It’s a classic vacation mistake. You pick some wonderful destination halfway across the globe that you’ve always dreamed of visiting — the kind of place that occupies your brain in your 4 pm meeting. It has it all: gorgeous beaches, tours of the city, cultural events, excellent dining options and nightlife. When you get there it’s just as good as you’ve dreamed but there’s one problem and it’s a major one. Between your accommodation, food, tours, and transportation, your vacation budget is quickly exceeded within the first couple days. You accounted for the basics but didn’t have enough information to total up the true cost. Now, instead of enjoying your vacation you’re sweating next month’s bills and hoping that your boss is considering bonuses.
So, how do you avoid this mistake? Two options: intense thorough research on the exact costs of everything from lunch to a drink at the resort bar, or, the considerably less laborious route of opting for an all-inclusive vacation. With the latter, you’re given one price beforehand so you can take care of the payment and enjoy your time without worrying about the costs tomorrow will bring.
Let’s say your next vacation destination is Florida and you’re looking for the best all-inclusive resort offers out there.v
Fontainebleau – Miami Beach
The Fontainebleau is Miami luxury at its best. Bentleys and Lamborghinis fill the valet, a few of the city’s best restaurants call the hotel’s first story home, and the basement belongs to some of the best clubs in the world. If the nightlife scene sounds a little overwhelming, the hotel’s daytime relaxation activities will help you rest up and get off your feet. Spend time lounging in a full-service cabana next to one of the hotel’s eleven pools, get a spa treatment or walk out to the beach and cool off in the blue waves. Feel the need to get out and explore? The hotel is located right on Collins Ave and a walk down the strip is always entertaining. It’s one of the pricier large hotels in the area, but an all-inclusive package and a commitment to going all-out (Miami isn’t exactly a place of restraint) can fix you up with good value for money.
Little Palm Island Resort and Spa – Little Torch Key
What if all the excitement and noise of Miami Beach isn’t for you? What if your dream Florida vacation looks more like you with your feet under an umbrella with a cocktail, slowly falling asleep to the sound of the waves and not much else? Little Palm Island is more your style. Reachable only by seaplane or boat, the small island is truly remote. Yoga, spa treatment, snorkeling trips and seaplane sightseeing flights are all available. This island is ideal for couples looking to escape it all for a few days. Prices can get a little steep — it is an island after all — but trust us, Little Palm is worth every cent.
Rosen Shingle Creek – Orlando
We can’t go through our favorite all-inclusive resorts in Florida without focusing on Orlando. The kids have been asking for it forever and you’ve finally caved. But wait, there’s a bright side for you. The all-inclusive route is a great way to go when the kids are coming along and theme parks are on the itinerary. Along with massive resorts, multiple swimming pools, great golfing, and excellent dining options, Shingle Creek offers packages that will get you in (and even cutting lines) at the Orlando area’s best theme parks. This way you can dodge the Orlando chaos and enjoy your vacation as much as your kids. Maybe you can even slip out to the golf course or down to the spa while the kids nap in the room. Orlando is full of solid deals, but Rosen Shingle is one of the best out there. All inclusive packages ensure that your dollars go as far as possible.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation – Amelia Island
Located in northeastern Florida not far from the Georgia border, Amelia Island doesn’t get the same attention or crowds as Miami and Orlando. It’s quieter, more peaceful and certainly more natural. Omni is perfectly situated to help you enjoy all the area has to offer. A long stretch of beautiful beach (sans minefields of beach chairs and bars), a stunning golf course, a water park-style pool area for the kids, and a more peaceful one for adults, Omni covers all bases and more. We recommend a trip to the quaint downtown area for dinner and maybe some ice cream. Kayaking the mangroves also shouldn’t be missed. Since Amelia Island is a little quieter than some of the other major resort areas, you don’t have to pay top dollar.
Tradewinds Island Grand Resort – St. Pete Beach
This is one of our favorite spots on the Gulf of Mexico simply because it has it all. In the classic Florida resort style, Tradewinds has a massive stretch of beach covered in shaded cabanas, a massive pool area and an endless list of water sports activities that will leave you and the family worn out (in the best way) at the end of the day. The massive waterslide in the middle of the beach is especially hard to turn down. All inclusive package rates are economical and the list of things to do will fill your day.
Club Med Sandpiper Bay – Port Lucie
Club Med is perfect for families looking to stay busy on their vacation while avoiding the steeper prices of resorts located in more touristy areas. Many other resorts will find ways to hit you with hidden costs but Club Med is a solid bet to not pay a dime more than what you pay upfront. This means the gourmet dining, open bars, paddle boarding, sailing, dance classes are all part of your stay. You’re also likely to meet other families with similar agendas so the kids will easily find buddies.
South Sea Island Resort – Captiva
Set on the beautiful Captiva Island, a narrow stretch of land that runs North-South off Fort Myers, South Sea stands out most for its location. Captiva is part of a chain of islands off Florida’s west coast known for their sunsets, gorgeous beaches, laid-back atmosphere and nature reserves, and South Sea captures all four perfectly. You can begin the day by hopping in a kayak and navigating the mangroves of the island’s 330-acre nature reserve. Then head south to the JN Ding Darling Reserve in Sanibel (one island south of Captiva) to see alligators and the gorgeous roseate spoonbills in their natural habitat. Head back to the resort and spend some time on the beach catching rays or cooling down in the waves. Grab dinner at the resort and then watch the sunset from your room’s balcony. Prices are slightly higher than many of the other options on the list, but the draw of Captiva is well worth it.
The Ritz Carlton – Sarasota
While certainly not for those sweating prices, the Ritz is a beautiful hotel in a beautiful city and the combination is hard to turn down. The pool area is pristine and the beach just beyond it is perfectly positioned for catching the most beautiful of Florida’s west coast sunsets. The service at the Ritz is world-renowned so don’t think you’ll be without a drink poolside or at the beach cabana. With a variety of packages covering everything from gourmet meals to a long list of spa treatments to tee time on the resort’s gorgeous golf course, you’ll be taken care of. The city of Sarasota is somewhat of a hidden gem in the sunshine state and manages to dodge many of the negatives that steer the anti-Florida folks to other destinations. The city is attractive, efficient and full of cultural sites. Naturally, the beaches are beautiful as well.
Pier House Resort and Spa – Key West
We’ll head back down to the Florida Keys to round off our list. After all, the Keys are hard to beat when it comes to relaxation and that’s what a resort is about at the end of the day. Pier House Resort and Spa offers an excellent combination. Start your day with pancakes and fresh Florida fruit from the balcony of your room. Make your way down to the spa and choose a body wrap or a hot stone massage. Once you’ve had your spa fill, head down to the beach and grab a piña colada and find a spot on the resort’s private beach. The beach is small and features a wooden floating dock easily reachable from the shore, perfect for sunbathing. In the evening enjoy dinner on the deck overlooking the water and take in the sunset. To finish it off, we recommend a quick walk into Key West’s Old Town to scope out the nightlife and do a little exploring. The resort and the neighborhood are full of character and make the perfect getaway. It’s relatively affordable too, so you can enjoy the island without breaking the bank.