We don’t know if you’ve been paying attention, but the “all-inclusive resorts” category has had quite the makeover. Gone are the days of botchy lobby décor and bottom-shelf liquor. Now, many stylish all-inclusives are wholly focused on delivering meaningful local experiences, cooking up world-class meals and showing off spectacular spa facilities you thought were reserved for à la carte accommodations — a far cry from the cookie-cutter vacations taken even just a decade ago.
Here are six of the sophisticated properties leading the charge to change all-inclusive conventions.
A rustic retreat awaits in Upstate New York. Sprawled across 75 acres in the Adirondacks, this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel was one of the Great Camps, grand log mansions built by Gilded Age moguls. William Avery Rockefeller’s former getaway reopens May 24 after a renovation added luxurious details (furnishings, fabrics, finishes) to its 11 accommodations. Check into The Boathouse — the hotel’s most-requested room was upgraded for year-round use — for mesmerizing Upper Saranac Lake views.
Partake in waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing, croquet, fishing, ice skating, curling, snow barbecues and more. Cruise the lake at sunset with cocktails aboard a glass-enclosed electric boat. One of our favorite all-inclusive perks: All guests gather in the intimate Great Hall to dine together in proper fashion, just like the Rockefellers would have done.
COMO Parrot Cay
This exclusive Turks and Caicos paradise resides on a 1,000-acre private island, which makes it a favorite for celebrities like Christie Brinkley, Bruce Willis and Keith Richards, all of whom own rentable villas on the property.
They are likely drawn to the recently renovated hotel’s bright, breezy and modern accommodations with Indonesian-influenced décor; villas that come with their own pools and 24-hour butler service; the impressive destination spa (a must for yogis); a pristine beach; and organic, fresh cuisine (using produce grown on the island) at every restaurant.
Flanked by desert plains and picture-perfect creeks, this Saratoga, Wyoming, property is the kind of place you find yourself when you want to forget about daily tribulations. You won’t recall many cabins you’ve stayed at previously where bamboo-walled bathrooms and cowhide tables were a part of the scene.
And don’t even waste your time trying to remember a prior trip where you had so many outdoor activities — we’re talking everything from fly fishing and clay shooting to mountain biking and horseback riding — included in your package because it likely never happened before your visit to this Five-Star ranch.
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Though we can’t count the number of resorts that fall short of their promise of delivering you the world, we can assure you that the three Grand Velas properties aren’t in that bunch. The Four-Star Riviera Nayarit escape, specifically, takes its leave-everything-to-us mantra to heart.
But while all-you-can-manage water aerobics classes and daily-refilled minibars are great, it’s the delicious dining options (five), the units’ creative touches (wellness suites come with an exercise bike) and the pinpoint service (24-hour personal concierge) already in your nightly rate that leave you feeling on top of the world.
If a romantic hideaway in a secluded setting is what you search for in an all-inclusive escape, then look no further than this rustic Five-Star retreat in Southern Vermont. Spread across 300 acres of verdant forest, Twin Farms offers 20 cozy rooms and cottages, personally tailored meals and everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors with your travel companion, be it a canoe for a day floating around Copper Pond or a fanny pack stuffed with sunscreen for your afternoon hike.
The Ranch at Rock Creek
Nestled between the Pintler and Sapphire mountain ranges in scenic Southwestern Montana, this Five-Star stay marries the best of a luxurious all-inclusive resort (plush accommodations, craveable cuisine) with all the outdoor fun of a 6,600-acre ranch. Whether you want to learn to fly fish on a Blue Ribbon trout stream, explore the valley on horseback or indulge in a glamping experience under the Western night sky, no adventure is too big.
For more extraordinary all-inclusives, check out our full collection here.