All-inclusive resorts, a staple in sun-and-fun destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean since the 1990s, typically have been a part of all-inclusive chains (e.g., Sandals, AMResorts) or independent properties. Although U.S. hotel chains have dabbled with the one-price concept over the years by offering package deals, it is only recently that they've fully embraced the concept; Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Hard Rock Hotels have launched true all-inclusive properties in an effort to lure thrifty vacationers, as well as budget-minded meeting and incentive groups. In fact, the use of such resorts for incentive programs in 2013 already is up 12 percent over last year's figures, according to an Incentive Research Foundation survey.
On the following pages, we offer a look at some of the beautiful properties that fall under the all-inclusive banner, with additional details about the chains that manage them.
HARD ROCK ALL INCLUSIVE COLLECTIONThe Hard Rock All Inclusive Collection debuted in 2011, in a joint venture with all-inclusive chain Palace Resorts. The portfolio includes the 1,784-room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and, in Mexico, the 601-room Hard Rock Hotel Cancun (with 16,408 square feet of meeting space) and the 348-room Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta. The 1,266-room Aventura Palace Riviera Maya will be rebranded as the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in 2014. "We look to expand the brand by one or two hotels in the Caribbean over the next five years," says Kevin Edmunds, vice president for the Collection.
STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS
Starwood Hotels & Resorts ventured into the all-inclusive ring in 2010, when the company opened the 406-room Westin Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal, in Costa Rica. The property, which has 6,500 square feet of event space, was formerly the all-inclusive Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort and underwent a five-month refit following the reflagging. A second all-inclusive hotel, the 294-room Sheraton Bijao Beach Resort, debuted in Panama in 2011 with 4,000 square feet of event space. "We are in growth mode in the Latin American region," notes Alan Duggan, vice president, sales, for Starwood Latin America, who cites Central America, Mexico and Northern Brazil as likely locations for expansion.
HILTON HOTELS & RESORTS
The first of the U.S.-based hotel giants to run with the all-inclusive concept (in 1994), Hilton today has the largest portfolio of such hotels among its competitors, with seven to date. In the Americas are the 202-room Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, with 8,000 square feet of meeting space; the 489-room Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa in Jamaica, with 44,000 square feet of event space; and the 259-room Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort in Mexico, which debuted last October with more than 10,000 square feet for meetings.
Though Marriott Hotels and Resorts doesn't have any true all-inclusive properties, nine of the U.S.-based hotel chain's Caribbean and Mexico resorts offer the one-price option, including the 273-room Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, the 374-room JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa, the 388-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and the 247-room Marriott Curaçao Beach Resort & Emerald Casino. The latter features 3,000 square feet of meeting and event space that can accommodate up to 300 people, while additional exhibition and meeting facilities are available in the adjacent World Trade Center Curaçao.