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All-inclusive holidays are back – here are 30 of the best for 2020

by Chris Leadbeater, travel writer

The rise and rise of the all-inclusive holiday is often hailed as a success that had to be rescued from its insalubrious birth pangs in the Nineties.

It was then that the big sun and sand tour operators started marketing low-cost packages to the Caribbean as a way of appealing to families who wanted to fix the price of their holidays upfront. Lukewarm buffets led to outbreaks of food poisoning and unlimited alcoholic drink to outbreaks of unedifying debauchery.

In fact, the concept of an all-inclusive holiday has a venerable history. Full-board, where all meals are included (although not usually drinks) was being offered by hotels in the 19th century; it was integral to the idea of ski, chalet and house party holidays developed by Erna Low in the Thirties and Forties; and has been common for decades in old-fashioned seaside hotels in northern France. It was the package holidays of the Sixties and Seventies where B&B and half board became the norm.

But wherever you start in the long history of such things, after the Nineties the popularity and variety of all-inclusive trips have burgeoned. For Tui, Britain’s biggest tour operator, it’s central to its flagship Sensatori brand launched a decade ago, which offers 10 five-star hotels with all meals, drinks and entertainment in the price. One of its newest additions, the Tui Sensatori Atlantica Dreams Resort and Spa in Rhodes, has seven “gourmet” restaurants including one Italian, one “American-inspired” and a contemporary Greek.

Choices of that kind are vital to success at the top end of the market. Guests who are paying a premium for their holidays don’t want to be limited to a single restaurant, or to a basic selection of wines and spirits. Many top-end hotels and operators now offer remarkable variety to their clients on an all-inclusive basis.

Including your food and drink in the holiday price is not unique to beach resort packages. Many cruises, safaris, ski and adventure holidays are also effectively all-inclusive. Here are 30 of the best options for 2020.


1. Jamaican joys

The Caribbean is ideal for an all-inclusive break, its mix of sunshine and relaxed vibe feeding the instinct to curl up on a lounger and remain there for a week. Jamaica has embraced the concept via the likes of Melia Braco Village, a five-star retreat on its north coast at Rio Bueno, where the all-inclusive rate covers meals at five restaurants, drinks and a pool with a swim-up bar. For those inclined to move a muscle, kayaks, windsurf equipment and paddleboards, and an adventure zone with ziplines and a rope course, are also featured.

A seven-night all-inclusive trip costs from £1,829 per person with Kuoni.

2. St Lucian serenade

St Lucia offers all-inclusivity with an emphasis on well-being at the BodyHoliday resort – a five-star spa enclave at the north tip of the island where the all-inclusive rate extends to one 50-minute massage per person per day (with guests able to choose from 12 different treatments across their stay) and access to a gorgeous beach.

A seven-night all-inclusive holiday costs from £1,892 a head via British Airways Holidays.

3. Grenadian glory

Often eclipsed in profile by Barbados and Antigua, Grenada is still a jewel of an island that delivers particularly cool all-inclusive escapes at the Calabash Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa on the sands of the south coast at L’Anse Aux Epines. It revolves around a mere 30 suites, most with private plunge pools. Breakfast can be served on your own terrace and a Gary Rhodes restaurant awaits for dinner.

A seven-night all-inclusive break, flying from Gatwick on May 8 will cost from £2,156 per person through Virgin Holidays.

4. Gorgeous Grenadines

Not far from Grenada, in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Palm Island offers Robinson Crusoe fantasy on a private outcrop of 135 acres and just 43 rooms, where you can stroll along winding trails to two gourmet restaurants. The all-inclusive rate covers afternoon tea as well as main meals, plus non-motorised watersports and tennis.

A seven-night escape costs from £3,709 per person through Tropical Sky.

5. Cancun can

It’s no surprise that Cancun – a resort city purpose-built for indolence on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula – revels in all-inclusivity. Le Blanc Spa Resort is adults-only and five-star, with four restaurants and six bars.

A seven-night all-inclusive holiday starts at £1,577 per person, via Teletext Holidays. 


6. Maldivian mysteries

If ever a country were a perfect match for the idea of all-inclusive holidays, it is the Maldives – where being marooned on a desert island with nothing to do but be pampered is the very point of going. Turquoise Holidays offers sojourns at the Constance Moofushi resort, a 30-minute seaplane hop from Male in South Ari Atoll, where villas glitter beside or above azure shallows.

A seven-night all-inclusive holiday starts at £2,777 per person, including international flights and sea plane transfers, with Kuoni.

7. Mauritian magic

The five-star One&Only Le Saint Géran – named after the ship Le Saint Géran, which sank off the coast giving rise to the legend of Paul and Virginie, Mauritius’s answer to Romeo and Juliet – sits on the eastern shore of Mauritius. The weather is affable throughout the year.

A seven-night all-inclusive holiday, flying from Heathrow on February 25, costs from £2,578 per person through Virgin Holidays.

8. Seychelles solitude

Maia Luxury Resort & Spa is a relaxing sanctuary with just 30 rustic-style villas and an outstanding Balinese-style spa. Set on a granite headland beside the idyllic Anse Louis beach on the wild and wonderful southwest coast of the main island, Mahé.

A seven-night all-inclusive getaway costs from £4,719 via Tropical Sky.


9. Thai temptation

Thailand also offers lost-in-paradise reverie – not least on Koh Samui, where those seeking unhurried escapism and little else can snooze at the Melati Beach Resort & Spa on Thongson Bay on the north coast. The all-inclusive package comes with dinners at à la carte restaurants The View (on the beach) and Kan Sak Thong (Thai dishes), and an open bar between 10am and 10pm.

A seven-night all-inclusive break, flying from Heathrow on February 9, starts at £2,064 a head, via Virgin Holidays.

10. Langkawi languor

A tropical joy which shimmers at the point where Malaysia meets Thailand, Langkawi lends itself to all-inclusive lying about. Perhaps at The Andaman, a five-star hideaway folded into the foliage of the island’s north coast. A date with its all-inclusive rate means evenings in restaurants serving sushi and Malaysian recipes, and enjoying the stunning sunsets over cocktails at the beach bar.

Seven-night all-inclusive breaks at The Andaman in April cost from £2,692 per person via Kuoni.


11. Cyprus calling

All-inclusive holidays do not have to be on another continent. Tui provides them with a dash of finesse in Cyprus, near west-coast Paphos, where the Aphrodite Hills by Atlantica bears the stamp of the firm’s high-end Sensatori brand. That means infinity pools, four restaurants and a shuttle bus the short distance to Zias Beach, where all-inclusive guests can expect snacks and drinks.

A four-night all-inclusive escape, flying from Manchester on March 21, starts at £416 per person with Tui.

12. Algarve attraction

Portugal’s most southerly region has a reputation for cheaply cheerful lodging, but it dons a suit of superior cloth at the Sao Rafael Suites, near Albufeira. Here is a contemporary five-star hotel with three outdoor pools (one for children) and a spa, a 550yd (500m) walk from the beach.

A seven-night all-inclusive break, flying from Stansted on February 22, costs from £382 per person through Love Holidays.

13. Halkidiki heaven

Part of the Ikos portfolio of stylish all-inclusive retreats, chic Ikos Olivia resort basks on the waterside in Halkidiki, a short hop from Thessaloniki. This is an oasis where four pools, five restaurants, three bars, a spa and tennis courts sit in 22 acres of lawns and olive trees. Meals at selected local restaurants are also part of the all-inclusive rate.

Seven-night stays start at £680 per person with The Inspiring Travel Company. Flights are extra, but can also be booked via the operator.

14. Garda greatness

Ski specialist Inghams steers away from winter by offering all-inclusive breaks at the Parc Hotel, a four-star with indoor and outdoor pools and a wellness centre, at Peschiera del Garde on the Veneto side of Lake Garda. Such bookings take in all meals, house wine and beers, and activities such as cycling and tennis, and work well for families who like to stretch their legs.

A seven-night holiday for a family of four, flying from London Gatwick on August 18, costs from £1,179 per person, including transfers.


15. Costa credentials

All-inclusivity does not only apply to fly-and-flop beach breaks. You can enjoy it on an adventurous holiday, too – as is shown by Natural World Safaris’ Ultimate Costa Rica Honeymoon. Designed for newly-weds who don’t wish to sit still, this 11-day trip throws itself at rainforest zip-lining and rafting on the Pacuare river. It offers accommodation at a series of lovely lodges, like the Lapa Rios private reserve on the Osa Peninsula.

The quoted price – from £4,495 a head – does not cover flights, but these can also be booked.

16. Airborne graces

Namibia may sound an unlikely all-inclusive destination, but that reckons without the Wings over Namibia escapade from Wexas Travel. This remarkable 10-day break soars by light aircraft between Windhoek and Etosha National Park via the Skeleton Coast, flying low for close-ups of a dramatic landscape.

The £7,220 starting price covers the full trip, including flights and all meals at deluxe accommodation such as Ongava Lodge in Etosha and the chic Olive Exclusive in the capital.

17. Handy Andes

Although at first glance they don’t fit the bill, cycling tours also flirt with all-inclusivity, generally providing their participants with full-board lodging to fuel them for their days in the saddle. This can be an appealing prospect when the destination is especially exotic. Step forward, then, Saddle Skedaddle and its Andes, Amazon and Machu Picchu break – a 16-day epic endeavour in Peru that takes its travellers up to the incomparable Inca citadel, but also down through rainforest treescapes.

From £2,845 a head including flights, bike hire and food, save for a couple of meals on non-riding days.


18. Having it Largo

With its love of the extra charge, America is not a natural friend of the nothing-more-to-pay hotel. So the arrival of the high-end adults-only Bungalows at Key Largo, reputed to be the country’s first beachfront all-inclusive, was perhaps a surprise. Nonetheless, the Florida property offers unlimited food and alcoholic drinks, plus free fitness classes, watersports and bike use.

A seven-night stay in April starts at £1,821 per person. Flights extra.

19. Saddling up

Luxury and adventure collide at The Ranch at Rock Creek – a Montana hideaway of just 29 rooms and suites where guests can try the cowboy lifestyle without getting too dirty. The price includes more than 20 activities, such as archery, fishing, clay shooting and mountain biking as well as horse-riding, plus haute cuisine and a soothing spa at day’s end.

A seven-night all-inclusive break costs from £6,010 per person via Elegant Resorts. This figure does not include international flights, but these can be added.

20. World’s end wonders

Even Alaska is not beyond the reach of an all-inclusive escapade. For those who want to go to the world’s end with no expense spared, Scott Dunn offers a 12-night Alaska in Ultimate Luxury jaunt, available between May and September. This realm of peaks and glaciers is traversed by time-saving private bush plane, allowing guests to slumber in glorious surroundings such as Tutka Bay Lodge on Kachemak Bay while also diving into Wrangell-St Elias National Park, where vast mountains tower above the ocean.

From £24,300 per person.

21. West is best

To witness the best of America’s vast landscapes try Explore’s Western USA National Parks Explorer itinerary. This 14-day escorted trip takes you to Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Arches national parks, with time in San Francisco and Vegas too.

It is also effectively an all-inclusive as the price (from £2,660) covers all but a handful of meals. Next departure April 11.


22. Simple Sardinia

Perdepera Beach Resort, an inviting property run by Mark Warner, offers lovely gardens, a soft beach and the offer of all-inclusive breaks where the price covers travel, meals, drinks, kids’ clubs, cycling, tennis, watersports and fitness classes.

A seven-night getaway for a family of four, flying from Stansted on June 6, costs from £649 per person.

23. Seeing spots

Fancy something a little different to the European beach break this year? Exodus's Kenya Family Wildlife Quest is a great seven-day family adventure which offers an introduction to the African continent’s most famous residents. Designed for 9-12 year olds (although also suitable for 13-16 year olds), it includes the Masai Mara, Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley, and an elephant orphanage and giraffe centre in Nairobi – as well as most meals.

From £2,649 per person with Exodus.


24. Swiss sensation

The enclosed world of the ski resort is ideal for all-inclusive indulgence, and Powder Byrne sells a Cruise the Mountain package that it describes as the “ultimate all-inclusive luxury ski break”. This is no idle boast – a seven-night break in the Swiss resort of Arosa (at the five-star Tschuggen Grand Hotel or the deluxe Valsana Hotel & Appartements) comes with flights, first-class train transfers, breakfast, dinner and afternoon tea in the hotel, lunch on the slopes, six-day ski pass, ski rental and private guiding. Comprehensive.

From £3,900 per person.

25. Alpine escapades

Crystal Ski plays the all-inclusive card at the Hotel Altitude – a four-star in the French Alps at Arc 2000. It offers two whirlpools, a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and views of Mont Blanc.

A seven-night all-inclusive stay in early 2020 costs from £729 per person. Lift pass and ski hire additional.

26. Club classic

Club Med has made a shiny virtue of its all-inclusive ski holidays with a family flavour. Four-star Les Arcs Panorama, in the French Alpine resort of Les Arcs 1600, boasts indoor and outdoor pools, children’s clubs, three restaurants and a snowboarding school.

Seven nights all-inclusive from £1,286 per person, with ski pass included but flights additional.


27. Both sides now

Safari holidays are effectively all-inclusive beach breaks with the surf and sand replaced by lions and giraffes. It is otherwise the same idea – a trip where you lift as few fingers as possible save to eat the delicious morsels put in front of you. Audley Travel even includes the sigh of the waves in its 17-day Luxury Kenya Safari and Beach break, which features everything plus the proverbial kitchen sink as it flits between Samburu National Reserve, the Maasai Mara and the cosy Waterlovers Hotel on the Indian Ocean shore at Diani Beach.

From £9,400 per person.

28. Sun Tanz

Cox & Kings follows a similar two-tone path in its Tanzania and Zanzibar in Style – a 13-day odyssey where lions and ocean roar in equal measure. The tour takes in one of Tanzania’s smallest and least fabled wildlife zones (Lake Manyara National Park), and one of its biggest and most celebrated (Serengeti National Park) then swaps both for easy living and four nights in a beach lodge on Zanzibar.

Available from £8,075 per person, including flights, transfers – and five-star accommodation, with all meals throughout

29. Monkey business

All-inclusivity also applies to the Blue Monkey Safari by Expert Africa, which avoids the site-hopping of other big-beast-focused breaks to linger in South Luangwa National Park in the east of Zambia at sophisticated Nkwali, a camp owned and run by specialist Robin Pope Safaris. Go in December and catch the start of the post-rain lushness of “Emerald Season”.

A seven-night holiday costs from £3,015 per person, including flights, transfers, game drives, all meals and most drinks.


30. Victorian values

Cruises tend to be floating havens of grand all-inclusivity. Voyages with Cunard are priced to cover all dining, activities and entertainment. With this in mind, and if money is no object, you might as well opt for the sumptuous full breakfast of the 108-night round-the-world voyage that will see the Queen Victoria sail west on Jan 10 2020. She departs from, and returns to, Southampton.

From £11,899 a head for an inside berth.

© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2020