Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati
Outside of Europe, some Caribbean hotels offer the option to vacation sans the beloved all-inclusive meal plan. Known as the European meal plan, food and beverages are not included in the price of your vacation package and paid for as if you were eating out at a regular restaurant back home. This type of resort appeals to a variety of travellers. Oftentimes, travellers have experienced all-inclusive vacations many times before and are looking for an alternative in a more exotic destination or just a different way of exploring popular destinations like the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Sometimes these European plan hotels appeal to higher budget clients, “foodies”, those who want to eat at local restaurants, or those who are not big drinkers and don’t benefit from “all-you-can-drink” alcoholic beverages. Hotels without a meal plan allow you to experience the Caribbean differently. With the help of travel expert Nicolle Kirk, who recommended these European plan hotels in the Caribbean, we bring you 10 options to consider:
1. Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies
Four Seasons Resort Nevis is the definition of a luxury resort in the Caribbean, with an AAA Five Diamond rating. The small town of Nevis is one of the Caribbean’s most magical islands with clean air and blue skies, friendly people, pro golf courses, historic plantations, and sweeping mountainsides. With 196 guest rooms and suites, 40 private residence rentals with up to six bedrooms, there are accommodations to suit every style. The resort boasts three infinity pools, cabana-style beach houses equipped with a covered living room, telephone (room service please!), open-air sundecks with lounges and a complete entertainment system, a 24-hour fitness center, and full-service spa and salon. There are also five restaurants to choose from, in addition to in-room dining. But the best part of all is you can join a Four Seasons Chef and a Nevisian dive master for a tank dive to catch an elusive lobster and return to shore for a feast!
2. St Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
The sophisticated St Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico is known for its acclaimed cuisine and designation as the only AAA Five Diamond Resort in Puerto Rico. Located on an unspoiled beach with cabana rentals available, the hotel boasts 139 rooms with private terraces and ocean views, butler service, and three restaurants plus the St Regis Bar. Get pampered at the spa, go for a dip in the seaside pool or soak in the warm outdoor whirlpool. Stay active on the Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, in the tennis center, or make use of the jogging path and picnic area in the nature trails. St Regis Bahia Beach Resort offers experiences like pairing iced teas from around the world with fruit skewers, champagne sabering, and s’mores and stories for children by the outdoor fireplace. Now that’s comfort – and luxury.
3. Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman
Indulge in the finest vacation experience at the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman, situated on 144 acres along the pristine Seven Mile Beach. Treat yourself to a signature spa treatment at la prairie spa, gourmet cuisine in five restaurants plus Blue by Eric Ripert, which boasts a locally-caught seafood menu with wine and champagne tasting options. Enjoy movies under the stars, the Starfish Cay water attraction, tennis courts, a fitness center, and the Ritz Carlton Golf Club for mom and dad. Foodies can enjoy cooking classes and demonstrations in the Culinary Studio and create multi-coursed meals or decadent pastries with a chef.
4. Viceroy, Anguilla
This contemporary resort on Meads Bay Beach features three pools, including a saltwater adults-only infinity pool overlooking the sea, an 8,000 square foot oceanfront spa, fitness center, and five restaurants and lounges. Coba, the signature restaurant, offers views of Barnes Bay and Meads Bay and serves prime meats and fresh seafood to perfection. Rooms, suites, villas, and residences are available. For those looking to splurge, beachfront villas include private outdoor spaces with a pool, sundeck, and kitchen and dining spaces. Viceroy is a fantastic place for family vacations, with teen activities like a media center, drum lessons, cooking classes, and parties, as well as face painting, sand castles, cupcake decorating, and treasure hunts for the younger ones. The resort is also equipped with a water play area for children, rock climbing, tennis and basketball courts, and complementary non-motorized sports at the Sea Centre.
5. Beaches Turks and Caicos
Beaches Turks and Caicos offers visitors a choice of an all-inclusive meal plan or European meal plan. The resort offers an impressive variety of 20 international restaurants from cafes to pizzerias to fine dining, so no picky eater or epicurean will go unsatisfied. There is something to suit your price point, desired ambiance, and favourite cuisine here. Aside from dining options, Beaches Turks and Caicos has four villages boasting unique characteristics of Italy, France, the Caribbean, and Key West in addition to a 12-mile beach and 45,000 square foot waterpark. Activities for kids range from Sesame Street characters to an Xbox Play Lounge and teen disco.
6. Atlantis, Bahamas
With a remarkable 21 restaurants to choose from, ranging from fine dining to quick eats, Atlantis offers every dining choice under the sun. Atlantis is the place for fun-filled adventures. With the 141-acre waterpark Aquaventure, Dolphin Cay and marine habitat, casino, golf, shopping, spa, tennis, rock climbing, basketball, and scuba diving, not to mention swimming in the beach or pools, there is never a dull moment at Atlantis Paradise Island. Meal plans are available for an enhanced experience, however full access to the water park, marine life habitats and beach area are included. Some visitors to the Bahamas who are staying at a different resort even choose to visit Atlantis for a day to experience its world-class amenities.
7. Half Moon Club, Jamaica
Located on the north coast of Jamaica, this 400-acre natural paradise features 197 rooms, suites, cottages, and villas, white sand beaches, six fine-dining restaurants, and an 18-hole championship golf course. The Half Moon Club Golf Course was named Jamaica’s Best Golf Resort in 2014 at the World Golf Awards. The resort also has tennis courts, a fitness center, the Fern Tree Spa, a natural Dolphin Lagoon to meet, swim and kiss the dolphins, and an Equestrian Center with 28 horses. For children, Half Moon Club is home to a whimsical village with puppet shows, a jungle gym, sand box, wading pool, and more.
8. Bitter End Yacht Club, British Virgin Islands
In the idyllic setting of the British Virgin Islands, an island retreat at Bitter End Yacht Club is complimented by beachfront and garden view cottages, a fresh water pool, and hiking trails. Watersports like catamaran rides, windsurfing, and kayaking are available as well as snorkeling trips. Guests can dine at the three restaurants, bakery, and poolside bar, or arrange private dinners with wine pairings for special occasions. The three beaches are fully equipped with lounge chairs and private cabanas to ensure you have just the right balance of sun and shade while you work on your tan.
9. Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
This La Romana hotel features comfortable rooms and villas – garden or oceanfront – that boast full living and dining rooms, kitchens, and up to 7 bedrooms, the perfect home away from home for large family vacations. You’ll also find 90 holes of golf, 13 tennis courts, a spa, and water sports like deep-sea fishing, sailing, and kayaking. Casa de Campo is known for its Equestrian Center and Shooting Center, as well as the Marina with colourful architecture and numerous shops and restaurants. On-site, you’ll get to enjoy cuisine from four restaurants, ranging from seafood to grill to Mediterranean themes.
10. Hard Rock Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Spacious rockin’ hotel suites are equipped with your own liquor dispenser and private balcony at this hotel, not to mention amenities like a 45,000 square foot casino with the Dominican Republic’s largest sports book and high-limit tournaments, and a Nicklaus-designed 18-hole championship golf course. The Hard Rock Punta Cana also boasts tennis courts, 13 pools, a kid’s program with activities like mini-golf, an arcade center, and rock climbing wall, a revitalizing spa and salon, fitness center, and shopping. You’ll be treated like a rock star and impressed by the gastronomy while you’re experiencing it all: 12 restaurants are available to satisfy every craving, from a breakfast cocktail or a quick snack to Caribbean cuisine or brick-oven pizza and even post-dinner ice cream.
Hotels without a meal plan are perfect for celebrations or special vacations that call for a unique experience. Tired of all-inclusives or want to get out there and explore the local restaurants? Not in the mood to indulge in all-you-can-eat buffets and limitless alcohol? These European plan hotels may be for you. Consult your travel agent for more information about these resorts and to learn if the price points are within your budget.