Travel & Outdoors | August 2009
|All-Inclusive Resort Accommodations on Sale|
Ed Perkins - SmarterTravel
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August 03, 2009
Consider an all-inclusive land package for your fall vacation. All-inclusive resorts are joining the big cruise lines in offering some great deals for the remainder of the year. Some of these sale rates are promoted as "up to 65 percent off," and I suspect that at least the bottom prices really are that low. At these prices, all-inclusives are competitive with many of the summer's cruise deals, and offer an alternative for those of you who are looking for a self-contained vacation.
All-inclusive land resorts have some big advantages over cruises:
• Your room is several times the size of even a large cruise ship cabin, with an ample bathroom and maybe a balcony or veranda; at many, you're right on a beach, but you also have a pool alternative.
• Meals are even more all-inclusive than on a cruise ship, in that, at least at many of them (including Club Med and Riu) meals include not only food but also wine and well drinks.
• Although both cruises and all-inclusives offer a wide variety of recreational experiences, a nod goes to all-inclusives for a much wider choice of activities.
• Of course, at an all-inclusive, you can't explore a different exotic port every day or two. But many all-inclusives are in exotic locations, and you can take day trips to visit local centers of interest.
All inclusive are no longer the exclusive province of "swinging singles." Many of them—even Club Med—feature family vacations at some locations, and seniors are also welcomed at most. As with a cruise, you decide how you want to spend your time, what you want to do, and which fellow-vacationers you join for various activities.
For Americans, the best prices are usually for the Caribbean and Mexico, but the big chains have a much wider choice of location. Club Med, for example, has resorts on all six inhabited continents and associated islands, with a heavy concentration in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Most offer to arrange air travel if you wish; some promotional offers are bundled with air (usually from the East Coast).
The sales going on right now apply to resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico's West Coast—areas where Labor Day through the beginning of the year-end holiday season is generally the slowest season of the year. But as the recession lingers over the next few months, you can expect to see more price-cutting in these and other areas. I found two current sales of special interest:
• ClubMed's "Wow" sale offers prices starting at $99 per person per night ($1,300 per person for a full week) at resorts in Punta Cana and Ixtapa, with slightly higher rates in Cancun. Buy through Aug. 31; stay between Aug. 26 and Oct. 6. As usual, sale-prices space is limited, and dates vary slightly among the various resorts. ClubMed also posts "last-minute" deals, such as $83 per person per night, three nights, in the Bahamas.
• Riu Hotels & Resorts is offering fall season stays at several of its Mexican locations starting at $71 per person per night in Jalisco and $80 per person per night at Puerto Vallarta. The sale covers various dates from August 23 through December 23. Deals are available for purchase through August 31.
Earlier this month—too late for me to report—the Beaches resorts offered similar deals; although the purchase limit of July 31 is past (for most of you), there's a good chance that this and other sales will be extended.
Disclaimer: I've never stayed at an all-inclusive, so what I know is based on what I hear from readers. But many of you really like the idea, so keep checking on sales and promotions for a good-value fall vacation.