Itís not just about endless drinks and ever-available buffets. All-inclusive resorts cater to a variety of needs. Anthony's Key, Honduras, the Inn at Robert's Grove, Belize, and the Hard Rock Hotel, Dominican Republic, offer different flavors of the classic all-inclusive vacation.
For diving and snorkeling families, Anthonyís Key, in Hondurasí laid-back Bay Islands, is a find. Just minutes by boat from the resort are bountiful reefs teeming with rainbow-colored fish.
In summer, the property, home to resident dolphins, offers Dolphin Scuba Camp for ages 5-14. Kids interact with the friendly critters, helping to feed and train them. For an extra fee, you as well as your kids can enjoy a nose-to-bottlenose encounter by swimming with the dolphins. Year-round for children 5 and older, the resort offers SASY (Supplied Air Snorkeling for Youths) as well as Bubblemaker for wanna-be divers ages 8 + who yearn to experience breathing underwater.
Of the 56 simple, but comfortable bungalows, some of which sit hillside and others waterfront, 31 units are air-conditioned. Anthonyís Key, which does not have a beach, offers trips to a nearby sandy spot.
Reefs, rivers, rainforests and Maya ruins become part of your family getaway at the Inn at Robertís Grove, Placencia, Belize. Even though the resort is not an all-inclusive, you can book the 7-night, Belize Adventure package that bundles meals and lodging with a Maya ruin tour, cave swimming, snorkel outing and a river float trip to see wild monkeys.
Back at the resort swim in the pools, play tennis, canoe and kayak or simply relax in the hammocks strung along the beach and on your private balcony. The roomy two bedroom units come with a large sitting area and the food at this award-winning resort is good. Room only rates are also available.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, is the popular brandís first all-inclusive. Although targeted to business groups, the resort also appeals to couples seeking betting at a big beachfront property.
Choose from 1700 rooms in many buildings. Most accommodations donít face the ocean, but instead look out onto a pond or a decorative lagoon with a fountain. Many couples forget about the outside view once they get into the jetted soaking tub for two takes up the center of each guest room.
A large casino balloons at one end of the main building and the conference center with break-out rooms anchors the other end. In between, stretch lounges, an indoor childrenís center, a deli, ice cream shop and pizzeria plus several sit-down restaurants. Only two of the hotelís 10 dining places --Toro, the steak place, and Zen, a teppanyaki grill-- require reservations.
Music memorabilia graces the public spaces. Fresh-faced portraits of the Beatles, Mick Jagger and Carlos Santana adorn the lobbies and hallways along with such iconic vehicles as the 1926 Ford hot rod once owned by Sammy Hagar.
The resort plans to continue its commitment both to music and to adding ďbonusesĒ to the all-inclusive experience by hosting concerts with free admission to hotel guests.
Typically, the surfís too rough for much of anything but jumping waves. Instead, get wet in the row of pools--for kids, adults and activities-- that edge the resort, facing the sea.