Live large and spend less on a Caribbean vacation
AN ALL-INCLUSIVE Caribbean
resort used to mean three meals a
day plus the three B’s—beach, booze,
and a bedroom—all for one low price.
Now, thanks in part to increased com-
petition, it’s more like a land-based
luxury cruise that doesn’t charge
extra for, well, almost anything, from
in-room dining to free rounds of golf.
Some key questions to ask:
What does all-inclusive include?
A true all-inclusive should give you
lodging, all nonmotorized watersports and on-site activities, plus all
meals, snacks, and beverages. The
various chains and resorts ratchet
things up from there, so ask what you
get for the price. Airfare? Premium
wines? Sports such as kayaking and
sailing are typically gratis, though
industry leaders Sandals (888-726-
3257; sandals.com) and Super Clubs
(800-467-8737; superclubs.com) include scuba diving and water-skiing.
Whom does the resort cater to?
Some brands—including Beaches
(800-232-2437; beaches.com), Club
Med (800-258-2633; clubmed.us), and
most Breezes resorts (800-467-8737;
breezes.com)—are family oriented;
others, such as Couples (800-268-7537;
couples.com), cater to twosomes. If
you loathe dinner-jacket dress codes,
you might prefer the more casual Riu
(888-748-4990; riu.com). Size makes
a difference, too: a big property may
mean crowded beaches.
Are there discounts?
As more resorts open, you can expect
more value-added deals. Divi Village
Golf & Beach Resort (800-367-3484;
diviresorts.com) on Aruba offers
free golf after 3:00 P.M. throughout
2009. A 30-minute massage awaits
guests who book three nights at
Antigua’s Hermitage Bay (268-562-
5500; hermitagebay.com). Some of
the best deals are in hurricane-prone
September or October. The odds of
being hit by a hurricane are low, but
consider travel insurance and resorts
that make guarantees. If a hurricane
strikes a SuperClubs resort during
your stay, for instance, you’ll be reimbursed for disrupted nights and
receive a voucher for a visit the same
month the next year. —Laura Daily
COURTESY OF DIVI RESORTS