Now that several parts of the Great White North are covered in the Great White Stuff, you might be feverishly Googling the best all-inclusive Caribbean family resorts to satisfy your vitamin D needs this winter.
With so many tropical countries from which to choose, and resorts offering a huge variety of amenities, it can be a daunting task narrowing it down to a few resorts that’ll work best for your family.
6 best Caribbean family resorts of 2017
- Club Med Punta Cana | $$
- The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun | $
- Hard Rock Cancun | $$
- Beaches Negril | $$$
- Jewel Runaway Bay | $
- Royalton Riviera Cancun | $
Whether you’re looking for a resort with a killer waterpark, superb kids’ club, the yummiest à la carte restaurants or butler service complete with private pool-side cabanas — or all four combined — this list of the 6 best all-inclusive Caribbean family resorts offers options for a variety of budgets.
1. Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
There’s no resort experience quite like Club Med. It’s the all-inclusive original, and its enduring spirit and signature dances are carried out from one resort to the next all around the world thanks to some of the most delightful staff members (called G.O.s) you’ll meet anywhere.
Club Med Punta Cana is only 10 minutes from the airport and is situated on a beautiful stretch of beach with the calmest ocean water you’ll find in the area, making it perfect for even the tiniest toddlers. Speaking of children, the kids’ programming is best-in-class and infant care is available. And despite having only a couple of buffet restaurants, the international chefs will wow you with a foodie delight at every meal.
Club Med is the kind of place that forever leaves an imprint on your heart.
2. The Grand at Moon Palace Cancun, Mexico
While the Riviera Cancun isn’t what I’d recommend for those who MUST be in an ocean every single day, when you have a resort like The Grand at Moon Palace make up for it with out-of-this-world restaurants and more pools than you could try during a one-week stay, it has to be short-listed. It’s also a short ride from the airport.
Hard-core food snobs will rejoice visiting the à la cartes at The Grand, where authentic food and décor for cuisines such as Lebanese, Peruvian and Italian will best many of the restaurants you’d find in big, food-friendly cities like Toronto or New York.
Once The Grand’s waterpark fully opens on December 31, 2017, the kids’ complex — which includes the Playroom, housing an arcade, two-floor obstacle course, bumper cars, a mirror maze and more — will be second to none.
3. Hard Rock Cancun, Mexico
While Hard Rock Cancun does offer a kids’ club for children ages 4 to 12, it’s not the kind of resort I’d recommend for families with really young kids. It’s definitely more suitable for those with tweens and teens who are comfortable venturing out a bit on their own and who can handle a rougher ocean.
There’s no waterpark but the pools are hopping with activities and loud music, making every moment of the day a big party. Families would have a blast with the once-a-week Jam Session, where you learn to play an instrument (or sing) in an hour and then perform for everyone in the pool. Plus the beach is jaw-droppingly gorgeous — with turquoise water and big, fun waves that are guaranteed to eat your sunglasses.
4. Beaches Negril, Jamaica
The Beaches Resort in Turks & Caicos tends to get a lot of love, but I actually prefer the Negril property — even though it’s a winding two-hour ride from the airport. With sunsets that will take your breath away and a compact footprint that makes keeping your kids in sight a heck of a lot easier, Beaches Negril sits on one of the world’s most pristine beaches and offers incredible service, outstanding child care and food you’ll still love by day seven. It also typically costs a bit less than its sister resort in Grace Bay.
If you’re looking to splurge and make it a true luxury family vacation, you can book a butler suite. You’ll be in the nicest room category, and it’ll come with your own personal butler who will tend to your every desire — including unpacking for you. This is also the only way to access the coveted cabanas.
5. Jewel Runaway Bay, Jamaica
A buffet with legit Jamaican food choices like jerk chicken and ackee, a waterpark that will keep kids of all ages entertained for hours and a spectacular beach. It’s these reasons and more why we’d return to Jewel Runaway Bay in a heartbeat.
Sure, it takes an hour to get there from the Montego Bay airport and the rooms could use an update, but the service is top-notch and your whole family will find something they love about it. Because mimosas definitely belong in splash pads.
6. Royalton Riviera Cancun, Mexico
Only 15 minutes from the airport, we like this resort so much that we’ve gone twice. Built amidst a mangrove jungle, the Royalton Cancun is pretty secluded, and that means we feel safer letting our kids run off to get an ice cream or hit the water park with less supervision than we’d allow elsewhere.
Even the most basic rooms are excellent, and have the unusual ability to easily accommodate a family of five without needing to upgrade to a suite. There are great shows every night, like fire dancers, and a big Mexican marketplace once a week so you can do all of your souvenir shopping onsite — bargaining encouraged! Find some time to go to the spa. Trust me on this one. The water therapy alone is worth it.
The only thing left to do now is pick a resort and pack like a pro.
Disclosure: Consideration may have been provided by brands mentioned in this post.