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All-Inclusives

06/30/2008 05:00PM ● Published by Super Admin

For years all-inclusive vacations have been saddled with a bad rap – some of the reputation is warranted, some of it exaggerated. The negatives of these one-stop hotspots are well documented: over-crowding, semi-obnoxious spectacles accompanied by a sketchy degree of hedonism, loud poolside DJs, flavorless food wilted under the rays of 24-hour heating lamps, and just a general cheesiness that, unless you’re in Vegas, isn’t a substitute for acceptable rest and retreat. Well, the wrongs have been righted, friends; rectified to a far more appealing level. Retreating to an all-inclusive resort these days is to step into affordable luxury for families, couples, friends and adventure travelers. There is literally no reason (at least not one good enough), not to pack your bags. But before you check in, check out a few of Style’s recommended all-inclusive locales. Whether you crave a low-key vacation or a darn good party, there’s a perfect place waiting just for you.

FAMILIES

Beaches Sandy Bay
Where: Negril, Jamaica
Signature amenities: Family fun on the shores of gorgeous 7-Mile Beach, private access and great proximity to it; legitimately gorgeous accommodations and ambiance; water sports and land recreation; kid-friendly menus and entertainment, “Ultra-Nannies” (yeah, really); Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street, including Sundays at the Movies and Story time with Elmo; a kids’ swim up soda bar, pirate’s island, and XBOX Game Garage; a fully-equipped onsite spa for mom and dad; gourmet dining at three restaurants and unlimited cocktailing; roundtrip airport transfers; tips and taxes, and much more.
Spend: Depends on arrival dates and number of guests. Discounts available. Visit the hotel online for more information.
Reservations: beaches.com.

Tyler Place Family Resort
Where: Highgate Springs, Vermont
Signature amenities: Award-winning programs for kids, teens, infants, toddlers and their parents; a variety of sports and activities; quaint cottage and suite accommodations in the great outdoors; a “Family Splash Pad,” cocktails and private dining for adults; heated indoor and outdoor pools; family reunions and adult nights out; onsite sitters; lakeshore bonfires; healthy food, casual entertainment, and a generally informal atmosphere.
Spend: The all-inclusive family package includes all lodging, activities, entertainment and programs. Rates vary depending on dates and accommodations, but expect to spend $94-$333 per night for a seven-day week for adults, $75-$112 for children.
Reservations: tylerplace.com.

COUPLES

Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort
Where: Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
Signature amenities: Lots of space (though usually fully booked, the resort seems remarkably empty); modern accommodations and attentive service; salsa lessons; recognized restaurants (Piaf is not to be missed) and an outdoor/indoor lobby bar; live entertainment, gorgeous open-air areas; spa concierge and top-of-the-line treatments that include a relaxing hydrotherapy circuit; beach recreation, tennis courts and infinity pools, and only 20 minutes from downtown Puerto Vallarta, among other attractive lures.
Spend: The hotel’s “Romantic Vacation” package, which includes a private lobster dinner for two, an 80-minute couple’s massage, suite accommodations, airport transfers, taxes and gratuities, ranges from $596-$635 for a minimum four-night stay.
Reservations: vallarta.grandvelas.com.

Peter Island Resort
Where: British Virgin Islands
Signature amenities: Located on a private island; an informal vibe; pristine white beaches and private access to them; an inviting day spa and a wide range of activities; personal but unobtrusive service; unrivaled peace, relaxation and romance; indigenous cuisine and a wine room; concierge service, ocean views from every room; access to an extensive and protected waterway system that includes islands, cays and reefs; hiking trails and a variety of aquatic recreation.Spend: Depends on packages and room rates. The “Romance and Honeymoon” package includes all of the aforementioned amenities; a seven night stay ranges from $3,025-$4,855 not including airfare.
Reservations: peterisland.com.

FRIENDS & SINGLES

Club Med
Where: Turkoise, Turks & Caicos
Signature amenities: Supreme networking opportunities and socializing; water sports galore including excellent scuba diving; diverse recreation opportunities such as horseback riding, Club Med’s trademark fitness programs, golf, tennis and hiking; an abundance of restaurants, bars and refreshing tropical concoctions; well-appointed rooms and suites; special packages and party adventures for pals, and a good-time-atmosphere like no other.
Spend: Club Med offers great deals on “short stays” and holiday vacations. Pricing is extremely competitive.
Reservations: clubmed.com.    

ADVENTURISTS

Occidental Grand Papagayo
Where: Costa Rica
Signature amenities: Boutique-style lodging (there are only 169 guestrooms, outfitted with contemporary conveniences); eco-adventures, water sports, scuba, deep-sea fishing, sea kayaking, snorkeling, freshwater pools and a fitness center; quick and easy access to the Pacific shores of Costa Rico; lush tropical surroundings with gorgeous flora and fauna; five different culinary options including Italian and Asian restaurants, and bars that serve creative refreshments all day and most of the night; views and access to a white-sand coastline; concierge service at the Royal Club level; a world-class spa (treatments at an additional cost), and a lively disco.
Spend: Hotel and air packages are available but vary. Visit the hotel online for current rates, discounts and availability.
Reservations: occidentalgrandpapagayo.com.

Red Mountain Spa
Where: St. George, Utah
Signature amenities: Location, location, location (the surroundings are unsurpassed, truly); contemporary accommodations designed to make you relax between “a rock and a soft place;” proximity to, and activities centered around, Utah’s Grand Circle of National Parks; Red Rock adventuring; gourmet healthy meals; award-winning workshops and classes; health education and specialized fitness programs, and unlimited creative outdoor recreation. Plus, you’re guaranteed to drop a few pounds.Spend: Depends on program and weekly schedule, but rates are unexpectedly reasonable for a destination spa of its caliber (which is sky-high, by the way).
Reservations: redmountainspa.com.


10
QUESTIONS
TO ASK OF AN ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT...
BEFORE YOU PACK YOUR BAGS

  1. What exactly do your rates encompass?
  2. Define “unlimited.”
  3. What are the monetary x-factors (e.g., costly equipment rentals, tipping, off-site touring, airport transfers and other hidden charges)?
  4. What activities are included?
  5. Any restrictions?
  6. How much extra money should I bring?
  7. Which category of guests does this all-inclusive include (kids,families, couples, etc)?
  8. Is there an on-site medical facility?
  9. Is your hotel completely booked?
  10. My needs are…(give specifics). How specifically will your property fulfill them



HOT PROPERTY
On the sandy shores of Paradise Island in the Bahamas is the luxurious and all-encompassing Atlantis Resort – a veritable aquatic continent inspired by antiquity’s famous mythological island. Although the existence of Atlantis has long been questioned, the Bahamian retreat named in homage to the underwater city is making history, ruled by the eco-adventures it promises – and delivers! Atlantis is the embodiment of Blue Tourism, the new evolution in global travel and an environmental initiative aimed to educate island visitors. As such it offers visitors an interactive eco-experience that includes various programs, services and systems, such as exhibits and a gigantic, open-air marine habitat teaming with more than 250 species of inhabitants. A sanctuary with plenty of buzz, Atlantis has finally been discovered.

Atlantis offers a myriad of packages and rates for all categories of travelers, and a slew of activities. One of the most impressive, The Blue Project, stems directly from Blue Tourism. With a mission to raise awareness for coral reefs in crisis and the eco-challenges that they face, The Blue Project – a rigorous environmental partnership formed to stem the tide of destructive forces damaging the ocean’s fragile ecosystems – is a powerful new initiative, funds of which will help with conservation efforts through science and education. Statistics suggest that restoration of these endangered wildlife habitats is long overdue. The Blue Project states that more than “10 percent of the world’s reefs have been destroyed and 60 percent more face the same fate in the next 40 years if action is not taken.” Thankfully, action is just what the Project has encouraged. Like coral reefs throughout the world, those in the Bahamas provide a home for a variety of marine species, all of which are threatened due to both destructive human and environmental factors, including harmful fishing practices, reckless development and global warming. Perplexed but undaunted, marine scientists and conservationists are actively trying to reverse the damage. The Blue Project represents a gigantic step forward in their efforts. Initiative objectives include: raising a provision of funds to protect and restore deteriorating coral reefs; to initiate and monetarily support research; to train native Bahamians to research and monitor progress and in management techniques; to create public awareness programs, and finally, to facilitate the development of reef education programs for local communities and schools. Managing this ambitious project is the Kerzner Marine Foundation (a private nonprofit), implemented in conjunction with the Bahamas National Trust, The Nature Conservancy, BREEF, and the Atlantis marine team. Also partnering with the project are such high-profile supporters as American Express BLUE, jetBLUE, and Red Flower. Contributors to this innovative initiative are instrumental in helping preserve, protect and restore the earth’s vulnerable reef systems so that marine life continues to flourish for generations to enjoy and appreciate. To learn more or to get involved, visit atlantis.com.

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