15 best all-inclusive resorts for families

Booking an all-inclusive when you're travelling with kids is a no-brainer. Here, we break down our favourite, family-tested hot spots.

aerial shot of beautiful beach resort
Photo: Courtesy of Club Med

1. Club Med Cancún Yucatán 

Situated on the picturesque tip of the Riviera Maya, this all-inclusive is lined with three white, sandy beaches and is steps from the world’s second largest coral reef. Included in your stay is unlimited gourmet dining at one of the three on-site restaurants, unlimited snorkeling, sailing, water skiing, windsurfing, archery, flying trapeze, tennis and more. You’ll also have access to the Club Med kids clubs where little ones aged 4 to 17 can partake in kid-friendly activities run by registered childcare workers. If your kid isn’t quite old enough (they’re under 4), you can check out the on-demand services ranging from babysitting to the Petit Club Med club. In July 2018, the resort expanded their Aguamarina family area with an additional 60 rooms and a new ocean front pool. Rooms feature separate sleeping areas (so parents and kids can have their own private space) and spacious balconies so you can enjoy the ocean breeze after the little ones go to sleep.  clubmed.ca

lazy river with palm trees
Photo: Courtesy of Royalton Bavaro

2. Royalton Bavaro Punta Cana

Your water babies will quickly get into the swim of things at this new all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. At Royalton Bavaro, the biggest decision of their day will be splash pad or lazy river? As if the slides, fountains, tubes and 1,200 feet of winding river weren’t enough, bigger kids can also learn to surf on the FlowRider surf machine. Plus, parents with really little ones will appreciate the shade canopy at the kiddie pool, where everyone can cool off with an icy drink. Once they’re feeling sufficiently waterlogged, kids ages 4 to 12 can hang at the supervised Kids Club that boasts daily visits from beloved TV characters Max and Ruby, X-Box stations, an air hockey table, craft room and much more. While the kids are busy, parents can easily kill a few hours with a latte break at the coffee bar, a sweat shesh at the well-equipped gym or a visit to the on-site spa for a massage, facial or hydrotherapy circuit. Nine restaurants, plus a poolside food truck and 24-hour room service menu mean there’s something for everyone (even your pickiest eater!)—at any time, day or night. Sunwing Vacations will take care of all the details, from flights to hotel transfers, so that even Mom can get into beach-mode the minute you get the airport. (Did we mention you get a complimentary glass of bubby during the flight?!) sunwing.ca

Woodward facility at Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
Photo: Courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

3. Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

Mother and kids tourists visiting Venice, Italy Budget travel: 12 ways to save money on your next family vacationNo need to worry about your big kid or tween getting bored lying by the pool at Hard Rock Riviera Maya. An on-site Woodward facility means they can spend hours trying tricks at the skate park, launching off ramps on a BMX bike (available for rent), bouncing on trampolines, leaping into a foam pit or tackling a ninja-themed obstacle course. Kids who are more digitally inclined can film all the action on high-resolution cameras, or get some DJ experience through Hard Rock’s Music Lab program. Of course, you can’t go all the way to the Riviera Maya without spending some time in the water. The whole family can snorkel or kayak just off the beach in a protected cove, or the kids can swim and zip down the water slide in the expansive family-friendly pool. Need more ideas to keep them busy? Check out the fun at the Roxity Kids Club where little ones can play games and make music (they’ll go wild for boogie boards and Guitar Hero), while older kids can hang in The Cavern, a teen lounge and club that offers table hockey, movies and video games. With the kids preoccupied, parents can sneak off to the adults-only side of the resort (also known as Heaven) for a spa treatment, a yoga class or simply some time to lounge by a kid-free pool. Afterwards, meet up for dinner—you have your choice of Italian, Latin American, Japanese cuisine and more at the world-class restaurants—and finish off with a show on the big stage. hrhrivieramaya.com 

kids having a potato sack race at resort kids' club
Photo: Courtesy of Sunscape

4. Sunscape Curaçao

The beautiful Dutch island of Curaçao is know for it’s stunning beaches, which are tucked away into pretty coves, perfect for little ones taking their first dip in the ocean. Sunscape offers an Unlimited-Fun package, which includes a kids-only check-in experience, welcome snacks and resort passports for the little ones to get stamped while they’re exploring the grounds. The whole family can enjoy activities like snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, tennis and rock climbing. Looking for a change of scenery? The resort is located a 10-minute drive from the colourful and historic capital city of Willemstad (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), where there’s lots to explore from an Ostrich Farm to underwater Aquafari rides where kids can get to know the island’s marine life. This is the perfect home base for exploring one of the most interesting islands in the Caribbean. sunscaperesorts.com

parent with two kids looking over the ocean
Photo: Finest resorts

5. Finest Playa Mujeres

There are all-inclusive resorts and then there are luxury all-inclusives. Typically reserved for adult-only guests, this contemporary-style resort welcomes all ages, with spacious family suites that feature an additional room for children (and some even have their own private pool). Travelling with a baby? The resort will provide bottle sterilizers, a bottle warmer, baby monitor, high chair, baby bathtub and crib free of charge. They also offer a variety of naturally home-made purees that are gluten-free and made with 100 per cent fresh ingredients. Boredom isn’t really an option with a children’s pool with built-in playground, a babies and toddlers pool, mini theatre, kids’ plaza, paddleboarding, yoga, archery, zip lining, video games and more. Even the spa offers services for kids, like a Caribbean Princess treatment, which features a hand and foot scrub, colourful manicure and two sparkly braids. finestresorts.com

kids zone game room
Photo: Paradisus by Meliá

6. Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmerelda

A long-standing family resort, the Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda is best known for the luxury Family Concierge Junior Suites, which offer an upgraded all-inclusive experience. Guests will have access to a private heated pool with a swim-up bar, a private beach area with a beach concierge service, a multi-level lounge with air conditioning, quicker check-in and check-out, a stocked library, Wi-Fi, a daily continental breakfast buffet, all-day coffee and drinks and an afternoon drinks and aperitifs hour. Families will be assigned their own personal butler on arrival who can coordinate your check-in and check-out, pack and unpack your bags, make restaurant, spa or activity reservations as well as offer a turndown service for the kids with milk and cookies. Kids can hang out at the supervised Kids Zone and jungle gym or beginning December of 2018, they can play at the impressive waterpark with two large pools, five water slides, dumping buckets and smaller pool, which is perfect for toddlers to splash around in. melia.com

kids at a cupcake-making class
Photo: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

7. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

Your tiny tourists will get a taste of luxury at this lavish resort in Nuevo Vallarta. Located just 15-minutes from the airport, all-inclusive amenities include four à la carte restaurants, snorkelling, kayaking, boogie boards, a teens’ club, kids’ club and spacious suites with private terraces and ocean views. Travelling with a baby? The resort’s complimentary baby concierge treats even the tiniest of guests like VIPs, with everything you could possibly need (a crib, high chair, play mat, bottle warmer, rattle, teether, baby carrier, etc.) and more. You can even reserve a “My First Cut” package, which turns baby’s first haircut into a memorable experience for the whole family—they’ll even get a custom certificate.  vallarta.grandvelas.com

family on a catamaran
Photo: Barceló Resorts

8. Barceló Maya Beach Resort

When it comes to all-inclusive resorts, the Barceló Hotel Group are pros. This is a great option if you’ve never been to an all-inclusive or you’re travelling with kids for the first time. The resort boasts spacious family rooms that can sleep up to five people, a two kilometre stretch of white, sandy beach (perfect for family walks), the Barcy Kids Club (which has supervised activities for children ages 4 to 12), a new 18-hole miniature golf course, seven swimming pools, two water parks and access to three restaurants. There’s also a dolphinarium where kids can swim with dolphins, watch them under the water with a mask or give them a kiss, wave or hug. barcelo.com

boy walking along beach with flippers
Photo: Wyndham Reef Resort

9. Wyndham Reef Resort

The Cayman Islands has some of the most spectacular beaches in the Caribbean, but when it comes to all-inclusives, there aren’t a lot of options. Thankfully, the Wyndham Reef Resort offers families an all-inclusive package with meals and drinks so that you can enjoy a hassle-free vacation experience. Pack your schedule with bird and fish feeding, arts and crafts, bingo, movie nights and an array of water sports. Snorkelling cannot be missed. The island is famous for it and the crystal clear are filled with so many species of tropical fish your kids will think they’re living in Finding Nemo. Spot stingrays, eagle rays, blue tangs, queen angel fish, tarpon, and sergeant majors. You might be lucky enough to see a curious sea turtle. wyndhamcayman.com

kids playing on the beach
Photo: Courtesy of Simone Olivero

10. Windjammer Landing

Welcome to paradise. Seriously. Once you make your way down the windy road to Windjammer Landing, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived. The massive resort sits on a picturesque bay of crystal clear blue waters with a 64,000-square-foot stretch of white, sandy beach. The resort’s premium all-inclusive package gives your family access to everything on the property, including the five on-site restaurants (we recommend indulging in the fish tacos at Embers), water sports, room service and champagne by the glass—Hey, you’re on vacation too! Drop kids aged 4 to 12 off at The Jacquot Fun Club where they can partake in free activities like a lizard and crab hunt (yep, that’s a thing), mocktail mixing and tennis lessons. The Club also runs special events (for a small fee) like horseback riding and historical trips to Fort Rodney. If your littles aren’t quite old enough, hire a nanny (for an additional fee) who can give them some extra attention at the Club or take them on their own adventure while you relax and have some “me time” at the lavish Spa (book the room with the private Japanese soaker tub). Rooms at this resort come in a wide variety.

If you’re looking for a traditional accommodation, book at the Oceanview, where you can get one or two bedrooms rooms and suites, which are walkable to the beach, restaurants, lobby and the nearby pools. Larger families may want to book one of the impressive hillside villas, which will mean that you’ll spend a lot of time taking the 24-hour resort shuttle down to the beach, but it will be worth it for the spacious living areas, stunning views, kitchen facilities—and some even have private plunge pools! After you’ve finished exploring the property, head to Jammin’ Tours to book one of their full or half-day excursions that let you really experience everything this majestic island has to offer. A cruise (and snorkel!) by the Pitons is, of course, a must, but families can also experience a drive-in volcano (meaning, there’s no hiking required), mud baths, the picturesque Toraille Water Fall and Marigot Bay. windjammer-landing.com

kid splashing with parents on the beach
Photo: Courtesy of Travel Saint Lucia

11. Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa 

If you’re feeling a little intimidated by all of the massive properties in Saint Lucia, this resort may be your ticket. With just 76 rooms and suites, the hotel has a nice, intimate feel—and the beach is literally at your doorstep. The resort’s all-inclusive package includes access to Splash Island Water Park, a floating inflatable obstacle course with trampoline challenges, climbing walls, slides, swings, and more for kids aged 6 and up. At the Coral Kidz Club, little ones aged 4 to 12 can make friends with other guests (while mom and dad relax at the pool or partake in a free daily spa treatment as part of the all-inclusive package), playing table tennis or hitting the beach for crab races. While the resort features three bars and two restaurants serving up classic Caribbean fare, more adventurous guests can venture out to Rodney Bay as part of the Dine Around program, which offers meals at eight additional restaurants. Want to see more of the island? The hotel concierge can connect you with Cox Tours who organizes adventure-packed tours like horseback riding, helicopter sightseeing, “snuba” (a unique snorkel-scuba experience), zip-ling or a rainforest aerial tram. baygardensresorts.com

family walking along the beach
Photo: Beaches Turks & Caicos

12. Beaches Turks and Caicos

You’ll need a detailed itinerary to squeeze in all there is offered at this massive all-inclusive. Take your pick from a large selection of family-friendly suites (some come with separate kids’ rooms and private butler service!) and then fill your belly with gourmet pizza, tandoori chicken, coconut crumbled shrimp, Jamaican jerk pork and more from one of the 21 restaurants on the property. Situated on a spectacular 12-mile stretch of white, sandy beach, your family can make the most of the glittery, blue waters with access to SUP, windsurfing, snorkeling and scuba diving—at no extra charge. In the morning, treat your little ones to breakfast with Big Bird and the Sesame Street gang before heading over to the 27,000 square foot waterpark, with waterslides, kid-friendly splash pools, water cannons, whirlpools, a lazy river and a swim-up soda bar. There’s also a surf simulator where you can learn how to hang ten. Got the munchies? Grab some ice cream or gooey mac ‘n cheese from the food trucks parked right in the park, or take a break from the sun in the massive pirate ship diner where you can get hot dogs, PB&J sandwiches and banana splits on demand. If (gasp!) it should rain, you can take refuge in the Xbox Play Lounge where the entire family can get their Minecraft fix. In the evening, you’ll have your pick of entertainment, from productions of Alice in Wonderland and Treasure Island to movie nights in the pool and a tween-friendly disco where they can dance the night away. Want some solo parent time? The onsite kids camp caters to tots and teens (up to 17 years old) with certified childcare workers and activity-packed programs running from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Once they’re back and ready for bed, have Elmo or Abby tuck them in by booking a VIP Sesame Street bedtime service. Now that’s seriously a good night! beaches.com

family playing in the sand
Photo: Franklyn D. Resort & Spa

13. Franklyn D. Resort

What the all-inclusive FDR lacks in modern polish it makes up for with its casual, call-you-by-name vibe. And here’s the best part: A nanny comes with your stay. It’s not that you won’t see your kids; the resort is small, with four pools and one small beach. But it will be someone else’s job to watch them like a hawk while they tie dye in the kids’ centre or go down the waterslide for the 57th time. Read a book or have a long conversation with your spouse while your kids have a blast? Now that’s a vacation. (You do, however, need to pay extra if you need your nanny after 4 p.m.) There are fun free activities for kids ages two to 11 in the Yellow Bird Kids’ Club, including video games, movies and crafts. fdrholidays.com

kid at waterpark
Photo: Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts

14. Nickelodeon Hotel & Resorts Punta Cana 

The family that gets slimed together stays together at this Karisma-owned Dominican Republic resort, where your kids can meet Spongebob Squarepants, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Paw Patrol in the, uh, plush. The two halves of this expansive, all-inclusive resort are linked by a path and golf-cart shuttle. Stick to the west side sports complex and Aqua Nick water park (where you experience the aforementioned slime) for kid-focused fun. The east side, shared with sister resort Sensatori, is where you’ll find the well-appointed rooms, restaurants, the beach, a pristine infinity pool and Spongebob’s Pineapple Villa. Book a swim-up suite with a shared pool right off your patio, so your water bugs never actually have to get out of the pool. There are several restaurant options (including an excellent burger joint, BRGRS.PH) and a family-friendly buffet, stocked with baby food pouches and plenty of high chairs. The pretty rooms sleep up to six people. Let them know the age of your kids before you go, and they’ll set up the room with whatever you need (baby food, milk, a stroller, crib, bottle warmer, bathroom step stool, kids’ spa robes). The best part: downtime is totally yours once they see Just Kiddin’, an ages 4-12 club with  its very own curly slide into a ball pit, and tons of bean bags and pillows for kids who want to take a break from the sun and cool off. For younger babies and toddlers (accompanied by a parent), the kids’ club is open as an indoor play space for a few hours midday. nickresortspuntacana.com

family making "sand angels" on the beach
Photo: Club Med Punta Cana

15. Club Med Punta Cana

This all-inclusive resort is 10 minutes away from the airport, so the vacation starts (almost!) when you arrive. The staff are warm, welcoming and multicultural –they’ll greet you in several languages including French, English and Spanish. The resort has a complimentary Baby Welcome service for kids two and under (sign up when you book your trip). The service includes all the baby equipment you’ll need like a stroller, diaper-changing mat, baby bath and a pack ‘n’ play. Babies and toddlers from ages four months to two years can be cared for during the day for an additional fee, and kids ages four to 11 can participate in free daily activities like dance lessons and theatre classes at the included kids’ club. They’ll also love circus school (free with your stay), where they can learn trapeze, tightrope walking, and mask painting from Cirque du Soleil-trained performers. If you need a longer break, for an additional fee you can check kids four months and older into Pyjama Club, an evening babysitting service. Every night parents and babies can eat dinner together at The Baby Restaurant (located inside the kids’ club), but if you want to eat in the main restaurant, head to the baby corner, where food like yogurts and mashed fruits are available. The resort also has several 24-hour baby-care areas each with a blender, sterilizer, microwave, refrigerator and bottle warmer. (Formula isn’t provided so bring your own). Kids under four stay free and kids between four and 11 stay for up to 50 per cent off. clubmed.ca 

Some of the writers costs were covered.

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