5 Hot all-inclusive hotels
Don’t want to pay for extras? Try these amazing everything-included retreats, says Joe Shooman
1 Cocobay Resort, Antigua
Best for… Adult escapes
Where: Valley Church, St Mary’s
Room rates: from US$450
Info: +1 268 562 2400; www.cocobayresort.com
The 65 private cottages that make up Cocobay Resort are spread across four hectares of hillside, overlooking gorgeous beaches. Each plantation-inspired cottage has a private veranda with sea views, custom-designed wooden furniture and 100% Egyptian cotton sheets on king-size beds, plus a private plunge pool. The top-end Chattel house units also boast outdoor double-ended bathtubs. On site there are two restaurants: Rafters serves buffet-style breakfast and lunch, with an à la carte menu for dinner that far exceeds what you’d expect from your usual all-inclusive (though there is an additional charge for premium items such as lobster); eating at the Sheer Rocks restaurant isn’t included in the price, but is worth the splurge for its dreamy location. There are also three bars, four public pools, three separate beaches and a spa and wellness deck. Look out for discounted rates during the ‘September to Remember’ special promotion.
2 Palm Island, St Vincent & the Grenadines
Best for… Ultimate luxury
Where: Palm Island
Room rates: from US$606
Info: +1 954 949 2132; www.palmislandresortgrenadines.com
A once-in-a-lifetime dream awaits at this 54-hectare private isle: beachside dining, romantic picnics, snorkelling, boat trips, paddle-boarding, kayaking – all free. There’s a range of accommodation, all with complimentary mini-bars and housekeeping. Beachfront rooms have high gabled roofs, fresh white walls with splashes of pistachio and pink, and luxe day beds on the terraces. Palm View rooms overlook the swimming pool and garden, and have deep, sigh-worthy bathtubs. Lofts, clad in locally crafted rattan, have an air of rustic chic. The huge, contemporary-feel Suites all have sea views – you can step right out into the beach. Set apart from the rest, the spacious Villas are ideal for small groups or families – though note that the resort caters largely for those aged 16 and over. As well as free activities, there’s plenty of cultural interest to fill your time, from reggae gigs to silent cinema, rum tasting to crab racing. A new beach pavilion is available for yoga and private picnics, and significant upgrades have improved the bars and waterfall swimming pool. The resort is committed to sustainability and recycling, and has its own desalination plant.
3 Rendezvous, St Lucia
Best for… Romance
Where: Malabar Beach, Castries
Room rates: from US$392
Info: +1 758 457 7900; www.theromanticholiday.com
A recent US$15 million upgrade has made this legendary couples’ resort even more wonderful. There’s a new treatment centre, The Spa in the Water Garden, offering a range of treatments (not included in the price), plus the intimate Malabar Beach Club, where you can dine with your toes in the sand. The rooms are as romantic as ever: choose between Garden View or Beachfront rooms and suites, or pick one of the gingerbread-cute Beachfront Cottages, which have private patios, bamboo floors, cathedral ceilings, iPod docks and luxurious bathroom amenities by REN. The all-inclusive package features five-star accommodation and all beverages (including wine by the bottle at dinner), personal scuba-diving instruction, land and water sports, unlimited tennis with the onsite pro, all taxes and gratuities, and nightly entertainment. You can also learn how to be a mixologist every evening at the Terrace Bar. Or perhaps you’d prefer to try archery, a spot of golf or a guided hike? Extra options include private candlelit dining and more.
4 Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada
Best for… Rejuvenation
Where: Grand Anse Beach
Room rates: from US$981
Info: +1 473 444 4258; www.spiceislandbeachresort.com
Sir Royston Hopkin’s family-owned resort is a mixture of classic elegance and modern flair, with a history of hospitality excellence. There are 64 suites, 32 of those beachfront and all of them gorgeous, especially the flagship Royal Cinnamon Suite, where Prince Charles and his wife Camilla once stayed. It’s not cheap, but you do get a fair bit of bang for your buck at Spice Island: delicious meals, afternoon teas, wines and premium cocktails, non-motorised watersports, unlimited tennis, golf green fees, bicycle hire, kids’ club and a well-equipped gym. A chic new spa, Janissa’s, designed by Kobi Karp uses local herbs, spices and chocolate in its treatments (which cost extra); there’s a wide range of yoga classes, too. Dining options include the formal Oliver’s, where you’ll often hear live music, and the feet-in-sand Sea and Surf Terrace and Bar, right by the balmy water. Look out for regular offers, including first child free, honeymoon bonus and more.
5 Turtle Beach, Barbados
Best for: Families
Where: Dover, Christ Church
Room rates: from US$363
Info: +1 246 432 1484; www.eleganthotels.com/turtle-beach
Family-friendly Turtle Beach is blessed with an enormous expanse of white sand on which to relax or try sports ranging from windsurfing and boogie-boarding to kayaking, snorkelling and hobie cat sailing. There are two freshwater swimming pools plus the Flying Fish Kids’ Club, with an array of activities to keep youngsters aged 3-12 amused. Adults can take advantage of all-inclusive golf at the nearby PGA-approved 18-hole course. All rooms are spacious suites, with sitting areas, air-con, MP3 docking stations, satellite TV and WiFi. There are five restaurants and bars: the new Sand Trap is ideal for casual beachside bites, Asiagos is the go-to for refined Italian dining, and Chelonia is a good buffet option. There are two floodlit tennis courts, a fitness centre and even a make-your-own-wrap station.