We are in our busiest season. Here are a few tips on navigating dining at an all inclusive. The biggest tip I want to stress is to know the resort rules before you go, preferably before you even book. This should be a part of the decision making process. Make the decisions that will make you happy on your vacation.
Find out the dining reservations policy ahead of time. Different resorts have many different dining and reservations policies. Resorts within the same chain can even be different. All of the policies can be obtained ahead of time. Ask your travel agent or research it on-line. For example: Do you need to make reservations for the specialty restaurants each morning in the lobby? Is there a concierge in the hotel at your specific building where you can make them? Or are reservations not required? If you don’t want to get up and make reservations each morning, then don’t book a hotel where that is the policy. If room service is important to you, then book a hotel that offers it. Now keep in mind, I am talking about the specialty / a la carte restaurants, the buffets are usually open for longer hours and they do not require reservations.
When I stayed at Iberostar Paraiso Maya there was a concierge in our building right near our room. We told them when and where we wanted to eat and they took care of it. However, when I stayed at at Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, I went to the lobby each morning to make my dinner reservations for that night.
Dreams Resorts & Spas and Secrets Resorts & Spas do not require reservations. When I stayed at Dreams, we usually went to dinner a few minutes early to give our name. Most times our table was ready right away. If not, we just had a drink at the bar while we were waiting. Also, at Palladium Hotels & Resorts you do not need dining reservations. This works well since they are such a family friendly hotel and it can be challenging to plan an exact dinner time with small children.
RIU offers two dining times in each of their a la carte restaurants, and reservations do need to be made each morning for the restaurant and time you want.
Another side note. Men need long pants and appropriate footwear ( no flip flops) for many specialty restaurants in Mexico & the Caribbean, Make sure you pack a pair of pants and shoes so you do not miss out.
By doing a little research ahead of time and knowing what to expect will lead to some great dining and a great Apple Vacation!