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All-inclusive resorts are big business, and for good reason. For one fee, guests enjoy lodging, food, drinks, and other amenities without worrying about every purchase. What’s not to love? Why not go one step further and buy into all-inclusive timeshares? These seem like an even better deal. The internet is full of such offers and the fees seem impossibly low. A week in Cabo for $300? Wow! But what’s the real deal on all-inclusive timeshares?
Like traditional timeshares, you buy into an all-inclusive timeshare and you get all the perks and amenities on top of that. But like so many timeshare pitches before it, you have to look more closely. According to Tammy Levent of Travel Pulse, “While at first glance it may seem like these all-inclusive resorts are offering clients a deal, once all of the fees are factored in the financial bottom line is drastically different than what was initially presented.”
And we’re not talking about maintenance fees and special assessments. May we present to you the mandatory all-inclusive fee. On top of that initial low fee, guests at these resorts must pay a daily per person fee. These fees vary from resort to resort, but can easily reach $150 per person per day. Of course, the sales pitch doesn’t focus on that part. So, a couple staying for a week at a resort with a daily fee of $150 would pay $2100 on top of the weekly fee. That doesn’t sound like much of a deal to us.
The “all” in all-inclusive varies by resort. Usually, it includes food, drinks, and some or all activities. However, many services and amenities will cost you an extra fee. Add those to the price and this deal is getting worse by the minute. So, take time to read the fine print to see what you’re really getting and avoid disappointment when you arrive.
Luckily, meals and drinks are almost always included. However, keep in mind that your fee only covers food at the resort. So, you need to make sure the resort offers the dining experiences you want. Are you looking for fine dining? Casual? Poolside? Make sure the resort offers these. And while you’re at it, make sure there’s a variety. Imagine eating at the same restaurant every day. You may get bored. If you have special dietary restrictions, make sure the resort can accommodate those, too. There’s nothing worse than having a shellfish allergy when your only option is a seafood restaurant that you’re spending $100 a day to eat at!
Most resorts offer activities like windsurfing, sight-seeing tours, or golf. However, these activities may not be included in that “all”. So, if you need to pay for 18 holes, that’s another fee to tack on to the price of your vacation. And what’s a luxury resort without a spa? Make sure the cost of your massage is included or you’ll find yourself shelling out even more. Not very relaxing.
All-inclusive timeshares often include quite a lot, which can be a great value. But if you are a light-eater and not a heavy drinker, you may find that an a la carte situation makes more sense. If you love experiencing the local culture and cuisine, you’ll be spending time away from the resort—and paying for it. And that means you’re paying more in fees than you’re using at the resort. This, of course, is how these places make a profit.
The all-inclusive experience is certainly a luxury vacation, but they aren’t for everyone and there’s no need to buy into a timeshare to get it. Just book a week in Punta Cana this year and then head to Bali next year. All the luxury and variety with none of the risks of timeshare ownership.
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