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All inclusive Resorts with great food?

Are there any hotels or hotel companies that take food seriously in tropical climates?

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  1. Too many to list...but please know, I am a travel agent who does not favour all inclusives. You lose the opportunity to experience local food and culture. Having said that here are some places I have enjoyed the meal plan:

    Galley Bay - Antigua
    Carlisle Bay - Antigua
    Blue Waters- Antigua
    Palm Island - The Grenadines
    Cotton House - Mustique
    Young Island - St. Vincent
    The Reefs - Bermuda (not the Caribbean but)
    Galley Bay - Antigua (food is spotty at times superb all around property)
    Blue Horizons and Spice I think it's called in Grenada

    Sandals YUCK YUCK YUCK

    1 Reply
    1. re: phelana

      i am really happy you posted this, because i am planning a relaxing, lazy, tropical beach get-away and was weighing the inclusive vs. non options.
      part of me likes the idea of not having to deal with anything (travel, cabs, etc. etc.)
      but the other part of me knows all-inclusive is usually not-all-that-great.

    2. Check out El Dorado Royale Resort and Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We went there for our honeymoon and loved it. They have 7 restaurants, and we tried (and loved) all of them except the Italian restaurant.

      1. We stayed at Goldeneye in Jamaica and the food was great. There isnt a menu per se but they have some locals in the kitchen cooking up delicious selections that you wont get at any other resort restaurant in Jamaica. Lots of local flavor and spice. Soups, stews, rice. Delicious. We loved the entire Goldeneye experience.

        1. I hear the food is unsurpassed on Necker Island in the BVI. To go as a couple, you have to reserve for a "Celebration Week" when the whole island isn't being rented by an individual/corporation or being used by the owner, Sir Richard Branson. Everything is included and the rates are about $25K per week per couple.

          1. "The Point" at Sonesta Maho in St. Maarten is getting good reviews. All-inclusive guests can also use their dining vouchers at other restaurants in the neighborhood, including Paris Bistro, Le Charolais and Sopranos.

            If you enjoy "really great" food I doubt that all-inclusive would be a suitable choice in St. Maarten / St. Martin, simply because of the island's huge variety of dining options.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DineSXM

              I stayed at the Maho in 2002,2003,2004. I hated all the restaurants in the hotel. I can't speak for the other restaurants associated with it though. The buffet breakfast was horrendous. I recently stayed at the Oasis Hamaca in the Dominican Republic (5 nights including airfare, gratuities, airport taxes and fees, EVERYTHING, for $590) and I thought the food was excellent.

            2. We've really enjoyed the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo/Maya resort in Riviera Maya. The breakfast buffet alone is reason enough to visit. The lunch/dinner buffets are elaborate and well prepared. And most of the a la carte restaurants are very good (see my review on Tripadvisor).

              4 Replies
              1. re: richczarnecki

                I've seen consistently good reviews of Iberostar resorts...and I stayed at the Iberostar Bavaro twice in Punta Cana. My fiance and I were worried before our first stay there about how the food would be but were really happy with it, not to mention that the resort is beautiful and well-managed.

                I would say given the large-scale service of it all, the food was very good with a few things that were downright fantastic. I remember eating more than a reasonable amount of stewed lentils, my fiance loved any other stewed bean dish they made, the grilled Caribbean lobster, the best baked potato I've ever had in my life and for some reason I found myself really into their pizza even though I live in NYC. Some of the eating was definitely recalibrating expectations and situational - they make these fried hot dogs which under other circumstances would make me shudder, but at 2am after a night of drinking they were delicious. They have an Asian restaurant that turns out some sushi and stir fries which were just okay, nothing to write home about, but I don't expect it to reach the level I get when I'm home and eating in Chinatown or Flushing.

                I think the desserts were the one general area where we felt a little disappointed though in the end, having fresh fruit and flan worked just fine with us.

                1. re: pellegrino31

                  Wow, sushi in the DR. Honestly, that would scare the heck out of me given the fact you cannot touch the water.

                  1. re: luci

                    Yeah it's kind of funny. But I don't think they source locally, or at least they do not go out of their way to advertise it.

                  2. re: pellegrino31

                    We have also been fans of the Iberostar resorts. We've stayed at the Iberostar Varedaro in Cuba and the Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana. We have opted to try Iberostar resorts when we travel all-inclusive with our three little kids and have been rather pleased with the food selection and quality. Cuba isn't know for its food but in listening to other travellers from other resorts in the bus back to the airport, there were many complaints about the other resorts that we just didn't have.

                2. Not sure if you've already gone down south. But my wife and I just got back from an all inclusive in Riviera Maya, Mexico. We stayed at the Valentin Imperial Maya and we're extremely happy with the food (the rest of the resort as well was great). The quality of food was quite high (even for restaurants in Canada). Very fresh. They have something for everyone (they have some local cuisine as well as a big selection of "American" style food). Read the reviews on Trip Advisor. This was by far the best food I have had in the Carribean (been to about 5 resorts). Everyone we spoke to said they were very impressed with the food. One couple said it was the best food they have had in the Carribean out of 25 resorts in their lifetime.

                  www.valentinmaya.com

                  I'm not sure if the rest of "Valentin" hotels have the same quality. Would be curious to know.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JG88

                    We stayed at this hotel for 10 days, food was pretty bad. I was surprised people gave the food such high ratings. I've had better meals at Applebee's.

                  2. This may be too late for the benefit of "urbanegastrojedi" but it may be beneficial to others. For the last seven years my wife and I have spent two weeks on the greatest secret "foodie" island in the Caribbean. The island of Anguilla, BWI has quietly evolved into a real destination vacation site. First of all, there are pretty much only two things to do on Anguilla; 1) totally relax and avail oneself of some of the most gorgeous beaches in the Caribbean. 2) eat,eat,eat. We never stay at resorts, preferring the freedom to roam about the island poking into every interesting road, cul-de-sac or beach seeking out "new" eateries. Renting a villa and car gives one the chance to truly explore on your own whim. But, we do avail ourselves of the amenities at the various resorts(restaurants, spas, watersports) The resorts of Cap Juluca, Cuisinart, Malliouhana and Viceroy boast excellent restaurants and beach activities. If you are a "resorter" these places are amazing-and expensive! The real secret of Anguilla is that scattered all about the island are more restaurants run by CIA graduates or French chefs than can be tried in a months visit. Some of the best and of course most enduring are "Veya", "Barrel Stay", "Koal Keel", "Blanchards", "Straw Hat", "Altamer" and "Hibernia". And the "native" establishments must be added into the mix; "E's Oven", "Smokeys", "Olivers" and "Palm Grove" as a very small sample. Twenty plus years ago we began to vacation in the Caribbean in the months of Feb/March. We began in St. Johns and we were happy with the beach/food mix. Then the invasion of whole families took the bloom off. Tried various BVIs, Grenada, St. Lucia, St Martin and finally, Anguilla. None of the other islands had the combination we were searching for; Decent villas, great restaurants, good purveyors of needed foods(want to cook some too)(have our own contact for fresh lobsters in Anguilla) and as few people as possible! The snorkeling isn't as great as some places but the scuba is very good. In restrospect, I hate to tell alot of people about the island, it will end up like St. Johns. But the only business is tourism, and the downturn in the economy has affected them greatly. I would hate for any of these terrific resorts and restaurants to have to close. And you can always take the various ferries to St. Martin or St. Barths for a day trip.
                    '

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: dushote

                      agreed, Anguilla AKA AXA is culinary heaven..please add Luna Rosa to the list above...Picante too ...Davida is a new hot spot ...

                      1. re: dushote

                        Many Many Thanks Dushote What a superb suggestion Anguilla is! I am looking forward to researching it. Its a pain in the ass when you are a chef trying to find sun, sand and good food.

                        1. re: urbanegastrojedi

                          Cool that this thread is still open and the original poster is still interested! I have heard that the Karisma Resorts (Including the El Dorado) are amazing for food. We're heading to the Secrets Capri in the Mayan Riviera next week to mixed reviews about the food. It's an adult only "Ultra" All-inclusive - let you know!

                        2. re: dushote

                          thanks for the recommendation.
                          i am also looking forward to researching!

                          1. re: dinaofdoom

                            check out www.anguillabliss.com my blog or email me ann@antiguacaribbean.com

                            LOVE Picante, LOVE Luna Rosa, LOVE E's Oven, LOVE LOVE LOVE Ferry Boat Inn for Wed. Wing Night and the BEST rum punch (and I hate wings typically), Dune Preserve on Sunday is great for grilled lobster, ting and jazz. Elvis's for great sand in your toes drinking and music. I am dying to try HIbernia and Davida and Koal Keel for dinner.

                            Cheers and enjoy Anguilla..warning it is addictive..