All-Inclusive Resorts_ All You Need To Know.

All-inclusive resorts are predominant in the Caribbean and Mexico. This model accounts for more than seventy percent of the rooms available in destinations such as Jamaica. 

In its early development, they were just an easy way for travelers on a budget to stretch every dollar. As a result, they were notorious for long buffet lines and subpar accommodation.

Once considered a niche, it has evolved into the mainstream, with its offering rivaling any top-class European-style hotel.    

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What are all-inclusive resorts?

In general, all-inclusive resorts offer travelers lodging, meals, and recreational activities for a single price. As a result, travelers can enjoy their vacation without considering additional costs for meals or other services available on the property. 

Guests are usually isolated from the local environment because everything they need is on-site. There is also the option to include airport transfers.

The cost for reservation at all-inclusive resorts includes service charges and gratuities, so tipping is usually discouraged.  

However, not all resorts are the same; guests pay for premium services and top-shelf alcohol at some properties. 

Also, reservation cost does not include items from the gift shops. Some all-inclusive resorts host luxury brands on their property; you will have to fork out big bucks if you plan to buy souvenirs. 

Grand Bahia Pool
Grand Bahia Principe Pool

Where did the all-inclusive resort concept start?

The French Club Med popularised the concept of all-inclusive resorts in 1950 in Alcúdia, a tiny fishing village in the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain. Then, free drinks and somewhere to sleep were the only thing offered. Guest stayed in a tent village and used communal bathrooms. Gérard Blitz, a Belgian entrepreneur, was responsible for popularizing this concept.  

However, a Jamaican, John Issa, took the concept further with the opening of Couples Tower Isle in 1978. He included everything, drinks and food, sports, an excursion to Dunn’s River Falls, and even shopping trips to Ocho Rios. 

Couples Tower Isle was the first all-inclusive resort in the world. John Issa is considered the father of the all-inclusive resort concept. 

Moon Palace
Moon Palace, view from the balcony.

What is offered at all-inclusive resorts?

In Jamaica’s early conception of all-inclusive resorts, guests complained of poor bedding and long buffet lines. However, resorts were more interested in providing cheap accommodation rather than excellent service. So comfort was not a priority. 

Gorden Butch Stewart’s emergence in the hospitality industry in 1981 changed all that and elevated the standard of all-inclusive resorts. Although he was new to the industry when he started Sandals Resort, he understood that customer satisfaction was crucial for the success of any business. So his philosophy was to find out what the customer wants and do it better than anyone. 

His philosophy laid the foundation for all businesses and elevated the standards of all-inclusive resorts. 

Sandals Resorts were the first to offer things that are now standard features of all-inclusive resorts. For example, multiple restaurants serving local and international dishes replaced long buffet lines and king-size beds in all rooms.  

What to expect at a standard all-inclusive resort

A standard all-inclusive resort package includes the item below. Some properties may consist of more depending on their cost and target market.

  • King or double bed
  • Room service
  • Multiple restaurants and bars
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Access to food up to 10 pm 
  • Swimming pool
  • Play area for children if they are allowed
  • Towels for the bathroom and pool or beach
  • Gym and other activity areas
  • Live entertainment – day and night
  • Hot and cold water
  • Iron, hairdryer, safe
  • Gift shops

High-end all-inclusive resorts might also include the following

Luxury all-inclusive resorts have all available at a standard property plus more. Their service and how they cater to customer needs are what sets them apart. Itemized below are some features to expect from all-inclusive luxury resorts. However, some of these features come with some budget all-inclusive resorts.

  • Butler service
  • Airport transfer 
  • Access to premium food and drink at no additional cost 
  • Swim-up bars
  • Stocked bars in every room
  • All tips, taxes, and gratuities
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving (and all equipment)
  • Waterskiing
  • Snorkeling (and all equipment)
  • Hobie Cats, paddleboards, kayaks
  • Professional instruction for water sport
  • Free WiFi (in rooms and all common areas)
  • Access to a premium golf course might come at an additional cost. 
  • Off-site excursion

All resorts have special sales; however, customer service gives some the edge. 

Pool at Bahia Principe Hotel
Grand Bahia Principe Kids Pool

Types of all-inclusive resorts.

Not all resorts are the same; they offer different experiences and cater to various market segments.

Adults-only resorts and family resorts are the two main types. 

Family resorts

Family resorts cater to the entire family; they are children-friendly and provide engaging activities so parents can have some downtime. 

Standard features are water parks, a games room, daycare facilities children’s pool. They also have menus designed to excite their taste buds. 

Parents can get away for a while at these resorts and chill at adults-only spots. Spend time in the jacuzzi, get a massage or do whatever you like while the children are engaged in a safe environment. Family-size rooms make it possible to be in the same space have your convenience. 

Children pay half price or stay free at some of these resorts if they are companied by two adults.

Some family all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica

Resorts Name Number Of Properties Property Location
Moon PalaceMoon place ResortsOcho Rios
RiuRiu Ocho Rios,
Riu Negril,
Riu Palace Tropical Bay,

Ocho Rios,

RoyaltonRoyalton Blue Waters,
Royalton White Sands,
Royalton Negril
Montego Bay,
Bahia PrincipeBahai Principe Grand,
Bahai Principe Luxury
Runaway Bay Saint Ann
Beaches ResortsBeaches Negril,
Beaches Ocho Rios
Ocho Rios
Iberostar ResortsIberostar Grand Rose Hall,
Iberostar Selection Rose Hall Suites,
Iberostars Grand Rose
Rose Hall Montego Bay
Holiday InnHoliday InnMontego Bay
Jewel Grand ResortJewel Grand ResortMontego Bay
Royal Decameron ResortsRoyal Decameron Cornwall Beach,
Royal Decameron Montego Bay Beach,
Royal Decameron Club Caribbean,
Montego Bay,
Runaway Bay Saint Ann
Melia Braco VillageMelia Braco VillageTrelawny
Hyatt ZivaHyatt ZivaRose Hall Montego Bay
SunscapeSunscape Splash Montego BayMontego Bay
Jamaica Inn Jamaica InnOcho Rios
The Trident HotelTrident HotelPort Antonio Portland
Grand PalladiumGrand PalladiumLucea Hanover
Sea Graden ResortSean Garden ResortMontego Bay
Ocean Coral SpringOcean Coral SpringTrelawny
The Ritz-Carlton Resort And SpaThe Ritz-Carlton Resort And SpaRose Hall Montego Bay
Deja ResortDeja ResortMontego Bay
Azul Beach ResortAzul Beach ResortNegril

Adults only resorts

Adults-only, all-inclusive resorts cater to adults. Therefore, they accommodate persons eighteen and older some only admit people over twenty-one. With no children, the environment is more private and adult-oriented entertainment.

Guests have the option of nude or prude on some properties. You like the privacy and adult-oriented environment; you have that option but don’t feel comfortable being naked.

Others, like Hedonism 2, are like a giant playground for adults where they get to live their wildest fantasies. From costume parties to sex lessons and orgy parties. Whatever sexual fantasy you have, you can live it, providing it’s safe and legal. Running naked on the beach or kissing your partner with glaring eyes is acceptable. You are encouraged to eliminate your inhibition and free yourself of the stress and societal pressure to conform.

Not everybody wants to be on the wild side; some prefer a more relaxing and romantic environment with their partner. Adult-only resorts like Sandal provide that type of experience.

Some all-inclusive adult resorts in Jamaica

Resorts NameNumber Of Properties Property Location
Couples ResortsCouples Tower Isle,
Couples San Souci
Couples Negril,
Couples Swept Away
Negril, Ocho Rios
Sandals ResortsSandals Montego Bay,
Sandals Royal Caribbean,
Sandals Negril,
Sandals Ochi,
Sandals South Coast,
Sandals Royal Plantation,
Sandals Dunns River
Negril, Ocho Rios,
Montego Bay, Saint Elizabeth
Royalton Royalton Hide Away NegrilNegril
Bahia Principe Bahia Principe LuxuryRunaway Bay Saint Ann
Grand LidoGrand Lido NegrilNegril
Sunset At The PalmsSunset At The PalmsNegril
Excellence Oyster BayExcellence Oyster BayMontego Bay
Club Ambiance Club AmbianceRunaway Bay Saint Ann
Breathless Montego BayBreathless Montego BayMontego Bay
The Caves HotelThe CavesWest End Negril
Hyatt Zilara Rose HallHyatt Zilara Rose HallRose Hall Montego Bay
Jewels Paradise CoveJewels Paradise CoveRunaway Bay Saint Ann
RiuRiu Palace Jamaica,
Riu Montego Bay,
Rui Reggae
Montego Bay
Hedonism 2Hedonism 2Negril

Here are the Jamaica 5 best adults-only all-inclusive resort based on reviews from the most popular booking sites.

What are the advantages of staying at an all-inclusive resort?

Convenience is one advantage of staying in an all-inclusive resort. Guests only need to show up with everything paid for and available on-site. So if you want to lounge on the beach all day or participate in multiple activities, the choice is yours; everything is just a stroll away.

Because guests don’t have to venture into the host community, they feel safe staying at all-inclusive resorts. These properties are private and not accessible to the public.

If you have to pay for each meal, plus activities and other services, it might cost a fortune, depending on what you need to enjoy your vacation. It is a lot cheaper to pay one price and access everything.

What are the disadvantages of all-inclusive hotels?

While there are some advantages to staying at an all-inclusive resort, there are some disadvantages. You often do not get an authentic experience of the destination and its culture. Instead, you get a water-downed version of the traditional food dance and whatever makes that place unique. If you want to get away and relax and have no interest in anything else, it won’t be a problem for you.

All-inclusive resorts are isolated from the local environment, so guests miss out on the beauty of the place and the interaction with the local culture.

Paying for things you don’t need is another disadvantage of staying at an all-inclusive resort. Money spent to stay at some resorts could cover booking other properties. Service might even be better, especially if it’s a boutique hotel. You only pay for what you need and enjoy some things free or at reduced cost in the community.

Subpar food is a disadvantage of staying at some all-inclusive hotels. Because they have to cater to many people, they have to do mass production. Therefore the meals or not individualized. So it’s not of the same quality food prepared for an individual, with the option of eating at a restaurant on property where done to order the quality is sometimes better.

Do you need to tip at all-inclusive resorts?

You don’t need to tip at all-inclusive resorts. Your package includes all gratuity and service charges. However, if you think service is exceptional, it is ok to show your appreciation, but first, ask if it’s against hotel policy. Some properties allow gratuity, while others have a no-tipping policy. 

Check out this post for a guideline on tipping at resorts in Jamaica.

Where to book your all-inclusive resort vacation?

Booking your all-inclusive resort vacation is easy; you can book through the resort’s website, call them to make a reservation directly, use a travel agent, or through an online booking site. The best option depends on what you want and your travel experience with the location.

Booking directly with the property

If you are familiar with the property and have been there, you can book directly by telephone or online. In addition, some resorts have a customer loyalty program where you get perks for booking directly with them. These include free upgrades, loyalty points, free transfers, no cancelation penalties, and reduced rates.

Online booking website

An online booking agent is your next option; they post many all-inclusive properties on these sites. They also offer incentives for booking through them. In addition, you can see reviews from people who stayed at the property you are interested in, which can help you decide.

Booking with a travel agent

Using a travel agent to help plan your trip is a good option. With your best interest in mind, you will have an individual working on your behalf. In addition, they can give you options that you might have considered and a customized experience.

Access to resorts that are not available on some booking platforms ensures you get the best deals. If anything should go wrong on your trip, there is someone to call. Most travel agents operate in a niche and are experts. Their can advice can save you time and money.

With a travel agent, you can start planning your vacation to book early and take advantage of cheaper rates. You also have the option of paying in installments. Some options are a brick-and-mortar travel agent or a home base travel advisor who does not operate from a physical office.

Check out the post on the relevance of travel agents to learn more.

Insure your all-inclusive vacation

After deciding how to book your all-inclusive vacation, you must buy insurance. Insurance will give protection if you book in advance when traveling and at your destination. In addition, medical evacuation trip cancelation is essential when buying travel insurance.

Here is a post that will show you why you need travel insurance.


All-inclusive resorts provide everything a traveler needs in one place at a set price. It is convenient and cost-effective. It evolved from its early beginnings of just accommodation and drinks to include all meals and beverages. It moved from a niche market to the mainstream with Sandals’ entrance, which changed the luxury and customer service game.

Mexico and the Caribbean account for the most all-inclusive resort, with jamaica having some of the best properties in the world. Family and adults-only resorts are the main types of properties in Jamaica.

Read this post for Jamaica travel tips.