Caribbean All-Inclusives: New and Notable

Mega-hotel companies Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Hilton have in recent years dove into and vastly expanded the all-inclusive market worldwide across a myriad of their brands. But, although these three companies comprise a large portion of the hotel development — particularly in the Caribbean — they are not the only ones opening or renovating all-inclusive properties. Here’s what you need to know…

Oetker Collection’s Jumby Bay Island

The Oetker Collection’s Jumby Bay Island late last year debuted a new selection of nautically inspired accommodations: 12 brand-new Ocean View Suites.

Combining the styles of contemporary and traditional beach houses, the new suites—split between one-bedroom Junior Suites and two-bedroom Family Suites—have lofty ceilings, wide verandas and open-air bathrooms, while walls are adorned with tropical artwork by local artist Jan Farara. The former, totaling 1,200 square feet, have a king bed, 42-inch flat-screen TV and indoor and outdoor showers, plus a soaking bath in the bathroom. The rooms also include a pair of bicycles for use around property. The latter room type can accommodate up to four in two bedrooms (one king, two queens) and have a private pool in addition to all the offerings of the Junior Suite. These rooms additionally have a fully decked-out kitchen and dining space that blends with a living room. Tip: Should you prefer to sit back and have someone else do the cooking, a private chef can be called upon to whip up meals.

Outside, adjacent to the plunge pool, there is a dining area and lounge seating chaises and sun umbrellas. In all, the Ocean View Family Suites span just over 3,000 square feet.

Jumby Bay Island
Jumby Bay Island debuted 12 brand-new Ocean View Suites late last year. Shown here is a Junior Suite, which offers 1,200 square feet of space.  (Jumby Bay Island)

Good to know: These rooms can be combined to offer a three-bedroom option. These rooms are also located nearby the Jumby Bay Watersports Centre, where a host of water-based activities, such as paddleboarding, windsurfing and sailing, are available to guests.

Beyond these rooms, the Pool Suites—which are about 1,350 square feet and have a living area, primary bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and an expansive terrace—are among the most-requested rooms on property.

If you need a bit more space, there are 14 villas you can select from; they are available in two-, three- and four-bedroom layouts. The largest of these tops out at 5,900 square feet, can sleep up to eight, and has its own swimming pool and fully equipped kitchen, as well as golf carts for getting around.

If you’re booking peak season (festive through Easter), it’s best to book about a year in advance. For shoulder season travel, two months in advance of the stay would work. Travel advisors should reach out to Andrew Jeffries ([email protected]), executive head of sales and marketing for bookings.

Guests arriving to the 300-acre private island resort in Antigua, do so by boat. Ringed with coral reefs and reachable only by water, the resort offers white sand beaches and plenty of bicycle paths from which you can explore.

In addition to the complimentary weekly activities on property, including the likes of island cooking classes, guided nature walks, snorkeling trips and rum tastings, the concierges can arrange for bespoke guest experiences. The team can coordinate private beachfront dinners, paint-and-sip courses with a local artist, private sailing lessons, day trips to a private beach, boat and fishing charters, sunset cruises and more.

Jumby Bay Island
The Family Suites come with a private pool. (Jumby Bay Island)

All-inclusive dining options range from a casual beachside restaurant, a pool grille and beach shack to the fine-dining Estate House, colonial-style 1830 bar and more. All options are à la carte and several venues have recently been updated. The resort also hosts various pop-up events, such as a “White Night Beach BBQ,” “West Indian Hangout” and “Dinner at the Farm,” all three of which require reservations.

Good to know: Oetker Collection has a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility strategy in line with the United Nations Global Compact report. Such commitments mean the properties favor local producers, support local community projects, and provide the framework and training to operate responsibly. Building upon this further, the company forms initiatives unique to each hotel; for example, Jumby Bay Island supports the protection of the Hawksbill Sea Turtle nesting colony.

Sanctuary Cap Cana, a Luxury Collection Adult All-Inclusive Resort

At the start of the year, Sanctuary Cap Cana reopened its doors as a part of Marriott International’s Luxury Collection following a four-month, $45 million renovation. When it did so, it became the first all-inclusive resort under the Luxury Collection umbrella. As part of the new look, all rooms and public spaces of the adults-only resort—including the restaurants and bars, spa and fitness center—were refreshed, now sporting a more modern look. A restaurant, beach bar, night club and lobby library were also added during the renovations.

Sanctuary Cap Cana’s Royalty Villa
Sanctuary Cap Cana’s Royalty Villa offers 4,300 square feet of space. (Sanctuary Cap Cana)

In all suites and villas, you will find furnished balconies or terraces, flat-screen TVs, espresso machines and pillow menu, not to mention turndown service. If you’re traveling as a couple, we would opt for the Castle Honeymoon Suite with Private Pool (Nos. 3040 to 3047). Located in the aptly named Castle section of the resort, the rooms offer a private plunge pool and such VIP services as a bottle of champagne upon arrive, shoe-shining, luggage unpacking and packing, and even access to a butler.

If you need space for four, while several of the suites can accommodate such groups—including the 5,200-square-foot Terrace Tower Two Bedroom Suite, 5,500-square-foot Castle Island Suite and 1,600-square-foot Penthouse Suite (which, although it’s smaller, offers more privacy than the other options)—our pick would be the Royalty Villa. There are four such two-bedroom accommodations on property (Nos. 1006, 1007, 1026 and 2007), each totaling 4,300 square feet. These rooms, along with the King & Queen Villas have the best ocean views, as they’re located directly on the water.

About those new public spaces: Guests can enjoy light bites and grilled specialties poolside and beachfront at La Yola Snack Grill, sip cocktails or smoothies at the new beach bar, spend their nights at the PMPUB nightclub, and learn more about Dominican culture through a range of books at the lobby library.

Guests have the choice of five restaurants (four of which are à la carte), specializing in seafood, Asian, Italian and a steakhouse fare. The buffet restaurant is open for daily breakfast and lunch, while a coffee shop deli and eight bars round out the F&B venues. Sanctuary Town, located right across from the resort’s lobby, acts as an extension for guests to dine and explore with venues offering an array of gastronomies from burgers to sushi to woodfired pizza, as well as live entertainment on select days.

The property also has six pools, which offer drink service from the Beach Bar. Cabanas are available to rent.

At the Sanctuary Spa, guests can sign up for ayurvedic treatments, hydro and cutting-edge therapies, plus beauty shop services. Couples massage cabins are complete with a bathtub that can be arranged with champagne and chocolates.

Sanctuary Cap Cana
Sanctuary Cap Cana has six pools, which offer drink service from the Beach Bar. (Sanctuary Cap Cana)

Keep an eye out for “Epicurean Moment,” activities, where Dominican culture is highlighted. At these events, guests can taste and learn about cacao, coconut and rum, the three main ingredients that are produced, used and exported in the country. A myriad of on-property activities can also be enjoyed, from sunrise/sunset yoga overlooking the ocean, bike tours and meditation classes, to beach volleyball, cornhole and chess, among others.

In terms of off-property excursions, the gated community of Cap Cana offers Scape Park, an adventure eco-park with outdoor activities like zip-lining, cave exploration, cenote swimming and more. For the golf enthusiasts, the Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada is a popular course with impressive oceanfront views. Finally, Los Establos is an equestrian center that offers horseback riding experiences, expertly trained horses, a polo field and trails that allow visitors to explore the area on horseback.

Travel advisors can contact Reservations Manager Jessica Santana ([email protected]).

Good to know: Xavier Pineda, director of sales and marketing, All-Inclusive, Marriott International, says the company is focusing its all-inclusive growth within the luxury all-inclusive tier, including The Luxury Collection, JW Marriott, W Hotels and even The Ritz-Carlton.

Among All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy’s other openings in 2024 are the Marriott Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort, the world’s first all-inclusive Marriott-branded hotel; Almare, a Luxury Collection All-Inclusive Resort, a boutique hotel in Isla Mujeres, Mexico; and W All-Inclusive Punta Cana, a new-build in agreement with Grupo Puntacana and MAC Hotels. In 2025, two new-builds slated to open are the JW Marriott All-Inclusive and the W All-Inclusive, both in Costa Mujeres.

Dreams Flora Resort & Spa

Opened in February as part of Hyatt’s Inclusive Collection, Dreams Flora Resort & Spa—located in Cabeza de Toro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic—is among the newest additions to the global hotel company’s all-inclusive collection.

The family-friendly resort offers guests gourmet à la carte dining options, unlimited top-shelf spirits, pool and beach wait service, daytime activities, live nightly entertainment and more. In all, there are 520 suites, each with a private furnished balcony or terrace and “Unlimited-Luxury” amenities such as room service, a daily refreshed minibar and more. That said, for guests looking for an elevated experience, Preferred Club rooms additionally offer personalized check-in and checkout with concierge service, an exclusive-use Preferred Club pool and bar, upgraded bath amenities and minibar and room service menu, and access to the Preferred Club lounge.

Sanctuary Cap Cana
The Sanctuary Spa offers ayurvedic treatments, hydro and cutting-edge therapies, plus beauty shop services. (Sanctuary Cap Cana)

The Junior Suite Swim-Up is a popular option. Alongside the standard amenities found in all of suites, guests will discover modern décor with either a king or two double beds and a living area with a sofa bed. Notably, the terrace offers direct access to the pool through a small garden. The top-tier accommodation, however, is the Preferred Club Master Suite Ocean Front. Inside, guests will find an elegant living area with a sofa bed and a dining area, a king-sized bed and an expansive terrace furnished with seating, shower, sun loungers, a whirlpool and a shower — all overlooking the ocean. The oversized bathroom comprises two wardrobes, double sinks and a rain shower.

At the resort’s à la carte restaurants, guests can enjoy Asian and Mexican cuisine, while the buffet offers interactive stations; a café and a snack grill round out the options. Good to know: No reservations are required for any restaurant. Additionally, for those with gluten allergies, all restaurants on property offer a gluten-free menu. In all, there are eight restaurants and 13 bars and lounges.

At the pool scene, there are options for both kids and adults only. Catering to families, the water park has seven water features, including a pool, racer slides and toboggan slides. The Explorer’s Club for kids aged three to 12 offers a supervised children’s program that includes arts and crafts, weekly campout adventures and treasure hunts, plus a playground, indoor game room and video games. For teens looking for more independence, the Core Zone Teens Club offers a supervised program for those aged 13 to 17 and plays hosts to social events, a snack bar with non-alcoholic drinks, video games, movies on the beach and more.

The Dreams Spa by Pevonia offers a variety of body treatments, massages and facials. Pretty cool: Kids and teens looking to indulge can select treatments from a special menu of facials, massages, manicures and pedicures.

Guests looking to explore the destination have a trove of historic sites and attractions nearby. Altos de Chavón is a recreation of a 16th-century Mediterranean village set on a cliff overlooking the Río Chavón. Saona Island, home to impressive limestone cliffs, lies off the southeastern tip of the Dominican Republic and can be reached by sailboat or speedboat. Catalina Island is a small offshore island (about one and a half miles from the mainland); home to a coral reef, it’s a great destination for snorkeling and diving. La Romana is one of the Dominican Republic’s largest cities and is known for its culture, golf courses and beaches. Lastly, Higuey, a quaint historical town, is popular for its grand basilica dedicated to the Virgen de la Altagracia, the patron saint of the Dominican Republic. Tip: Wander through the streets and enjoy some local cheese and fresh fruits from the bustling markets.

The resort’s concierge desk is readily available to assist guests in organizing tours, car rentals or any other arrangements they may require, including visits to any of the above locales.

Also on the horizon for Hyatt is Secrets Tides Punta Cana, slated to open Q4 2023 in Punta Cana with 670 rooms, including swim-out suites, and Secrets St. Lucia Resort & Spa, slated to open Q4 2023 in St. Lucia. This property will offer 342 rooms and suites, as well as a privileged location on a stretch of white-sand beach lined with palm trees.

Contact Erenia Gonzalez ([email protected]), director of sales, for bookings.

Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa

In Montego Bay, Jamaica, Palladium Hotel Group—which manages two neighboring hotels in the destination—has refurbished Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa to the tune of $27.5 million. Unveiled this April, the resort has refreshed all 537 suites and various common areas, such as the lobby, one of its show-cooking restaurants and one of its bars.

What can guests expect? The project refreshed the resort’s English colonial style look, while integrating elements of nature into the design and interior decoration. As well, of the 537 rooms, 48 were converted into two new categories, all of which offer sea views. These new options include 40 Superior Junior Suite Private Pool Ocean View and eight Superior Suite Private Pool Oceanfront View accommodations. Surrounded by vegetation, these swim-up suites offer a private pool and terrace, which are equipped with seating and a wooden pergola.

Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa
Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa has recently refreshed all of its 537 suites and various common areas. (Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa)

Tip: If you’re looking for your own private pool, while both categories offer at least an infinity plunge pool, those found in each Superior Suite Private Pool Oceanfront View rooms are the largest in the entire hotel at 161 square feet. The 1,325-square-foot Superior Suite Private Pool Oceanfront View rooms also have a living room with a balcony, dining room, a larger bedroom and a relaxation area with a chaise lounge and a large window overlooking the ocean.

The 775-square-foot Superior Junior Suite Private Pool Ocean View rooms are available in either king-bed setups, or with two queen beds.

Bathrooms across all rooms offer a hydromassage bathtub and shower. Some rooms have open bathrooms centered by the bathtub.

Good to know: On the sustainability front, all rooms have energy-saving systems with sensors for light and air conditioning, while the swim-up pools are heated through an efficient system that uses heat pumps. Along the same lines, the resort has more than 6,000 photovoltaic panels, which, when combined with other energy-generation measures, results in more than 20 percent of the resort’s energy being renewable and avoids 300,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per month.

The refurbishment also touched upon The Infinity Saloon Bar, offering views of the Caribbean Sea. Here, the open-air terrace now has elegant awnings and lounge-style furniture with sofas and large armchairs, perfect for relaxing with a cocktail in hand and taking in a show or live music. On the culinary end, the MoBay show-cooking restaurant, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, has increased its capacity to accommodate up to a total of 286 diners. Divided into four areas by screens, the space now has two new food stations to offer a greater variety of dishes and products.

Beyond MoBay, guests looking to immerse themselves in the culture and Jamaican cuisine should not miss Xaymaica restaurant, where you can enjoy regional Jamaican specialties with local produce like okra, callaloo and ackee. Dishes at the restaurant include Pork Ribs in a Jerk Sauce and Jamaican Curried Goat. After your meal, you can enjoy traditional Jamaican desserts of sweet potato pudding, cornmeal pudding or coconut grater cake.

Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa
The resort’s Infinity Saloon Bar. (Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa)

Along those same lines, be sure to visit the Jerk Hut, located near the main pool of Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa; it is a great lunch option for guests. Other restaurants on the property include Portofino, an Italian-inspired dinner restaurant; Sumptuori, a Japanese dinner restaurant; The Blue Lagoon Bar, a swim-up bar for drinks and cocktails: and Poseidon, offering an à la carte menu and self-service buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Good to know: Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa also offers gluten-free menus and a special program for people with allergies and intolerances.

The “other half” of the property is the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa, which offers an additional 517 suites and underwent a renovation six years ago. In all, the dual resorts offer guests a choice of 11 restaurants and 15 bars, various entertainment options for all ages, the Zentropia Palladium Spa & Wellness center, as well as one of the largest pools in the Caribbean.

Travel advisors may contact Mireya Mendoza ([email protected]), support America for Palladium Hotel Group.

Zemi Miches All-Inclusive Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton

Further down the line, Hilton will bring its first all-inclusive Curio Collection property to the Dominican Republic. The new-build Zemi Miches All-Inclusive Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton will be located north of Punta Cana in the coastal town of Miches and will offer 502 rooms when it opens in late 2024.

The beachfront property on a half-mile stretch of Esmeralda Beach will comprise six four-story buildings alongside 18 freestanding beach bungalows. Beyond the bungalows, standout room options will include 123 ground-level swim-up guestrooms, each with individual plunge pools that connect via a winding pool, allowing guests to swim to other areas of the resort.

Zemi Miches All-Inclusive Resort
Zemi Miches All-Inclusive Resort will offer 502 rooms, including 18 beach bungalows and 123 ground-level swim-up guestrooms. (Zemi Miches All-Inclusive Resort)

Nine food and drink options will be available, serving Asian, Taino, Italian and seafood; an all-day buffet, lobby bar and sports bar, among others, will serve as additional options.

For guests seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, plans include for an expansive spa housing 10 treatment rooms, a beauty salon, indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi and outdoor space for yoga and meditation. Additional amenities include a fitness center, four swimming pools, a water park, and activities for kids and teens, plus extensive beachfront lounging areas.

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