Why We Often Only Book One Night at All-Inclusive Resorts

Source: Linda Kurtzweil

One of the advantages of going to an all-inclusive resort is that it’s easy to stay on budget. You can eat and drink as much as you want without worrying how much the bill will be at the end of your stay.

There are lots of all-inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya and we often book a night at one — especially during the low season when the rates are better.

Why a Single Night?

For the budget-conscious retirees living on a fixed income, this option definitely gives us the most bang for our buck. Although we’re only staying a single night, we’re really getting two days at the resort because we show up early the first day and leave late the second.

When resorts say that their check-in time is 3:00 PM and check-out is 12:00 PM, they’re referring only to your access to your room, not the property. From the moment we arrive until we leave, we’re permitted to eat, drink and enjoy the facilities.

When we check out the next morning, we always ask the front desk how long we can hang around and the answer usually falls somewhere between 5:00 PM– 9:00 PM. That’s plenty of time to enjoy a second day at the beach.

Maximizing the Savings

We have found that hotel reward programs through booking sites like Expedia and Orbitz, are the best way to get the most bang for our buck. These programs don’t cost you anything; however, they award you points every time you book a trip through the site. Those points can be used to save you money on future trips.

On Friday, we used our points to book a basic room at an all-inclusive resort about 15 minutes from our condo. The room was $227 a night (total for two adults) but we redeemed some of our reward points and got it for $31.97 USD.

Another advantage of becoming a member of a booking site is that it often gets you free perks and upgrades. Once we arrived at the resort, we were upgraded to a nice suite which had a separate living room and two bathrooms.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Living on a strict budget in Mexico doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy life to the fullest — we just have to be smart about how we spend our money.

Although our annual income is only a fraction of what it used to be when we were both working, our quality of life is far superior. We would never be able to live this well and do all the things we do on our income if we had stayed in the United States.


Here are a few pics from our latest trip to an all-inclusive (Barceló Maya Palace). You can click on the thumbnail to see the full size image.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

21 Comments on "Why We Often Only Book One Night at All-Inclusive Resorts"

  1. All of the all-inclusives I have seen have minimum stay of 2-3 nights. How were you able to stay one?

    • We have never encountered an all-inclusive with a minimum stay. We just plug a single date into Expedia and voila — plenty to choose from. There are always more to choose from during the low season when hotel occupancy is down.

  2. Do you recommend any all inclusive resorts? Where did you just stay?

    • There are lots of excellent ones to choose from. The last one was the Barceló Maya Palace and we liked it a lot.

  3. Wow that is a really nice place. Thanks for sharing the photos and the info. Do the time sharks ever get you? They are so smooth you often don’t know your being got until its too late or nearly too late. It is really the biggest draw back for me to want to travel, and you sure don’t know who to trust and not to trust.

  4. Looks great and what a fantastic idea. Never thought of staying late. I aleays thought when they say check-out by noon it meant you had to be off the property by then. Learned something today. Thanks.

  5. Beautiful! We love the Palace resorts and we also use Expedia for booking 90% of our travel. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Gary Moore, regarding your statement about trust, maybe I can allay some of your fears. Our first stay in the Riveria Maya we stayed at Secrets Maroma. My husband plays water volleyball daily and rings are always lost in the pool (perhaps sunscreen loosens them up). My husband always leaves his diamond-rimmed wedding band in the room. Well on that trip, we took our shuttle to the airport to leave Mexico and once there realized he’d left his ring in the room. We called the resort in a panic. They already had the ring in the hotel safe because our housekeeping had just turned it. The resort Fed EX’d us our ring to the United States with insurance. Needless to say, we were impressed and “hooked” because we went back 14 times. I’m not sure if that had happened in our city of San Antonio, if it would be turned in. Who knows.

  7. Chris, although Paul is by far the best person to answer your question (Do you recommend any all inclusive resorts?), if want another opinion as well, we have stayed at Secrets Akumal 3 times and it was lovely. This resort is south of Playa Del Carmen so it’s further from the Cancun airport. That makes the pricing better than it’s sister resort north of Playa called Secrets Maroma. If money is not an issue or if you’re celebrating a big event, that one is our fave. The beach is more private, larger, and has softer sand than some the others. I would avoid Secrets Capri for example. The restaurants are great, the shows are entertaining, and the hotel is attractive but that beach is non existent. We feel extremely safe and pampered at the all-inclusives. We have not tried another chain because we had good luck with Secrets and because of the amazing honestly that we were shown in my story above with the lost wedding ring. Also, if I’m doing my math right we’ve had about 750 meals now at Secrets resorts on the Riviera Maya and have never had food poisoning, and that includes LOTS of “raw” cerviche and sushi. In fact, I have drunk the water right out of the tap to swallow medicine, etc. there in our room with no issues (although bottled water abounds). I think the all-inclusiveness have their own de-salinization plants perhaps (Paul?) and the tap water is purified.

  8. Oh wow! We stayed in that room at Barcelo Mayan Palace, too! They had overbooked the resort and said they would put us (along with three adult children) for one night, then move us all to our regular rooms the next day…
    Ahhhhh, no to that. We said just move the “kids” and we’ll stay here! What a great resort.

  9. Javier Macías | October 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm |

    Went once to that resort! Loved it!!! Liked the restaurants a lot!! Loved the adults pool. Could say my favourite!

  10. I’m sure that you also know that at many All Inclusives, you can buy a day pass or even an evening pass…Enjoy the facilities and then drive home (or take a taxi after imbibing!)

    • Yes, but since we stay two days, day passes turn out to be more expensive. For example, a day pass at that resort is $70 USD, so $140 per day. If we stayed two days, as we did in this case, it would have cost us $280; however, even if we had paid the full price for the room, it would have only been $220 and we would have been able to spend the night.

      When we go to the high-end resorts, the day passes are $100 a person but we can stay the night (and of course two days) for only $250 with our locals discount.

  11. We’re finally getting around to taking a week off of work and exploring around the area we’ve been living for almost a year. We are looking at staying at an all-inclusive on Cozumel for a night. If you arrive early and then stay later, what do you do with your bags when you don’t have access to a room? I mean we’ll probably just have a small bag each, but I’m still wondering if you just bring them to the beach with you or if there’s another option I’m unaware of. Thanks for the post!

    • The bags stay with the porters at the front of the hotel. Most hotels secure them in a locked room and give you a claim ticket. When we’re ready to go, they give us our bags.

  12. Diego de la Morena | October 9, 2017 at 10:31 am |

    Hi Paul, I subscribe to your blog sveral months ago. I am Spanish I been to Cancun 6 days to an all inclusive and I really love it…I would like to ask you regarding the resort that the check-in is at 3 so therefore at what time you could arrive to start enjoying the facilities and to drink?

  13. Nice article. It’s important to note that there are times of the year when the hotel occupancy is too high and they won’t allow people to stay 1 night or even do a day pass.

    The one night stay is essentially 2 day passes with a room, so it is definitely the way to go!

    Do you mind if I post some of your content to my facebook page?

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