UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EXCHANGE YOUR DEPOSITED WEEK OR YOUR POINTS FOR AN ALL INCLUSIVE RESORT. DETAILS BELOW
We currently travel as a family of four with 2 young children. For the past couple of years, we have done a few all-inclusive vacations. It has worked out well since the kids can eat whatever they want as often as they want and the adults can eat and drink without worrying about the price.
Daycare and/or kids activities are generally included which allows for some much needed kid-free time.
All inclusives have come a long way and it is no longer just a bland buffet for each meal. All inclusives have five-star dining, room service, specialty restaurants and more. We have been very happy at a few resorts but some are definitely lacking in their offerings and food quality. You need to do your research when choosing an all inclusive resort.
Interval International current offers all-inclusive resorts within its inventory that are designated by the following symbol.
You need to be aware of the symbol BEFORE booking and understand what it means. The all inclusive resorts within Interval International usually have very low costs per seven night stays which immediately grabs your attention. Take a look below at some of the offerings in the Riveria Maya (Playa del Carmen location). I have personally been to the Royal Haciendas and Cozumel Palace and we will describe them in more detail in other posts.
For example, a look at Cozumel Palace in Cozumel, Mexico for the week of September 20 to September 27 appears to cost $229 for a regular member for a week. When you book through, the terms and conditions are then presented which details the cost per night per person for food and beverage. The costs will change depending on the season.
The first thing that you need to be aware of with all the all inclusive resorts in Interval International is that you are required to pay the all inclusive fees for all seven nights, regardless of how many days you actually use!
The second thing is that the fees quoted will be for a minimum of 2 adults. If you are traveling solo, you are still going to be required to pay for 2 adults.
In my Cozumel Palace example, the fees PER ADULT for the week of September 20, 2016 is $129 per adult, per night. The fees for children between 4-12 are $415 per week.
The fees for food and beverage will be $258 per night, already more than the cost for the seven day stay. For this particular week, the total cost would be $1806 for food and beverage and $229 for the accommodations for a total cost of $2,035 with 2 adults.
$2,035 is materially different that the advertised cost of $229 for the week so you need to be aware.
Spending $2000 for a week at an all inclusive resort may appear like a lot, but is actually fairly reasonable considering all your food, drinks, alcohol, and snacks are paid for. This particular resort also offers some activities and credits.
The activity credits can be worthwhile but you need to understand the additional taxes and limitations. We will discuss in additional posts.
Since I have stayed here, I can describe these resorts in more detail in other posts. I can say that we really enjoyed both of these resort. Cozumel Palace was smaller than most resorts that we usually go to but we had a great time!
As an example, I looked at Thanksgiving Week at Cozumel Palace. Booking with Interval International was $239 per week for accommodations and $129 per adult per night. Thanksgiving week would cost $2,045 through Interval. In comparison, booking directly with Cozumel Palace would cost $2,734.20. In this example, you would save almost $700 booking directly with Interval International.
This can actually be a great perk of owning a timeshare.
If you are actually looking for an all inclusive vacation, the question arises on whether this is a deal or if you are better booking directly. We personally booked directly since the Cozumel Palace was not available on the days that we wanted within Interval International and we stayed 8 nights instead of 7 so we could not book through Interval without occurring the food and beverage expenses for 6 additional nights that we were not going to use.
The Palace resorts runs promotions quite a bit so this may or may not always be the case. We will do further trials later to determine if this is always the case. The Palace Resorts is also a sponsor of The Timeshare Guru so perhaps a special deal will be offered in the future!
The key take away is for you to be aware of the symbol and understand that it is an all inclusive resort. You need to read the fine print to determine the total cost of the stay. The weekly prices are a fraction of the overall cost.
IN ADDITION, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU EXCHANGE YOUR DEPOSITED WEEK OR YOUR POINTS FOR AN ALL INCLUSIVE RESORT.
This is very important since you will essentially be giving away your deposited week. If you exchanged your week for the Cozumel Palace above, you would be trading your week for a week valued at $229. If you paid maintenance fees of $1000 for this week, you would be trading a week “worth” $1,000 for a week “worth” $229.
There are tons of better exchange opportunities to get much more value out of your week!
Overall, all inclusives are a popular way to vacation and my family has thoroughly enjoyed these types of vacation. I personally love not have to worry about the cost of every drink and every meal.
It is not as relaxing when you are drinking $15 drinks at the bar and you food and beverage bills gets to be in the thousands. It can be a lot more fun to have as much as you want without thinking of the price. In addition, I like letting my kids order what they want without having to worry about the cost so that they can enjoy their vacation as well!
All inclusives are not for everyone as you will tend to stay on the property for the entire trip. This can be good or bad depending on your vacation style.
If you want to book an all inclusive vacation, Interval International is a good starting point. However, you should never exchange your week for an all inclusive resort and you should always book it as a Getaway if the price makes sense.
You need to read the fine print and do the math. It may or may not make sense to book with Interval International or it may make more economic sense to book through some other online travel agency.
All inclusives tend to do a lot of promotions so you need to be vigilant on deals. When they pop up, I will make sure to include them in the Guru Deals. Make sure to subscribe to get alerted first!