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All-Inclusive Advice

Canton, Ohio
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18 posts
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All-Inclusive Advice

My husband and I are looking to go on a 4 night all inclusive trip in the beginning of June for our 10 year anniversary. We were going to do NYC but with cost uncertainty, we decided all inclusive instead. We first considered Breezes in the Bahamas. I then read I can get a better deal in Mexico. I don't know anything about any of the areas and have never been. So I am looking for advice.

We are both 37. We will be there without children. We aren't party people, but do enjoy a few drinks on occasion. My husband loves the water. I am more the type to just want to relax by the pool/ocean. We don't need a ton of activities, but some would be nice.

Good food is a must! We aren't interested in vacationing with a bunch of 20 something party people, but want to just relax in a beautiful location.

Would like to spend less that 2500 (with airfare from Ohio).

All suggestions are requested! Thank you so much!

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3,115 posts
40 reviews
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1. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

If you want to enjoy good food then All Incl may not be what you are looking for. May want to consider renting a one bdrm condo and going non All Incl so you can eat at many of the very good restaurants Cancun has to offer.

Cozumel, Mexico
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5,221 posts
13 reviews
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2. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

AI and good food is like First Class to Cleveland. Better to do Non-AI so you can try the Cuisine that the Locals and the Savvy travelers experience, than the Steel Buffet Troughs that the Large Resorts use to feed hundreds of people three times a day....

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70 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

Beachscape Villas. They have AI and non-AI option. small, quiet, laid back resort. Close walk to action if you want. Amazing beach that is huge with a ton of chairs, shallow & calm water. On-site restaurant on the beach has good food for dinner and pretty good for lunch on your beach chair! There are also a bunch of restaurants nearby if you want to venture out for dinner. We have been several times and are returning in March!

denver, colorado
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371 posts
11 reviews
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4. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

I highly recommend trying an all inclusive resort for your first visit to Mexico. Choose a nice resort such as one of the RIU's or Palace properties where everything there is for you. You do not have to figure out where to go for breakfast, lunch, dinner and where to buy food to prepare. Do not have to deal with bringing cash or converting money to pesos. AI is a great experience to be pampered and relax without doing anything if you do not want to. AI packages typically includes airfare,food, all drinks, taxes, tips etc. with an option for airport transfers or you can choose to take a taxi or shuttle service from and to airport. Check websites such as Apple Vacations, Funjet etc... Some airlines such as Delta and United also offers AI packages. Depending on your travel dates it is very possible to book six nights AI with airfare for less then $2,500.00. Happy to answer any questions. Good luck and enjoy!

Destination Expert
for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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23,840 posts
9 reviews
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5. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

Good food is available at AI resorts but you need to go upper to high end to get it.

For me, the AI versus non question has a lot more to do with what sort of vacation experience you're looking for.

If you want to go out and about a lot, dine at local restaurants, see the sights and immerse yourself in the local culture (such as it is in a purpose-built resort destination such as Cancun/Riviera Maya), then AI is probably not your best choice.

If you want to klck back and relax, be waited on hand and foot and have your biggest decision be which a la carte are you doing to dine at this evening, then an AI may suit you perfectly.

I should add that neither vacation style is mutually exclusive. You can stay at an AI and still go sight-seeing etc. off site and you can go non AI and still chill out and relax on the beach with a drink in your hand.

If you want to go non-AI, then I suggest you stay in town (either Cancun or Playa del Carmen) where you will have easy access to bars, clubs, restaurants and shopping. If you want to go AI and plan on spending most of your time at the resort, then a more remotely located AI will be fine.

I have no idea what airfare is from Ohio and so don't know if any of the following fall within your budget but if you think AI might be for you, check out the following (all of which are adult only unless otherwise stated):

- Le Blanc - in Cancun and a very peaceful, zen experience but close to the bars, clubs, restaurants etc. that you can easily access nightlife and a bit more "action" if you want it;

- Grand Velas - probably the most luxurious, high end AI resort in the area with the best food. I very strongly suspect that this will be outside your budget but check it out anyway because it'll give you an idea of how far your money will (or won't!) go in this region. The GV is NOT adults only;

- any of the El Dorado resorts. Not all of them have great beaches, so if that's important to you, you'll want to check that out;

- any of the Secrets resorts. Secrets Maroma Beach has a stunning beach but you pay a premium for it. Secrets Silversands has a lovely beach for lounging or walking but swimming in the ocean there is problematic due to rocks (ironshore) in the water. Other than that, it's a very nice resort and whilst the main pool area is very social, there are plenty of other spots to get away from it all;

- Valentin Imperial Maya - I've been there four times, so it's rather a favourite of mine. The food is, IMHO, from good to wow ..... but food is very subjective and whilst many people agree with me, I also know quite a few don't. Great beach (better than SSS) and a lush, jungly setting;

- Iberostar Grand Paraiso - probably out of budget but again, worth a look in case you can score a deal;

- Royal Playa del Carmen - right in the heart of Playa del Carmen. This is the best of both worlds - an upper end AI with all the shops, bars, restaurants and nightlife you could want right on your doorstep;

- Royal Hideaway - again, budget could be an issue but the food here is touted to be very, VERY good. Located in Playacar (great beaches) and within easy reach of Playa del Carmen.

Finally, a more budget friendly option would be any of the Rius in Playacar, none of which are adult only and they are not going to be of the same calibre of any of the aforementioned resorts ..... but, like many things in this world, you get what you pay for.

There! That should give you a place to start if you want AI; happy researching!

Destination Expert
for Savannah
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4,224 posts
90 reviews
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6. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

That's what I want to do on vacation. After a long day at the beach or touring Mayan ruins I want to cook, clean the dishes & then go to Walmart for more food. Go A-I for your 1st time. Even cheap ai MOST people can find something to eat. . .

Wellington, Florida
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1,824 posts
48 reviews
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7. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

I've had plenty of wonderful food at all inclusives and Mexico does have the best bang for your buck. It's all in finding the right resort which is trial by error at first. I suggest seeing what packages you can find and then looking at the specific resort reviews here for the real information. I always go to the traveler photos over the glossy professional ones. They tell the true story from the beach to the bathrooms and bedding (deal breakers) Lisa mentioned some great options. Just know that resorts are all along the Riviera Maya and you may want to try something close to Playa Del Carmen, but some great resorts are on horrible beaches.

Deals alternate among resorts, so make sure you get a good value.

Playacar is a great beach location for high end and budget resorts.

We enjoyed the Paradisus and are currently booked at Sandos Luxury and the Hard Rock.

Once you have narrowed down some choices, ask for specific opinions on those resorts.

Wellington, Florida
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1,824 posts
48 reviews
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8. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

Are you limited to 4 nights? The bulk of your budget will be the airfare. We use $100 pp/pn as a value guide and usually stay 10-14 nights, all under $2000 - and that includes some very high end bargains we've gotten, such at Grand Velas and Royal Hideaway.

America, The...
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7,897 posts
69 reviews
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9. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

I agree with the others who are recommending AI for your first trip to Mexico. I just priced it out and you can stay at Royal Hideaway with flights from Cleveland for under $2500. This is a top-notch AI with superior food and service on a gorgeous beach, close to Playa del Carmen. It is a quiet, sophisticated resort without the drunken party scene you might find at other places. We just returned from our second trip there and had a lovely stay. I highly recommend it. It is one of the top places in the region, in my estimation, with the others that are also AIs--Le Blanc Spa, Grand Velas, El Dorado Maroma, and IB Grand--likely out of your price range. Happy planning!

Page, Arizona
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592 posts
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10. Re: All-Inclusive Advice

If you can get Royal Hideaway for your budget, I agree with ReviewerMaryland- Grab it! Royal Hideaway is a top notch resort on a beautiful beach about 30-40 minutes south of the Cancun airports. It is quiet, but if you do need some action Playa del Carmen is a quick cab ride or about a 20 minute walk down the beach. You get the best of all worlds; great AI close to great local restaurants.