Is an All-Inclusive Worth it?

Is an all-inclusive worth it? My opinion is no, an all-inclusive is not worth it, but it depends on what sort of traveler you are. I tried an all-inclusive with a business event in Jamaica years ago, then this time as a couple in Mexico. The Cancun Royalton Splash all-inclusive is a new hotel that opened at the end of 2022. The hotel boasts that they have one of the largest water parks in the Caribbean and a long list of restaurants and bars. Options are a reason for travelers to choose an all-inclusive, however, the waiting time for everything being over an hour could be a major downside. Another downside is the lack of quality apparent in cafes, and bars and most obviously the lack of quality in the food.

If you like to travel in a group, with lots of family, or like to be guided through your trip without much variation then an all-inclusive might be the right option for you. If you prefer quality food and making reservations so that you can maximize your time then it’s likely not the right place. I think families with children prefer all-inclusive hotels for the onsite activities and all-you-can-eat, but the cattle vibe is apparent.

We opted for an upgraded junior suite with a hot tub for our evening. The cost was about $500 USD dollars including all taxes 16% in Mexico. The standard room was about $400 USD, I would say this is quite high for the area in January. As of January 2023, it looks like the average Booking for a resort with above 8.0 in reviews is $250-300 USD per night including breakfast and some including the taxes, if not it’s an extra 16% for taxes. While at the Canopy we kept track of the local Hotel Zone prices for lunch and dinner, lunch for two people is about 500-800 pesos which are about $30 USD. Dinner was about 1800 Pesos about 100.00 USD. That would make your average day about $410 USD if you’re going with the mid-range resort stay, or less depending on how much you eat, we eat a lot. Also, if you consider one, or two lunches, or dinners outside the hotel zone in the city center then the cost will be less than half for lunches and dinners.

If ease is the goal and you want to stay in a resort and not go exploring, then the cost of $300-800 USD for an all-inclusive might be your favored option. Keep in mind, however, that price will include two people meaning any extra people per room will be an extra expense. If you like to drink a lot, then this is likely a better option. We did get to try several different drinks and had the flexibility to ask for what we wanted. They were a bit lite on the alcohol in mixed drinks, but the bartenders added a bit more on request. I also enjoyed to chili liquors they made onsite. The ancho and chipotle liquors mixed into a margarita were fantastic.

I would argue that if you prefer food and like to eat a lot then all-inclusive is not worth it for the food. The quality is lackluster, at the Royalton Splash many of the items on the dinner menu were microwaved frozen foods, the snapper was poor quality pre-frozen, and the sauces were ok, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were also frozen. Of our dinner items the only one I thought was quite good was the tres leches cake which tasted fresh, when I commented it was good to the waiter he replied that it was made on site. That verified my suspicions. Quality is something I quickly notice, I paid for college working as a cook, so I know the difference. Steaks and lobster are extra, and so is wine, coconuts, and many other items. As I said, if you’re into food then all-inclusive is not worth it. The hotel told us when we checked in that we must put out names on the waiting list for restaurants, there is over an hour’s wait for a table and their restaurants are only open until 10 pm.

It really just depends on your requirements. Some people like the ease of the all-inclusive while others prefer the quality of being able to select restaurants and bars based on reviews. Being in a group can be challenging to organize when planning a variety of restaurants, I can see how families and friends can take advantage of an all-inclusive package. Also, for business, but for couples I would argue that variety and exploring are more enjoyable. To each their own. Subscribe for more travel posts, have a lovely day.