We’ve just returned from two hotels that dispel the all-inclusive myth – forget generic, overrun party resorts and think luxurious finishes, amazing amenities and exquisite food. We’ve also included a spectacular dream resort in the Seychelles that’s on our radar should we win the lottery…
For Families... Hotel XCaret
Not to be punny, but we can’t resist rating this kid-friendly hotel Xcellent. “I just can’t say enough good things about it,” says The September Founder and CEO Christine Carlton, who spent spring break here with her family. “The owner of the hotel is an architect, so it’s visually beautiful wherever you look. Lagoons run through the property and there are water features, swimming pools and beaches everywhere. Even at night, with the grounds’ perfectly positioned lighting, the property is breathtaking.”
Nestled on the Riviera Maya between the Caribbean and the jungle, this unique spot combines an authentic, natural setting with supremely comfortable accommodations and an extensive menu of activities and amenities. The hotel’s interior features artisanal embroidery, tiles and carved woodwork, all hand-crafted by locals. For accommodations, we rate the Suite Ocean Front Family Room or, if you’re splurging, the Family Master Suite.
The food is outstanding (there are 10 restaurants!) and we recommend sticking to traditional libations. “I’ve realized I don’t love Mexican wine!” says Christine.
In addition to the complimentary on-property activities, day trips to iconic ruins and parks are also included – this really is a place to engage kids and reconnect as a family.
For Couples... Jamaica Inn
Set on a private beach outside the hustle and bustle of central Ocho Rios, Jamaica Inn epitomizes old-world elegance. It’s the kind of place where guests sip evening cocktails under the stars in white dinner jackets and gowns – really!
Owned and operated by the Morrow family for 60 years (one of them is always on site), the Inn is the perfect mix of throwback glamour – Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller liked to dine here – and laid-back ease. Case in point: should you not wish to leave the beach after the complimentary 11am Planter’s Punch, have lunch delivered to your lounger for a toes-in-the-sand treat.
All of the rooms face the ocean and all of the suites have private plunge pools (including the White Suite where Winston Churchill liked to paint watercolours). We love all the rooms but gravitate to those directly on the beach. The rich and famous love them too: Meghan Markle got married here (the first time) and we spied Michelle Pfeiffer the last time we stayed.
Dinner menus change daily and meals are served al fresco on the candlelit terrace or delivered to your room’s spacious and fully furnished balcony or verandah. The majority of guests are repeat visitors who have fallen for the Inn’s exclusive beach, turquoise waters and longstanding staff, like beach bartender Teddy who’s been pouring at the Inn for 50 years. Go here once and we’re pretty sure that, like us, you’ll go back.
SHOES FOR A ROMANTIC GETAWAY
ON OUR RADAR...
We said bucket list for a reason as the rates at North Island Resort in The Seychelles are so pricey you almost have to squint. Once the sticker shock has passed, prepare to experience a tropical destination like no other.
A Relais & Chateaux property, North Island offers just 11 private guest villas where things like over-sized marble tubs, private pools and a dedicated host are standard amenities.
Superlative food and service are key here, but the incredibly wild and private setting is the reason to go. Until then, we’re addicted to their Instagram account.