The first foray for the Ikos brand outside Greece has raised the bar for Spanish all-inclusives, offering menus by Michelin-starred chefs, premium drinks and activities like paddle-boarding, yoga and golf, all on tap. There’s massage for ‘deluxe’ guests in the spa, where you’ll find a lovely hammam, Anne Semonin treatments and an adults-only pool. There are five other swimming pools, around which this low-rise white-wash hotel is clustered in 21 acres of gardens along the beach. Kids’ clubs include tailored offerings for all ages, from four months to 17 years (free from four years old).
The food available spreads across nine restaurants, two of which are Michelin-starred, with menus drawing from cuisines across Greece, the Med’ and Asia, accompanied by a 300-strong wine list. Then there’s the ‘dine out’ programme where dining at a choice of restaurants in Marbella and Estepona comes at no extra charge. Just an hour from Malaga airport, and a short bike ride along the promenade to the pretty town of Estepona, this is a well-located resort should you decide to step beyond its luxurious confines. Borrow one of the electric Tesla cars (complimentary for a day) to explore nearby Marbella or the hill town of Rhonda.
Rooms and rates: Cool contemporary décor, whites and neutrals characterise rooms, which have complementary mini bars and Nespresso machines. There are family rooms and suites sleeping four to six and some doubles are interconnecting. From £343 per night based on two people sharing a double room.
More info: Ikos Andalucia
Club Med, Val d’Isère, France
The French resort brand has elevated its practised all-inclusive offering to include the new Exclusive Collection, opened in 2023 in the Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Cefalù in Italy, Val d’Isere in France, and the Seychelles. Here, all-inclusive trills include champagne at 6pm, room service breakfast and poolside service, some destinations with private pool suites.
Along with offering an exceptional ski experience in winter, the Val d’Isère resort is a surprisingly good bet for a summer break. Free from Europe’s coastal humidity and peak season crowds, this Alpine escape has a sizeable spa with outdoor whirlpool, and indoor pool plus pristine lakes to swim in, along with biking and hiking trails to explore the meadows and peaks of the surrounding Vanoise National Park, along with yoga classes. Children from 4-17 years old have complimentary club access where activities include mountain biking, treetop ziplines and camping under the stars.
Food is French and effortlessly high quality. Dine at the resort’s two restaurants or two bars, focused on local ingredients from the Savoie region and nearby Italy, with a wide selection of wines available from local Alpine producers. Or step out to learn about local cheese-making at nearby Ferme de l’Adroit.
Rooms and rates: Replete with wood and warm colours, rooms have balconies with mountain views, slippers and robes, and plenty of own-brand toiletries. Family rooms and suites sleep three to five people. A week’s stay in summer starts from £2,812 for a deluxe room with balcony sleeping two; under fours stay free.
More info: Club Med
TRS Ibiza Hotel, Ibiza
One for adults only, this is the place where grown-up denizens of Ibiza’s party scene come to kick back and be waited on hand and foot. Yes, uber chic serviced villas and chef-led fincas are still go-to Ibiza retreats but, set right in San Antonio, the TRS resort launched in 2022 has upped the game for the island’s all-inclusives. Signature Level, the top tier all-inclusive category, allows participating guests the option to dine out in select Ibizan agroturismos – hip beach clubs and sushi bars island-wide – along with giving them access to events at such institutions as Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza and Hi Ibiza. It also gives this category of guest their own sun lounger and hammock spot in resort VIP areas, such as the Gravity Sky Lounge, free spa access, a complimentary mini bar re-stock every three days and premium beverages, plus early check-in and late check-out.
On site, restaurants range from Gaucho serving Latino-Iberian grills, the Ibizan-style Helios with a classic beach club-style menu of salads and small plates, while Capricho is the elegant all-day dining spot with a sun-dappled terrace and show kitchens serving international food, both buffet and à la carte. Cava, Campari and cocktails seem to be permanently free-flowing throughout. DJs play discreet sets around the infinity pools, while the eighth-floor rooftop pool and cocktail bar is the spot for sundowners and laid-back live music where line-clad staff in blend seamlessly with neutral tone décor.
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Rooms and rates: There are 378 rooms (53 of which are dedicated to Signature guests) from standard to deluxe, plus swim-up suites. Décor is all blonde wood and whites with splashes of colour from contemporary Spanish artists. Espresso machines and full-sized bottles of toiletries are included. Double rooms from £311 per night.
More info: TRS Ibiza
Sani Resort, Greece
On the rugged, pine-scented Kassandra peninsula in northern mainland Greece, Sani Resort is family friendly, foodie, and somehow retains Greek charm and flare over 1,000 acres, four hotels, 27 restaurants and 13 bars. Most of the resort buildings are low-rise and softened by fragrant flora. White furnishings lend a low-key luxurious atmosphere, there’s a spa with Anne Semonin products, and a state-of-the-art sports centre home to a Rafael Nadal Tennis Centre with six clay tennis courts. Complimentary kid’s clubs are tailored for various ages, tots to teens, with zip-lining, water skiing and scuba diving on offer, and the resort incorporates three beaches and various swimming pools.
The choice of food menus is near infinite, taking in fresh local fare, Michelin-starred gastronomy and international flavours, although the roots are kept firmly in Greek soil and sea. Certain children’s menus are crafted by Annabel Karmel and 26 resort venues offer the ‘dine around’ programme for all-inclusive and half-board guests, allowing access to restaurants including Sani Marina’s Katsu serving Japanese fare, to local farm produce at Sani Club’s Pines.
Rooms & rates: At all but one adults-only hotels, children under 12 stay free or at discounted rates, and rooms are equipped with baby kit from bottle warmers to prams. Prices at Porto Sani in a junior suite with private garden start from €275 per night, on a half-board basis.
More info: Sani Resort
Hillside Beach Club, Turkey
Something of a trailblazer for smart all-inclusives on the Turquoise Coast of southern Turkey. Here you’ll find the likes of Sundia by Liberty Exclusive, Club and Hotel Letoonia and Club Tuana – all-inclusive resorts that feel more like chic villages or boutique hotels, where good food is front and centre. And they have Hillside Beach Club to thank for the winning formula. Founded in 1994, terraced into the forested cliffs that rise dramatically out of impossibly azure waters around the town of Fethiye, this 330-room resort has been studied by Harvard for its record return bookings rate. Guestrooms are stacked up the hillside, an amphitheatre-like arrangement around the bay, main restaurant and pool. Get in shape to access clifftop rooms and treetop spa, with paths, steps and wood bridges winding through the pines, or take the funicular. Paved walkways connect the main hub to the resort’s other beaches and restaurants. This is a rural retreat, but complimentary hotel shuttles run to Fethiye should you want to explore; excursions aboard a traditional Turkish, two-masted, wooden gulet boat access hidden beaches.
There is an almost endless choice of complimentary sporty activities on water or land, which three different age-ranked children’s clubs make the most of – other services for families include very decent children’s menus, a ‘baby park’ (play area), an outdoor theatre with daily events, buggies and a babysitting service. For all ages: take coffee roasting lessons, cookery courses and cocktail-making workshops. Food takes in a family style al fresco Italian restaurant, the club Pacha (12 years +), plus various venues offering excellent Turkish and Mediterranean menus with plenty of veggie, gluten-free and healthy options.
Rooms and rates: Decked in tranquil neutral tones, almost all rooms have sea views, family style come with a large terrace and a separate single room. Those higher up the hillside are away from resort hubbub. Organic lip balms, hair bands and turquoise string friendship bracelets boost the generous toiletries range. One week from £2,560 for two adults and one child.
More info: Hillside Beach Club
Cap Maison, St Lucia
The Caribbean Windward island is a golden ticket for gourmet all-inclusive resorts, including East Winds, Jade Mountain and Sugar Beach. We’re singling out Cap Maison, in a spectacular clifftop location above Smuggler’s Bay at the island’s north, for its hacienda style and culinary excellence. For an all-inclusive resort, ‘the Cap’ has a boutique feel, with an honesty bar by reception, a clifftop swimming pool and just 49 rooms, suites and villas. There are wine tastings at Rock Maison, a decked bar at the base of the cliff which zip-wires its vintages down from the hotel. Cliff at Cap, above, is the open-air spot for both fine dining and breakfast, with a panoramic sea view backdrop. Expect French-Caribbean fine dining – with signature dinner dishes including ceviche of reef conch and ahi tuna with a mango balsamic jus; kurobuta pork belly with razor clams and squid served with a coconut foam. Even the beach bar, The Naked Fisherman, has culinary clout with contemporary seafood dishes as its central offering. Executive chef, UK ex-pat Craig Jones has been at the helm since 2008. He hosts a regular guest chef series that recently saw Saint Lucian-born, two-time MasterChef Canada alumni and finalist Marissa Leon-John join the kitchens.
Rooms and rates: Lead-in garden view rooms are cheery, if modest, with hand-painted Mexican tiles, wicker furnishings and jalousie shutters; villas are spacious enough for families but, overall, the resort’s atmosphere is quite grown-up. There are complimentary water sports a-plenty but no dedicated kids’ club. Family offers at select times of the year include up to two children under 12 staying and dining for free, and rates include three hours of free babysitting. Summer season rates are around £452 per room, per night, and children under 11 eat free. Stays of three nights or more attract better rates.
More info: Cap Maison
Palmaïa, Quintana Roo, Mexico
The Riviera Maya has become something of a nexus of high-end, food-focused all-inclusive resorts. There’s Nizuc Resort & Spa, with superb pan-Asian and Indo-Chinese menus, while Tulum is shortly to welcome Mexico’s second Nobu Resort (the first is in Los Cabos, another top spot in Mexico for luxury resorts with great food). But we’re shining a spotlight on Palmaïa, an elegant wellness retreat just outside Playa del Carmen, for its bounty of vegan food and a spa based around a natural cenote. The Architects of Life programme includes beach and rainforest rituals such as cacao ceremonies, tai chi, sound-healing therapy and meditation, while a Waldorf Academy-led kid’s club programme aims to get youngsters to digital detox via outdoorsy activities immersed in nature.
Jungle-backed and Caribbean-fronted, this green and serene spa hotel has dedicated villas, pools, menus and programmes for families, and areas for those travelling without children. Plant-based menus are found across all four restaurants, from the Mexican fine-dining LEK to El Caminante food truck, and in-room 24-hour dining, plus some superlatively healthy breakfast dishes, smoothies and baked goods on offer each morning.
Rooms and rates: All 243 suites are ocean-front, some with swim-out access to the resort’s four infinity pools, others set among the mangroves. Built with sustainable and vegan principals at the forefront, bathroom products are 100% biodegradable and not tested on animals; furnishings are leather-free and bedding feather-free. From £891 based on an ocean-front queen or king suite sleeping two.
More info: Palmaïa
Kudadoo, Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives
When it comes to upscale all-inclusives, the Maldives mined, set and cast the gold standard. And this exclusive 15-villa floating retreat is perhaps the most opulent of them all. While no doubt pricey, part of the Kudadoo’s shining appeal is that absolutely everything is available at any time pretty much anywhere you want it. As a captive audience in the far-flung ocean-bound Maldives, some travellers may find this affords peace of mind. Standard all-inclusive rarities, such as unlimited spa treatments, private yoga sessions, all water sports including scuba, excursions and all manner of gourmet food are on tap. There’s the very freshest sashimi and tropical fruits as you’d expect but you can also count on a very impressive cheese cellar, fine wines, spirits and champagne. Guests are also free to dine, inclusive, at nearby sister resort Hurawalhi, along with the much-photographed 5.8 Undersea Restaurant (although additional charges do apply there).
Add to this the intuitive service of your private butler and you’ve got the sort of five-star experience found at any of the world’s best landmark hotels. This isn’t a family hotel in the traditional sense, but children will want for nothing with butlers on hand to conjure a roster of activities to entertain their small charges, plus a kids’ spa and, of course, tailored food menus.
Rooms and rates: Barefoot luxury with wooden, stilted overwater villas topped with sloping Japanese ryokan-style roofs, indoor-outdoor bathrooms and generous decks with a private dining space, swing sofas and private pools. Doubles from £2,500 per night.
More info: Kudadoo
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