Please note our writers visited the Caribbean prior to the coronavirus pandemic
Ever since Sandals opened its first hotel in Jamaica back in the early 1980s, the Caribbean has been at the forefront of offering all-inclusive hotel stays. Nowadays, all-inclusives can be found on many of the region’s islands and come in all styles and sizes. They range from luxury adults-only hotels to family-oriented properties, and while some are vast ‘resorts’ featuring hundreds of bedrooms and every facility under the sun, others are intimate boutique-style affairs with sophisticated à la carte dining and premium-branded drinks. Here’s our pick of the best Caribbean all-inclusive resorts, including the top places to stay for ocean-facing rooms, spas, watersports and butler service.
The BodyHoliday, Cap Estate, Saint Lucia
The BodyHoliday, on the posh northern end of Saint Lucia, is one of the Caribbean’s best-equipped all-inclusive hotels. It has a contemporary, upmarket look adopted by many Caribbean hotels: think pink sun loungers and parasols, teak decks and whitewashed walls. There’s an open-air restaurant, clubhouse lounge and an infinity pool, plus a tennis centre, golf (driving nets and pitch and putt), watersports galore, and more. Impressive bang for your buck includes a daily spa treatment. Expect good food, impressively personal service, comfy rooms and lots of solo guests.
East Winds, Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
Spread over acres of gorgeous tropical grounds full of palms, ferns, ginger lilies and hibiscus, the well-run East Winds is an unflashy and utterly tranquil haven. With the rooms (understated elegance) scattered in cottages over the tropical gardens, and the open-air lounge and swimming pool surrounded by thick foliage, the whole hotel feels seamlessly interconnected with its lovely surroundings. Rates include proper champagne in the bar and carefully chosen wines with the four-course dinners, plus use of watersports, and yoga and pilates classes four times a week.
Read the full review: East Winds
Spice Island Beach Resort, St George’s, Grenada
Spice Island Beach Resort is a luxury hotel with beautiful rooms, set along the stunning sands of Grand Anse Beach, Grenada’s best beach. A smart but unflashy, contemporary style pervades the low-rise property, which occupies a long, narrow plot behind the beach. All 64 rooms are all suites and service in the resort is outstanding. The hotel is owned by Sir Royston Hopkin, a leading light in Grenada’s tourism industry, and he and his family run the hotel impeccably. Elaborate five-course dinners are served most evenings in Oliver’s Restaurant.
Sandals Royal Barbados, Christ Church, Barbados
Maxwell Beach – one of the south coast’s string of powder-soft, sandy stretches – provides a scenic setting for Sandals Royal Barbados and the existing Sandals Barbados, amenities of which can be used freely if you’re staying at either. This outpost has a more varied design than its sister, with Mediterranean tiled roofs, ancient Greek temples and thatched South Seas cottages among the rambling architectural influences. Facilities here are excellent, with plenty of land and water sports on offer, and ll rooms benefit from concierge or butler service. No fewer than 17 restaurants and 12 bars spread across the twin properties.
Read the full review: Sandals Royal Barbados
Waves Hotel & Spa, Saint James, Barbados
Waves is a tastefully decorated property that sits directly above a gorgeous, tranquil section of sandy beach. The main beachfront section of the hotel focuses on a large lounge bar and wooden deck with sofas. In the evenings, torches light up the deck, there’s often live music in the lounge bar, and you’re expected to dress up a bit. Pool and beach ‘ambassadors’ will serve you at your sunbed, including bringing iced melon balls and cold towels, and the spa is a major selling point. As well as meals and drinks, lots else is covered in the rates, including the water-taxi service, a short daily water-skiing or tube ride session as well as non-motorised watersports.
Beaches Negril Resort & Spa, Negril, Jamaica
This family-friendy resort fronts a pretty stretch of Seven Mile Beach in the heart of Negril on the western tip of Jamaica. Most of the people staying are families as this is the family-orientated brand of Sandals, so there’s just as much for kids as there is for adults, including a DJ academy for tweens. This property is all about enjoying the water, with six pools and three hot tubs, a special kid’s canopy pool and two big waterslides in a fun pirate-themed water park. Then, of course, there’s the beach and all the included water sports, which range from unlimited scuba diving trips to sea kayaks and Hobie cats. The overall feel is one of relaxation and beach vibes.
Read the full review: Beaches Negril Resort & Spa
Sunset at the Palms, Negril, Jamaica
Sunset at the Palms is a laid-back, adults-only, all-inclusive that’s more akin to a boutique hotel than your average all-inclusive Caribbean resort: the 85 rooms are treehouses on stilts and Palm Grove Restaurant, the heart of the resort, is delightfully open-air. Décor is Asian-inspired: expect plenty of carved wood ornaments and an abundance of flowers in the public spaces, from where winding paths filled with foliage lead to charming tree-top rooms. The private beach club (across a road) offers non-motorised watersports and has an open-air grill and bar. Guests get fast-track processing through Montego Bay Airport.
Jumby Bay, St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
What’s not to love about a miniature Caribbean island sitting in a turquoise sea just 15 minutes from the airport off the north coast of Antigua? Here, open-sided rooms and tropical plants bring the beauty of the outside in, while the white marble bar and blue painted walls give it a seaside feel. Everywhere you turn you’ll see fabulous contemporary Caribbean artworks. Take a suite in a rondavel hut or splash out on a nine-bedroom mansion with infinity pool. The food here is top-notch, whether you opt for private dining on the beach under a fairy-light strewn gazebo, a formal meal at the Estate House or buffet lunch at the Veranda.
Read the full review: Jumby Bay
Curtain Bluff, Old Road, Antigua
Situated on a finger of land that separates the wild Atlantic on one side and the calm Caribbean Sea on the other, this resort gives you the best of both worlds: the sound of crashing waves to lull you off to sleep and a still sea in which to swim and snorkel. Everything is immaculate – even the beachside bathrooms – and the style is seaside chic. The 72 rooms and suites are housed in two-storey blocks that wind their way up the promontory towards the house. Facilities are wide-ranging and include VIP fast track through immigration, water sports and tennis lessons with pro coaches. There are also facilities for children of all ages.
Palm Island Resort & Spa, Palm Island, St Vincent and the Grenadines
A spacious all-inclusive resort that is pretty much a private island. The size of the island means that not only is there always plenty to do, but there are also plenty of places that you can avoid doing anything. The new spa is small yet intimate with a contemporary design and a range of treatments on offer. There are plenty of non-motorised water sports to try for free, such as hobby craft, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, as well as a refreshing pool with a small waterfall. The beauty of the location is complemented by the attentive staff and open bar area where you’re sure to make a few holiday friends. Prices are for seven nights and include flights from London to Union Island.
Read the full review: Palm Island Resort & Spa
Contributions by Terry Ward, James Litston, Kaye Holland, Antonia Windsor & Penny Walker
Rates above are guide prices per person per night, please note that all-inclusive packages can differ across hotels. Owing to the current coronavirus pandemic, these rates may change. Please check the hotel’s websites for further information on what’s included.