Forget luke-warm buffets and bottom-shelf booze. A handful of high-end Caribbean resorts have reinvented the all-inclusive experience, and their version is ideal for families. Prices include adult-appropriate menus as well as kids’ programming, allowing parents to stop the internal calculator (how much did Johnny just spend on his PB&J lunch??) and enjoy their vacation. Keep the end-of-summer blues at bay checking out a few of our favorites.
If a private island sounds like your family’s vibe, Jumby Bay is your match. A short boat ride from the Antigua airport, the resort is managed by Rosewood, a brand known for its family-friendly attitude, yet feels more like a private estate thanks to its secluded location on a 300-acre island. Families stay in either suites or free-standing villas, and activities include tennis, water sports, wildlife adventures and hanging in the children’s pavilion, in addition beachcombing on over four miles of sand.
What’s included: All meals and drinks plus afternoon tea. Watersports, kids’ club, tennis courts and putting green also complimentary.
Like Jumby, you’ll fly to Antigua to reach Curtain Bluff, but the atmosphere here is decidedly different. Set on a bluff on the island’s south side, the resort dates back to the 60s and feels more like a classic family camp. The original owner lives here, hosting a weekly cocktail party in her home, and while the accommodations are fully renovated, some of the hotel’s charming Old World ways persist: there are no TVs in the rooms, and guests must dress for dinner. Many of Curtain Bluff’s guests are repeats, children returning as adults with their own kids. For families, there’s a kids’ club as well as a games room equipped with the latest video games plus a shaded jungle gym and sandbox and a special dinner served at 6 pm for tots with early bedtimes.
What’s included: All meals and beverages plus watersports (even scuba diving), fitness classes and sports facilities, from tennis, squash and basketball courts to a putting green.
If Curtain Bluff is the Martha’s Vineyard of the Caribbean, Round Hill is its Palm Beach. The Ralph Lauren–designed rooms, uniformed nannies and manicured tropical grounds draw a steady stream of well-heeled Americans and Brits who make regular pilgrimages year-round, as well as an influx of young families who appreciate the fantastic kids’ activities. Golf fanatics of all ages value the proximity to the famous Tryall course, and there are five tennis courts, two pools (one adults only, the other for families with a wading area for toddlers) and water sports on the beach.
What’s Included: Round Hill’s regular rates are not all-inclusive, but an upgrade package is available and is ultimately the best deal. Options include meal programs, but the only one that takes a soup to nuts (or soup to Sauvignon Blanc) approach is the Platinum Plan, which covers everything down to round-trip airport transfers and room service. Kids receive a hefty discount on the daily rate.
The Virgin Islands are known as sailing territory, but Bitter End Yacht Club is a resort devoted almost entirely to the sport. Although non-sailors can play on the small beach, the hotel’s main focus is the fleet of over 100 sailboats, catamarans, windsurfers, kayaks and motorboats, and the accompanying sailing school. An introductory class at the US Sailing accredited school is included with every stay, and higher-level courses and certifications are offered in addition. The children’s activities include a junior sailing program as well as snorkeling, beach olympics and sandcastle competitions.
What’s Included: The level of all-inclusive changes based on length of stay. Meals, use of the fleet and the intro sailing class are always part of the rate, but guests who stay one week or longer also take part in a special regatta, Champagne cruises and island-hopping excursions.