "BECOMING HARD ROCK HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA DECEMBER 1, 2013"
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Last edited by amanda6035; 07-12-2013 at 04:56 AM.
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  #3  
Old 07-12-2013, 12:57 PM
HQWest HQWest is offline
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^^
We have been to the Iberostar in the Riveria Maya and in Jamaica. They were really well run, well-maintained resorts. The Spanish certainly know how to run a resort!
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  #4  
Old 07-12-2013, 03:13 PM
KKGCaroline KKGCaroline is offline
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Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa

DH & I would definitely recommend the Grand Palladium in Riviera Maya, we went in November with both sets of our parents, and everyone had a great time. The resort is a family resort, but it wasn't overrun with kids, the beach is amazing and the choice of restaurants entertainment at the hotel was fabulous.

The Royal Suites Yucatán by Palladium

The Royal Suites is on the same complex, but it is adults only, a little bit more of a boutique resort, we took a tour around in our first week and its gorgeous, definitely worth the extra dollar if you can afford it!

Just down the road from Playa del Carmen (about 20 mins) one way, and in the other direction Tulum ruins (well worth a visit the history is good but the beach is phenomenal - about 15 mins)
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:14 PM
DubaiSis DubaiSis is offline
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Those are good choices listed above. Secrets is adults only, but it sounds like that will work out fine for you. I LOVED the Secrets in Cabo, actually more than Zoetry which is one of the most luxury properties there. Secrets was definitely luxury without being stuffy.

Riu isn't going to be as deluxe as Secrets, but what you will get with them is absolute consistency. Everything would be just fine there, and maybe more affordable if that's an issue for everyone involved.

One thing to keep in mind about the Dominican Republic is that it is still pretty developing. You may not feel completely comfortable whenever you are outside the property, as opposed to the areas in Mexico (Cancun and Playa for example) you shouldn't have any hesitation walking around town, shopping on your own, etc. And if you want lovely, tropical, lush, you might look at St. Lucia, which is probably on the top of my Caribbean bucket list, along with St. Bart's. But St. Bart's is a challenge both by geography and wallet.

Feel free to contact me with specific questions. It is my job, after all!
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Old 07-12-2013, 03:17 PM
lovespink88 lovespink88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubaiSis View Post
Feel free to contact me with specific questions. It is my job, after all!
I was going to say paging DubaiSis, but I see you already made it!
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  #7  
Old 07-12-2013, 08:14 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Thanks, everyone! Keep the suggestions coming!

I would love to go to Punta Cana, but the flight is the main problem. There are no direct flights from Houston, and all of the layovers for the weeks we could potentially be going seem to be overnight. It's not a COMPLETE deal breaker, only because a lot of the connecting flights are out of Newark, and my bf and I could just stay with my parents overnight and go back to the airport with them the next morning. Still, it doesn't make things easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KKGCaroline View Post
Grand Palladium Colonial Resort & Spa

DH & I would definitely recommend the Grand Palladium in Riviera Maya, we went in November with both sets of our parents, and everyone had a great time. The resort is a family resort, but it wasn't overrun with kids, the beach is amazing and the choice of restaurants entertainment at the hotel was fabulous.

The Royal Suites Yucatán by Palladium

The Royal Suites is on the same complex, but it is adults only, a little bit more of a boutique resort, we took a tour around in our first week and its gorgeous, definitely worth the extra dollar if you can afford it!

Just down the road from Playa del Carmen (about 20 mins) one way, and in the other direction Tulum ruins (well worth a visit the history is good but the beach is phenomenal - about 15 mins)
All of us actually went to the Grand Palladium about 6 years ago for my mom's birthday, and we stayed in the Royal Suites. It was nice being in the adults only area, but still having access to the rest of the resort. DEFINITELY worth the little extra money.. we loved it! I was actually thinking about going back for my birthday, but then my cousins (they're triplets) turned 40 this past March, and that's where they all went with their spouses and kids and my aunt and uncle. Of course, I wouldn't want them to have to go AGAIN. This is why I'm in this predicament!
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:11 PM
aephi alum aephi alum is offline
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I've stayed at a few different Sandals resorts, and I've always enjoyed my stays. Most, if not all, of them have swim-up bars, and you can get food (even if it's just snack-type food) 24 hours a day.

The only thing is, it's couples only, and from your description it sounds like your brothers are single. I don't think they'd be allowed to share a room (Sandals had a long-standing policy that two people of the same sex couldn't share a room - I'm not sure if that's still in place, as it discriminates against same-sex couples). I did once stay at a Sandals where I met a family that was doing a destination wedding and had booked four rooms - one for the couple getting married, one for the bride's parents, one for the groom's parents, and one for the bride's brother, who was single (they had to pay for his nonexistent partner). Something like that might be an option.

If your brothers are single, though, you're probably better off with an adults-only, rather than couples-only, resort. Be warned, though - some of the adults-only resorts can get a little ... wild ... at night.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:16 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aephi alum View Post
I've stayed at a few different Sandals resorts, and I've always enjoyed my stays. Most, if not all, of them have swim-up bars, and you can get food (even if it's just snack-type food) 24 hours a day.

The only thing is, it's couples only, and from your description it sounds like your brothers are single. I don't think they'd be allowed to share a room (Sandals had a long-standing policy that two people of the same sex couldn't share a room - I'm not sure if that's still in place, as it discriminates against same-sex couples). I did once stay at a Sandals where I met a family that was doing a destination wedding and had booked four rooms - one for the couple getting married, one for the bride's parents, one for the groom's parents, and one for the bride's brother, who was single (they had to pay for his nonexistent partner). Something like that might be an option.
My mom and I were talking about this, and I said that if we ended up at a couples-only resort, we could just say that my brothers are in a relationship together. They could totally pull it off.. in a weird, hilarious type way. LOL.

Quote:
If your brothers are single, though, you're probably better off with an adults-only, rather than couples-only, resort. Be warned, though - some of the adults-only resorts can get a little ... wild ... at night.
Really? I was afraid that if we went to an adults-only resort, it might be a little too boring! I guess it probably all depends on the type of crowd to which the resort caters.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:44 PM
aephi alum aephi alum is offline
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Originally Posted by ASTalumna06 View Post
Really? I was afraid that if we went to an adults-only resort, it might be a little too boring! I guess it probably all depends on the type of crowd to which the resort caters.
I'm thinking of places like Hedonism ... nude beaches and the like ...
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