All inclusive used to mean budget. Now there are some serious luxury options
All inclusive used to be a bit of dirty word in travel. Usually code for “pack ‘em in, pile ‘em high” resorts where all-inclusive meant three buffet meals a day and watered down cocktails. But oh, how things have changed!
In Caribbean resorts, Sandals led the way in demonstrating how all-inclusive could mean a superb luxury holiday with everything from premium brand drinks to watersports and spa treatments and even a designer wedding thrown in. I recommend their resorts in Barbados and Grenada.
In these days of belt tightening, many resorts that would have shunned the all-inclusive route have embraced it as a means of bringing value for money to luxury travel. For savvy honeymooners watching their budget, all-inclusives are a great option as you pay up front and don’t have worry about indulging when you’re there.
Just make sure you look carefully at the resort itself and what exactly is included in the price. Here’s a handy guide to some of 101 Honeymoons’ top all-inclusive choices. You can also search for honeymoons under £1,000 and under £2,000, or visit our homepage for more honeymoon ideas.
Lily Beach Resort & Spa, Maldives
These two resorts have led the way for all-inclusives in the Maldives. Lily Beach Resort & Spa at Havahendhoo opened in 2009 proud of the fact that it offered an all new ‘Platinum Plan’, a premium all-inclusive plan and the first of its kind in the Maldives, a destination so right for all-inclusives as most of the resorts are on their own islands with nowhere else to go even if you wanted to. Guests are totally beholden to the hotel for all their needs.
All inclusive at Lily Beach means airport meet and greet, premium brand drinks, a la carte and buffet dining, complimentary mini bar, snorkelling equipment, non motorized watersports and land sports and two excursions per person including a fishing trip or a trip to a local island.
Ikos Resort, Halkidiki, Greece
On the Greek mainland, the sister resorts of Ikos Oceania and Ikos Olivia both offer five-star all-inclusive honeymoons at very competitive prices. The price includes a choice of a la carte restaurants, the option to dine out in selected local restaurants, an extensive wine list, free mini-bar, 24-hour room service and non-motorised water sports.
Ikos Oceania is the smaller of the two, with a gorgeous private beach. Ikos Olivia, which opened in May 2015, is set in gardens leading to a white sand beach on the Gulf of Toroneos. Some rooms have a private pool and others have direct beach access. Ikos Olivia is also a popular wedding venue.
Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas
Sandals pioneered luxury all-inclusives, calling them ‘luxury included holidays’. They now boast a spectacular new resort on Great Exuma in The Bahamas. Stay in a beachfront suite with butler service and enjoy fine dining, limitless bubbly, land and watersports – without worrying about a mounting bill on checkout.
On arrival, you will be greeted by your personal butler (trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers) with a Kir Royal and chocolate-covered strawberries before being whisked to your suite.
All suites are oceanfront and extremely spacious with a separate living room and balcony or patio. For the ultimate in privacy, some have their own pool with uninterrupted views across the emerald blue ocean.
There are five gourmet restaurants, each offering a unique experience from Bahamian seafood with your toes in the sand to Tuscan specialities. Beringer® wines are also included or you can treat yourselves to one of the Chairman’s Choice wines (extra cost).
There’s a mile-long crescent shaped beach of powder white sand and facilities which include three swimming pools, a fully-equipped tennis centre with six floodlit Har-tru courts, fitness centre and a championship 18-hole 72-par golf course designed by Greg Norman (green fees extra). Optional excursions include deep-sea fishing, kayaking and an encounter with dolphins (extra cost).
All watersports, including unlimited scuba diving for certified divers, are included. And of course if you want to tie the knot, there’s a Martha Stewart wedding free of charge when you stay more than seven nights.
Meeru Island Resort, Maldives
At Meeru Island Resort you have the option of going all-inclusive, and this resort is known for its four-star quality at three-star prices. It’s also worth looking out for complimentary room upgrades. There are two swimming pools, non-motorised watersports, a dive school, golf driving range, tennis courts, fitness centre and two spas, one of them over the water. There is a choice of two buffet and two à la carte restaurants and a range of bars.
The attractive wooden chalet-style rooms are either located by the beach, some of them right at the edge of or even above the lagoon; all have an attractive semi-open bathroom and some have a Jacuzzi on the private sundeck.
Find more details and prices at Meeru Island Resort.
Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets – well at least for the UK market which has tended to regard it as a low quality package destination. In fact it’s a vibrant Spanish island with boutique gems and top class all-inclusives like Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana.
Here honeymooners will find gold standards at silver prices – set on the palm-studded, sugar white beach in Playa Bavaro.
You’ll find 373 spacious guestrooms with great views as well as a daily-refreshed mini bar, a terrace or balcony with outdoor Jacuzzi and so much more.
There are gourmet dining options and premium brand drinks and watersports too – all included in the price. It’s great value for money too with one week costing less than £1,800 for a couple including all meals and drinks as well as flights.
See more honeymoon hotels in the Dominican Republic.
LUX* Le Morne, Mauritius
With Morne Brabant mountain to one side and the idyllic beaches of this southwest peninsula to the other, LUX* Le Morne certainly has location on its side. After a £21m refurbishment, it’s one of Mauritius’ most sought after five-stars with its superb Nymphea Spa and gourmet Thai restaurant. Newlyweds are spoilt rotten.
Since its refurb, the hotel has offered all-inclusive packages that make perfect sense for honeymooners on a budget. There are four swimming pools and free watersports including windsurfing, kayaking, snorkelling, waterskiing and glass-bottom boat trips. The fitness centre, Yoga and T’ai Chi classes are also complimentary. Scuba diving and big game fishing can be arranged.
Pamper yourselves in the Nymphea Spa. It has eight treatment villas, each with a private garden overlooking the spa pool and its soothing water features.
The resort offers a selection of four restaurants. I especially like the Nipa Restaurant, serving delicious Thai cuisine with beautiful views over the lagoon.
Luxury cruise ships
Today’s luxury cruise ships tend to small and intimate, with interesting itineraries and superb food. It’s the ultimate tour for lazy people – you don’t even need to unpack more than once. This range of luxury ocean and river cruises includes some of the most prestigious ships including the SeaDream Yacht Club which has just 57 cabins, all for adults only, and 96 crew. Like many cruise vessels, it sails the Caribbean in winter and the Mediterranean in summer.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises are fully all-inclusive – shore excursions are in the price, as well as drinks and tips. Or select one of the small, intimate ships operated by Seabourn where all the cabins are suites with a private balcony.
Don’t forget that cruising is another form of all-inclusive honeymoon. Star Clippers operates fully crewed sailing voyages on board three magnificent tall ships cruising the Mediterranean, Central America and the Caribbean.
European cruise itineraries include the idyllic Greek islands, the turquoise waters off Turkey’s coastline, short breaks along the Riviera coast and cruises to Italy, Corsica, Sicily, Montenegro and Croatia. These ships are able to drop anchor in some of Europe’s most picturesque bays and harbours, inaccessible to larger vessels.
Find more details and prices at Star Clippers.
For the ultimate all-inclusive, how about a honeymoon on a private island?
Last updated: 4 April 2016
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More honeymoon advice by Jane Anderson
Need help with arrangements? Read Jane’s advice on honeymoon planning.
See Jane’s 20 tips on how to make your honeymoon extra special.
Looking for more inspiration? Here’s a selection of honeymoon packages.