St. James Club Morgan Bay, St. Lucia
Ideal for family trips, honeymoons and romantic escapes, the St. James Club at Morgan Bay offers some of the best value on all of St. Lucia. A beachfront setting leaves nothing to be desired, fronting an expanse of soft sand and tranquil, glass-clear sea. The budget friendly rates offer guests free rein at six restaurants, six bars and four swimming pools. And there are plenty of kid- and couple-friendly options among them. Packages also include a fitness center, beach volleyball and a water sports center offering surfboards, paddleboards and kayaks, all gratis. Waterskiing and day trips are also available at very reasonable rates.
Now Amber Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
This all-in resort delivers an experience that feels far more luxurious than the rates suggest. Spectacular views of Banderas Bay and the surrounding mountains greet guests the moment they enter the lobby—and the rest of the grounds back up that impression. Eye candy abounds, with sleek, sumptuous décor and ocean views everywhere you turn. You can also indulge without limit at four stylish restaurants (cuisines include Asian, seafood, Italian and of course, Mexican), a casual grill and a café. Room service is also free 24/7. Nightlife is a top-shelf experience too, with free-flowing wine, beer and spirits at five bars and lounges. Even the in-room minibar is free.
Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic
Refined style has been a hallmark of this DR veteran since it opened in 1974. Always the class of the island, Casa de Campo is a resort where attention to detail is prized over flash. From the exquisite décor to the delicious cuisine to the low-key swimming pools and the pristine Minitas Beach, everything is done just right. Impressively, the resort manages to be family-friendly while maintaining the feel of a sophisticated adult playground. So you can tour the recreated 16th century town, Altos de Chavon, with your kids or play 18 on one of three golf courses—including Teeth of the Dog, widely considered the top course in all of the Caribbean. Other activities include complimentary watersports, tennis and horseback riding.
Jewel Paradise Cove Resort and Spa, Runaway Bay, Jamaica
All-inclusive means just that at this intimate adults-only resort fronting a beautiful stretch of Cardiff Hall Beach on Jamaica’s Runaway Bay. Reasonable rates include all the wining and dining you can take at seven restaurants, a piano lounge, a dance club and an assortment of outdoor and swim-up bars. There’s also nightly entertainment, including live music and outdoor movie screenings. And you get gratis access to a host of activities and excursions, like golf at the nearby Runaway Bay Golf Club course, snorkeling, scuba diving, a glass-bottom boat tour and a trip to Konoko Falls. If you’re more inclined to take it easy, there’s beachfront service and plenty of tranquil tropical scenery to soak up.
Azul Beach, Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexico
The clear, aquamarine water and powder-soft beaches of Mexico’s Riviera Maya set the scene for the Karisma group’s breezy and intimate Azul Beach. Both sophisticated and kid friendly, this all-inclusive has both the class and amenities to make its moderate rates feel like an incredible value. With a tequila lounge, stylish, modern accommodations, three attractive pools and a lovely expanse of beach equipped with comfortable cabanas, you might not need any of the activities on offer. If you do want a break from refreshing Caribbean dips and sun-soaked layouts, there’s complimentary watersports, tennis and cooking lessons. And if you have younger children in tow, they’ll appreciate the Nickelodeon-themed activity center.
Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort, Curacao
The Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort is the very definition of “getting away from it all.” Indeed, its isolated setting on the southwestern coast is remote even within Curacao. That won’t trouble most guests though. With its infectious tranquility and modern refinement, the Santa Barbara is a place you won’t want to leave. It also offers incredible value. Given how reasonable the all-in prices are, you won’t believe the stylish luxury of the rooms, all equipped with a deck or patio and modern details like iPhone speakers. The broad white-sand beach is gorgeous and the jumping off point for a host of water sports. And there’s also a spectacular ocean front golf course, a spa and activities and amenities for kids.
Sanctuary Cap Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
This all-inclusive perched on a seaside cliff has an old world palatial feel. But the adults-only Sanctuary is far from a relic. Expect sophisticated luxury, with stylish modern accommodations that all include a deck or patio (most also come with sea views) and a romantic elegance throughout the beautiful, palm-lined grounds. Given all that, the rates will surprise you. And you get plenty more for the price of admission. Start with a stunning white-sand beach. There are also six beautifully designed pools, and unlimited access to five full-service restaurants, including a beachfront seafood grill, plus bars everywhere you need them. There’s also nightly entertainment, excursions, a fitness center and water sports, plus (for a fee) a renowned golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus.
Riu Palace, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Aptly named, the Riu Palace is indeed palatial in its both its lush sprawl and grand colonial style, though you’d never know if from the prices. You’ll feel old world luxury throughout, from pristine, palm-lined paths to the soaring lobby complete with a rotunda and chandeliers. Even the broad free form swimming pool is classy in its design—though the gorgeous powder soft beach and serene Caribbean waters warrants equal attention. Of course, the Riu Palace is also a fully equipped all-in resort, with five restaurants, unlimited drinks and 24/7 room service, a fitness center, water sports and kids’ center all included in the price.
The Reserve at Paradisus, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
For a quieter all-inclusive experience with the all the amenities of a big resort, you can’t do better than the Reserve at Paradisus. Though it’s slightly pricier than its big sister next door, the Reserve is still a great value. You get a broad, palm-fringed beach with powdery white sand and crystalline water, plus access to a huge free form swimming pool and a slew of dining options and activities next door. But with fewer guests, the Reserve has a more, well, reserved atmosphere. The pools are less crowded, there’s a lovely spa and fitness center, and the Reserve has its own restaurant. The smaller scale is perfect both for romance and families who like to keep things low key. And the roomy suites all feature balconies, kitchenettes and huge, luxurious bathrooms.
Sandals Royal Bahamian, Nassau
A lively adults-only resort with a history, this outpost of the Sandals family was once the Balmoral Club, a chic spot for British upper-crusters in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Today, the atmosphere’s a little looser. With eight bars (including a throwback English pub), two 24-hour pools and a fire pit, there’s plenty of opportunity to unwind. Of course no Caribbean vacation would be complete without a white-sand beach, and the Royal Bahamian has a nice one, plus for day trips, a private island with its own beach, bar and restaurant. A plethora of other amenities deliver bang for your buck, including 10 restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, water sports, tennis courts, a fitness center and a spa.