Tequila Tales from an All Inclusive Addict
October 20, 2012

Dining at All-inclusive Resorts

Dining at All-inclusive Resorts

​If you are new to all-inclusive resorts you are likely wondering about the food.  There’s a lot of mixed opinions and tons of reviews about the food at all-inclusive resorts.  And rightfully so – you can have food that may be some of the best you’ve ever had…or the exact opposite.

I’ve had both – I’ve had one of the best steak dinners and the best seafood at all-inclusive resorts that I’ve stayed at and I’ve had what I still laugh about…the wiener omelet at another very popular all-inclusive resort!    The wiener omelet by the way was ordered as sausage.  And when I was telling the story of my wiener omelet experience to a friend of mine who lives in Cancun, her comment was “You didn’t know that Mexican’s love wieners?”  No. I didn’t!

Food service quality will naturally differ with the price you pay for your resort. A 5-star gourmet quality resort will offer you well thought out gourmet choices for every meal and many of the luxury all-inclusive resorts now feature executive chefs as consultants.  A less expensive 3 star resort will usually rely on the basics and while the food itself is quality, the menu will be more along the lines of convenience and less choice.  Think of your favorite Michelin trained chef vs a Denny’s for example.

If food is high on your priority list, check out the restaurants that an all-inclusive has to offer and see how many are buffet and what the a la carte choices are and read reviews!

Reservations and restrictions – this is another area of concern at many all-inclusive resorts. Some resorts such as the Barcelo and Iberostar properties limit the number of a la carte reservations that guests can have during their stay.  Many all-inclusive resorts require reservations for all a la carte restaurants. They do that to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the guests they have.  Have you even showed up at a restaurant and been turned away because they are “full” when there’s easily 10 tables free?  When all-inclusive resorts are not at their peak occupancy they often only staff each restaurant to a certain level then take reservations to accommodate that staffing level…and yes, leave tables open.

Personally, I favor all-inclusive resorts that do not require reservations at the evening dining restaurants because flexibility when I’m on vacation is very important to me.  I don’t honestly know earlier in the day what I want to eat and when so for me, resorts such as Sandals, Couples, El Dorado, Secrets, Dreams and Excellence Resorts along with a few others offer me the beeper system so I can go and place my name on the list at the restaurant and I can go have a drink and my beeper lets me know when my table is ready.  That’s my kind of vacation.

I feel this is also the time to interject some of my thoughts about the buffets at all-inclusive resorts.  No two are alike!  And while I do not want to eat at a buffet restaurant three times each day, breakfast at the buffet restaurants is always the highlight of my morning! And sometimes it’s an easy way to slip into a restaurant for a quick bite to eat with a number of choices. My favorite all-inclusive resort buffets are Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, Iberostar Resorts, El Dorado Resorts and Riu Resorts – they all have a huge number of high-quality options and even if I stay for 10 days, I never tire of the buffet options.

I recommend thinking about food before you choose your all-inclusive resort because if you’re a foodie and food is going to make or break your vacation, you should only choose a resort that will give you what you want.  Choosing to stay at a really inexpensive resort where you won’t be happy with the food is a waste of the money you paid.

About Sharon

At Sunseekers Vacations, your All Inclusive Resorts Specialist, we have the pleasure of helping busy, time-stretched people who really need of a break, take the exact vacation they need.

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