A floating hotel, a working estancia and a lodge next to desert dunes – Natalie Marsh rounds up some of the most exciting places for an all-inclusive stay
Holidays are all about treating yourself and indulging in as much food, drink and other delights as you wish, which is why all‑inclusive breaks are a great option. But not all properties are about sea, sunbeds and as much ice cream as you can eat.
A hotel on a boat in the Maldives, a private island in Cambodia and a lodge deep in the Namib Desert all join the line-up of remarkable places to stay where everything’s included. Now that it’s time to get your clients excited about travelling again, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to suggest for an all-inclusive stay in unusual locations around the world.
1. A private island in Cambodia
Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia was the first resort in the country to offer overwater villa accommodation. The environment is a huge focus here, with food and materials grown and sourced locally. The property is set among the lush rainforest on the coast, with incredible views over the Gulf of Thailand including neighbouring island Koh Rong.
Book it: Premier Holidays offers seven nights in a One Bed Jungle Villa with private pool for £2,999 per person, with an all-inclusive upgrade a further £130 per night. The price includes flights from Heathrow and transfers between May 1 and July 10 or September 1-30, 2022.
2. A Maldivian concept in Crete
Overwater bungalows, wooden bridges across lagoons and tiny islands where you can relax in a hammock are the sort of things you’d expect of a private resort in the Maldives. But look a little closer to home and the adult-only Stella Island in Crete offers many of the same attractions – but in the Mediterranean instead. Its all-inclusive offering combines buffets, à la carte menus, grills, sushi bars and more, and that food can be washed down with a range of signature cocktails.
Book it: Olympic Holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive in a Premium Swim Up room at Stella Island Luxury Resort & Spa from £1,448 per person, including flights from Gatwick, in October 2021. olympicholidays.com
3. An exotic city break
Not every all-inclusive property is on a secluded island or steps away from the beach. In Morocco, swap the sea for the souks at the trendy adult-only Tui Blue Medina Gardens (pictured). The hotel is in the heart of Marrakech and is a mix of old architecture and new design. Some of the city’s hotspots, including the ever-lively Djemaa el Fna square, are just a short walk away, giving easy access to the labyrinthine souks, Koutoubia Mosque and local restaurants.
Book it: Tui offers a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Tui Blue Medina Gardens from £696 per person, based on two adults sharing, including flights from Gatwick on September 20, 2021, and transfers.
4. A secluded Caribbean retreat
Jumby Bay Island in Antigua is a well-known property, but don’t let familiarity detract from its unique location. Set on a private, car-free island, almost two miles off Antigua’s main island and accessible only by boat, it is the definition of seclusion. Jumby Bay (pictured) goes above and beyond with its all-inclusive offering, which includes rum tastings, cooking classes, boat trips and watersports. Kids’ clubs, fitness and sports facilities are also included on top of the food and beverage options.
Book it: Caribtours offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £8,299 per person, sharing a Beachside Suite, with flights, transfers and a spa package, in October 2021.
5. A stay at sea
A spa, snorkelling and yoga classes are quintessential elements of a stay in the Maldives. But rather than being situated on one of the archipelago’s many islands, The Floating Hotel by Scubaspa (pictured) is a 19-room luxury yacht out at sea. The hotel sails around some of the Maldives’ beautiful atolls, with stops at beaches, islands and some great diving spots for those who want to delve under the surface of the water. Spa and scuba diving packages are on offer, with the opportunity to upgrade to an all-inclusive stay.
Book it: Kuoni offers seven nights’ all-inclusive in a Sea Star Cabin from £4,049 per person, including Qatar Airways flights from Heathrow, from January to March 2022.
6. A lagoon location
There aren’t many all-inclusive hotels where you can explore vast gardens and watch migratory birds but still be within walking distance of the beach. Yet that’s what guests can expect at Salgados Palace in the Algarve, Portugal, which boasts some fantastic views over the Salgados Lagoon Natural Reserve and its sweeping landscapes. The five-star property is all-inclusive between May and September this year, and there are six restaurants and bars, plus keen golfers can tee off at the adjoining 18-hole golf course.
Book it: Jet2holidays offers seven nights’ all-inclusive at Salgados Palace for £869 per person, based on two sharing and including flights from Manchester on September 16. The price includes return transfers and a 22kg baggage allowance.
Best of the rest
Los Potreros, Argentina: Deep in the Argentinian countryside lies this working estancia, where guests can enjoy horse riding and farm drives and learn to lasso like a gaucho with inclusive activities. Abercrombie & Kent offers seven nights from £3,999 including flights, transfers, activities and all meals and drinks, based on a group booking exclusive use.
Secrets St Martin Resort & Spa, Saint Martin: Nestled in a cove at Anse Marcel Bay, Secrets St Martin is the only all‑inclusive hotel in the northern, French half of this Caribbean island. Guests can indulge in the property’s six restaurants and five bars.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Mexico: This all‑inclusive hotel is the only property in Cancun surrounded by sea on three sides. It’s located at the tip of Punta Cancun, which stretches out from the mainland, and its nine restaurants provide an abundance of choice.
Hilton La Romana Resort & Waterpark, Dominican Republic: With a water park on site, and bordering tropical rainforest and white sandy stretches, this resort is ideally set up to suit families of all kinds, while its adult‑only all‑inclusive sister resort is located next door.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia: Imagine waking up to views of rolling desert dunes. This andBeyond lodge offers just that, with stargazing and dune walks among the activities available in its private desert reserve. Mahlatini Luxury Travel offers five nights’ all‑inclusive from £4,050, including flights from London, light aircraft transfers and activities.
PICTURES: Cezare White; BlueOrange Studio/Alexander Shalamov; Stefano Candito; Siobhan O’Halleran