The all-inclusive has undergone an all-around makeover. Banish any preconceived notions of overcrowded swimming pools and subpar buffets. These days your single-price retreat may include yoga with elephants, access to Ayurvedic healers or meals from a master of farm-to-table Japanese cuisine. From Sri Lanka to the Seychelles, here’s some of the most extraordinary luxury all-inclusive hotels around the world.
For the gourmand who thinks ‘all-inclusive’ and ‘quality cuisine’ are mutually exclusive phrases, feast your eyes (and appetites) on Zaborin – a secluded Hokkaido retreat with rates that include both breakfast and dinner. And before you go crying ‘that’s not all-inclusive!’ – trust us when we say, you won’t want lunch. Evening mealtimes aren’t just part of the plan, they’re the main event. 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.
NAY PALAD HIDEAWAY, 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 watersports and island-hopping (there are 47 to choose from 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, too. Siargao is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines and the barrels here are some of the best in the world.
ANANTARA GOLDEN ELEPHANT CAMP, THAILAND
This jungle hideaway near Chiang Rai 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 Thailand’s opium-trade history in the Golden Triangle. As for the elephants, you’ll see those at the hotel’s on-site camp, where you can go walking with the giants through forest trails or even take them for a bath. 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, 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, 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
You can 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 a 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.
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