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Antigua All Inclusive Resorts – What Exactly is Included?

by Nigel Trellis, on Mar 15, 2022 1:13:44 PM

Amidst Antigua’s tropical scenery are a myriad of all-inclusive resorts. Catering for couples, families, leisure vacationers, business travelers, weddings and honeymoons, the rates of most all-inclusive Antigua Resorts include your room, meals, snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Non-motorized water sports are also normally included if the resort is located on a beach and guests will usually have complimentary access to the resort gym, pool, and sports facilities where these exist.


The Island has quite a few hotel properties, private villas and Airbnb type accommodations that offer room only or bed and breakfast rates. However, most of the major resorts are strictly All Inclusive. At the time of writing, the top ten ranked resorts per TripAdvisor are all All-Inclusive. These are:

  1. Hermitage Bay
  2. Hammock Cove
  3. Galley Bay
  4. Curtain Bluff Resort
  5. Keyonna Beach Resort
  6. COCOS Hotel
  7. Blue Waters Resort and Spa
  8. Jumby Bay
  9. Cocobay Resort
  10. Escape at Nonsuch Bay

So, what exactly is included in the price of these hotels and where should you stay to get the best bang for your buck?

Generally, a higher price will mean that more facilities, amenities, and services are included. At the Sandals Grande for example, one of the premier all-inclusive resorts on the Island, the list of inclusions is staggering:


The “more you pay - more you get” rule however is not always hard and fast.  While smaller All-Inclusive properties on the Island may lack a long list of inclusions, their mesmerizing locations, luxurious plants, and unique concepts make them some of the most sought-after vacation spots in the Caribbean.


1.     Taxes and Gratuities

Antigua has a mandatory 14% sales tax on hotel accommodation, a required 10% service charge (staff tips) and a Tourism Guest Levy of US$5 per guest per night. All resorts add on the Tourism Guest Levy to their advertised rate, so you pay this in addition to your hotel bill, normally upon arrival.  However, when it comes to the 14% sales tax and the 10% service charge, the practices of All-Inclusive Resorts on the Island vary. Rates advertised by Hermitage Bay, Carlisle Bay and Jumby Bay for example do not include these charges, so expect an add-on of 24% when booking these resorts. Most of the other resorts advertise rates that include the sales tax and service charge.


2.     Food

Quality and variety in food will be among your top considerations when choosing where to invest your all-inclusive dollar in Antigua. Larger resorts will typically have multiple restaurants with different cuisine themes - Sandals for example has 11 and Galley Bay Resort has 4. Smaller resorts (Hermitage Bay, COCOS Hotel and Keyonna Beach Resort, for example) have a single restaurant but change their menus daily on a 5-to-7-day rotation. Each daily menu usually has a unique chef’s special for added variety.


Breakfast and lunch service at restaurants in some larger resorts tend to be buffet style while all meals tend to be served a la carte at the smaller, boutique resorts.

If you like munching between meals, you might want to check whether snack options are available at your chosen resort. Most properties will offer this in the form of beach or poolside grills.

Many properties have a private dining or dinner on the beach option. This however usually comes at an added cost.


If you have special dietary needs, the big plus with the smaller resorts is that you may be able to meet the chef personally and have him cater exactly to your specific requirements. In a larger resort you may well have to be content with what’s offered on the standard menu.

Finally, be on the lookout for the tendency in some resorts to up-charge for premium items like lobster, fillet mignon, jumbo shrimp etc…. When it comes to food quality and the all-inclusive rate, you will generally find that you do in fact “get what you pay for”. 


3.     Drinks

Much like meals, drinks are an essential part of an all-inclusive package. Typically, the rates at all-inclusive resorts include non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, house wine and water. Some resorts offer complimentary in room mini bars. Check out the downloadable table at the end of this post to see who offers what by way of standard drinks among the top ten All-Inclusive Resorts in Antigua.


When it comes to premium alcoholic drinks however, you will want to check whether your favorite top shelf brands are included. I am an avid Hennessy drinker and, to my dismay, on a recent stay at a top all-inclusive, this was not a part of the offering. We chose a random list of popular top shelf alcoholic drinks and checked to see what was carried as part of the all-inclusive package by the top 10 resorts on the island. Our findings are summarized below:


For wine aficionados, you will find that most of the top resorts offer a decent mid-range house wine package, that is the wines included in the rate you pay. If you want a premium or vintage bottle however, you will in most cases have to purchase this from a separate paid wine list.



4.     Activities and Amenities


The range of activities offered at a resort often depends on its size and on the type of demographic to which it caters. The adults-only resorts for example tend to be more laid back and low key, catering to a clientele that usually wants wellness and relaxation from their vacation. Curtain Bluff, by contrast, is a family resort and the rate there includes a long list of activities ranging from tennis courts, waterskiing, squash and basketball courts to Aerobics, Yoga and Pilates. Family Resorts will usually have childcare services for younger children and scheduled clubs and activities for the older ones. Childcare cost is not always included in the rate so be sure to check with your potential resort on this.


Because Antigua has so many beaches, almost every resort will offer at least a selection of non-motorized water sports, and other beach related amenities as part of the all-inclusive rate. Motorized water-sports like jet skis and power boating will usually come at an extra cost and are mostly provided on the beachfronts by independent vendors.


5.     Entertainment


Antigua is best suited for travelers who are looking for a laid-back vacation in a serene, tropical environment. Many of the top all-inclusive properties offer evening entertainment that is low key and intimate. Expect the likes of live pianists, saxophonists, and cultural steel pan performers during dinner. After dinner there may be dancing to a live performing band, the size and loudness of which will often be in sync with the size and nature of the resort.

Nightly entertainment on site is always included in your package.


6.     Service Inclusions


Almost every all-inclusive resort will include the following services as part of the rate you pay:

  • 24-hour concierge/front desk
  • Free WIFI
  • Turndown service
  • Daily maid service


Less certain to be included are:

  • Room service for meals (a delivery fee may sometimes apply)
  • Childcare (often not included unless you stay at one of the top properties like Jumby Bay)

The general rationale behind of all-inclusive vacations is that the less you have to worry about while vacationing, the better it is for you. However, because there is no universal standard as regards what is and what is not included in the rate, it is in the interest of every traveler to check with the resort about things which could possibly make or break their holiday.

To give you a bit of help in this regard we have compiled the below summary of the top ten all-inclusive properties on Antigua and done a comparison to show how they measure up to each other in terms of what is or is not included in the rate. Hopefully this helps answer at least some of your questions.

Download AI Resort Info

Topics:Antigua ResortsAntigua HotelsAntigua All Inclusive Resorts


About The COCOS Hotel Blog

COCOS Hotel is a rustic, romantic, scenic boutique resort located in the Caribbean Island of Antigua. We cater to adult couples who are seeking a unique vacation filled with romance, relaxation and different cultural experiences. We are also popular with honeymooners and couples seeking an affordable destination wedding.

Our  Blog aims to inform and educate you in a frank and objective manner not only about COCOS Hotel but also about the other resort options available in Antigua and the wider Caribbean.

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