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Resolving the "Ultra" all-inclusive conundrum

Practically everyone now knows what an all-inclusive is; they've either been on one, have been told about it by friends who have, are planning to go to one or have read all about all-inclusive hotels somewhere. The truth is that ever since its emergence in the tourism market, the all-inclusive concept has been heavily criticised in some areas, earned a bad reputation in others but yet, still remains one of the fastest-growing type of hotel properties in the world, with more and more all-inclusives popping up each day.

Over the years the popularity of all-inclusives has boomed massively at the same rate that more and more all-inclusive resorts have been built in popular tourist areas, especially and mainly in and around tropical beach locations.

With more holidaymakers than ever going for the convenient all-inclusive package that guarantees all the essentials for a relaxed, carefree holiday are taken care of well in advance, it's no surprise that some hoteliers have wanted to innovate and differentiate themselves from the ever-growing hordes of all-inclusives, with an innovative twist that separates their brand from the rest. This is how the concept of the "ultra all-inclusive" was born.

An all-inclusive with a difference

Seeing the need to evolve in a market that was getting more heavily saturated than any other, the concept of "ultra" all-inclusive emerged, and although most hotels and resorts don't name themselves that, neither do they call their packages "ultra all-inclusive" (opting instead for terms like "Unlimited Luxury", "Luxury Included") they all offer a more refined, upscale and high-end version of an all-inclusive.

Moving away from the basic concept of all-inclusive that covers food, accommodation and often a limited number of facilities, the emergence of the luxury all-inclusive brands appeared with something fresh and new to offer.

But what is it precisely that makes these so-called Ultra All-Inclusive hotels so special? And how different are they from one another? What do they offer that others don't? What is the real extra value? Is it really worth it to splash some extra cash on these kind of lavish retreats? And if so, which ultra all-inclusive chain is the best? To find the answer to all these questions I went on a quest to identify some of the biggest, most popular ultra all-inclusives in the market today and compare their offerings to pick out a clear winner, if there was to be one…and indeed there was; even though its winning position wasn't crystal clear and even though, to my surprise, it wasn't the one I was expecting!

Deciphering the "Ultra" all-inclusive concept

But first things first, before I proceed to give you my top Ultra All-inclusive resorts, it's only fair that I give you a proper introduction to the ultra all-inclusive concept.

So what's behind this "ultra" jargon? Well, while most standard all-inclusive hotels offer the basic accommodation (the lower-end of all-inclusives might only have two room categories anyway) plus all meals at a selection of a very limited number of restaurants with local drinks and the use of a limited selection of facilities, the Ultra all-inclusives goes the extra mile to offer premium accommodation as standard, a long list of fully-included restaurants with premiums drinks and a host of other extras. Some in fact throw in added value specials such as extra resort credits to spend on a number of chargeable non-inclusive facilities and activities like spa treatments or golf.

These "ultra" all-inclusive brands go out of their way to put the added value and luxury touch to your all-inclusive holiday, with many even having smaller resorts that give you the intimate boutique experience, so you know this definitely isn't the kind of all-inclusive retreat where you're made to feel like cattle. Here you're a distinguished guest and you are made to feel so. In fact, many ultra all-inclusives throw in the special dedicated butler service at some of their superior room categories or dedicated concierge service at their most basic accommodation – at no extra cost to you.

On my relentless search to find the best ultra-all-inclusive, giving the best value for money I painstakingly compared each of the services and facilities they offer and compiled a list to see which offers the most, not only in quantity but in quality, and the real value of it all and what it ultimately means to you, the holidaymaker.

The best of the best – Top 6 Ultra All-Inclusives

Now that you've read all they offer, it's time to learn who offers it and how well they do it.

My quest to finding the best Ultra All-inclusive begun by identifying the top players, and these are: Sandals (and also its family orientated sub-brand, Beaches), AMResorts (best known by the name of its individual brands, such as Secrets, Dreams, Now, Breathless, Zoetry and Sunscape), Hard Rock Hotels, LUX*, Palace Resorts and Melia Paradisus.

Most of these operate in the Caribbean, in fact the biggest and best players only have properties in Caribbean destinations, and with this being is such a popular all-inclusive destination it comes as no surprise. We have only one ultra all-inclusive operating in the Indian Ocean and in comparison with the others it's very small with only four properties in Maldives and Mauritius, but then its properties offer a more boutique experience, so it fits the bill.

Many might say that easily, without a doubt Sandals offers the most indulgent and comprehensive all-inclusive experience, but I made it my personal quest to put that common belief to the test. After all, they have been voted World's Leading All-Inclusive Company at the World Travel Awards 18 years in a row, and I want to see whether that's justified or if some new competitors could soon take Sandals' crown away.

Can someone challenge Sandals' ultra all-inclusive service? Can anybody knock them off the number one post? That's what I aimed to find out.

But before we go into detail about which sets each resort apart from the rest and what doesn't, let's see what they all have common. I'll now proceed to list the most common ultra all-inclusive "inclusions".

Unlimited Gourmet Dining

Whereas basic all-inclusive resorts might offer you limited dining choice at a selection of two to three restaurants (with one being the main buffet one and the others requiring reservations that are usually limited to once or twice per stay) while bars offer a limited selection of local drinks, at ultra all-inclusives the picture is entirely different.

For one, you can expect to have ample dining choice at numerous restaurants and bars (most of these resorts have more than five different dining venues and over five bars) and in many of these there'll be no reservations required for dining at the a la carte restaurants. But that's not where it ends; the restaurants at these resorts serve up gourmet dining, so you're in for an epicurean experience each time you dine out.

All of the hotel chains I've mentioned include gourmet dining experiences, some as standard in all restaurants, some in special a la carte restaurants only, but regardless, the bottom line is you can enjoy fine dining at no extra cost.

The first place in the gourmet dining race

Of course the bigger the resort, the more the dining variety and in these, Sandals is the absolute winner with the highest number of restaurants per resort. At Sandals they call it Discovery Dining with over 50 differently themed restaurants featuring flavours from all over the world. And with 7 to 15 restaurants per resort (with the exception of the Sandals' only all-butler boutique resort with just 5 restaurants), when it comes to gourmet dining, Sandals naturally excels and outdoes the others. So if choice of eating out venues and gourmet dining is a priority of yours, then Sandals is definitely your winner, but not a clear winner.

Sharing the first place in the podium, next to Sandals, we have AMResorts and their long collection of brands, from Now, to Secrets, Breathless, Dreams and Zoetry, you can expect to find gourmet dining at its very best at a selection of 7 to 15 restaurants per resort, with culinary delights for every taste bud.

Other hotel chains do brilliantly in this department, but no one can compete against these two when it comes to dining variety and choice. Quality is harder to assess, unless they declare me the official ultra all-inclusive taste reviewer and send me off on an epicurean journey of delight (which I wouldn't mind) but I'm sure you can make your assessment in this department if you compare what past visitors have to say about their dining experiences here (TripAdvisor might come handy if you want to do your own research).

But this doesn't mean the other contestants are out of the line-up in fine dining. I've put Sandals and AMResorts in first place because they are the largest and offer the most variety in terms of number of resorts, world cuisines and number of restaurants per resort. But sharing the second post (because without tasting I cannot accurately or fairly differentiate between the two) judging by the number of restaurants per resort and the variety of culinary offerings, we have Hard Rock Hotels, Melia Paradisus and Palace Resorts with each offering a similar number of dining venues and gourmet dining experiences.

The last place goes to LUX* resorts due to the fact that simply because they're much smaller, the dining choice is much more limited with usually three to four restaurants per resort. That's not to say the dining experience is any less wonderful, but due to the resorts being small and intimate boutique properties the choice is definitely compromised. If you value intimacy and seclusion more as well as quality food rather than variety of dining experiences, then this one is clearly your winner.

Unlimited 24-hour Premium Drinks

When the ultra all-inclusives say unlimited they really mean unlimited and the best of the best include all premium drinks, alcoholic or not, they all are on tap, free-flowing all day long.

While some ultra all-inclusives also include premium drinks from the convenience of your room's mini bar, others offer an in-room premium liquour dispenser. Either way, they ensure you'll never be thirsty wherever you are!

When comparing how our resort chains fare in premium drinks, it's much harder to compare, as we'd need a list of every brand they offer and that proves quite difficult to find out. Generally speaking though, I don't think you could go wrong with either of these ultra all-inclusives drinking options.

Unlimited fun (and yes, that includes motorised water sports!)

While the majority of basic all-inclusives offer a number of land sports, a daily activity programme, some form of night entertainment and non-motorised watersports, the ultra all-inclusives go that extra length to give you something more without charging you extra for it.

In this category, Sandals clearly outperforms the rest in one aspect, for one thing and one thing only – water sports!

This is where its main rival, AMResorts performs the worst and Sandals shines like no other. But let's go more into detail as to why.

Motorised vs Non-motorised water sports

Sandals is actually the only one out of the six ultra all-inclusive hotel chains listed here to offer motorised water sports as part of their all-inclusive programme, at absolutely no extra cost. Not only that, they're only all-inclusive company in the whole wide world to include motorised water sports, but they also include unlimited scuba diving with up to two dives per day included …now if you're a water lover, that's really something! And, with the cost of scuba diving not being cheap, indeed Sandals has done exceptionally well here.

There is a catch however, and that is that in order to enjoy unlimited guided diving excursions you must first obtain a PADI certification which they offer for a nominal fee. But if you already are a PADI certified diver then that would be of no concern and no additional cost to you, so fabulous! Equipment is also fully inclusive, so all you'll have to do is don your scuba dear and take a dip.

Although the inclusion (or lack of it) of motorised water sports at other resorts isn't made clear in all resorts, I've done some research here and there and what I've found out is that while the majority of the others do include some non-motorised water sports, they all charge separately for non-motorised water sports…so like I said before, Sandals is the clear winner here.

Beyond water sports – the real value of unlimited fun

Of course when I mentioned Unlimited Fun it covered so much more than water sports, even when some people seem to favour water sports over other activities and facilities (after all most of these resorts are located in idyllic beachside locations, so it makes sense that water makes up a big part of their holiday).

Beyond getting wet and making a splash, some of the other limitless fun activities to be had include:

  • Live entertainment (shows, theme parties, live music)
  • Daily and nightly activities (from dancing lessons, to cooking lessons, games, etc)
  • Land Sports (tennis, volleyball, basketball, squash, paddle, ping pong and more)
  • Fitness Centre (expect ultra-modern, state-of-the-art facilities)
  • Fitness classes (Yoga, pilates, stratching, aqua-aerobics, etc)
  • Sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi
  • Spa treatments* (most resorts charge extra for this, but not all)
  • Children's Club
  • Teens Club

Now, something that was quite surprising to find here is the fact that Sandals, despite going above and beyond to offer all manner of water sports, is limited in terms of the daily fitness activities they offer. Things like aerobic classes and Yoga are not included and only available for an extra fee, while most other ultra all-inclusive hotel chains in our group offer it as part of their standard all-inclusive programme.

Personal trainers are also not included in Sandals, and it's not made clear whether they are in most other resorts. So that could be something where they all could improve, although after all most people don't head to these kind of ultra-deluxe retreats to break a sweat, most likely the opposite, to fully relax and be pampered. But still if they want to go that extra mile…the opportunity is there.

The Spa treatment – the weakest link

Now, when it comes to spa treatments is where AMResorts clearly beats the competition – but not mercilessly so. Yes, all these fancy ultra all-inclusives come complete with large and luxurious spa centres, they all do (or the vast majority at least) but none of them include spa treatments as part of their all-inclusive service, none except AMResorts, where a complimentary 20-minute wellness or fitness consultation comes included as part of Zoetry's Endless Privileges, which is AMResorts' brand that specialises in wellness resorts. The rest of their brands also boast amazing spas and parts of them are free to use (such as plunge pools, sauna, steam rooms, etc) but it's not clear on their website what's chargeable and what's not.

That being said, it's also true that other resorts such as Palace Resorts and Hard Rock offer resort credits that can be used towards spa treatments, although they're subject to a tax that's usually 20% of the cost of the treatment, and which, of course does not come included. So when it comes to spa treatments, ultra all-inclusives still have a long way to go to consider them part of their all-inclusive experience. For now, even when you can use resort credits towards spa treatments, there's still a catch.

It's also true that some of the facilities at many of the spa properties by some of these ultra all-inclusive chains can be used free of charge as part of the hotel's all-inclusive experience. This is the case for LUX* Resorts and Melia Paradisus, where you can make use of the sauna, steam room, plunge pool, whirlpool and spa garden at no extra cost (in the case of the Paradisus Punta Cana, guests can get complimentary access to the spa's thermal circuit). It's not clear whether you can make use of similar spa facilities at other hotel chains like Sandals, AMResorts, Hard Rock and Palace Resorts, they don't clarify this in any of their websites.

So if you go to an ultra all-inclusive expecting the spa experience to be part of the programme, then think again or make a point to find out more how you can spend resort credits on spa treatments at some of the resorts that do offer them, like Palace Resorts and Hard Rock– it might make it worth your while

Golfing and complimentary green fees

Although golf would fit under the Unlimited Fun category, I've set it apart because most of the golfing experiences these resorts offer is not unlimited. The majority of ultra all-inclusive chains offer complimentary green fees, but only two actually offer unlimited complimentary fee.

Melia Paradisus is one such chain, offering unlimited free green fees at their Paradisus Punta Cana Resort and Paradisus Palma Reals Resort with said green fees to be used at the nearby Cocotal Golf and Country Club. Rental of golfing equipment however is charged extra and therefore not included.

Likewise, Sandals offers unlimited play and complimentary green frees, but only in their Jamaica and St Lucia resorts. Similarly, golf carts and club rentals are not included while caddies are mandatory but also subject to an extra fee.

Other ultra all-inclusive chains like Palace Resorts and Hard Rock, whilst not offering unlimited complimentary green fees as part of their all-inclusive programme, do offer you the possibility of using resort credit towards golf experiences. It's highly likely however that you will also have to pay for extras such as equipment and golf carts (although they might let you use resort credit towards these too, it's unclear).

Yet this is another area where AMResorts shows its weakness, there is no real reference to which if any of their resorts offer golf experiences. There are a few that, indicating by their name, are located adjacent to golf courses but the resorts make no mention of whether any golf experience is included, so as it doesn't figure anywhere on the list of "Luxury-Included" facilities, it's safe to assume golf is definitely not on the cards at any of their retreats.

So, in conclusion, on the golf front, like in the spa, there are some inclusions at these fancy so-called ultra all-inclusives, but they are limited. Even when the words "unlimited green fees" are used to woo you and sound like a free ticket to limitless fun, it doesn't work out that way. Not entirely, since it doesn't factor in the cost of other necessary extras that you'll need to pay for in order to enjoy the experience.

Extra delights – now what's that really all about?

Well, we've covered the food, the drinks, the facilities, the activities and now it's time to see which hotel chains go the extra mile to offer something unique beyond the usual.

These extra touches and amenities or services are unique to each hotel chain and as such neither is offered by any of the others (with an exception or two).

What I mean to say is that each of these special touches is offered by one hotel chain only, and in some cases by only one brand of the hotel chain (as is the case with AMResorts six different resort brands), so it's impossible to compare them against one another because what one offers the other doesn't and so on. What you can extract from these however is which company gives you more extra touches and how much this would contribute to making your holiday extra special.

Are they really valuable? Would they really contribute to enhance your overall holiday experience or to you they are worthless gimmicks you wouldn't spend an extra penny for? See for yourself and judge for yourself.

The "extra delights" can include things like:

  • In-room Jacuzzi (AMResorts – Secrets)
  • Custom-designed furniture and artwork from around the world (Hard Rock)
  • Original music memorabilia (Hard Rock)
  • Free upgrade to Preferred Club service (AMResorts)
  • Free Weddingmoons (Sandals)
  • In-room omplimentary streaming music channels (Hard Rock)
  • Free Wi-Fi (exclusive to club level at Sandals, included in all others)
  • Personal butler (Sandals and Melia Paradisus at club level)
  • Dedicated concierge service (AMResorts)
  • Welcome bottle of tequila or rum (AMResorts)
  • Bottle of sparkling wine and fresh fruit daily (AMResorts)
  • Private offshore islands (Sandals and LUX*)
  • Complimentary Spa treatments (AMResorts)
  • Private function concessions (Hard Rock)
  • No check-in or check-out times (AMResorts)
  • No reservations required (AMResorts)
  • Complimentary 24-hour laundry services (AMResorts)
  • Designer bath amenities (AMResorts)
  • Family Concierge (Melia Paradisus)
  • Daily afternoon tea (AMResorts)
  • Afternoon High Tea (LUX*)
  • 24-hour Room Service (AMResorts – Secrets / Melia Paradisus at club level only)
  • Resort Credits (AMResorts, Palace Resorts, Hard Rock and Melia Paradisus)
  • Rewards (Melia Paradisus)

A quick glance and it's evident that AMResorts offers more special extras than any other. If you factor in the cost of these, you might consider them as nice extras that you don't really need or won't make a real difference, but a closer look and you'll see that some nice extra touches such as "No reservations required" could really improve the quality of your holiday. The convenience of being free to dine around wherever you like and never worrying about having to make time for bookings, as well as having no imposed limits on how many times you can dine in one specific restaurant is definitely a nice extra factor.

Little like things like signature bath amenities and daily afternoon tea might not sound like a big deal to you and they probably aren't (although some people really expect those extra touches when they are paying premium for an upscale experience. But things like no check-in or check-out required, as well as 24-hour room service can really make a difference to your experience, leaving you more time to enjoy what there is to on offer. And at this AMResorts excels, at the little things that can make a big difference. So if these matter to you, then AMResorts might be your perfect ultra all-inclusive holiday haven.

Surprisingly enough there's only one of these hotel chains to offer a loyalty scheme where guests can accumulate points on each stay and then exchange them for rewards such as discounts and free nights. Only Melia Paradisus does this, and it might be time for the others to catch up if they want to keep up.

But ultimately, do these "niceties" really add value? Well, you could argue that some do and others don't that for some they do and for others don't. It's all about perception and what you look for when splashing your cash on such exclusive, high-end resorts. While it's nice to have signature toiletries, not everyone values this as highly, however, the use of 24-hour complimentary laundry service can become very handy indeed.

Resort Credit – what it means and why it matters

More and more ultra all-inclusives are going the extra length to add more value to their exclusive (and expensive) holiday packages with the addition of resort credit. But what is resort credit, what is their real value and what do they mean?

Well, put simply, resort credit is a fake, non-tangible amount of money that these hotel chains award you if you stay a certain amount of nights at their properties. The amount of resort credit could be anything from $200 up to $2,500, depending on the hotel chain and the number of nights you stay. Usually, the longer you stay, the more credit resort you get, although for some resorts this quantity is always fixed.

So, how does this work? Well, this "artificial" money in the form of vouchers entitles you to make use of non-included facilities such as spa treatments, motorised water sports, excursions or other non-inclusive extras or experiences.

And what's the catch? Well, most hotel chains restrict how you can use these resort credits in some way or another. While some only allow you to spend resort credit on one single spa treatment (per week of stay or per entire stay), and some limit you on which things and how much resort credit you can spend per single activity or experience, most also charge a tax on the activities you pay with those resort credits, usually somewhere along 20 per cent of their real value.

So, it's not all nice and free as it sounds, but considering a dolphin encounter at Moon Palace would cost you close to $100 per person or over that amount, and when you use you resort credit you pay a small percentage of that (close to $20 per person) you can see that yes, it adds value. How much? It will depend on each resort, the quality and quantity of extra "activities" they offer and their policies on restricting how you can used said resort credits.

Surprisingly, out of our six contenders, only six offer resort credits as standard in their all inclusive programmes, and they're not the biggest ultra all-inclusive hotel chains either. At present it's Melia Paradisus, Palace Resorts and Hard Rock Hotels who offer resort credits.

But although this is not a regular feature of Sandals or AMResorts (the biggest players here), depending on seasonal deals and promotions they do sometimes offer some type of resort credit or incentive, but this would be more dependent on the timing of your booking and whether this kind of incentive is running at the time. At the moment, neither of these two offer resort credits as standard. Who knows, this might change soon if they want to keep up with the competition.

But more on resort credits and which hotel chains offer more value on Sasha Wood's next blog post, where she'll be covering this area in much more depth.

The overall winner – a really close call

Firstly, it must be said that declaring an overall winner is a difficult as, as how you perceive what offers the most value to you is highly subjective. So an objective, definite answer is difficult here. Yet, we can measure which hotel chain does best in comparison with others by using a few parameters.

When it comes to which hotel chain ticks the most boxes in the variety of things they offer, you could say AMResorts is the winner, but not a clear winner, as the number of facilities available will also depend on which of their six brand of resorts you're staying. So I'm only declaring it a winner because it beat the competition with the total of inclusions – 30, with the only chains getting close, totalling 19.

Second place, in terms of box-ticking when it comes to the number of inclusions as part of an ultra all-inclusive holiday programme, goes to …well it's a tie between Melia Paradisus and Sandals! Who would have thought? With the number of awards Sandals have received over the years (and most of them in a row), you'd think they'd have no competition or that they'd give all other hotel chains a run for the money.

Well, it seems that's not the case, or at least no longer so. Just by judging the amount of boxes ticked, because others may value more highly the fact that Sandals is the only resort to include motorised water sports and scuba diving as part of their all inclusive experience. But then again you have Melia Paradisus also offering other little things that Sandals doesn't, like free use of many of their resorts' spa facilities (not treatments), a rewards programme (the only ultra all-inclusive to do so, offering even more value) and 24-hour room service. But like I said, it's a close call between the two. Sandals or Melia Paradisus can both be winners, depending on what you're looking for.

When it comes to box ticking there are some unclear areas. For example, when it comes to in-room amenities such the mini bar with premium drinks re-stocked daily, only a couple of resorts make it clear that they're stocked with premium drinks, other simply say "daily refreshed/re-stocked mini bar" so it leaves you wondering whether that's premium drinks or local drinks. One should assume that given that all of these ultra all-inclusive chains, or most of these, do say they offer premium unlimited drinks.

Finding the best value-for-money winner

Ultimately, who you consider the winner might depend on how much a holiday would cost you with either of these in comparison with the others. In the end, how much cash you fork out matters. And this is why, to make comparisons fairer, I wanted to give you a rough idea on the cost of holidays with either of these chains by conducting a little bit of fresh research.

While a seven-week holiday in September 2014 for two people at the Melia Paradisus Palma Real Golf and Spa Resort in Dominican Republic would cost you somewhere along £1224 with $1500 added resort credit, the same deal at the Sandals Grande Riviera Beach Villa Golf Resort in Jamaica would fare up at around £1900 with no added resort credit.

Meanwhile at Moon Palace Golf and Spa Cancun the same week would cost you £1500 based on the basic room rate and with $1500 added resort credit while the same stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana will work out at £1366.

Similarly, the same holiday at AMResorts' Secrets Perto Los Cabos Golf and Spa Resort would cost you £1359 at the basic standard rate for early bookers, with added resort credit of between $200-$400 (part of a seasonal offer) or £1680 if you go for the Golf package.

Lastly, at LUX* Grand Gaube Mauritius a similar holiday will cost you £1748 and this hotel chain has the least inclusions out of all. But again you're also paying for a remote destination like Mauritius, so that has to be taken into account. Still, in terms of value for money, this is the worst faring of the six.

All these prices were obtained from these hotel chains' public room rates as published on their official websites, using the exact same dates of travel in 2014, based on the basic room rate (with or without seasonal discounts) and showing the total cost for two people staying seven nights.

While all of the resorts mentioned are in different locations (this is also where these hotel chains differ, they don't all have resorts in the same resorts, but all of their resorts are in the Caribbean – with the exception of LUX*) I tried to make the choice of hotel I used for comparison purposes, as similar as possible to the others, with all of them including spas and golf courses (except for Hard Rock which at the moment doesn't have a single property with golfing facilities) and some of them either offering resort credits to spend on these extras or including unlimited green fees, so that you could see the real value.

You could argue that Sandals is perhaps a notch more luxurious and exclusive than the others, with hotels located in more exotic Caribbean locations (instead of Cancun and Punta Cana which are the cheapest destinations in the region and the ones favoured by the other hotel chains) but still, they all offer gorgeous beaches and endless sunshine, so perhaps if you're not so much concerned about location, you could conclude that some of the other ultra all-inclusives do give Sandals a run for their money.

Where Sandals can't compete and AMResorts is a clear winner

The other day during a training session for Hard Rock Hotels I heard that this summer kids go free at Hard Rock Hotels and they are thinking of making this a permanent arrangement.

Likewise, Melia Paradisus is already a step ahead in this department, as they offer a "Kids Go Free" approach as standard during 2014 (it might become a permanent thing down the line.

But AMResorts' family brand is way ahead of the competition in this department, as Sunscape, has been offering the "Kids go free" deal for some time now. They've even extended this to their Now brand of resorts, where kids also stay free during 2014. Now that's some real value for money for families!

Again, here Sandals' family brand, Beaches, comes out a sore loser. Yes, the great children facilities are there, but so are they found in the other hotel chains' resorts, so time to step up and offer something more Sandals!

Susana Corona

Susana Corona

Susana Corona

Cuba Expert

As a born and bred Cuban, I know and love Cuba with an undying passion, and on my frequent travels...

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