HOTELS • July 2019
A world away from tacky package holidays of old, these sparkling new all-inclusive hotels are sexy, stylish and packed with top-notch facilities, says travel journalist Alicia Miller
The newest member of the Ikos family, which includes hotels in Halkidiki and Corfu, just-opened Ikos Aria, on Kos, is a family-friendly all-inclusive like you’ve never seen before. Forget bog-standard buffets, here you get à la carte restaurants (with menus designed by Michelin-starred chefs), a novel-like wine list and the chance to eat at local restaurants for free. The look is pure glam: private-villa infinity pools gaze out to sea, while toes-in-sand dinners take place on candlelit wooden tables. Free Mini Coopers are on hand if you want to explore Kos’s beaches and villages, but with tennis courts, paddleboards and pilates classes on tap, why would you want to leave?
Doubles from £222
Forget dime-a-dozen thatched-roof villas – newly opened LUX* North Male Atoll is a vision straight out of Miami Beach. White-washed overwater villas have pools perched on their roofs; DJs pump out music from the beach-club bar, and morning yoga sessions take place overlooking glittering Indian Ocean waters. It’s the perfect proposition for those who want all the Maldivian beauty, plus entertainment galore. Besides those Insta-perfect vistas you’ll get top-class Peruvian-Japanese fare, a 40-cocktail-strong drinks list, beach volleyball sessions and film screenings under the stars.
Doubles from £1,148
Throwing open its doors this summer, this Riviera Maya resort is nothing like the all-inclusive behemoths down the road. For starters, it’s comparatively tiny: just 63 suites, all with private plunge pools, so you won’t have many fellow guests. And it’s thoughtful – instead of cookie-cutter restaurants there will be four unique eateries, a mezcaleria (mezcal bar), chocolate shop and wine cellar. It’s integrated into the landscape, too, with easy access to the coves, rivers and caves of Xcaret Park. And finally, unlike other local all-inclusives, lots of activities are thrown in – including a tour of famed Chichen Itza.
Boho glam is the vibe at adults-only The Syntopia, newly opened on Crete’s north coast. A vision in wood and wicker, with a palm and olive tree-lined pool and open-air cinema, everything here is centred around unwinding, whether as a couple or solo traveller. But if you have energy to burn there’s no need to just laze on the lounger: on-tap activities include raki tasting, tai chi, team running and even cheese making. Best of all, it’s do-able on a budget – you can bag double rooms, with chic natural wood and polished stone interiors, for as little as £80pp all-inclusive.
Cocktails clinking by the pool, ocean-front cabanas serviced by private butlers, freshly landed seafood served beneath the stars – adults-only Serenity at Coconut Bay nails romance. At St Lucia’s newest all-inclusive resort, set on the southeast coast within easy access of the airport, there are just 36 suites, so you won’t feel caught up in a crowd. Still sound too busy for your holiday à deux? You need never leave your room – all have private plunge pools and waterfalls, hammocks for lazy naps and 24-hour room service. Even the spa will come to you, with in-room treatments ranging from massages to fragrant body scrubs.
Doubles from £844pp
Strictly speaking, it’s not new – but you’d never know it. After a top-to-toe refurb, this south coast Mauritian favourite has all the bells and whistles of a just-opened spot: butler service, airy yoga pavilion and a manicured golf course. Set on a golden beach lapped by azure surf, the setting alone is enough to excite; but book the all-inclusive ‘gourmet bliss’ package and you’ll up the thrills with lavish afternoon teas, Japanese dinners (there are 12 restaurants and bars) and all the Champagne you can drink. You don’t only have to work on sharpening your palette, though: the package includes all golf course fees, unlimited watersports, and detox-friendly cocktails.
Doubles from £321
To take a look at more all-inclusive holiday ideas, whether you’re heading away as a family or looking for an adults-only escape, click here