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We booked an all-inclusive resort for a week, why it was worth it – Business Insider

My husband and I love traveling together despite our sometimes conflicting definitions of vacation. I like to read with a cocktail in hand while he enjoys flying through the trees on a zip line.
We thought we’d found the best of both worlds when we discovered Hotel Xcaret Arte in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
The adults-only resort is an “all-fun inclusive” where access to adventure parks and excursions is included in the nightly rate. It seemed like the perfect place to relax and get an adrenaline rush.
We paid about $5,467 for seven nights. We were hesitant to spend that much on vacation, but a few things made the stay worth it.
We felt like VIPs when the big black Hotel Xcaret Arte bus picked us up from the airport dropped us off at the resort.
A group of hotel employees welcomed us, each carrying chilled towels and paletas (Mexican popsicles) to help us refresh. We were also introduced to our private welcome concierge, a perk every guest receives.
Just when I thought our greeting couldn’t get any better, we were upgraded from a garden suite to an ocean-view suite.
Hotel Xcaret Arte labels all its rooms as suites for good reason.
Each spacious accommodation features a balcony with two hammocks and a cute seating area inside.
Our suite also had a huge rain shower and a whirlpool tub. It faced the ocean, though we could’ve also upgraded to a swim-up suite or one shrouded by the lush greenery the Yucatán Peninsula is known for.
The service was excellent, too. The hotel provided every toiletry we could’ve needed, and staff refilled them whenever we were running low. I especially loved the bubble bath.
Each night, we found small artisan-made baskets filled with traditional Mexican candies in our suite.
As a foodie, I’m typically wary of all-inclusive properties. Because food (often all-you-can-eat) is included in the price, the quality isn’t always the highest.
But I was blown away by Hotel Xcaret Arte’s culinary options.
The main buffet transported me to a Mexican market with colorful decor and even more colorful dishes to taste.
We enjoyed two multicourse tasting menus, one designed by a Michelin-starred chef. They likely would have cost hundreds of dollars each if they had not been included.
A personal highlight for me was that my kale-hating, carnivore husband tried the 100% vegan restaurant on-site and liked it.
The hotel’s drinks impressed me, too. The cocktails featured real fruit — not the sugary mixes that are standard at many other all-inclusive resorts.
The hotel is woven into the native landscape, so there are natural bodies of water throughout the property for paddleboarding or kayaking.
Each of the five buildings on the property also offers artistic or cultural workshops based on its name.
For example, Casa del Diseño, the design building, featured textile workshops where we made coasters and learned about local weaving traditions.
Our Hotel Xcaret Arte stay also included off-site excursions and adventures.
My husband loved our visit to Xavage Park, which has ropes courses, zip-line circuits, ATV adventure courses, and more. I especially loved the tour that took us off-property to three cenotes (nautral swimming holes).
It would’ve cost us over $2,000 out of pocket to visit all the attractions we had complimentary access to during our stay.
We visited during spring break and the Cancún airport was super busy when we arrived. It made me nervous about how crowded the resort might feel, but it was surprisingly peaceful.
During the day, there was no battle royale for pool chairs, probably because each building has its own rooftop infinity pool and bar and the resort has so many activities and workshops available.
Speaking of the pools, I’d be remiss not to mention that the rooftop ones had personal pool butlers to keep sunscreen and chilled towels coming all day.
Quite honestly, we left thinking our stay was a great deal.
The personalized service, authentic cuisine, amenities, and off-site excursions we received would have cost us well over $781 a day if we hadn’t gotten them with our stay.
Plus, we got exactly what we wanted out of the vacation: relaxation and adventure.
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