For your pleasure—six awesome all-inclusive destinations.
“I’d been to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun with girlfriends, and it was nice not having to worry about bringing extra cash—except for gifts,” Roberts says.
Bob Older of Creative Travel crunched the numbers to see if the all-inclusive route was the way to go for the couple, who aren’t big drinkers.
“You have to figure out how much you’d normally spend a day, including tips, food and certain activities,” Older says.
An all-inclusive plan offered by a St. Thomas resort was only about $100 more than if they went a la carte, and if they wanted to imbibe, they needn’t worry about the extra cost.
Popular in the Caribbean and in remote destinations, all-inclusive properties vary widely. Some packages offer only meals and accommodations. Others add activities, snacks and all beverages. Here are six to consider not just for a honeymoon, but also for a destination wedding. (Airline fees vary depending on the time of year, the time of travel, promotions and how far ahead you book.)
Honeymoon at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico
(866) 230-7221, riveriamaya.grandvelas.com
Thirty-five miles from Cancun International Airport, this all-suite resort opened in 2008, and it’s already received AAA’s Five Diamond designation. The resort bills itself as family friendly, but the 90-suite Executive Grand Class Section on the beach is dedicated to guests age 12 and up, so an infant’s caterwauling won’t disrupt your honeymoon. Don’t mind the kids? There are 206-suites tucked in the jungle and 195 family friendly beachfront suites in the Ambassador section.
Amenities 76,640-square-foot spa with 40 treatment suites, 24-hour butler service, 24-hour in-suite dining, non-motorized water sports, pool and beach concierge service, fitness center
Dining Eight restaurants, including Cocina de Autor, which in 2010 was listed in Food & Wine’s top 100 best new food and beverage experiences.
Area activities Mayan ruins, snorkeling, diving, zip-line tours, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve
Wedding perks A bridal suite in the spa lets you get pretty in private. The tony retreat is outfitted with a hydro-massage tub and a massage table. There’s even a dedicated closet for your wedding dress.
Rates Double occupancy rates start at $600 per person per night, January to April, and $518 per night, May to December. An Expedia search found roundtrip options from Philadelphia ranging from $393 per person to $867 per person in the high season.
Honeymoon at the Lodge at Woodloch, Hawley, Pa.
(866) 953-8500, thelodgeatwoodloch.com
The Lodge at Woodloch proves that there’s more to a Poconos honeymoon than heart-shaped tubs and mirrored fireplaces. Located 95 miles from New York City and Philadelphia, this luxury spa on 150 private wooded acres is the upscale sister to the family-oriented Woodloch Pines and Woodloch Springs, a golf community. Only guests age 16 and up can stay at the lodge.
Amenities Fitness classes and lectures, personal spa concierge, pools with hydro-massage waterfalls, steam room, 3,000-square-foot cardio-weight studio, outdoor activities.
Dining Tree, the restaurant, serves three gourmet meals a day.
Area activities Golf, ski, sail, shop, fish and swim
Wedding perks Marry against the backdrop of a glistening lake or mountainside. An onsite wedding coordinator can handle everything from place-card printing to the cake.
Rates Double occupancy rates start at $279 per person per night. Spa treatments are extra.
Honeymoon at Sandals Grande Riviera, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
(888) 726-3257, sandals.com
With three decades of providing all-inclusive, couples-only experiences to guests, the 14-property Sandals enterprise has got it down, especially in Jamaica, where there are seven Sandals resorts. Sandals Grande Riviera, on Jamaica’s north coast, recently underwent $20 million worth of renovations. Another $10 million in upgrades is expected early this year. The 529-room hotel is large, which means there are amenities and dining options galore.
Amenities Two Caribbean-inspired Red Lane spas, the new Riviera Beach Club with cabanas, beach access, 18-hole golf course, seven pools, 22 whirlpools and water sports
Dining 15 restaurants, including a sushi bar
Area activities Off-resort excursions include deep-sea fishing, swimming with dolphins, horseback riding, and Jeep and ATV tours.
Wedding perks Free Beautiful Beginnings wedding package with a five-night stay. Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart is a choice of six wedding themes with color-coordinated palettes, a wedding team and honeymoon amenities, such as breakfast in bed with mimosas.
Rates Double occupancy rates start at $539 per person per night and include meals, snacks, water sports and beverages. (Spa services and golf are extra.)
An Orbtiz search found a U.S. Airways flight to Jamaica during the high season priced at $398 per person nonstop.
Honeymoon at Jade Mountain Estates, St. Lucia
(758) 459-5333, jademountain.com
This upscale property, which opened in 2006, sits above the resort Anse Chastanet. Both are the vision of architect Nick Troubetzkoy, who wanted to mesh guestrooms with the environment. All of Jade Mountain’s rooms have an exposed wall, offering views of the Piton peaks and the Caribbean. Twenty-four rooms sport private infinity pools. Five rooms have Jacuzzis. Tranquility rules: There is no phone, television or radio. (You can request Internet.)
Amenities 24-hour room service and housekeeping team, private butler for each room, use of Anse Chastanet’s two beaches, sports facilities and leisure activities
Dining The Jade Mountain Club offers drinks and meals, as well as its own communal infinity pool. Guests can also dine at Anse Chastanet’s three restaurants.
Area activities Excursions to the Pitons, the Sulphur Springs and into the rainforest
Wedding perks Couples staying at least five nights receive a wedding package that includes the cost of the justice of the peace, legal fees, witnesses, decor, flowers, cake and other services.
Rates The six-night Total Romance Package for two is priced from $11,155 to $15,798 in the high season, depending on the room type. The low-season cost ranges from $9,780 to $13,674. (Daily rates are available.) Along with accommodations, transfers, meals and amenities, the package also includes massage, diving and numerous excursions. If that’s too dear, consider a similar six-night package at Anse Chastanet, which runs from $7,128 to $9,390 in the high season and from $5,886 to $7,836 in the low season.
Guests fly into Hewanora International Airport or George F.L. Charles Airport. (The latter is about an hour from the resorts.) Via Expedia, roundtrip airfare per person from Philadelphia to Hewanora in the winter was from $813 per person with one stop and $1,073 nonstop.
Honeymoon at Westglow Resort & Spa, Blowing Rock, N.C.
(828) 295-4463, westglowresortandspa.com
If you’re seeking an intimate experience, consider this luxurious nine-room resort, located in a restored Greek Revival mansion that once belonged to writer-painter Elliott Daingerfield. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, west of Winston-Salem and Greensboro, N.C., the spa has earned accolades from Travel + Leisure Magazine.
Amenities Six units are in the mansion. Three units in nearby Cedar Lodge have Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces and private decks. The wellness center offers an indoor pool, whirlpools, wet-dry sauna, steam room, fitness equipment, an aerobics studio, full-service salon and a fitness appraisal clinic.
Dining Rowland’s features a spa menu, along with seafood, steak and game.
Area activities Hike, bike, climb, ski, horseback ride and shop in quaint boutiques.
Wedding perks Westglow’s Southern sensibility, columned mansion and mountain views make it a prime wedding site.
Rates Double occupancy rates range from $348 on weeknights from November to April ($373 on weekends and holidays) to $373 on weeknights from May to October ($398 on weekends). Romance packages add Champagne, a couple’s massage and other amenities to the usual rate inclusions’ three meals, a one-hour spa treatment of your choice, spa amenities, fitness classes and taxes.
Honeymoon at Peter Island Resort & Spa, British Virgin Islands
In the 1960s Norwegian Peter Smedwig was so smitten with this Caribbean island that he sprinkled it with A-frame chalets and added a marina and clubhouse. Today the property has 52 suites and three villas, and it’s a destination for discerning customers. It’s also a getaway made for romance. Reserve Honeymoon Beach for a morning or afternoon.
Amenities Spa, yacht club, dive shop
Dining Four options, including Deadman’s Beach Bar & Grill and Tradewinds, which has bragging rights to views of Tortola. Private dining is also available.
Area activities Hiking, mountain biking, deep-sea fishing, diving, shopping in St. Thomas and helicopter tours
Wedding perks The resort has an onsite wedding concierge. If cost isn’t an issue, rent the entire island for the big day.
Rates Double occupancy rates start at $610 for ocean view rooms and $930 for beachfront rooms. Rates include meals and activities, such as non-motorized water sports.
Peter Island is a 30-minute boat trip from Tortola, but airfare can be pricey in the high season. A recent search turned up flights from $1,046 to $1,391 per person with two stops. A less expensive option involves flying to St. Thomas. Airfare in high season may run $467 to $789 per person. Although Peter Island is just over an hour from St. Thomas, the private boat only visits Charlotte Amalie on Tuesdays and Saturdays, so schedule accordingly.