The All-Inclusive Resort Experience

Ahhhh the all-inclusive resort, such an American tradition, eat all you want, drink all you want, it’s all about the excess. Of course on my trip to Mexico I knew I had to try one, and where better to try one than Cancun. Here’s my post on the all-inclusive resort experience.

We stayed at the Grand Park Royal Cancun; it’s located in the resort/hotel zone in Cancun. As mentioned in a previous post it cost us NZ$681 per person as we received a discount from Expedia.

At check in they give you a wristband, this is to identify that you are all-inclusive and you have to wear it your entire stay. We were early for our room, but they stored our luggage and we headed to the buffet to sample lunch.

All of our food and drink, including alcohol was covered by the all-inclusive; however it seems like upon reflection we managed to end up at one of the resorts with a not-so-great offering. I’d heard stories of people’s mini bars being stoked with unlimited spirits, but ours just had soft drinks and two very cheap looking beers. That was mildly disappointing but as we expected to not spend a lot of time in the room it didn’t really bother us.


There are two pool bars, the swim up one was attracting more of a younger party crowd but unfortunately while we were there the wind made it too cold to sit there which was disappointing. The drinks at the pools were pretty strongly mixed with very obviously the cheapest alcohol available. We stuck to the frozen strawberry daiquiri as they were the best thing on the list.

The All-Inclusive Resort Experience| Serensays.comWe were advised that the roof top bar was the best for the evening sunset views so we headed there for drinks before dinner most nights. It had very cool lounge furniture and was mostly empty a lot of the time so we usually had it to ourselves.

The other bar was a lounge bar, and once upon a time it would have been very funky. The bar itself was sunken into the floor; however the decor now looks very dated which is a shame. They were the only bar to offer a cocktail list so we could actually try something different! This bar was really quiet the whole time we were there.


We knew from the beginning that we needed reservations to get into the À la carte restaurants so one the first day we made sure to lock them in. They have a Thai, Mexican and Italian restaurants on site as well as a buffet one which runs breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The All-Inclusive Resort Experience| Serensays.comEl Oriental is multi levelled and it feels like you’re in a glamorous jungle with greenery all around the walls and the sound of trickling water. It’s the largest restaurant at the resort and as such it has a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. The food here was really tasty, although the wine was questionable. One of the odd things we witnessed was one table walk out as soon as all their food arrived!

The next night we went to the Italian restaurant, El Mirador which is located underneath the rooftop bar. This is smaller than El Oriental but the food was still incredibly tasty. We also enjoyed a welcome drink on arrival which was a nice touch.

The All-Inclusive Resort Experience| Serensays.comThe final night we went to El Concha which was the Mexican restaurant. We’d already been here for breakfast as we worked out they had bacon on the menu which wasn’t included at the buffet breakfast! When you walk in you are faced with a huge variety of tequila which are handed out to guests. Unfortunately whilst it boasts stunning ocean views, the food was extremely average. We witnessed one group leave after they’d tasted the food and another asked us on our way out if it was worth it, we advised them no.


Yes! It’s very cool being able to just order what you want when you want it; however I highly recommend you choose a different resort to the one we went to. I’ve heard other resorts have higher quality all-inclusive offers, so it pays to do your research before you book. When I head back, I’ll be booking into a different place!


  • Make sure you tip the bartenders and waiters for better drinks and faster service (we learnt the hard way!)
  • The alcohol is poured liberally but it isn’t top shelf stuff, so be careful.
  • Book the restaurants as soon as you arrive, (or before if possible) as they have better food than the buffet.
  • Try everything! You’ve paid for it so sample all the food, drinks and activities (if included) on offer.





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