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The Luxurious Evolution Of The All-Inclusive

From Patagonia to Riviera Maya to the Amazon and back, these all-inclusives have stepped it up an indulgent notch / By Karen Loftus


All-inclusive hotels have carried a reputation similar to the once pervasive Vegas buffet: an over- abundance of all you can have, not necessarily meaning all that you want, and rarely including any luxury offerings. That has since changed, which also happens to be true of the Vegas buffet. One spin into Cosmopolitan’s buffet on Sin City’s Strip will forever change your Vegas vision. Many of today’s all-inclusive hotels are designed with the discerning and savvy traveler in mind— someone who wants more for less yet still expects nothing but the best. Here are a few that offer over- the-top indulgence for a flat, all-inclusive fee. The bar has been set and the standard raised. Once you check in, leave your wallet, purse and worries behind, and begin to make those endless requests.

Grand Velas Riviera Maya

The Grand Velas all suites resort in Riviera Maya is a study in the luxurious all-inclusive. With 491 suites set in three varying ambiances (Grand Class, Ambassador and Zen Grand), eight restaurants, a world-renowned, 89,000 square-foot spa, three magnificent pools, aqua bars, gym facilities and more, everything you need is at your fingertips—or it can be after a quick call down to the concierge.

For the ultimate luxury, go all out, and opt for one of the two presidential suites in the Grand Class. These nearly 3,000-square-foot suites have two bedrooms, an outdoor shower, an indoor Jacuzzi, a private pool, a dining room for eight, a living room and two and a half bathrooms. Those who stay in the presidential suite also enjoy private butler service, poolside private butler service, private maid service and in- room, 50-minute massages daily. this is pampering perfection.

Tip: Upon entering your room, don’t fear the welcoming bottle of tequila (served with shot glasses, limes and salt)—it’s included, as is the fully stocked minibar. If you happen to polish off all the snacks and bottles of wine, you’ll find them replenished the next day.


In today’s market, you have to offer more than a high thread count to get a rise out of seasoned luxury travelers. They are looking for far more. Many have a craving for authentic, bespoke, hemingway-styled experiences in remote and beautiful places.

Long ahead of the travel curve, Explora has been sating travelers’ South American appetites with hotels in some of Chile’s more otherworldly locales: San Pedro de Atacama, Patagonia and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).

As its name suggests, Explora is all about exploring the region’s bountiful beauty and taking advantage of its myriad offerings. The luxury is in the locations. Whether you visit Atacama’s pink flamingos, bob effortlessly in the local salt beds, trek through Patagonia or simply feast your eyes on the wonders of Easter Island, Explora offers exclusive excursions to suit every interest and fitness level with half- or full–day trips.

Your stay in the chic, sleek, minimalist accommodations include three freshly prepared meals daily, bilingual guides, equipment, transport throughout your stay and a string of life-changing experiences. Also included in a four- night stay: a fifth night free of charge.

Iberostar Hotels and Resorts

Since 1986, Iberostar has succeeded on a global level in creating the ultimate all- inclusive experience. With more than 100 hotels in 15 countries, the Spanish brand has carved out its own level of luxury.

Iberostar’s sumptuous, adults-only Grand Collection of beach resorts can be found in Riviera Maya (Mexico), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic), Trinidad (Cuba) and the Amazon (Brazil). The $82-million, Greco-Roman–inspired Grand Hotel Bavaro in Punta Cana is luxury personified and is the ideal setting for those well-heeled travelers looking to wiggle their toes in the sand.

The property includes: a breathtaking view of the beach, a two- story beachfront spa, an endless array of gourmet options, 24-hour butler service, personal bath butlers, stocked premium liquors and a serene and sophisticated silence that surrounds the pool.

Photo courtesy Grand Velas Riviera Maya