The world’s best all-inclusive hotels


The world’s best all-inclusive hotels

Put aside your preconceptions and go all in on all-out luxury with our take on the everything-is-covered escape

Amy Martin

BY Amy Martin29 September 2023

Banish all preconceived notions of dreary buffets and half-strength daiquiris. These two little words might come with some baggage, but this is all-inclusive done the Smith way, so expect sophisticated service, stellar experiences and bundles of boutique style. The best part? By the time you get there, you booked so long ago it’s basically all free…right?



On this northeast tip of North America, non-islanders have a (now Broadway-famous) nickname. But at Fogo Island Inn, come from aways are fully immersed in the centuries-old Newfoundland community. Local architect Todd Saunders’ stilted design cuts a striking, Scandi-inspired figure over the sleepy fishing village of Joe Batts Arm, but here, the hygge is all homegrown.

The local staff are as warm as the weather is wintery, and suites are populated with the work of the island’s artisans. Snug under your hand-crafted quilt, gaze out through the glass walls at the expanse of snow and sea – after all, nothing enhances a sense of cosiness quite like a subarctic scene outside.

Edge-of-the-world adventures are well worth cracking out the thermals for, with many included in room rates. But if snow-booted hikes and fishing-skiff outings sound a bit too much like hard work, soaking in the scenery from the rooftop hot tub is always an option.

The fine-dining restaurant juts dramatically over the coast, too; finish the day there over a plate of something freshly fished or foraged (alcohol isn’t included, but set aside some spending money for the signature Negroni, featuring ice shaved straight from a neighbouring iceberg).


New South Wales

Just two hours from Sydney, Lord Howe Island has a World Heritage-listed landscape and (how’s this for a recommendation) David Attenborough as a super-fan. Luckily, luxury hotel Capella Lodge knows its cinematic setting is the star – and manages to pamper without pulling focus.

All-inclusive rates include breakfast, sunset apéritifs and canapés, three-course dinner, wines and spirits at the open bar and airport transfers. For an extra fee, your hosts are happy to indulge your Planet Earth-inspired dreams – mountain-traversing hikes, reef snorkelling and lagoon kayaking (narrating all your antics with your best Attenborough impression not essential, but encouraged).

Mellower days might involve a coastal stroll and a picnic down on the local beach’s golden sands, where friendly king fish gather hopefully to be hand-fed hunks of bread.

Really, though, you needn’t move an inch to be immersed in the island’s spectacular ecosystem. All nine suites have eye-popping views, the glass-walled restaurant specialises in finely spun island-grown grub, and if you stir as far as the spa, you’ll find yourself cocooned by sea breeze-swayed Kentia palms. Count us in, Sir David…



Nimbly balancing luxury and local spirit, Nihi Sumba is an all-inclusive induction into one of Indonesia’s least explored islands. A team of local guides are your in to the island’s lush coast, verdant valleys and ancient communities – pitch in with community projects, snorkel with the local life aquatic and get acquainted with the island’s equine residents at the stables.

But if even wild horses couldn’t drag you away from a spa day, no judgement here; simply hole up in one of the open-air pavilions for a lavender-scented scrub down with a sea view.

And the cocktail list down at the beach club will have anyone feeling convivial, but if all that joining in has left you longing for some ‘just the two of us’ time, take to your villa’s private pool. Plus, with almost three kilometres of private, powder-soft sands to spread out on, prying eyes are easily evaded.

Higher-octane adventures have an extra fee, as do alcoholic tipples. But catch sight of the mojitos mixed with homegrown mint and you might find that money suddenly seems no object…



A proper adventure into deepest Peru, with all the perks of a boutique hotel – on luxury riverboat Aria Amazon, exploring one of the world’s wildest regions is plain sailing. This eco-conscious cruise has all-inclusive itineraries that’ll make your bucket list feel a little unambitious. Daily adventures – all led by expert local naturalists – range from jungle treks and village visits to piranha fishing and cayman-spotting kayak tours.

Back on board, creature comforts abound. The fine-dining restaurant is captained by Pedro Miguel Schiffiano, a much-celebrated master of Amazonian cuisine.

The rainforest’s herbs are put to soothing use in the spa, and any post-excursion aches should be seen off by a stint in the top-deck Jacuzzi – plus, you can wave at the passing dolphins while you soak.

Even cosied up in your cabin, wall-length windows let you watch the wild, wild world go by from under your Peruvian cotton sheets.



Swimming pool with sun loungers and umbrellas

Phrases like ‘far-flung’ and ‘once in a lifetime’ get bandied about a fair bit, so we’ll just drop the deets on Kisawa Sanctuary and let you be the judge. On an island just off Mozambique’s eastern coast, this luxury retreat calls 300 hectares of undulating dunes and unspoiled forest home.

Each secluded suite comes with its own personal slice of paradise, including an infinity pool and private beach, so if you’re feeling especially anti-social, you hardly need see your fellow castaways.

There are some neighbours you’ll definitely want to hang out with, though – namely, dolphins and dugongs, best seen on the sanctuary’s scientist-led sea expeditions.

At the holistic spa, resident practitioners work healing wonders with the island-sourced honey, herbs and almond oil. Sunset sees you cruising, cocktail in hand, on the hotel’s traditional dhow boat – if you’re still deliberating over the deployment of a cliché, we can think of worse places to do so.


South India

Look, we’ve all known the perils of attempting Warrior 2 in a too-small living room. But when you’re ready to get serious about your wellbeing, whisk yourself away to secluded South Indian wellness retreat SwaSwara. Amongst Karnataka’s lush vegetation, Ayurvedic experts and master yogis work their rejuvenative magic.

There are daily group yoga classes and guided meditations to get your practice down pat, but if you prefer to hone your sadhana solo, slip away to the lake-facing meditation platform or the quiet sands of Om Beach (yes, really). The local team can lead you on nature walks, and artist workshops and cookery lessons are on offer, too.

Traditional Konkan style is the blueprint across the board – villas are thatched, with ocean views and sunset-catching yoga decks, and the restaurant specialises in South Indian recipes with a distinctly health-focused bent (although indulgence comes by way of a bottle or two of local wine).

A schedule of daily classes is included as standard, but for an extra fee you can sign up for a full-blown multi-day reset at the Ayurvedic centre. Either way, you’ll leave lithe, enlightened and with nary a chakra out of place.


Chilean Patagonia

Wanna-be action heroes, this one’s for you. At Awasi Patagonia, you have a personal guide, a four-wheel drive, and Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park as your cinematic backdrop. After breakfast, hit the briefing room – sorry, the sheepskin-strewn lounge – to plot your day’s adventures with your guide. Together, you’ll map out a tailored itinerary of off-road adventures, hikes and horse rides, taking in the park’s grasslands, lagoons and glaciers.

Whatever you wind up doing out in the Patagonian wilderness, you’ll have plenty of rare wildlife for company – llamas graze in the tall grasses, condors whirl above the high peaks and you can even tag along as your guide carries out their puma conservation duties.

There are 14 luxury, mountain-facing lodges, each with minimalist interiors, an alfresco hot tub and huge windows to centre the scenery. And after a hard day pulling off your own stunts, you can look forward to hearty plates of locally sourced produce, served with – you guessed it – more gasp-inducing views.

Even on days when you don’t stir from your suite, there’s an in-room walkie talkie to help you live out your Die Hard daydreams (or, if you’re feeling sensible, hit up the super-helpful staff).


Buenos Aires Province

Wide skies, a warm breeze and not-so-distant whinnies – welcome to Estancia la Bamba de Areco. This brick-red boutique ranch, right in the middle of Argentina’s panoramic grass plains, is home to swaggering gauchos, a world-class polo team and their host of handsome horses.

Interiors are suitably preppy, with rooms sporting colonial-era antiques and shuttered French windows. Exploring the estate couldn’t be easier – just say the word, and the staff will saddle up your steed. But if you’d rather leave it to the pros, catch a polo match or equestrian show.

When you’re not getting your gaucho on, trot down to the tree-lined pool to gaze up at the parrots and graze on empanadas, flaky medialunas and platters of fresh fruit. Leave ample room for lunch, though – the asado-style grill will have carnivores weak at the knees.


Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica

Swimming pool with umbrellas

Perched in the foothills of the Talamanca mountains, wellness retreat Hacienda AltaGracia takes turning over a new leaf to new heights. Panoramic views of soaring peaks and mist-swirled rainforests are immediately zen-inducing, but the serious wellbeing work starts at the 20,000-square-feet spa.

Place yourself in the (just-so hydrated) hands of the resident health coaches, who’ll draw up a bespoke schedule of lavender-scented soaks, Costa Rican clay scrubs and massages making stress-banishing use of homegrown adaptogenic herbs (we had to look it up, too). So far, so surface level; but there are lunar gong baths, energy-righting reiki and intention-setting ceremonies to see to your spiritual revamp.

So, your skin’s gleaming and your soul’s received a glow-up. Time to explore the resort’s 180 wild acres, with your personal compadre as your guide. Daily spa rituals and sightseeing adventures are all covered, and some offers include extra credit for top-up treatments, so whichever way you slice it, your inner peace-seeking schedule is looking pretty packed…


Hill Country, Sri Lanka

Branch out from your English Breakfast brew at Camellia Hills, a boutique stay in the hilly heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country. Here, colonial stuffiness has been cast aside in favour of breezy modern style and personalised service – your butler will have your cuppa preferences memorised before you can say ‘milk, no sugar’.

Days here are spent hitting up local tea estates for tours and tastings, lolling around the plantation-flanked pool and taking (literally) high tea on the lake-gazing terrace. And should you find yourself (shock, horror) all tea-ed out, the cooler climate makes the Central Highlands prime hiking and biking territory, with local trails taking in crashing waterfalls and cloud forests.



The prospectors of old may have moved on, but history buffs have struck holiday gold at Dunton Hot Springs. Deep in Colorado’s cowboy country, this 1880s mining town has been made over as a state of the art retreat – we’re all for preserving the past, but hot-spring baths, a spa and mountain-view yoga studio make most welcome 21st-century innovations.

Western-themed wooden cabins are full of rustic character (of the heated-floor, hand-picked antiques kind, of course). And up among the Wild West’s pine forests, plains and snow-capped peaks, there’s a wealth of outdoor pursuits – seasonal options range from gentle horse rides and meadow-crossing hikes to mountaineering and cross-country skiing.

Back at the ranch, swagger into the original saloon – where Butch Cassidy and Sundance carved their names into the bar – and swap stories with your fellow cowboys over communal supper. Meals and drinks are generally included, but you’ll need an extra fistful of dollars to cover any excursions.



Cottage within green landscapes

A potently romantic East Coast retreat, prepare to fall for Vermont’s pine-flecked landscape (and each other) at Twin Farms. If your dream date is strolling arm-in-arm around a gallery, how quickly can you get here? The hotel’s art collection features the likes of David Hockney, Frank Stella and Jasper Johns.

In woodsy cottages, you (and your highbrow honey) will be further wooed by Jed Johnson’s eclectic interiors and hand-picked antiques. Throw in a crackling fire and chef Nathan Rich’s award-winning menu just a phone call away, and you could easily be seduced into staying put permanently.

But there are 300 acres of private woodland to roam, so hit the trails for a romantic hike (yes, you can hold hands) or cycle (probably best if you don’t). And if nothing sets your heart a-flutter like the prospect of hurtling down a mountainside, skiing, snowboarding and sledding are all wintertime options. Pulses duly raised, the spa warrants some serious quality time, and the traditional pub is full of cosy, canoodleable-in corners.



At Jumby Bay, a private-isle resort just off the coast of Antigua, all-inclusive has gone haute-luxe. There’s not a bell nor a whistle that’s not covered, so you can attack the fine-dining menu with abandon and keep the champagne flowing. The island has two white-sand beaches, and there’s an adrenalised array of 007-style watersports on offer. Don’t look so queasy, landlubbers – you have licence to chill by the palm-fringed pool.

Your neighbours here are endangered hawksbill turtles, and they’re just as well cared for as you thanks to the hotel’s conservation efforts. There’s even a dedicated turtle team (tragically not teenage mutant ninjas) who can wake you when hatchlings are spotted.

Palatial villas – each with oceanic eye candy and some with private pools – afford plenty of space for families, and the free kids’ club will keep pirates-in-training occupied. If the every whim-granting staff have anything to do with it, you’ll all leave much too spoiled for mainland life – all the more reason to stay another few days…


Galapagos Islands

Structured buildings next to a trail with a sunrise view

We see your theory of evolution, Darwin, and we raise you a Galapagos hypothesis of our own: to get the most out of these islands, you need a hotel where the incredible ecosystem comes first. Pikaia Lodge, on a private tortoise reserve on Santa Cruz, is carbon-neutral and community-focused, with a reforesting programme that’s already planted over 11,000 trees – talk about feel-good factor.

There are 14 rooms, each reaching daringly over the rim of a (dormant, don’t worry) volcano. You can wave to the giant tortoises as they trundle past your private terrace, but let the verdant views lure you out and a world of wild forests, white-sand beaches and turquoise waters awaits. Cast yourself in a Nat-Geo documentary with a wildlife-spotting excursion or snorkel trip on the hotel’s private yacht – all happily included in your room rate.

On your return, there’s a Swiss-style spa and a sun-trap infinity pool perched precipitously on the crater’s edge – the perfect spot for thinking science-y thoughts (or just snoozing). The restaurant, meanwhile, has farm-to-table fare down to a fine art…


British Colombia

A forest with a body of water with colourful cabins

When a hotel can only be reached by seaplane and has somehow still gained legendary stay status – and a devoted host of repeat-visitors ready to schlep out there year after year – you start to think they might be onto something special. By the time you’ve touched down at Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort in British Colombia, you’ll already have seen what all the fuss is about.

This is a luxury lodge where ‘middle of nowhere’ takes on new meaning – we’re talking dense, bear-inhabited rainforest, deepest blue waters and – yep – that’s a sauna you’ve spotted, floating out there in the centre of the sound. Naturally, there’s a summer camp-on-steroids selection of outdoorsy adventures – grizzly-spotting, kayaking, hikes, heli-fishing and wilder-than-wild swimming in the saltwater sound are all part and parcel of your room price.

There are just nine cabins and acres of space, so slipping away from your fellow guests (and snagging a cedarwood hot tub to yourself) is easy. You’ll see them all at dinner, anyway, when you can share ‘aren’t we all lucky’ smiles as you tuck into freshly-caught crab and spot prawns.

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