All-inclusive resorts aren’t typically known as “Foodie Destinations, but these retreats break stereotypes.
By Holly Johnson, Contributor | Aug. 15, 2017, at 11:00 a.m.
All-inclusive resorts cater to travelers seeking a fuss-free vacation with plenty of perks, added conveniences and excellent values. After all, with all your meals, drinks and entertainment wrapped into a single price, staying at an all-inclusive offers the chance to enjoy a relaxing getaway without feeling the pinch of getting nickeled-and-dimed. However, many patrons of these properties have a familiar gripe: The bland buffets and uninspiring cuisine.
Fortunately, today’s all-inclusive resorts are elevating their culinary offerings with diverse options, locally sourced ingredients and acclaimed chefs. If you’re a foodie, follow your taste buds to these exceptional properties.
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge
Tordrillo Mountain Lodge sits in a waterfront paradise, just 40 minutes from Anchorage, Alaska. Opened by Olympic gold medalist Tommy Moe, the unique all-inclusive property offers an outdoor-focused guest experience that connects visitors to nature. Visitors can take advantage of recreational activities such as heli-skiing, heli-hiking and heli-fishing while taking in the beauty of some of Alaska’s most remote areas. What’s more, the property boasts private chefs who serve meals that are nothing short of amazing. Gourmands will delight in fresh Kachemak Bay oysters, along with king salmon, Alaska king crab, halibut and regional specialties such as elk and pheasant. Tordrillo also uses fresh organic vegetables from the garden. Even better, wine pairings are also offered to create a dining experience that’s both rustic and elegant.
Aruba has long been known as one of the best Caribbean islands for food lovers seeking locally inspired culinary creations, and Barceló Aruba has become a can’t-miss destination for gourmands since taking over the former Occidental property. The all-inclusive resort features six restaurants and three bars with diverse offerings. Choose from an authentic Italian venue with fresh pasta and seafood, a traditional seafood restaurant with fresh fare, a hibachi-styled Japanese restaurant complete with a cooking show and Mexican-influenced cuisine paired with fine wines or and tequila. To take your dining experiences up a notch, book a stay in the exclusive Royal Club Level, which offers an additional fine dining restaurant serving gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
El Dorado Casitas Royale
Riviera Maya, Mexico
El Dorado Casitas Royale offers culinary delights on Mexico’s Riviera Maya with its own Gourmet Inclusive Experience designed for all-inclusive vacationers in pursuit of elevated cuisine. At El Dorado Casitas Royale, you’ll find Michelin-trained chefs, fresh local ingredients with many staples grown in the property’s own 76,000-square-foot greenhouse and innovative food and beverage concepts. Guests can enjoy 24-hour room service and 10 inclusive restaurants, along with a la carte service and five-course dinners from five open kitchens. Guests can choose from diverse menus, with everything from classic European flavors to traditional Mexican dishes with a twist to tropical island fare. Guests are also invited to participate in the Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series, which spotlights a noteworthy chef and winemaker who pair up to offer a week of interactive epicurean experiences.
Vermejo Park Ranch
Raton, New Mexico
Vermejo Park Ranch offers an eco-conscious setting and enticing vacation packages with memorable culinary experiences. Stretching across 585,000 acres, Vermejo helps guests connect with both nature and wildlife, including large herds of elk, deer, pronghorn antelope and bison. Visitors can also catch sight of black bears, mountain lions and bighorn sheep. Daytime activities can include hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, wildlife viewing, photography tours and more. In terms of food, Vermejo’s talented culinary staff uses only fresh, locally sourced ingredients and seasonal flavors to prepare dishes. Plus, Vermejo offers farm-to-table cuisine, and relies on the property’s abundant resources to create simple, natural dishes that feature local game prepared in innovative ways, such as bison tenderloin with a horseradish and sun-dried tomato garnish and a chili-infused venison.
Sandals LaSource Grenada
St. George’s, Grenada
The Sandals brand is known for exemplary food offerings that exceed average all-inclusive resort cuisine, but Sandals LaSource Grenada takes its gastronomy up a notch. Here, foodies can dine at 10 restaurants featuring international culinary specialties from highly trained chefs, along with wine pairings. Take your pick from French cuisine served in a romantic courtyard, fresh seafood plucked from local waters, a vibrant Teppanyaki restaurant, authentic dishes from Italian chef Thomas Damonte and more.
Paradisus Los Cabos
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Paradisus Los Cabos offers seven restaurants featuring high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Enjoy Asian fusion dishes, Italian flavors, seafood fare and more all prepared by highly trained chefs, including some with Michelin stars. The property’s Mole Restaurant in particular consistently wows guests with its unique take on contemporary cuisine with a Mexican flair. Popular dishes include duck chimichangas with mole poblano sauce, radish and coriander, salmon with roasted pineapple and Cochinita Pibil (traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork). Another praise-worthy dish: the homemade tortillas with locally sourced corn.
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort
Palace Resorts are known for their innovative experiences geared toward foodies, but the sheer size of Moon Palace Gold & Spa Resort offers an astounding array of options. The property features tantalizing Asian delights, a steakhouse, fresh seafood and mouthwatering Italian dishes. As a property that sets the standard among all-inclusive resorts, Moon Palace is also dedicated to offering only fresh seasonal ingredients.
Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Past visitors of Grand Velas Riviera Maya consistently cite superlative food options as one of the property’s biggest draws. Guests can choose from Mexican, French, Italian and Asian-inspired venues, along with other globally inspired dining options prepared by internationally renowned chefs such as Maître Cuisinier de France Michel Mustière and Xavi Pérez Stone, who was named a winner of “Iron Chef” in 2014. The property’s signature restaurant, Cocina de Autor, was even awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award, making it the first all-inclusive restaurant to receive the honor. What’s more, the property offers top-tier amenities and services, including a world-class spa, mixology classes, eco-tours and more.
Hyatt Ziva Cancun
Hyatt Ziva Cancun prides itself on its authentic gourmet dining, with seasonal flavors and fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Guests can enjoy a variety of edible delights, from a pastry from Casa Café to fresh ceviche for lunch by the beach to an over-the-top dessert to traditional French vuisine. Dining options include buffets along with a la carte fare featuring Asian specialties, French gourmet options, fresh seafood, tacos and fresh ceviche and even burgers and fries. What’s more, Hyatt Ziva offers an amazing beachfront, family-friendly accommodations and gorgeous pools, making it an ideal spot for any family vacation.
Royal Hideaway Playacar Resort
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
With an ideal location along the white sands of Playa del Carmen, the adults-only Royal Hideaway Playacar Resort boasts a serious culinary cred with six restaurants that serve traditional Mexican-inspired cuisine, fresh seafood, gourmet Asian fusion dishes and Italian staples. Plus, the property’s signature restaurant, Las Ventanas, has received the prestigious Four Diamond Award by AAA. In addition to superlative dining options, this property also offers numerous pools, a gorgeous oceanfront, memorable nighttime entertainment and 24-hour room service.
Club Med Cancún Yucatán
This property sits in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, yet it offers inspiring meals that are superior to most served in the area. Dining options include international fare, Mexican cuisine, Argentinian fare and other gourmet options with wine pairings from the property’s exclusive collection. Taco Arte Restaurant, which recently opened, stands out with its innovative and contemporary takes on traditional Mexican culinary specialties. Even better, you’ll also get all of Club Med’s amazing benefits, including sports schools and clubs just for kids, amazing pools and organized sports and activities.