The all-inclusive landscape has been changing rapidly in the last few years, most recently with the acquisition of Apple Leisure Group by Hyatt. That move, which sent shockwaves throughout the industry, is part of a growing focus by major travel brands on all-inclusive.
More and more travel leaders, from ALG’s Alex Zozaya to Posadas’ Jose Carlos Azcarraga, tell Caribbean Journal that the all-inclusive space is only growing — as more and more travelers simply continue to demand it.
And if the all-inclusive sector has a capital, it’s Punta Cana: the most-visited hotspot in the Caribbean’s most-visited country: the Dominican Republic.
Punta Cana’s resort product Is set in two unique destinations: Greater Punta Cana, which includes everything from the famous Bavaro Beach to Uvero Alto, and Cap Cana, the luxurious enclave of the area that’s known for world-class golf, a large marina and a rarefied, exclusive feel. The latter has seen a surge in all-inclusive development in the last two or three years.
They both add up to the most popular travel destination in the Caribbean, home to nearly 50,000 hotel rooms.
Understandably, sifting though the sea of properties isn’t easy — but there are some full-fledged gems for travelers. Here are our favorites to check in to right now.
Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana, An Autograph Collection Resort This is as complete an adults-only all-inclusive as you’ll find in the Caribbean, not to mention Punta Cana. Now part of the All-Inclusive by Marriott portfolio and the Autograph Collection, Hideaway has an enviable offering, from a refreshingly active ambience (with everything from beach yoga to poolside mixology classes) to on-the-sand shiatsu and Thai massages on a Hideaway-exclusive beach.
Even better? You get access to all of the amenities and services at the adjacent Royalton Punta Cana and Royalton Splash Punta Cana, too.
Secrets Cap Cana Since it first opened back in 2017, the 457-room, adults-only resort set a new standard for all-inclusives in Punta Cana. And that’s still the case for this flagship Secrets resort, home to seven gourmet eateries, six bars and lounges (including a Preferred Club bar) and a spectacular setting on the blindingly white sands of Juanillo Beach.
While the rooms are all beautiful (all of which have their own hot tubs, 24-hour room service and daily-refreshed mini bars), the swim-up suites are very much worth the splurge.
Live Aqua Punta Cana One of the newest all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana is also one of the best: Mexican company La Colleccion Resorts’ Live Aqua first resort outside of Mexico. The adults-only Live Aqua Beach Resort is a stunner, with its own beach, a sweeping infinity pool complex and 345 units, all of which are suites — some including their own private pools or swim-up access.
TRS Cap Cana TRS Cap Cana Palladium Hotel Group first launched its highest-end TRS brand in the Mexican Caribbean, and its new Cap Cana outpost is at the same level. The adults-only resort has 115 suites, with a pair of restaurants, an Ibiza-style beach club and a pair of pools; it’s a sleek, crisp place to stay in the heart of chic Cap Cana.
The Zentropia Palladium Spa and Wellness Center is a standout too, with a pair of hot tubs, steam rooms, and a host of private treatment rooms.
Royalton Punta Cana, An Autograph Collection Resort Part of the broader Royalton complex in Punta Cana (and also part of Marriott’s Punta Cana all-inclusive options), this resort has just about everything for every kind of traveler. There’s the Genesis Casino; a water park; a teens’ club; a slate of activities that range from aquatic Olympic-style competitions to aerobic classes to ping pong and culinary lessons. There’s even an Escape Room called the Temple of Secrets. In other words, it’s a whole world in an all-inclusive.
Paradisus Grand Cana Formerly known as the Grand Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real, this rebranded property still represents the best that the Paradisus marque can offer. And yes, there’ still the Reserve upgraded option that includes private concierge service, luxury suites and access to a Reserve-only private beach, among other amenities. And in the new age of travel, parent company Melia also offers free travel insurance and testing for guests.
Serenade Punta Cana Another new addition to Punta Cana amid the pandemic, Serenade has 603 rooms across seven different buildings, with three categories: garden view, pool view and ocean view. The rooms are diverse, too, with solid options like swim-out suites and luxury ocean-view suites that come with their own outdoor jacuzzis.
On the culinary side, there are eight eateries (one of which is a buffet) and five different bars. We also like the boutique-style waterpark, always a hit with the little ones.
Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana All-inclusive resorts are a completely different universe than they were even a decade ago; today, all-inclusive has become largely a technical term, not a qualitative one.
Having said that, visitors to the Zoetry Agua Punta Cana won’t believe they’re at an all-inclusive resort. Everything here feels unique, authentic, boutique. There are just 96 suites here, but it feels even smaller. The thatched-roof architecture feels right at home in this lush corner of Uvero Alto. It’s just a beautiful place to be.
Dreams Macao Beach Punta Cana Instantly one of our Punta Cana favorites since it opened, it’s a terrific family-focused all-inclusive, highlighted by an impressive pair of waterparks, one for smaller kids and one for the bigger ones, with the latter including a lazy river. And that’s just the beginning of what we love about this property, including perhaps the best all-inclusive food you’ll find in Punta Cana.
That’s along with a terrific Dreams Spa by Pevonia.
It’s now part of what ALG calls the AMR Collection, a rebranding of what used to be called AM Resorts.
Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana Karisma Hotels and Resorts’ alliance with the Nickelodeon brand was nothing short of brilliant. Combining the classic all-inclusive experience with characters like Dora, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and SpongeBob Squarepants has turned this into one of the most sought-after Punta Cana resorts for families with kids. The 208-suite resort, has 10 restaurants, three bars and four pools and one other major amenity: the Paw Patrol. Translation: your kids will want to be here on the double.
Hyatt Ziva-Zilara Cap Cana They’re really two separate resorts, in line with parent company Playa’s philosophy: that means the Zilara for couples, and the Ziva for families. Like the aforementioned Secrets, it’s set on what is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of the Dominican Republic: Cap Cana’s Juanillo Beach, worth the trip all by itself.