During our travels we’ve stayed in the cutest, quaintest, and tiniest of hotels. And while we love the intimate and peaceful vibe that many smaller properties can offer, sometimes staying near the action just isn’t enough. We want to be in the thick of it. That way we can to go into full-on relaxation (read: lazy) vacation mode and have everything we could ever want right at our fingertips. Why should you have to jump in a car (or even worse — on a bus) just to meet a few people, see a show, or dance the night away? Luckily, these 12 massive village-style properties don’t think you should; in fact, they are hoping you won’t! Packed to the brim with communal conveniences like multiple restaurants, several pools, nightclubs, theaters, tons of activities, kids programs — even grocery stores, pharmacies, and bowling alleys — some of these places are so big they have on-site shuttles and maps to get you where you want to go amid sprawling grounds. And with enough rooms to house populations in the hundreds and thousands, they promise to be teeming with tons of potential new pals. It may take a village to create your perfect vacation — but at these properties, it’s worth it!
The 674-room Grand Palladium Bavaro is spread over spacious grounds (guests also have access to two sister properties) offering an incredible selection of 15 bars, five buffets, and eight restaurants. Walking shoes are recommended, but family-friendly amenities, lower prices than some neighboring properties, and renovated rooms are big draws. In 2014, the resort added 178 units — including a swim-up suite option overlooking the beach (a great pick for honeymooners). Kids and their parents will appreciate the outstanding kids’ club, but take note: the beach can get crowded.
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August is an antsy month. Back to school madness descends upon parents, kids, and coeds alike, with everyone looking to squeeze in one last shore run before class starts up once again. Then September rolls into town with the first inklings of crisper weather — and the lure of the shore is only heightened. But where to go? For many East Coasters, a quick trip to Southern neighbors where the sands are still toasty and the waves still refreshing is dampened by the threat of Mother Nature’s finest beast: The Hurricane. The Gulf Coast becomes a ghost of what it once was, and Caribbean tourists flock to other beachfront locales where winds and rain aren’t so rampant. But for the brave of heart (who are more scared of a high price tag than some high winds), traveling to the eye of the storm means gorgeous, uncrowded beaches and tranquil luxury resorts at extremely reasonable rates. It goes without saying that safety comes first, and booking a trip during this time of year to some of our favorite Gulf and Caribbean destinations won’t always pan out. So make sure to double check with your favorite weatherman and get the scoop on how the winds are swirling across the Atlantic before you purchase. (You can always hit up these hurricane-proof spots if you’d rather not risk it.) But if you’re ready for a little adventure on the cheap, here’s a selection of Oyster’s favorite hurricane hideaways to get you started on your end-of-summer getaway!
A peaceful and beautiful resort, The SPA Retreat Boutique Hotel was designed to be a true escape for couples and small groups that want to relax, be pampered, and enjoy a quiet getaway in Negril, Jamaica. For adults only, the intimate hotel (which maintains a maximum 47 visitors) features individual cottages, all-inclusive packages for dining at the on-site restaurant and bar, a variety of spa services, and an incredible view of the Negril cliffs plunging into the Caribbean Sea. Read More »
This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel.
The Caribbean oftentimes musters up images of massive beach resorts. Even some of the most luxurious options can be teeming with crowds that filter from the various restaurants to the packed beaches to the lively pool scene, frequented by both splashing kids and partying co-eds. But during our travels around the islands, we’ve also found plenty of quiet hidden gems. These beachfront boutiques have the look and vibe of a casual oceanside hut – but nonetheless deliver a hotel-like experience with on-site amenities and activities, and quaint, well-designed rooms. Explore our 10 favorite low-key properties on the Caribbean sands.
For travelers who want to enjoy a resort experience but still prefer a more intimate hotel, the Coyaba Beach Resort is an attractive upper-middle-range option. The 50 plantation-style rooms are spacious, and guests won’t feel crowded or cramped at the private beach (even though it’s small). An all-inclusive option lets guests dine and drink on the property, and couples will likely appreciate the spa services, lush gardens providing shade and privacy, and the quiet pool.
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Remember how exciting it was to go on school trips to the aquarium? Getting an up-close look at marine life – from tiger sharks to stingrays – was always an enchanting experience. Well it turns out aquariums are a fun sight at any age… and they certainly add a tropical, under-the-sea vibe to otherwise bland spaces. That’s why it’s no surprise that a good number of the hotels we have visited have installed fish tanks to add a cool oceanic feature for kids and adults to enjoy without having to suit up. Several of these hotels have gone above and beyond in bringing the awe factor to their aquariums. In typical grandeur Vegas fashion, three of its properties made our list, but you’ll want to visit all seven spots!
The giant, 3,215-room Mandalay Bay offers a wave pool and streaming lazy river pool for kids, as well as a quality spa, lively bar,s and premier cuisine for adults. But everyone can enjoy the 1.6-million-gallon Shark Reef Aquarium with about 2,000 sea creatures on display, including 15 different kinds of sharks. In one of the exhibits, visitors can experience an almost 360-degree view of the fish and sharks swimming about; another displays the bright jellyfish. If just looking isn’t good enough, there’s a popular Touch Pool, where guests can touch sharks, rays, and horseshoe crabs.
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It may be particularly fun during the summer months, but thanks to a variety of species and waters around the world, fishing is a sport that can be enjoyed year-round. Peak seasons vary from fish to fish, but as long as you’re on a river, by a lake, or bobbing atop the ocean, you’ll likely get a bite. And no matter if you’re an experienced angler or a novice on all things baiting and hooking, fishing can be a great activity for your vacation itinerary – particularly for families since the little ones can participate as well. We’ve picked 10 hotels that are perfect properties for grabbing a rod and heading out to the water. Now go reel ‘em in!
The 114-room Cheeca Lodge was one of the original luxury properties on Islamorada, dating to 1946 and earning plenty of celebrity cachet over the years (high-profile guests have included George W. Bush). The property was rebuilt after a fire gutted its main building in 2009, and it now has bright, spacious rooms with tropical-luxe decor and massive bathrooms. The lush grounds are especially pretty at night, with Tiki-torch-lit paths. But the hotel’s beach is manmade — there’s even a rock ledge on the water’s edge. There’s a private fishing pier on the property and guests can rent fishing rods for free. You’re bound to have a fun time since Islamorada advertises itself as the “sport fishing capital of the world.”
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For couples seeking a relaxing oasis, adults-only pools make a big splash as grownups can take a swim without getting stuck in the middle of a Marco Polo game. But the poolside perks at the watery adult playgrounds that make our “best of the best” list go far beyond just being kid-free. These 10 trendy adults-only pools offer up everything from cabanas with spiked snow cones to swim-up blackjack, from live music to free sunscreen. And of course, they’ve all got plenty of comfy chairs and recliners for some serious (and seriously sexy) lounging.
This secluded beachfront setting is perfect for romance, especially for parents looking for a kid-free poolside escape. Drop the kiddos off at the Four Season’s supervised playground and hit the adult-oriented Tamai Pool complex — complete with a whirlpool, full bar, and private cabanas. Soothing music plays underwater and there are plenty of comfy lounge chairs for settling in with a free magazine — after you’ve lathered up with the free sunscreen. Read More »
What’s the secret to a great family vacation? Finding a location that allows everyone to explore and have fun – at their own pace. A spot where the kids (most likely bursting with energy) can have a blast while you enjoy a relaxing massage and a margarita…or several margaritas. (Go ahead – it’s vacation.) And generally a beach destination can deliver on all these fronts. So we’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly, tropical vacation spots that feature safe and fun places to play, kid-friendly restaurants, and all sorts of activities, even if the sun goes into hiding for a day or two. And Mom and Dad will be just as happy at these spots as well.
With ten pools, a sprawling (45,000-square-foot) water park, a shopping center, a spa complex, and more restaurants than you can shake a breadstick at, the family-friendly Beaches is one of the most features-heavy resorts in Turks and Caicos. With a pirate-themed Sesame Street Treasure Caravan; 12 miles of white sand beach; pools staffed by lifeguards; Pirate’s Island Waterpark featuring two waterslides; AND Crayola Art Camps (whew!), your little ones can be entertained while you head for a rum punch. For the tweens and teens, there’s a Martha Stewart Crafts Studio, a (teen-appropriate) nightclub and lounge, an Xbox games garage, and even a DJ academy.
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As any true food lover will tell you, the best things in life come in dozens: donuts, bagels, cupcakes… you catch our drift. So today we’re bringing you the best beach resorts for foodies, in a tasty set of twelve. After all, a beach vacation is always a treat, but when it’s paired with culinary delights — well, it’s that much sweeter. From Caribbean all-inclusive resorts with tens of celebrity chef-helmed restaurants, to hidden spots where the ocean-facing restaurant is a destination unto itself, we’ve found twelve amazing beach resorts with amazing foodie-pleasing offerings. Bon appetit!
The D.R.’s classiest, most famous resort since 1974, the Casa de Campo hotel is part of a massive, 7,000-acre resort community that includes three world-renowned golf courses, an immaculate beach, a marina, and thirteen delicious restaurants. With everything from a casual pizzeria to a lively tapas bar, Casa de Campo has something for every kind of foodie; those with a leaning towards celebrity will enjoy the Caribbean outpost of Le Cirque, sitting right on the beach and serving up tasty bites like fried fish sliders.
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There are all-inclusive resorts, and then there are all-inclusive resorts. The difference lies in the details: Going above and beyond the standard amenities, the ten hotels we’ve hand-picked as the best of the all-inclusive best offer fun and exciting ways for travelers to indulge. World-class food, beautiful decor, and fantastic activities are all to be had — and everything is built into one price-per-day, making planning out your budget a simple feat. From Cabo to Cancun and back again, these are the ten all-inclusive resorts that are truly worthy of the name.
With only 90 suites, the Zoetry Paraiso offers a romantic, wellness-centric boutique experience in the Mayan Riviera. Room layouts are unique, with indoor gardens and plunge pools. The pool area and beach are relaxed and tranquil, and the on-site dining keeps the resort’s wellness theme alive with delicious, healthy meals. Included amenities not standard at most all-inclusive resorts — such as a “welcome” bottle of tequila, a daily bottle of champagne, a one-hour Catamaran sunset sail, three-times-daily maid service, and private chauffeured airport transfers, –make this (admittedly pricey) resort a standout among Puerto Morelos’ finest properties.
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Owning a private vacation home sure sounds nice, but people fantasizing about their own beachside property often forget that owning also means cleaning, maintaining, fixing, the list goes on… and it can end up being less of a vacation and more of a job! That’s why we love vacation villas; gorgeous homes nestled within resort communities, hotel villas are the perfect way of getting the best of both worlds — visitors find the privacy and massive size they seek, without having to worry about dealing with any issues that may arise, as hotel staff is willing and waiting to assist! So without further adieu, check out nine drool-worthy (and hassle-free) hotel villas in the Caribbean.
Round Hill is phenomenal. Sincere, intimate hospitality; private child care; breathtaking grounds; and large, beautifully designed rooms by Ralph Lauren all add up to make it is easily among the best resorts in Jamaica. The property includes numerous standalone villas of varying size; many have private pools and spacious, open verandas.
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