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Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

All-inclusive vacations get five stars because guests are looking for stress-free luxury

By Vaseline May26,2024
All-inclusive vacations get five stars because guests are looking for stress-free luxury

A refreshing dip in the pool, ice-cold draft beer and plenty of ice cream, followed by a four-course tasting menu, a ride into the city by electric car and possibly a theater show. It’s official: all-inclusive holidays will become more expensive in 2024.

The Advantage Travel Partnership, which represents independent travel agents, reports that almost half (46 percent) of all summer holiday bookings this year are on an all-inclusive basis – up from 42 percent the year before.

It means all-inclusive is now the most popular type of holiday this year, the agents report, representing a cultural shift away from hotels where only breakfast is included.

Nearly one in five all-inclusive summer holiday bookings were for Turkey, with Antalya the country's most popular destination

Nearly one in five all-inclusive summer holiday bookings were for Turkey, with Antalya the country’s most popular destination

GETTY IMAGES

Data shows holidaymakers are flocking to Turkey, accounting for 18 percent of all-inclusive bookings for Turkey school summer holidays, with Antalya being the most popular destination. This is followed by Greece, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and mainland Spain. Long-term travelers book all-inclusive vacations in Cancun, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Kelly Cookes, the group’s chief commercial officer, said the increase is due to the cost of living crisis. “This year we have seen an increase in demand for all-inclusive holidays across all seasons as they offer convenience, good value for money and a stress-free experience with everything taken care of down to the last detail.

“Over the past decade, the all-inclusive package has evolved, with hotels diversifying their experiences. It now goes beyond just meals and drinks: many all-inclusive hotels now include gourmet dining experiences, top wellness and sports programs, as well as kids’ clubs and theater-style entertainment, all included in the price.

The concept of the all-inclusive holiday became popular in the 1950s, when an Austrian expatriate founded the first all-inclusive hotel in Spain – now known as Club Med.

In the seven decades that followed, all-inclusives have evolved beyond recognition: they no longer mean a single buffet restaurant, poor entertainment and watered-down cocktails, and they’re more popular than ever with consumers.

Ashley Quint, director of travel agency TravelTime World, said: “We are seeing a real appetite for luxury all-inclusives, usually offering a high level of a la carte dining experiences in beautiful surroundings.

“All-inclusives here are more of a convenience factor than cost, and include off-resort experiences, options to dine at local restaurants as part of the package, and experiences you wouldn’t find on a standard vacation – brands like Ikos, Beachcomber on Mauritius and the BodyHoliday in St Lucia.”

The Dominican Republic is a popular option for long distance travel

The Dominican Republic is a popular option for long distance travel

ALAMI

High-end brands such as Ritz-Carlton, W and JW Marriott are all eyeing all-inclusive openings – following in the footsteps of major US hotel groups Hilton and Hyatt, which already have a handful of properties.

Hotel giant Marriott now has an all-inclusive selection, offering some properties with butlers, private beaches and champagne breakfasts. The world’s first all-inclusive Marriott-branded hotel reopened from a regular Marriott earlier this year. Ava, near Mexico’s Riviera Maya, will have more than 1,400 rooms when it opens later this year – each with premium sea views and a spa bath on the balcony.

In Europe there is the luxury brand Ikos which offers all-inclusives in Greece and Spain. At hotels in destinations such as Andalusia, Corfu and Halkidiki, guests can expect Taittinger on demand, meals in the area and Teslas on loan. The Spanish brand Iberostar wants to show that all-inclusive holidays can still be sustainable.

The Turkish hotel group Rixos, which has hotels throughout Turkey and the Middle East, uses the motto ‘all-inclusive, all-exclusive’. Guests can eat at a la carte restaurants, enjoy Starbucks coffee, have access to a theme park and send their kids to classes – there’s even one on coding robots.

Four luxury all-inclusives

Ikos Dassia Corfu.  The brand offers high-quality all-inclusive stays in Greece and Spain

Ikos Dassia Corfu. The brand offers high-quality all-inclusive stays in Greece and Spain

Rixos Premium Belek, Turkey

Seven nights all-inclusive from £896pp, including flights (tui.co.uk)

Ikos Dassia, Corfu, Greece

Seven nights all-inclusive from £1,702 pp, including flights (jet2.com)

Iberostar Selection Anthelia, Tenerife, Spain

Seven nights all-inclusive from £899pp, including flights (easyjet.com)

Marriott Cancun, Mexico

One night all-inclusive from £366 (marriott.com)

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