Are All Inclusive Resorts Worth It? We Tried It, And It’s Not Our Thing
Are all inclusive resorts worth it? Not for us. My wife and I recently stayed at an all-inclusive resort for the first time, and it just wasn’t for us. Sure, the food was great. Facilities were amazing. Impressive features and layout. Awesome staff. But it just wasn’t our thing. We checked it out, and it’s not for us. Here’s our experience, for anyone wondering what the hype is all about.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. This property is in San Juan del Cabo, Baja California, in Mexico. This property requires 20,000 Hyatt points per night. Cash price for a basic room the nights we stayed was $588. That’s a redemption value of nearly 3 cents per point, which is definitely higher than average value for Hyatt points.
We stayed for 2 nights.
There are definitely positives. In no way will I pretend the property wasn’t impressive. The size is incredible, the number of things offered is incredible, and the food is incredible for sure.
We booked the first night in my name and the 2nd in my wife’s, so we can both get credit for Hyatt Brand Explorer. That’s a plus, since we’d never stayed at a Ziva brand hotel before. Since I have Globalist status, the hotel was expecting us and upgraded us to a room with a balcony. Having a balcony with the space to look out toward the ocean is great.
The staff were also awesome. We found them super friendly, attentive, and helpful. Despite this previous review saying service need improvements, we found them to be great. Maybe there are fewer people at the hotel right now, so staff is more available… It could be that they hired more people and had training… I don’t know. It seemed pretty full, but staff were great in our experience. We especially enjoyed the VIP check-in area (a Globalist perk).
The sheer amount of options was awesome, as well. Tons of restaurant options: buffet, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, French, sports bar, coffee shop, food out by the pool, casual, fancy…they have it! Not worrying about the bill was super simple, as well. It’s all included! Not seeing cash registers anywhere is a strange experience. Just leave when you’re done eating—no bill to pay!
And there are zillions of options for activities, as well.
With so many positives, what are the negatives? First, the vibe. That’s why I’m saying this place just wasn’t our thing. Even though there is an “adults only” pool area that is calmer, I’m not interested in “Spring Break party by the pool” mode 24/7. And that was what we got around the main pool, which is where our room was. The constant DJ with music and telling people to throw their hands in the air etc. by the pool is not my ideal poolside atmosphere. And these events with the DJ and loud music etc. drifted right up into our balcony. If you want to avoid this scene, that becomes tough when it’s basically right under your balcony. Even with our balcony door closed, it was nearly inescapable. Drunk Spring Break partiers yelling “woo!” isn’t my scene. Never was.
This made us avoid the pool at most times. It made our balcony difficult to enjoy (there are no rooms facing away from the pool/ocean, FYI—facing toward the city to escape this atmosphere is not a room type they have—just bigger/smaller/more features options). You could have a room overlooking other areas, but you won’t truly be away from this centralized area.
I will caveat that by saying that we enjoyed the traditional Mexican music & dancing performance by the pool on the first night. Despite finding the atmosphere around the pool annoying during most of the day time, this part was good.
Are All Inclusive Resorts Worth It?
While we liked the “idea” of the all inclusive, the actual atmosphere of it was not for us at all. Hyatt Ziva is a “family” all inclusive, while their Hyatt Zilara brand is for adults only. I am not sure if the adults-only option would be better, since this option was pretty “adults party with bad music” while being an all-ages location. Will we fork out the points for an experiment like this with Zilara, just to see if it changes our minds? Unlikely.
I have been curious about all-inclusive properties for a while. My wife’s sister and her family ONLY stays at all-inclusive properties. They love it. Maybe that’s because the kids can do their own thing while the parents lay by the pool drinking all day. My wife and I don’t have kids, so that doesn’t matter to us. We also don’t drink alcohol, so the value proposition of unlimited access to alcohol isn’t a draw for us.
For us, all-inclusive resorts don’t seem worth it. Maybe you have a different opinion, but we wanted to sample it and have realized it’s “1 and done” for us. Yes, we did get an excellent redemption value in terms of “cents per point”. However, we could get less value per point while getting more value in enjoyment and at lower cost in terms of total points to spend. We did an experiment, coughed up 40,000 Hyatt points for the 2 nights, and we decided the all-inclusive resort thing isn’t worth it for us.
This is not a blow on the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos property. The amount of things they offer is incredible. We found the property beautiful, food delicious, and staff friendly. We really liked the idea of it, but the experience makes us think all-inclusive resorts aren’t worth it for us. Why? It boils down to the atmosphere. We prefer to relax by the pool, not the DJ/drunk Spring Break atmosphere at the pool. And the inability to get away from that atmosphere even in our room made us leave after 2 nights. We were much happier at the Hyatt Place just down the road.
What are your thoughts on all-inclusive properties—worth it or not? Good experiences or not?