These four tropical all-inclusive resorts provide just the antidote for some much-need relaxation.
The new TRS Coral Hotel from Palladium Hotel Group opened this month as a luxury “resort within a resort” in the equally new Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & Spa. One of only 11 ultra-exclusive Leading Hotels of the World members in Mexico, the new hotel is set on the relatively unspoiled Costa Mujeres, just across the water from the equally off-the-beaten-path Isla Mujeres. Despite that, it’s only 30 minutes north of Cancun’s airport, making for an easy transfer.
Each of the property’s guestrooms has a balcony or terrace, double sinks, whirlpool bath, direct access to swim-up pools and views of the Costa Mujeres landscape. There is also, of course, 24-hour room service and butler service. Good to know: Each building has its own team of butlers that can accommodate requests ranging from organizing private yoga lessons on the beach to drawing a romantic bubble bath to making dining arrangements or suggestions.
Insider Tip: The top suite to nab here is one of the Ambassador Swim-Up Suites (Nos. 1045 and 1046), which have a king or two queen beds, a sofa bed, a separate living room, two washrooms, premium beverage selections and — in a bid to appeal to a guest’s “inner child” at this adults-only resort — its own video game console. Other rooms with the best ocean views include Nos. 2041 - 2048, 2141 - 2148, 2253 - 2262 and 2353 - 2361. We hear the Loft Suites are among the most popular at this resort; these have a hydrotherapy tub right on the terrace.
While here, don’t miss the Chic Cabaret & Restaurant, a multi-course dining experience paired with a performance that combines acrobatics, choreography and music from all genres. The production, which first opened in December at the resort’s sister property in the Yucatan, has drawn quite the buzz for its Vegas-style flair. To get the best seat in the house (or for other VIP requests), reach out to Óscar Muñoz ([email protected]; 011-529-988-685-200), front office manager.
For sports buffs, the resort has partnered with tennis great Rafael Nadal on the Rafa Nadal Tennis Center, which offers personalized programs aimed at all ages and skill levels conducted by coaches from the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar (in Mallorca) and developed based on Nadal’s training system. In addition to eight tennis courts, the facility also has a soccer field and a merchandise store. A little less than a mile away is the Playa Mujeres Golf Course. Advisors can contact Alfonso Montoya ([email protected]; 011-529-988-685-200), head butler, to arrange outings.
Looking to relax? The TRS and Grand Palladium resorts opened with a 50,000-square-foot Zentropia Palladium Wellness & Spa. The treatment menu and extensive hydrotherapy circuit here has a global influence, ranging from Finnish saunas and Himalayan Salt Wraps to open-air clay mud masks and a stone foot shower. For the ultimate out-of-body experience, guests can also book time in the saltwater Flotarium for relaxing sensory deprivation. Reach out to spa manager / director Ángel Rojas ([email protected]; 011-529-988-685-200) for bookings.
For other special requests, travel advisors can contact Muñoz, or reach out to Zach Klein ([email protected]), business development manager.
The Xhale Club Master One Bedroom Suite at Breathless Cabo San Lucas offers 936 square feet of space and sweeping views of the ocean.
Los Cabos has been turning heads in recent years with a booming luxury hotel scene, and, for an all-inclusive option, the Breathless Cabo San Lucas is an adults-only resort set on one of the only safely swimmable beaches in the area. It is also close to the nightlife scene in Cabo San Lucas, and it has a number of accommodation options for larger groups. Bachelorette party, anyone?
The Xhale Club Master Three Bedroom Suite, which we hear is the best suite on-property, fits six adults. Like all of the resort’s other rooms, it has double vanities in the bathrooms, 24-hour room service and nightly turndown service. It also has ocean views. Other connecting rooms are available in the Xhale Club Master One Bedroom Suite Ocean View, which is located in the front section of each building on the first through the fifth floor. We’re also told that the Xhale Club Marina View rooms are among the resort’s most popular accommodations. Good to know: Every room has either a marina or ocean view.
All Xhale Club-level accommodations also come with a number of added amenities, such as VIP host service, personalized check-in / check-out with a concierge, a private lounge, an upgraded minibar and room service menu and complimentary access to the spa’s humid areas.
The spa has nine massage cabins, two of which are doubles, as well as a beauty salon. Note: While the locker areas have private amenities, the hydrotherapy areas — including the sauna, steam room and jacuzzi — are mixed. When booking a large group, reservations three months in advance are recommended. For smaller groups, it is best to book a month and a half out to guarantee availability.
Insider Tip: Veronica Montaño, Blanca Nuñez and Fabiola Vazquez are the most-requested therapists for massages, facials and body treatments. In the salon, Gabriela Lopez is most popular for manicures, pedicures, haircuts, hair styling and makeup. For special spa requests, reach out to spa manager Marina Quintero ([email protected]) or, for group bookings, group sales manager Fernando Hernandez ([email protected]).
Regarding weddings, the resort offers a number of packages that include a dedicated, on-site coordinator, the ceremony (symbolic or legal), and a “seductive” wedding night turndown service. Advisors can reach out to wedding coordinator Paula Marquez ([email protected]) for requests.
For dining, don’t miss the Ocote restaurant, which is the only restaurant on property open to locals. It serves up a menu of modern Mexican cuisine, plus a large selection of tequilas and mezcal, as well as a mixology bar.
One last tip: The resort has a special dog-friendly room category for pets under 22 pounds. The $65 fee provides a dog bed, food and water bowls with a floor mat, a rope toy and a small plastic bone to play with, waste bags, a dog-in-room door hanger and special doggie towels. To reserve a room for a guest with a dog, contact reservations by e-mailing [email protected]
Advisors with other special requests should reach out to director of sales Armando Canela ([email protected]).
Likewise, in the Caribbean, all-inclusives remain as popular as ever — which means ever-improving amenities and services.
The Blackwell Rum Bar at The Caves Hotel in Negril is set inside a cave, whose walls are actual volcanic cliffs.
One under-the-radar option is The Caves Hotel in Negril, Jamaica. This natural preserve-turned-resort is located just minutes from Negril’s famous Seven Mile Beach.
As its name implies, the caves are the standout feature at the property. There are two private cave dining options, Moonbeam and Seastar, where guests can indulge in a five-course meal. The mood is set with pink bougainvillea and dozens of candles, while the table for two has views of the sea. Be sure to contact Sheree Brown ([email protected]), spa and guest relations coordinator, and book a table at least one month in advance.
We’re told some of the top dishes include all of the soups, the stuffed crab back, the grilled lobster tail, the seafood etouffee and Ms. Joy’s Fried Chicken.
Despite the small property size, there are several additional dining venues, including The Dining Room, the “heart and soul” of The Caves; The Gazebo, an al fresco, thatched roof pavilion that serves breakfast; The Sands, set on the edge of the property; and Blackwell Rum Bar, which also has a cave setting.
Accommodations include 12 cottages (two of which are two-bedroom options) and one four-bedroom villa. Our favorite option is the One Bedroom Blue Hole View Suite. The airy, pale blue bedroom has a king-size bed, a living area with a stained-glass window, a writing desk and a unique bathroom. The highlight is the enclosed verandah with bamboo chairs that opens directly onto the Blue Hole — a natural opening in a cave leading to the ocean below.
In the mood for a swim? Step outside your room and take a dive right into the water.
All rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi, air conditioning, mosquito nets, minibars with local drinks and snacks, outdoor showers, nightly turn-down service and Royal Hut bathrobes.
The Caves has 12 cliffside cottages, a grand villa, two dining gazebos, private caves and a spa.
Clandestino, the private villa, has its own swimming pool, butler service, fully equipped kitchen, portable barbecue grill and laundry room. Note: Clandestino guests have the option of fully inclusive or accommodation-only rates. Fully inclusive guests will also have access to all other areas of The Caves’ property, including the swimming pool, private hot tub, Jacuzzi, sauna, Aveda Spa, dining Gazebos and swim access.
General manager Karen Allen welcomes enquiries from advisors. Reach her at [email protected] It’s best to book rooms roughly one year in advance, although for slower months, such as February and March, nine months may suffice.
Spa services are not included with the rates. The Aveda Amenity Spa’s Caribbean Brown Sugar body scrub is “a hands-down favorite.” We’re promised it will leave your skin feeling as soft as a newborn’s. For an alternative, try the Blue Mountain Coffee scrub! Couples should consider the Element Nature Massage; the custom treatment uses a personalized blend of pure flower and plant essences and incorporates a variety of massage techniques, from Swedish to aromatherapy to relax specific areas of tension and stress.
For facials and deep tissue massages, request Elizabeth Mullings; for makeup application, manicures and pedicures, ask for Michelle Maxwell. Spa director Stelle Gray ([email protected]) handles all bookings; contact her at least two weeks in advance.
Bonus: Yogis will love the complimentary yoga classes each Wednesday and Saturday morning.
Tip: Guests arrive in style. Upon stepping off their plane and again when departing, guests have access to Club MoBay, where they will have fast-tracked and personalized services, as well as access to a VIP lounge.
Another Caribbean option is Hermitage Bay in Antigua. Guests arrive in VIP fashion here, as well. A meet-and-greet is offered to guests, as are private luxury transfers. (Guests must stay at least three nights for these perks, however.)
Hermitage BAy in Antigua has 30 suites, 13 on the beach and the remaining 17 on the hillside. Shown here is a Hillside Suite that comes with a private sundeck and a plunge pool.
We’re told all 30 freestanding suites are similarly appointed; options include 13 suites directly on the beach and 17 hillside pool suites (beach suites don’t have a private plunge pool). If you asked us, we would opt for one of the highest-located hillside suites. We’re a fan of the private plunge pool, the views of the Caribbean Sea and the added privacy. Each hillside suite has a wrap-around covered deck, complete with sun-loungers, double day bed, sofa, small dining table and plantation chairs. For guests who prefer to be beachside, these suites stand right on the white sand of Hermitage Bay. Each room has a split-level, open-plan living and sleeping area, en-suite bathroom, outdoor shower and covered sun-deck with a small dining area, double day bed and plantation chairs. Tip: These suites span the length of the beach, with some just a few steps from the pool, lounge and restaurant and others further down, offering more privacy.
Contact Stephanie Mack ([email protected]), sales and marketing, to find the room that best suits your wants.
Although not included, a standout feature are the private beach dinners offered on a nightly basis. Note: These are extremely popular, so it’s best to book as early as possible. Private sunset cruises are another option. Shanna Campbell ([email protected]), guest relations coordinator, can handle bookings for each.
A “don’t-miss” event is the chef demonstration held every Wednesday at 4 p.m. adjacent to the main pool deck. Hermitage Bay also has its own organic kitchen garden, where they grow peppers, tomatoes, spinach, callaloo, aubergine (eggplant), okra and herbs such as thyme, parsley, coriander and basil. Kempton McCalmont, the gardener, is also a supervisor in the restaurant, so if you want to hear about the project or take a guided tour with him, all you need to do is ask!
For dinner, the restaurant transforms into a formal dining area with subtle lighting, candles and drapery. There is also live music every night (think steel drums, calypso or jazz). The lounge area is right next to the beach and pool and is a great place to unwind with a cocktail, a cup of tea or a good book. Have lunch here if you prefer a less formal feel; however, in the evening, it is candle-lit and atmospheric, becoming the place to gather for drinks, canapés and coffees (and even dancing) before or after dinner.
Reservations for dinner are not required.
Off-property, we’re told the best things to do on the island include eco-tours, historic tours, golf, helicopter tours or fishing. For those looking to get a round of golf in, the Cedar Valley Golf Course comes highly recommended. Campbell can also schedule tee times.
For a relaxing spa day, couples should enjoy the two-and-a-half-hour Arts of Love treatment, which includes an aphrodisiac bathing ritual, beauty pack, body and scalp massage using a combination of soothing oils. Spa manager Jacqueline McKenzie ([email protected]) is your contact here.
Note: The hotel is closed in September; January to April is the best time to visit, but it’s also the busiest, so it’s best to book as far in advance as possible.