By Vince Font
All-inclusive vacations were made for people who want to be treated like royalty. I can say this, because I do. I’m also a firm believer that achieving a state of laziness – without venturing into the territory of sloth – should be the primary objective of all summer vacations, be they beach vacations with your significant other or family vacations with the whole clan. Here’s a rundown of five great all-inclusive vacation spots for cool kiddie fun, awesome activities and killer pools.
1. Barcelo Riviera Maya All Inclusive Complex
Call it the Riviera Maya or the Mayan Riviera – but whatever you do, call it your next summer vacation spot. This place is so kid-friendly that it even comes with babysitting services (at extra cost, of course) so that you and your better half can tear up the dance floor at the on-site disco without having to worry about the offspring getting into trouble. Besides, with a choice of 20 restaurants you may need the exercise, unless you choose to burn off the calories taking advantage of the wealth of price included activities like kayaking, snorkeling or mini-golfing. Bonus tip: For extra cash, you can take your pick of scuba diving tours that include night diving, cave diving and a shipwreck exploration.
2. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana All Inclusive
You don’t have to be into hard rock to dig on this new, lively addition to Punta Cana, but it does help to appreciate the terminology a little. Because this resort rocks. Hard. Billed as the first all-inclusive vacation hotel by Hard Rock, its makers really knocked this one out of the park. With such an enormous footprint that stretches 121 acres, make sure to bring your walking shoes, and don’t forget your swimming trunks – with 11 massive pools, you’ll probably spend half the time soaking your skin while the kids enjoy the twistastic waterslides. Golfers and gamblers rejoice: the onsite casino is enough to make most Vegas hotels blush, and there’s an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course to satisfy any hardcore putter.
3. Coconut Bay Resort & Spa – All Inclusive
Behold, a resort with a split personality. Whether you’re taking a family vacation or an intimate beach vacation with someone special, the Coconut Bay Resort & Spa works well thanks to its two distinctly different faces: one half of the resort is 18-and-over, the other half is a family funland complete with water slides, lazy rivers, and a 12-and-under “Kidz Klub” (let’s just hope the spelling lesson doesn’t stick). You can even treat your younglings to a spa treatment if they’ve been good, and there’s family-friendly nightly entertainment for everyone to enjoy.
4. Barcelo Langosta Beach – All Inclusive
Here’s a great summer vacation destination where you can get in your relaxation and give the kids a lesson in thrifty spending. Costa Rica’s Barcelo Langosta Beach All Inclusive comes with nightly rates that are an absolute steal, leaving you plenty of money left over for your holiday savings account. A bevvy of kids’ activities will let you leave them in the custody of a trained staff to sneak off to the on-site nightclub or casino and take in some “big people fun.” The casino’s modestly sized, but as long as you don’t go expecting a Vegas (or even Reno) experience you’ll be pleasantly entertained.
5. Azul Sensatori by Karisa – Gourmet All Inclusive
Summer vacations don’t get much better than they do at this sizable slice of paradise, which offers connecting suites for family vacationers, free strollers and monitors if you’re traveling with your tiny ones, and activities for the kids that include a rock climbing wall, a video game room, a teen club, and supervised teen beach parties where your almost-growns can brush up on their international social skills.
Vince Font is a travel writer with a deep love of weird, wacky, and off-the-beaten-track vacation destinations – as long as staying in a luxury hotel is part of the deal.