We've enjoyed several all inclusive holidays in the past but I'm not sure that I've ever written about the all-inclusive experience. There are of course several positives the main one being that once the holiday has been payed for the holiday expenses are down to a minimum. In our boutique hotel there was only one restaurant and a small bar but they would both prove capable of keeping us fed and watered for the duration of our stay.
We could have three meals a day (that certainly wouldn't help any sensible eating regime) and for twelve hours (11.00 - 23.00 hrs) we were able to get our drinks from the bar. I said to my friend that I would happily buy him all the drinks he could manage (as long as they were locally made) for the duration of the holiday. Surprisingly he replied that he was thinking of making the same offer to me!
The locally made spirits were really not bad at all and as a bit of a challenge I decided to give them all a bit of a try. The scotch (locally made whiskey) was a little on the raw side & it was decidedly sweet. In fairness I do a enjoy my single malts so there was a fairly decent chance of me being critical of a local whiskey. On the other hand I found the gin fairly acceptable as a refreshing drink before dinner.
One night I asked for a rum and was offered a vanilla rum or a straightforward white rum. I must have seemed undecided (as I was!) and rather than getting impatient the bartender decided to offer me both! Perhaps, I thought, I need to be undecided more often! Interestingly the vanilla rum was measured - not something that I'd witnessed before - and probably an indication of its quality. Certainly on tasting it was beautifully smooth and pleasant to drink. Whereas the unmeasured white rum was more of a crude and harsh drink.
Now I'd hate you to think that all-inclusive holidays are only about alcohol consumption. Although I do need to add that the locally brewed draught beer was extremely good at quenching our thirst in the midday sun! All drinks including tea, coffee, soft drinks and water were readily available and drinks in the mini bar, where indicated on the in-room price list were also freely available. It was certainly a novelty to be able to sample drinks out of the mini bar - something that I would normally avoid due to the extreme mark up that normally takes place on such items.
Usually participants in all inclusive holidays have to wear some form of corporate identification to indicate their standing on the hotel's tariff, but on this occasion it proved not to be necessary. The staff just knew and it made the experience so much more pleasant. Having to wear a coloured wristband, as is the usual form, is not my cup of tea and I normally rebel by taking it off and flashing it from my pocket if the hotel staff demand my identification and right to free food and drink.
Of course the downside of the all inclusive regime is that there is a tendency to be cloistered in the resort with the resultant failure of experiencing the local culture. Certainly we'd fallen in to that trap when we visited Egypt and we were determined to get out and about and see life on the island. This resort hotel would happily prepare picnic lunches for their guests and although we took advantage of this for one day we also visited a local restaurant when we were visiting the north-west of the island and Port Louis (pronounced Lewis).
All inclusive holiday resorts have a real impact on the local economy as we experienced when we opted for a self catering holiday in Side, Turkey, with local rsestaurants struggling to get customers into their establishements because so many people are being fed and watered in the all inclusive resorts. It's something to think about when booking your holiday, but it is the case that there are several destinations where it's difficult to find a hotel offering anything other that full board / all inclusive resorts.
The bottom line is they can make for a very relaxing holiday and once paid for at home there's little or no need to carry money with you. Although if like us you like seeing the sights with local guides you will need cash to fund those ventures. There are good compromises and certainly our stay in Mauritius gave us he best of both worlds - the independent traveller and the pampered all-inclusive guest.