Just when you thought the Caribbean and Mexico were already overflowing with all-inclusive resorts, several more all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink, all-you-can-do properties decided to swing their doors open. That being said, while the last few years have welcomed many shiny and new hotels, only a few stand out from the pack. And we're here to help you suss out the heroes from the zeros. So whether you're bundled up in your winter coat plotting a warmer escape or are simply searching for some travel inspiration, check out our list of some of the best new (and newly renovated) all-inclusive resorts worth a visit in 2017. The only remaining question: are you ready to sip as many piña coladas as your heart desires?
Hyatt Ziva Cancun
Formerly the Dreams Cancun, the property reopened as a Hyatt following a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2016. With a scenic location on two pristine white-sand beaches and a wealth of features and services, the massive, all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Cancun is a great luxury choice for both families with kids and couples wishing to relax. Three infinity-edge pools, extensive spa facilities, and myriad of dining and drinking options -- though food gets mediocre reviews -- give guests plenty of choices, while Cancun's top nightlife spots are within walking distance. A kids' club with a pool and water play area keeps the young ones occupied, while those wishing to avoid the family-friendly scene can opt for a room in the adult-only tower, with adult-only dining and a pool. The hotel's 547 rooms are spacious and stylish, equipped with modern amenities, luxe marble bathrooms, and private furnished balconies.
Riu Playacar All Inclusive
This 396-room, upper-middle-range Riu Playacar is located in the residential, gated Playacar community near Playa del Carmen. The entire resort was gutted in 2015, shutting down operations from April until October. The pools, reception, restaurants, and most of the public areas were completely rebuilt, and all of the rooms were refurnished. As a result, everything is more modern here than at sister properties Riu Yucatan, Riu Tequila, and Riu Lupita, and during our 2016 visit we saw zero wear and tear in the new areas. Expect clean lines, large ceramic tiles, reflective mirror glass, and contemporary art and lighting throughout. But the colors still feel very Mexican, and there are plenty of vibrant oranges, purples, and blues throughout the main areas and the rooms themselves. To top it off, the resort is jam-packed with activities, including nightly live shows, and there are four restaurants (but no room service or personal waiter service at the beach). The kids' club has its own pool with small waterslides, and there are three other pools for the whole family, on top of an on-site gym and spa.
Moon Palace Jamaica Grande
Set on a private beach within a short walk of downtown Ochos Rios, the 705-room Moon Palace Jamaica Grande is a sprawling all-inclusive that’d give Vegas joints a run for their money in scale, features, and extravagance. After undergoing a full renovation, this family-friendly property reopened in 2015 as a high-end luxury resort with majestic marble interiors. The sleek beach-house-inspired rooms have balconies with water views, and include iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, liquor dispensers, and welcome wine. There are four restaurants, multiple bars, four swimming pools, a world-class spa with 23 treatment rooms, a surf machine, and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Guests can even swim with dolphins (for a fee).
Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort
This grandiose adult-only resort that opened in late 2014 outside of San Jose del Cabo is practically a destination unto itself. Manicured grounds are sprawling (expect to walk often) and offer great views of the Sea of Cortez, especially from the two pools and golf course. All-inclusive rates are among the highest in the area, even for a luxury hotel, but the six bars and eight restaurants provide guests with plenty of food and drink variety. The 500 suites have modern amenities and playful, romantic touches -- some are swim-out.
Set on a private stretch of Dover Beach on the island's southwest coast, the lushly landscaped, couples-only Sandals Barbados is an upscale, all-inclusive resort that opened in January 2015. Some of the hotel's 280 rooms offer swim-out access into a river-style pool, or terraces with free-standing soaking tubs. The resort's three pools, 13 restaurants, bars, spa, and numerous recreational amenities make for plenty to do on property, but those needing an escape can easily access the nightlife of nearby St. Lawrence Gap, a one-mile stretch of bars, night clubs, and restaurants that collectively make up the island's entertainment district.
CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts
CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts is a 323-room upscale all-inclusive with contemporary decor and a happening vibe. Opened in December of 2014, this adult-only property is quickly becoming one of Punta Cana’s most sought-after spots, thanks to its ultra-modern rooms, varied on-site dining options, and beautiful pool and beach facilities. Amenities such as an on-site spa, a small fitness center, and free Wi-Fi throughout also make CHIC an attractive option. And though this is by no means a spring break type of place, loud music and lively poolside activities are part of the scene here.
Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort
Just a 15-minute beachside walk south of Akumal's hustle and bustle, the 324-room Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort is a luxury all-inclusive with a long, beautiful beach. After undergoing a massive revamp in late 2014, this property has added a handful of spots to eat and grab a drink; a rustic wellness center with yoga, body treatments, and exercise classes; and lots of pools and beachside lounge areas. It also seriously upgraded its rooms, all of which are Junior Suites sporting modern upscale decor, large bathrooms, outdoor hot tubs, local toiletries, minibars, and oceanfront views; Penthouses feature huge rooftop decks with uninterrupted views across the bay.
Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa
Secrets Papagayo Resort & Spa, which was renovated and reopened in 2015, is an adult-only property located on the Gulf of Papagayo. The resort’s 202 rooms have elegant decor, along with thoughtful features like special two-sided compartments for room service delivery. From the sizable fitness center to the attractive pool areas, the resort’s facilities are polished and modern. Secrets offers all the perks you would expect from an all-inclusive property -- including lots of dining and entertainment options -- along with a few welcome bonuses like a la carte restaurants that don’t require reservations. It all comes at a price, however, with the resort’s rates among the highest in the area.
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