All-Inclusive

In St Martin, a Different Kind of All-Inclusive Resort

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - April 8, 2015

By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

There’s champagne on the breakfast buffet. My appetizer at dinner was a scrumptious morsel of foie gras. My room is a tasteful study in sun-washed colors and classic West Indian furnishings.

As I chill on a chaise by the pool no one’s on the mic screaming “Voollleeyballll!” to get people interested in a game. The only sounds are the gentle rush of the waves to the sands of Anse Marcel steps away, and the occasional shrieks of delight from children playing at the water’s edge.

This is a piece of Paradise ripped from the classic Caribbean playbook. This is an island vacation fantasy realized. This is RIU?

riu2

If it wasn’t for the gold plastic shackle around my wrist (ugh!), I’d swear I was at an independent resort. But I’m at Riu Palace St. Martin, the 25th of the Spanish chain’s 26 Caribbean all inclusive resorts.

riu5

Originally a Le Meridien and formerly a Radisson Blu, the 258-room hotel the company opened last December differs from their typical new-builds in ways I appreciate (and which just might sway all-inclusive skeptics).

riu3

It’s much smaller (RIU’s resorts typically have between 500 and 900 rooms), and feels intimate, its manicured acreage punctuated with clusters of Adirondack chairs that encourage guests to just sit and soak up the moment.

riu7

 

Here on St Martin’s French side, the pace is slower and more relaxed than on the Dutch, and that’s reflected in the resort’s ambience, which emphasizes the art of complete relaxation over forced participation. The French influence is also apparent in the food (coq au vin, madame?), and the multinational staff and clientele make me feel as if I’d traveled much further than the easy 2.5 hours’ flying time from Miami.

riu4

As I take another sip of my rosé I come to the realization:

This is the kind of hotel that, with four restaurants; a huge beachfront infinity pool; free WI-FI; and rates starting at $240 per person per night offers both value and variety.

This is an all-inclusive resort for people who want the convenience of an all-inclusive minus the feeling that they’re at an all-inclusive. This is RIU.

Popular Posts all-inclusive montego bay resort by marriott

Marriott Just Opened Its New All-Inclusive Resort in Montego Bay 

Marriott has continued its rapid expansion into the Caribbean all-inclusive space with the debut of its newest adults-only resort in Montego Bay: the new Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort.  The 352-room resort is part of […]


Yes, You Can Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort in St Thomas, USVI

the beach at the bolongo bay resort

The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas may be the most popular all-inclusive resort you’ve never heard of. It’s not that the resort itself isn’t well-known: this family-run and managed, beach resort has been in business since 1974. But […]


The 15 Best Spa Resorts in the Caribbean

como parrot cay

Resort spas have become almost as common as fitness centers on amenity lists, but while it’s simple enough to carve out some space for a few treatment rooms, there are some spas that offer a true “experience” to go along […]


Related Posts all-inclusive sandals

Sandals Is Adding an All-Inclusive Dine-Around Option in Nassau 

It’s a new concept in the world of all-inclusive: the dine-around — giving guests at resorts vouchers or credits to go out and explore local restaurants as part of their all-inclusive plan.  The program, first pioneered by the Bay Gardens resort […]


United Airlines Adding More Flights to Nassau, Montego Bay 

montego bay marriott on the resort beach

United Airlines has a big expansion planned for the winter season in the Caribbean, Caribbean Journal has learned.  The airline is planning to increase its Latin America-Caribbean network by 25 percent for the peak travel season in the region, anchored […]


Wyndham Debuts New Look at Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive 

puerto vallarta all-inclusive

The new-look, renamed Wyndham Alltra Vallarta all-inclusive has made its debut in the Nuevo Vallarta area just north of Puerto Vallarta.  Playa Hotels and Resorts says the property has undergone a renovation that amounted to a “significant investment,” with an […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You