6 All-Inclusive Resorts Worth Paying $2,000 per Night in Mexico, India, Nepal, US

Almost every major hospitality brand is doubling down on high-end all-inclusive hotels, be it through acquisition plays or extensions of existing brands and properties

An Infinity pool at La Casa de la Playa.
By Kaila Yu
June 18, 2023 | 10:40 AM

Bloomberg — At the latest luxury all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, you can dine on a seven-course meal from one of the world’s best chefs, have your butler deliver Champagne in the middle of the night to your outdoor hydromassage bathtub or drive an amphibious vehicle through Mayan jungles and flooded caves—without ever seeing an upcharge. That’s the promise at La Casa de la Playa, where the 63 ocean-view suites can easily cost $2,000 per person per night.

None of this has any resemblance to the all-inclusive resort of yesteryear, where budget rates, kids clubs and sprawling buffets have typically attracted thousands of guests at a time.

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Opened in December 2021, the $850 million, adults-only La Casa de la Playa is emblematic of a growing movement to rebrand the “all-inclusive” category as more luxurious than any other. These boutique, six-star alternatives have recently cropped up everywhere from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt—with price tags comparable to that of a best-in-class safari lodge or a generous suite in a Parisian palace hotel.

Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa, in the Maldives.dfd

And yet the premise still hinges on value. At a time when inflation and banking turmoil has reached a high, paying upfront for your entire vacation is the travel equivalent of setting it and forgetting it; it eliminates the feeling of being nickel-and-dimed.

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As a result, almost every major hospitality brand is doubling down on high-end all-inclusive hotels, be it through acquisition plays—Hyatt Hotels Corp. acquired highflyer Apple Leisure Group for $2.7 billion—or extensions of existing brands and properties. Marriott International Inc., for instance, has six luxury all-inclusive properties in development under the Ritz-Carlton, Luxury Collection and W flags, opening in locations including Mexico and Brazil in the next three years.

“We are excited to reshape the perception and experience of what a luxury all-inclusive resort can offer,” says Tina Edmundson, president of Marriott International’s luxury brands division, touting the 2024 opening of Almare, a Luxury Collection resort in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, which she says will contain four dining venues by regionally awarded chefs.

These ultra-expensive spots still represent a small slice of the industry, which remains dominated by such big brands as Sandals, Paradisus and Club Med. According to STR, a global hospitality data and analytics company, the average daily room rate for luxury all-inclusives is $375, up from $276 three years ago. Here are a few of the latest luxury resorts to radically rethink the all-inclusive sector, from Arizona to the Maldives.

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Naviva, a Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico

Naviva.dfd

No trees were cut down to build this colossal, adults-only cliffside sanctuary, which places emphasis on sustainability. Instead, Four Seasons opted to develop only the land that was already clear, leaving space for just 15 canvas-covered tents—each with an open-air living room, fire pit, hammock and private plunge pool—spread across 48 acres on the Pacific coast.

The whole premise is meant to cocoon guests in nature, with all-inclusive rates that include a daily spa treatment and guided activities like coffee tastings or nocturnal forest bathing. But for a little more action, they also cover meals at the 10 bars and restaurants at Four Seasons Punta Mita, next door.

Rooms from $3,210 per couple, per night, with a two-night minimum stay.

La Casa de la Playa, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Casa de la Playa.dfd

This resort, whose name translates to “the beach house,” turbocharges the idea of all-inclusive dining. Its main restaurant, Estero, opened in December 2022 and is run by Peruvian superstar Virgilio Martínez Véliz (of Central Restaurant in Lima). Here, he makes a seven-course set menu pairing endemic Yucatán ingredients with Peruvian flavors, like lomo saltado sheathed in smashed local squash. You may need a break before extra sweets, which is just fine; the resort’s 24-hour chocolatería is filled with jewel-toned chocolate bonbons, paletas (traditional Mexican popsicles), ice cream and hot chocolate to satisfy any-time-of-night cravings.

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Baked into the tab are selections from the extensive wine cellar, where you can grab bottles of Mexican wine, tequila and mezcal for the room. The rates also include activities at eight off-property adventure parks owned by parent company Xcaret: Think jungle zip lining or snorkeling at local cenotes (cavernous limestone reservoirs).

Rooms from $1,700 per couple, per night.

Castle Hot Springs, Arizona

Castle Hot Springs.dfd

Old West meets modern luxury at this Sonoran Desert spot, frequented by Rockefellers and Roosevelts in a previous life. Although it’s been fully renovated since then, it still enjoys a position amid saguaro-cactus-lined canyons and geothermal hot springs, just some of the natural beauty contained within its 1,100 acres.

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Now it also includes 30 rooms—some outfitted with telescopes for stargazing, others with spring-fed outdoor tubs or fireplaces—and an on-site farm to supply its main restaurant, Harvest. Here, it’s the smaller details that make an outsize impact: a fire pit for post-dinner s’mores as well as late-night access to the springs, so you can get a mineral soak under the stars.

Rooms from $1,500 per couple, per night, with a two-night minimum stay.

Shinta Mani Mustang, Nepal

Shinta Mani Mustang.dfd

This lodge by famed hotelier Bill Bensley is cocooned between two mountain ranges in the remote Buddhist region of Mustang, which was closed to outsiders for centuries. Its 29 massive, 2,484-square-foot suites are decorated in Tibetan style, with locally sourced fabrics and woods. Each has floor-to-ceiling views of the eucalyptus-cloaked Nilgiri Mountains.

Guided meditations, archery, spa treatments and other on-site activities are included in the price; so are private, Sherpa-led excursions to the area’s famed human-made caves (there are approximately 10,000 in the area, some used as burial sites, dating as far back as 1000 B.C.). The all-inclusive treatment even stretches all the way to the airport, with VIP access that speeds you through customs on both arrival and departure.

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Rooms from $1,800 per couple, per night, with a five-night minimum. Opens on Aug. 1.

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Six Senses Vana, Dehradun, India

Six Senses Vana.dfd

The welcome process at the 82-room Six Senses Vana is a series of age-old traditions that feel appropriate in the heart of an ancient-feeling Himalayan sal tree forest. First, guests trade their street clothes for organic kurta pajamas. Then they’re presented with a red string bracelet and a blessing, plus a dot to the forehead and silk scarves.

But almost everything that follows is state of the art. The spa has a staggering 55 treatment and consultation rooms; most programs start with wellness screenings that determine your Ayurvedic body type and measure your health against 40 biomarkers. Daily complimentary treatments include Indian head massages, Tibetan body rubs and aromatic scrubs.

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Rooms from $570 per person per night, with a three-night minimum stay.

Emerald Faarufushi Resort & Spa, Maldives

Emerald Faarufushi.dfd

A stay in the Maldives typically involves expenses stacking up fast and furious, but not here. Castaways on this 17-acre island fringed by swaying soft coral and shimmering parrotfish get complimentary access to seven on-site bars and restaurants. Among them: a festive churrascaria barbecue on the beach, a teppanyaki restaurant that doubles as dinner theater and a romantic overwater Mediterranean restaurant that revels in pink- and lavender-soaked sunsets.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Maldives without overwater bungalows—42 of them, plus 38 beach villas—and they come with private infinity pools, outdoor showers and the option for baths under the stars.

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Rooms from $764 per couple, per night.

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