An all-inclusive (AI) plan is an option offered by some hotels and resorts where as a minimum, lodging and meals are included in the room rate. Some hotels and resorts also include soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, gratuities and other activities or excursion as part of their all-inclusive package. The exact inclusions will vary from resort to resort.
Meals offered by all-inclusive resorts include as a minimum, three meals a day with complimentary soft drinks, tea and coffee. Alcoholic beverages may or may not be included, depending on the resort. Usually meals are served within a specified time slot, particular if the resort is only offering buffet style dining. Meals can include buffet style meals and/ or ordering from a menu. Outside of the allocated time slot, a basic menu is sometimes offered.
Some resorts extend their all-inclusive packages to include other hotel amenities, services, entertainment and activities. This can include services such as, complimentary airport or city shuttles, WiFi, massages, spa access and gym access. Specific resorts may also include over activities, such as a golf resort, including access to the golf course, a Disney resort including access to their theme parks, or a Safari resort including various walking tours or safari trips. During the low seasons resorts tend to add in extra inclusions into their packages, such as cooking classes, or city excursions.
Budget Hotels vs. 5 Star Resorts
Both budget hotels and 5 star resorts offer all-inclusive plans. The biggest difference, other than the price, is the number of inclusions in the plan. A 5 star resort is more likely to include additional amenities, activities and services, in addition to the meals. A budget hotel however is only likely to include the bear minimum, which will be the 3 meals and lodgings. 5 star resorts will also generally have a better selection in meal and drink options. Some 5 star, all-inclusive destination resorts are designed so that guests don’t even have to leave the resort, with all services included and provided within the resort grounds.
Different all-inclusive tiers
Most resorts will include different all-inclusive package tiers. These different tiers will range in their inclusivity. Some common tiers used are ultra (UAI), premium, light, soft and 24. The ultra (or sometimes super ultra) tier is usually the most inclusive option, where all meals, entertainment, services, amenities and activities will be included. The light or soft options will likely only include meals and beverages. Alcoholic beverages may be limited or not included at all.
All-inclusive resorts and hotels are generally found in countries that have hotter climates and are classed as beach destinations. All-Inclusive resorts are most popular in the Caribbean, as well as some of the islands in Europe, such as the Canary Islands. All-Inclusive resorts are not as common in some of the Asian and South Pacific islands or in Australia, however it is a growing trend. They are also not as popular in city destinations.