Much like in the Caribbean, travelers in Mexico often opt for the all-inclusive experience. It takes a lot of the planning and guesswork out of vacationing if you know you’ll be eating all meals at the property and can take advantage of numerous resort activities. But some hotels with all-inclusive packages can serve up less than stellar food, skimp on the quality and quantity of liquor, and hide fees for “extras” that aren’t revealed until you’re checking out. Luckily for you, we’ve visited hundreds of hotels in Mexico to sample the food, sleep in the beds, and take part in the programs offered to see how they stack up to the competition. Here, check out the 10 best resorts in Mexico for an all-inclusive getaway. Our picks provide awesome rates, packages, facilities, and amenities so you get plenty bang for your buck.
The Royal Hideaway is a member of exclusive hospitality consortium Leading Hotels of the World, and as such is one of the most luxurious properties in the area. It features upscale rooms with high-end amenities, a full-service spa with great treatments, several pools, and the best food around. The all-inclusive rate offers access to all the hotel’s facilities, restaurants, and bars, plus 24-hour room service and non-motorized water sports.
The Grand Velas—set on over 80 acres of mangroves that meet a postcard-perfect beach of white sand and turquoise waters — is one of Riviera Maya’s most sophisticated properties. It features 491 top-notch suites spread out in three different buildings (two family-friendly, one adults-only), all with their own stunning pool complexes, gyms, and restaurants. All-inclusive rates include gourmet dining for all three meals, bar service at all pools and the beach, daily restocking of the minibar (including snacks), and access to fitness classes.
The Excellence Playa Mujeres is an adults-only luxury resort offering a nice all-inclusive experience with tons of variety — multiple dining options, several beautiful pools, a gorgeous spa, and dozens of wonderful activities. The rooms here are large and contemporary, with spacious modern bathrooms, whirlpools, and high-end amenities such as big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and iPod docks. Some have large rooftop terraces with private plunge pools looking out at the ocean. However, note that the beach is less attractive than others farther south, and there are no attractions nearby. There are a total of nine restaurants and 11 bars to choose from, and reservations are not required.
There is nothing ordinary about the 260-room Le Blanc Spa Resort. Everything from the wine lists to your workout has been tailored to be top-notch. It feels more South Beach chic than Cancun party, with a hip, gorgeous aesthetic throughout the entire pristine white property. The rooms are thoroughly modern and bright with minimalist decor and stunning ocean views (some with large whirlpool baths). But most of your time should be spent experiencing the top-of-the line spa, the chic restaurants (especially the stunningly designed Lumiere), and heavenly white-sand beach.
The all-inclusive, adults-only Pueblo Bonitio Pacifica Resort is a tranquil, upscale resort on a gorgeous beach. It feels removed and secluded from the Cabo nightlife, though it’s only about a 10-minute drive away. Amenities are plentiful; there are two beautiful pools, tennis courts, five restaurants (including sushi and Italian options), five bars (no well liquor here; staff serves Absolut, Bacardi, and Cuervo 1800, along with over other 50 brands of liquor), a large fitness center, and a full-service spa with a sexy whirlpool and meditation labyrinth. All rooms have patios or balconies with ocean views.
The 291-room luxury Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort located halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Rooms are of moderate size, with elegant decor that includes four-poster canopy beds, furnished balconies or terraces, and jetted tubs. Guests at this outpost of the Secrets chain are granted Preferred status, with additional amenities and privileges that include premium liquor, concierge service (in rooms, on the beach, and by the pool), free Wi-Fi, and free international calls. On-site activities include water sports, games, language lessons, and beer tastings.
This adults-only, luxury all-inclusive property with 507 rooms appeals to both 20- and 30-something couples. A particular draw of The Royal is its proximity to the nightlife of downtown Playa del Carmen, especially bustling 5th Avenue, which the party-oriented will appreciate. But the gorgeous stretch of beach and the sophisticated rooms with two-person jetted tubs means romance-minded couples will be pleased here as well. The range of features is, unsurprisingly, extensive, including seven restaurants and seven bars, an Olympic-sized pool, a wedding center, a spa, and daily entertainment. In terms of activities, guests have access to a tennis court, hydrotherapy zone, scuba center offering a free introductory lesson to each quest, and fitness center with a handful of machines.
Blue Diamond Riviera Maya by BlueBay is an excellent option for couples looking for a more intimate and luxurious all-inclusive option, outside of the hustle of Cancun. The four-and-a-half pearl property is spread out over gorgeous grounds that are partially manicured and artistic, and partially jungle-like and wild, so the overall ambiance is natural and feels almost isolated. No kids allowed means the two swimming pools, sandy beach, and plethora of restaurants are generally quiet and relaxing. Adult-friendly facilities include a sleek spa (guests are free access to the steam room and pool), cigar lounge, and one of the best equipped gyms in Mexico. Suites and casitas come standard with private outdoor bathtubs and minibars stocked with free drinks.
This luxurious, 267-room all-inclusive resort in Nuevo Vallarta is a sophisticated and serene option in the greater Puerto Vallarta area. Every room at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is a suite, offering extra living space, a balcony, ocean views, and luxurious touches such as Nespresso machines. The impressive features include an infinity pool with three levels overlooking the beach, a decadent spa with 20 treatment rooms, and four upscale (and pricey) restaurants. Room service is also available 24 hours a day, and the all-inclusive wine list is wider than guests might anticipate. There’s little to fault here, except for the fee for Wi-Fi.
A half-hour drive from downtown Puerto Vallarta and a half mile from the beach, the Marival Residences & World Spa is not the place to go if you’re in the mood for a beach-lounging, party-hopping Mexican getaway. It is, however, an ideal option for those seeking laid-back luxury, residential-style suites, modern amenities, and an impressive array of all-inclusive features. Comprised of 169 suites, penthouses, or private villas, ranging from one to four bedrooms (and all featuring spacious terraces with garden, pool, or ocean views), Marival Residences is an excellent choice for families and couples seeking a little sun-soaked spoiling.
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This article was originally published by Oyster.com under the headline The 10 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico. It is reprinted here with permission.
(Photo at top: Jaclyn Liechti)