The all-inclusive has undergone an all-around makeover. Banish any preconceived notions you have of overcrowded swimming pools and subpar buffet meals (preconceived noshes in that case). These days your single-price retreat may include yoga with elephants, access to personal Ayurvedic healers, unlimited diving, or meals from a master of farm-to-table Japanese cuisine.
Here, we take you from Sri Lanka to the Seychelles for some of the most extraordinary all-inclusive hotels in Asia.
Zaborin, Niseko, Japan
For the gourmand who thinks ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘quality cuisine’ are mutually exclusive phrases, feast your eyes (and appetites) on Zaborin – a secluded Hokkaido island retreat with rates that include both breakfast and dinner. But mealtime here isn’t just part of the plan, it’s the main attraction. Dinner, crafted by Hokkaido-born chef Yoshihiro Seno, is 11 courses and each party is served in a private dining room that overlooks the surrounding Hanazono Forest. In the past, dishes have included rose fish soup, octopus sashimi, venison roasted in pine tree fragrance, and red rockfish with white miso, but the menu is seasonal and changes daily – certainly an all-inclusive anomaly.
Dedon Island Resort, Siargao Island, Philippines
Daily meals are one thing, but inclusive surf lessons, manicures and massages? That’s practically a gift from the hotel gods. Spa treatments, yoga classes, cooking lessons and water sports and island-hopping (there are 47 nearby, including the intriguing Naked Island) are all part of the deal. And while your thatched-roof villa is sure to impress – the hotel’s founders are furniture makers, after all – you’ll want to get outside. Siargao is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines and the barrels here are some of the best in the world.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Chiang Rai, Thailand
This jungle getaway has to stand apart as the only all-inclusive in the world that includes a ticket to an opium museum and an elephant encounter. The museum sits opposite the entrance to the resort and tells the tale of the Golden Triangle’s opium trade history. As for the elephants, you’ll see those at the hotel’s on-site camp, where you can go walking with the giants, take them for a bath, or ride one through forest trails. The museum and elephant adventures are part of the hotel’s activities programme, in addition to spa treatments and cooking classes. Rates include one activity per day, plus all your meals.
Santani Wellness Resort & Spa, Kandy, Sri Lanka
Zen comes in more than one form. That’s why this Sri Lankan sanctuary lets you pick a package geared toward your specific goals, such as detox, weight loss, sleep therapy or margarita guzzling – ok, we’re only kidding on that last one. A typical day at Santani may include personalised meals, meditation, Pilates, a dip in a thermal salt pool and a raw food workshop. You could call this all-inclusive Ayurveda.
Maia Luxury Resort & Spa, Seychelles
Scuba and Qi Gong (that’s a form of exercise, by the way) to your heart’s content at this all-villa resort on the coast of Mahé in the Seychelles. A stay here includes a villa with an outdoor gazebo and private infinity pool, personal butler service, meals, yoga, meditative Qi Gong classes and enough diving excursions to spot every species in the Indian Ocean… more or less.
Featured image is Santani Wellness Resort & Spa