11 Best luxury all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean (incl overwater bungalows)

As of summer 2023 there are around 500 all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, and the majority of them cater to the lower and middle parts of the market, but there are also plenty of amazing luxury all-inclusive resorts as well. Finding the best ones isn’t as easy as you might think though. Sorting the resorts by price and guest ratings can be helpful, but with 17 different island with all-inclusive resorts, that can take some time.

Fortunately we have time for projects like this and you’ll see our results below. Interestingly enough, the best all-inclusive resorts tend to be in Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, partly because each of those places has over 100 choices. Four of the all-inclusive resorts on our list have stunning honeymoon-style overwater bungalows, and if you can afford those, you won’t find a better place to stay in the Caribbean.

Where are the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts? Maybe not where you'd expect

Every year we famously update two popular lists regarding Caribbean resorts. The first one is 32 Caribbean islands and destinations ranked by price, and the second is 17 Caribbean islands ranked by price for all-inclusive resorts. The reason the second list is only half the size of the first list is that most of the smaller and more luxurious islands don’t have ANY all-inclusives at all.

The island of St. Barts is well known as the single most expensive Caribbean island (and where the rich and famous tend to flock each winter), but it actually has very few normal hotels, much less all-inclusive resorts. Most people who go to St. Barts tend to rent exclusive homes and condos rather than luxury hotels.

So it turns out that the most luxurious Caribbean all-inclusive resorts tend to be clustered in the places that have the most all-inclusive resorts in general. This means that the Cancun/Playa del Carmen area, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica also have really amazing all-inclusive resorts not far from the more affordable ones. There are also a few excellent ones on islands such as St. Lucia and Antigua, but most of the 5-star-plus all-inclusives are in the most popular islands.

Where to find the cheapest Caribbean all-inclusive resorts

Luxury is great but there are actually really nice Caribbean all-inclusive resorts if you know where to look. In the video below I explain where the cheapest really good ones are and where some of the nicest ones are as well.

A note about Sandals resorts because they dominate the list below

After extensive research we ended up choosing 5 Sandals resorts to be on the list of our Top 11 luxury all-inclusives in the Caribbean. Three of these have overwater bungalows, which are all among the most expensive and desirable rooms in the Caribbean, but it’s also that Sandals runs 17 amazing resorts in the Caribbean and they absolutely know how to put together a luxury experience even though they are a chain.

If you aren’t familiar with the Jamaica-based Sandals chain aside from knowing that Michael Scott went to a Sandals with his boss Jan in an early episode of The Office, you might assume it’s kind of a cheesy resort chain. In fact, among Caribbean veterans Sandals is known for operating most of the nicest and most luxurious resorts on most of the larger and most popular islands. Their premium all-inclusive experience is included for all guests and it comes with premium wines, spirits, and gourmet cuisine at each resort. Most other all-inclusive resorts only include buffets and cheaper drinks, while charging extra for everything better. Sandals also has amazing beaches and pools at each location, so the higher price is worth it to those who can afford it.

11 Best luxury all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean

Sandals Grande St. Lucian

High season rates: US$882 – $2,929 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 12 restaurants
  • 7 bars (including swim-up bars)
  • 2 included golf courses
  • 5 pools, 3 whirlpools, 1 SCUBA pool

St. Lucia is considered one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands and the Sandals Grande St. Lucian is one of three Sandals resorts on St. Lucia. The main reason I chose this one is that it features 9 amazing overwater bungalows, which are also the only overwater bungalows in the Caribbean that aren’t on Jamaica. They are called Over-the-Water Honeymoon Butler Bungalows because you also get 24-hour butler service included in the room rate. Of course, they aren’t cheap.

The resort is on a stunning beach on a gentle bay with among the finest locations on the whole island. The least expensive room class is the Caribbean Walkout Deluxe, which also comes with all of the premium extras including free golf at the two nearby courses. These are a good choice for those who don’t spend a lot of time in their rooms, but there are many other options all the way up to Beachfront Butler Suites with Private Pools. This one also lands on our list of the best Caribbean resorts for honeymoons, by the way.

>>>Check rates at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian

Hotel Xcaret Arte – All Parks / All Fun Inclusive

High season rates: US$972 – $1,339 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • Adults only
  • Attached to an amazing luxury water park
  • 10 restaurants 2 coffee shops
  • 3 swim-up bars and 12 bars/lounges
  • 15 pools
  • Art gallery

Attached to the popular and famous naturally occurring Xcaret eco-archeological park, the Hotel Xcaret Arte is an adults-only luxury all-inclusive resort that just opened in 2021. It’s unlike any hotel or resort you’ve ever seen. Located a bit south of Playa del Carmen, the resort is cut out of a jungle along the Caribbean with stunning canals connecting the different sections, and guests are able to use kayaks or stand-up paddle boards to tour the place at their own pace.

If this sounds even a bit interesting you should watch a video of the place. It will be a bucket-list resort for many people while others may somehow not find it interesting at all. The reviews are excellent even though they only recently opened, although they do have experience because it’s adjacent to their other hotel that is more family friendly. Look for me at this one because I can’t wait to go myself.

>>>Check rates at the Hotel Xcaret Arte

Sandals South Coast Jamaica

High season rates: US$742 – $3,234 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 9 restaurants
  • 7 bars
  • 4 pools, 4 whirlpools
  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving and equipment

Located on an otherwise-secluded 2-mile stretch of beach south of Negril, Sandals South Coast is arguably the nicest Sandals resort on their home island of Jamaica. The South Coast resort features 12 Over the Water Butler Honeymoon Bungalows on a private pier, separated from the rest of the resort.

The other 348 rooms range from French Beachfront Deluxe rooms, which start at US$468 per couple in the low season, all the way up to the South Seas Swim-Up Rondoval Butler Suite with Private Pool Sanctuarys that start at US$1,484 in low season. And again, all guests get the same Premium All-Inclusive service that also includes all tips. This is my favorite of the Sandals resorts I’ve visited on Jamaica even though it requires a 90-minute (included) shuttle ride from Montego Bay Airport. It’s just so much more relaxed than the resorts near Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, mostly because it’s so secluded and large.

>>>Check rates at the Sandals South Coast Jamaica

Casa de Campo Resort and Villas – La Romana, DR

High season rates: US$657 – $4,542 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 3 Championship golf courses
  • 17 restaurants
  • Golf cart for every guest
  • Kayaking, volleyball, and hunting

Established as the first-ever resort in the Dominican Republic, Casa de Campo has expanded and was last rejuvenated in 2017. The resort has 183 guest rooms that range from 484 square feet up to Four bedroom villas that sleep 12 and are over 6,000 square feet. The larger villas are private and each has a pool and no shared walls with other villas.

This historic resort still gets phenomenal reviews from guests. The cheaper rooms here are some of the cheapest on this list, so it’s clearly great value. The property is so large that each guest gets their own golf cart for their stay. They have a large marina and even an equestrian center with regular polo matches. That should tell you more about the sort of place this is and why it’s popular with longtime guests who return each year.

>>>Check rates at the Casa de Campo Resort and Villas

Sandals Royal Caribbean – Montego Bay, Jamaica

High season rates: US$892 – $4,832 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 9 restaurants
  • 5 bars, including a swim-up bar
  • 8 pools, 6 whirlpools
  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving and equipment
  • Private offshore Island

With 17 amazing overwater bungalows off a small private island, the Sandals Royal Caribbean was the first in the whole region to open honeymoon-style overwater bungalows. I have toured them myself and they are among the nicest in the world with a private Jacuzzi or infinity pool in each among many luxury features. The other 200 or so rooms are more modest and range from the Royal Sanctuary Grande Luxes starting at US$588 per couple to the Beachfront Honeymoon One-Bedroom Walkout Butler Suite w/ Patio Tranquility Soaking Tubs started at US$1,152 per couple per night.

The good and bad parts of the Sandals Royal Caribbean are that it’s extremely close to the Montego Bay Airport. In fact, it’s almost adjacent to the end of the runway. Guests will hear jets taking off throughout the day, although ironically, it’s SO close that you only hear it for a few seconds before the plane is high and far enough away. You get used to it pretty quickly, although it may annoy some people. On the other hand, the included shuttle from the airport only takes a few minutes, so you can be checking into your room less than 15 minutes from when you get your luggage at the airport. That can be handy for shorter trips where time is precious.

>>>Check rates at the Sandals Royal Caribbean

Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma

High season rates: US$2,602 – $3,813 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 5 restaurants
  • 2 swim-up bars, 2 poolside bars, and a beach bar
  • 4 pools
  • Free beach cabanas and beach massages

The 30 gorgeous overwater bungalows at the Palafitos El Dorado Maroma have been spun off into their own mini-resort after starting as an extension of the rest of the resort on the beach. Each overwater bungalow comes with its own private plunge pool and jetted bathtub, so these are proper honeymoon-style overwater bungalows that did not cut any corners. They are also usually the cheapest honeymoon-style overwater bungalows in the Caribbean, and the only ones in Mexico.

The resort is located a bit north of Playa del Carmen, which puts it at only a bit over an hour by road from the Cancun Airport. This convenient location means that it’s the also the easiest place to reach with overwater bungalows for nearly everyone in the United States and Canada. Check out the reviews and you’ll see that this place is justifiably popular.

>>>Check rates at the Palafitos Overwater Bungalows

Sandals Royal Bahamian, Nassau, Bahamas

High season rates: US$726 – $1,688 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 10 restaurants
  • 8 bars, including 3 swim-up bars
  • 7 pools, 6 whirlpools
  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving and equipment
  • All amenities on private offshore island

Among the newest Sandals resorts having been fully updated and reopened in early 2022, the Sandals Royal Bahamian has 404 guest rooms on a stunning private turquoise beach near Nassau in the Bahamas. The most unique feature about this resort is Barefoot Cay, which is a private island about half a mile across the water in front of the resort, with shuttle boats bringing guests back and forth all day. Barefoot Cay has its own restaurant and pool, along with some of the best snorkeling in the area.

The East Bay Premium are the most affordable rooms starting at US$652 per couple per night, and of course you get all of the same Premium All-Inclusive amenities including full access to Barefoot Cay. The most expensive rooms are the West Bay One Bedroom Oceanview Swim-up Butler Suite with Patio Tranquility Soaking Tubs, starting at US$1,688 per night per couple. One of the best features of this Nassau location is that it’s the closest Sandals resort to the US and Canada, so it can be ideal for even a long weekend where time is tight.

>>>Check rates at the Sandals Royal Bahamian

Sandals Royal Plantation – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

High season rates: US$876 – $3,000 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 5 restaurants
  • 2 bars
  • 2 pools, 1 whirlpool
  • PADI-Certified SCUBA diving and equipment
  • Free green fees at nearby Sandals Golf Club
  • All butler, all suite

Among the smallest Sandals resorts with only 74 ocean-view suites, Sandals Royal Plantation just east of Ocho Rios is a more exclusive resort than most of their others as even the cheapest room category is a suite that includes butler service. Most other Sandals resorts tend to have around 300 rooms, and even though they are nicely spread out, they don’t have the boutique charm of a smaller resort like this.

The Royal Plantation feels more like a private resort due to the small size, and it evidently attracts more notable guests than most of the other Sandals resorts as a result. Afternoon tea is a big tradition here, and that should tell you something about the vibe, which is more relaxed and traditional and less focused on water sports and such.

>>>Check rates at the Sandals Royal Plantation

Jumby Bay Island – Oetker Collection – Antigua

High season rates: US$3,386 – $7,171 per night

Resort highlights

  • Only 28 suites total
  • 3 restaurants and bars
  • Waterskiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, kayaks etc.
  • 3 pools, 3 tennis courts
  • Golf course

Located just off the island of Antigua in the southern Caribbean, Jumby Bay Island has only 28 total suites so it’s the smallest and most exclusive resort on this list. The “cheaper” suites sleep two people and the more expensive ones sleep four, and those are your only choices of accommodation.

I’ve never been to this place and it’s unlikely I’ll ever see it in person, but when I came across it during my research it clearly stands out as a special place for those with bigger budgets. The reviews are phenomenal, which is a good sign at a place that charges as much as they do here.

>>>Check rates at the Jumby Bay Island Resort

Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana

High season rates: US$804 – $881 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • Beach butlers
  • 6 restaurants and 6 bars
  • Premium Top Shelf Wines & Liquors
  • Swimming pool with a lazy river, a waterslide, and cabanas
  • Swim-up suites

The Punta Cana area of the Dominican Republic has more all-inclusive resorts than anywhere else in the Caribbean, and the finest of them is the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana resort. It’s on a stunning private section of beach, but the magic seems to be in the quality of service that guests receive here. Similar to the Sandals resorts, the restaurants are excellent and even top-shelf wines and spirits are included for all guests.

Even the smallest rooms here are suites, with the Resort View Junior Suite Kings having 600 sq ft of space with a separate living room area. The reviews here are phenomenal, and considering the room rates, that is very promising because that means that expectations are being met or exceeded for guests paying close to US$1,000 per night.

>>>Check rates at the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana

Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya

High season rates: US$937 – $5,700 per night including tax

Resort highlights

  • 5 restaurants
  • 2 bars
  • 8 pools
  • Golf course

The 5-star luxury hotel chain Fairmont is not known for all-inclusive beach resorts, and that is probably the main reason why this place stands out so much in a crowded all-inclusive market along the Riviera Maya. Nearby all-inclusive resorts start as low as US$300 per night per room, and the fact that this place starts at triple that tells you a lot about what to expect.

The grounds are stunning as it’s carved out of the jungle and connected by lovely canals. The spa here seems to be one of the most popular features even though it’s not included in the room rate. There is also a nearby golf course, which can be included in certain packages. If you are looking for a high-class resort run by one of the best hotel chains on earth with a stunning location, this is a good place to start.

>>>Check rates at the Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya

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