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All-Inclusives that don't suck...

My boyfriend and I have been gifted with a vacation and he wants to go somewhere in Mexico. Because he'd like to get everything possible paid for on the front end, he'd like to do an AI resort. This makes sense, but as eating and drinking are my favorite things to do while traveling, it makes me a little nervous.

We are open to all ocean areas (nothing inland) except Tulum (which we've been to already--and highly recommend!). Even at the nicest looking resorts, the food can sometimes look like a dressed up cruise buffet. Any recommendations welcome!! Let's just assume price isn't an issue :-)

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  1. You may want to look at Hotel Las Palmas about 7 miles south of Zihuatanejo. Small hotel with an excellent kitchen. Quiet, private, with a beautiful pool. Beach walking for miles ... La Barra de Potosi is a tiny fishing village down the beach that also offers excellent meals and ice cold beers .. just in case you want to have some options for food and drinks. The hotel has bikes so heading down to La Barra is easy. You could also taxi into Zihuat for even more adventures.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Maggie19

      I know this thread is old, but I just joined today! We've been to Karisma Azul Sensatori and it was fantastic. We're looking to do another AI and may just go back there again bc it was so good. I was just looking at Moon Palace Resorts in Cancun. The place looks beautiful and a lot of eating options. We are huge into food. Has anyone been there?? Any feedback would be great. Thanks! Oh and I also want to add that I would love to do Grand Velas as all I hear are amazing food reviews. The problem is, we have 3 young kids, and all their nice restaurants don't allow kids! Wish they could just say families could come at 5 or something, then open to everyone else at say 6:30. So frustrating bc we're dying to go there!

    2. Its been my experience that food and drink is proportional to price.
      Like you, eating and drinking is very important to us when travelling. Unfortunately, none of my AI experiences have been memorable for the food, Mexico or otherwise.
      I'm not saying theres no hope, just that it may be a tall order.

      I always dreamed about jetting off to one of those super-elite, 5 star++, ultra-luxury AI joint and trying out their food (I dunno the Rosewood Mayakoba comes to mind...)
      However....paying $3000 per person per week, plus another $1000 or so on airfare rings in at about $7000/wk.
      Seems at some point, the cost might not justify the food/drink.

      I'm just saying.

      1. 1000% the Grand Velas resort in Riviera Maya!!! I had never been to an all-inclusive before, and was very skeptical when my husband said were going there. My MIL is a travel agent and she has never had an unhappy client there. It is spectacular to see and the food and drink was terrific, free-flowing and very upscale. We were thrilled by all aspects of the resort and most impressively, the food/ restaurants. People from outside of the hotel come there at night to dine. The service was impeccable and the choices were tremendous. Plus, the in-room dining was top notch as well.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MRS

          Our first AI was here.....BIGGGG mistake. We don't want to go anywhere else now because the food was so good.

          1. re: itryalot

            I am now ruined to any other sort of AI. We won't consider anything else!!

        2. I hope that he is willing to do at least a couple of meals off-resort! :) While I am sure that you will be able to find an AI with food that you will love, you'll be missing out on all the delicious food Mexico has to offer! I can't imagine going to Mexico (and we do stay in an AI at least a couple of nights each trip) without eating in my favorite down-scale places.

          1. Dreams in Vallarta has always been good. Some places that aren't All Inclusive can be made All Inclusive (for a price - usually not too bad). We've been to the Marriott in Vallarta where they ran an AI deal for us - we could eat at any restaurant for 3 meals/day plus unlimited bar all day long (pools included). We found it to be a good deal because their restaurants catered primarily to paying customers so they were of better quality. So I'd start with a location, then a level of hotel and then inquire if they'll cut you a deal for "all-inclusive" food-drink.

            1. Depending where you're coming from Puerto vallarta may be more convenient. Gran Velas in nearby Nuevo Vallarta has the same reputation as the one in Cancun.

              1. I just returned from a a stay at Grand Velas. The food was OUTSTANDING. From breakfast, to lunch (even at the bar, to dinner and in room dining - it was all five star meals and service. My only complaint might be that the mixed drinks were weak. I guess this is expected at an all-inclusive, my suggestion would be stick with the wine or beer - you know what you are getting.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Donagill

                  Glad to hear good things about the Grand Velas. Headed there on Monday. Would love to get some details about the resort. My email is DML1999@aol.com

                      1. re: mexivilla

                        How was this? DH wants to go back to GV but can't find a deal to be had anywhere. I want to try NV location but Cocina de Autour is not there and dining seems limited. Please post; I am so curious especially if you are a foodie which I am.

                        1. re: itryalot

                          I think you should try the NV GV. It's not that far to go into town to Cafe des Artistes for Cocina de Autor. And NV is changing with half a dozen good restaurants both at resorts and outside.

                      2. re: Donagill

                        I would love to try Grand Velas, but I'm glad I researched on the site before booking. Half of their restaurants, (all their top ones) are 12 and older. It drives me crazy bc I have 3 younger ones. I have no problem with not wanting them in the luxury restaurants prime time, but maybe instead of opening at 6, open from 5-6 to accommodate families with young kids. Wish I could go here!!!

                      3. Has anyone tried the Hard Rock All Inclusive Hotels?

                        There are resorts in Cancun and Vallarta and one soon to be opened in Riviera Maya.

                        1. We stayed at Club Med Ixtapa in early 2009 and I was very impressed with the food. They had women making fresh tortillas everyday and would customize your quesadillas. We also stayed at Velas Vallarta (not Grand Velas) earlier this year and I did not like it at all, partly because of the food choices and my memory of the Club Med.
                          David Lebovitz wrote about the Club Med Ixtapa in case you are curious - link below. Note that it is a family resort so you can expect to have kids running around.


                          1. Anybody out there have any information/input on the resort Paradisus in Cancun? Apparently it used to be a Melia property. Inquiring about the food, booze, and property in general. Thanks.