The Best All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts for Group Getaways
There's no worse travel bummer than constantly having to tabulate your expenses or coming home to a surprisingly big bill. That's why all-inclusive resorts can be a saving grace, particularly when traveling with a large group with various needs.
These often-sizeable properties encompass everything you'd ever want out of a vacation, from windsurfing and kayaking to a sparkling beach to non-stop entertainment in the form of karaoke and live performances. The food, drink, and activities are all folded into one convenient rate, and tips are already included, so that you can relax and have fun without distraction. Coordinating with friends and family is virtually effortless, too; with all the activities on site, it's easy for the group to break out and reconvene at will.
On this list are Caribbean hideaways with amenities and activities that stand out from the usual inclusions, like a resort with a circus school in the Bahamas (perfect for a quick weekend escape), a remote estate with standalone suites in Antigua (so you can have quiet time whenever you need it), and a boutique hotel-within-a-hotel that offers an especially robust roster of activities in the Dominican Republic (because it doesn't always have to be about the beach). There are also a few notable resorts along Mexico's Caribbean coast, like a Cancun hotel with its very own microbrewery and a Playa del Carmen palace with the only all-inclusive restaurant to earn an AAA Five-Diamond award in a century.
Our focus is on what makes each of these resorts the best of the best, but rest assured that they all offer the usual trappings of a great all-inclusive: water sports, yoga classes, tons of dining and room service options, and yes, alcoholic beverages. And since we're well into the 21st century, complimentary Wi-Fi access has finally and thankfully become standard—so you can Instagram as many drinks by the pool as your heart desires. Cheers to a hassle-free vacation.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun in Mexico
Fresh off an $85 million remodel and expansion this past November, the former Dreams resort is already making waves when it comes to top-notch service, elegant facilities, and never-ending views—at the tip of Punta Cancun, the Hyatt Ziva is surrounded by water on three sides. The 547 suites here have marble bathrooms, furnished balconies, and pops of design-forward patterns. But fun offerings like water basketball and an onsite microbrewery, serving up three exclusive beers, encourage guests to venture beyond their rooms and the beach. From $175 per person based on double occupancy.
Hermitage Bay, Antigua
It's all about barefoot luxury at the 140-acre Hermitage Bay, where one gets back to nature in the most pampered way possible. Here, 27 freestanding suites with outdoor showers are accessible only by unpaved road, tucked into a cove that's cradled by lush hills and next to a mangrove. A tour of the onsite kitchen garden—growing papaya, mangos, herbs, and soursop fruit—enhances your experience of the daily-changing menus, and weekly cooking demonstrations allow you to take a delicious part of the vacation home, too. Afternoon snacks and cocktail hour canapés are also covered in your rate, as are airport transfers for those who stay three nights or more. From $1,048 per couple per night.
Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exumas, Bahamas
When it comes to that classic beach experience with powdery sand and island flavor, Sandals Emerald Bay certainly delivers. Its mile-long beach in the Bahamian Out Islands takes center stage, along with the Greg Norman-designed par 72 championship golf course. Indoors, the former Four Seasons property is characterized by Bahamian colonial décor, with terraces and mahogany furniture in each of its rooms. Beyond typical Sandals fun like cabaret and chocolate buffet nights, premium inclusions such as two daily scuba dives and direct airport transfers make this outpost a smart splurge. From $356 per person per night.
Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic
This is not the Club Med you remember from your childhood days. Club Med Punta Cana is the home of Creactive—a circus playground where Cirque du Soleil-trained staff help guests become masters of trapeze, aerial silk, mask-painting, and more. When you need a break from the fun, find respite at the new adults-only Zen Oasis area, encompassing a lagoon pool with in-water lounge chairs, a yoga palapa in a coconut grove, and a private beach. A major plus for groups here: Even the basic rooms boast flexible configurations primed for both mini-parties and privacy, thanks to a sliding door partition between the lounge area and bedroom. $182 per person per night.
The BodyHoliday, LeSport in St. Lucia
White sand beaches aside, St. Lucia is known for its lush mountains and rainforests—so it's no surprise that the island calls to many outdoorsy and wellness-minded groups. Just off a private bay, the BodyHoliday folds a daily spa treatment into its all-inclusive experiences and is set to launch a new sailing program with two racer yachts in April. Plenty of other sports offerings and instructor-led gym classes, like spinning, help guests stay active, and the resort's restaurants feature bounty from the onsite vegetable garden. To fully appreciate the surrounding beauty, all 154 rooms have their own terraces. From $700 per room per night.
Turtle Beach in Barbados
You'll never want for entertainment at the all-suite Turtle Beach. Not only can guests partake in Bajan dialect lessons, jam with a steel band, or play beach cricket onsite, the resort also is right at the edge of the St. Lawrence Gap tourist drag. In case that's not enough, sister hotel Crystal Cove offers a cave bar, three additional restaurants (Turtle Beach has three of its own), and special events like a Saturday fish fry. The waves by Turtle Beach may be a bit rough, but the shore itself has ample space for lounging—and there are two freshwater pools that lend well to onsite swimming. From $441 per room per night.
El Dorado Casitas Royale in Riviera Maya, Mexico
Abundant amenities don't have to come in a cold, mega-resort space. From Karisma Hotels—a group known for its focus on the dining experience—comes the adults-only El Dorado Casitas Royale, a superb hotel-within-a-hotel where the service is warm and personal. This section of the resort has seven swim-up bars and seven restaurants of its own, though guests also have access to options in the main resort (like the culinary theater where the kitchens are live-streamed for patrons). The 171 suites each have their own outdoor shower and covered balcony with double bed, and the thatch roof-covered beds on the beach take lounging to the next level. From $477 per person per night
The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
While the aforementioned Casitas is adults-only, the Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real is great for multi-generational groups looking for an upscale experience. The 42 suites at this boutique were a part of a $12 million renovation and have all the room a family would need to stretch out. Kid-minded extras include tear-free toiletries and turndown with milk and cookies in the rooms, plus piñata tropical parties, rock climbing, and science workshops elsewhere on property. For the adults, the Reserve offers up some of the more interesting classes we've seen—candle-making, sushi, and cigar workshops. A shuttle to the airport (with stops at other Melia properties) is complimentary to all guests. From $670 per night for a Paradisus Suite, based on double occupancy
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande in Jamaica
This resort isn't about lying around all day—though the bright, airy rooms and 17 acres of private Ochos Rios beachfront certainly provide pristine places to do that. The first Moon Palace property outside of Mexico is about staying active with the FlowRider surf simulator, four pools and swim-up bar, and adults-only night club. If you're staying 5 to 8 nights, you'll also enjoy $1,500 in resort credit to sample spa treatments, cruises, and other excursions, too (but note, there's a 16 percent service charge for these special add-ons). From $275 per person per night.
Beaches Turks & Caicos
Vivid blue waters and sparkling white sand are just two of the reasons why Providenciales is the preferred backdrop for many romantic trips, and this Beaches property aims to share the picture-perfect paradise with families too. Great for multi-generational groups or even destination wedding guests, the sprawling property is home to a 12-mile beach, 45,000-square-foot waterpark, and a teen lounge that morphs into an adult club in the evenings. In addition to the usual boogie boards and kayaks, scuba diving, hydrobiking, and adrenaline-pumping wakeboarding all help you maximize your time on the legendary Turks & Caicos waters. And for the group that wants to play and stay together, a series of suites accommodate between five and 14 guests, some with extras like a full kitchen and a private pool. From $378 per person per night for luxury level rooms and from $555 per person per night for Together Nest suites.
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica
There are a few ways to customize a Montego Bay experience, but for groups that look for a mix of luxury and energy, try booking a room at the more intimate adults-only Iberostar Grand Rose Hall for an upscale home base—then heading next door to Iberostar Rose Hall Suites for its lazy river, mini soccer field, nightly shows, and nightclub when the party spirit calls. When it's time to refuel, satisfy your palate at four specialty restaurants and two buffets onsite—or the seven additional dining options between Rose Hall Suites and Rose Hall Beach, the third Iberostar property in the area. And don't forget extra perks like one round of golf for guests staying three nights or more, plus access to the spa wet area for all but the lowest category rooms. From $275 per person per night.
Curtain Bluff in Antigua
Sophisticated Curtain Bluff is for the old-school vacationer who wants to get away from it all, while making new friends and indulging in country club sports. The 72 rooms here lack TVs, encouraging guests instead to take in the West Indian décor and verandah views, and to mingle at afternoon teas and cocktail hours. Thanks to the resort's bluff location, you'll have direct access to not one but two beaches—one the jumping point for twice daily reef snorkeling and scuba diving trips, the other a tranquil canvas for a drink (or perhaps a nap) on the hammocks. All food is sourced locally from Antigua island and its surrounding shores. From $820 per room based on double occupancy
Grand Velas Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Grand Velas arguably embodies the best of all Caribbean resort worlds, with well-appointed spaces that are polished but not over-the-top, and with a family-friendly vibe that's paired with a good dose of nightlife. The AAA Five-Diamond hotel is luxurious, with all 539 rooms topping 1,100 square feet each. But it welcomes all ages, with piñata, kite, and mask classes for the kids and a karaoke bar and a live DJ club for the adults. Foodies will be happy to know too that the Cocina de Autor restaurant boasts its own AAA Five-Diamond award—extremely rare for all-inclusives—and that a margarita trolley, hot sauce tastings, and beachside exotic fruit pops are just some of the other treats to be had. From $560 per person per night in beachside Ambassador rooms and $413 per person per night in Zen rooms next to a jungle (a five-minute shuttle ride from Ambassador).