Checking into an all-inclusive property like Cancun's The Pyramid at Grand Oasis is a bit overwhelming considering they have 21 restaurants and 22 bars. And while this is a good (and delicious) problem to have when you're on vacation, a few strategies can streamline the process. Here's how to work the system to your advantage.
Use Concierges to Help You
Many restaurants at The Pyramid at Grand Oasis require reservations, but under strict guidelines: within a 24-hour window and calling during certain hours. If you're at the beach or the pool or on an excursion, this could seriously cramp your style. But instead, ask a concierge to make reservations for you--it's they're job after all, and they're darn good at it. Along with restaurant reservations, you can also use a concierge to book half- and full-day excursions off property, ranging from museums to water sports and tours. No request is too small, including “Where can I get the best margarita in town?”
Start Your Research At Home
By skimming a resort’s website, you’ll note the array of culinary options, but probably aren’t prepped to outline a meal itinerary. It’s worth the time to click on menus, however -- visit TripAdvisor.com for reviews, or even call the property to determine your top three restaurants. If there’s a restaurant you’re dying to check out, it can be disappointing to discover upon arrival that it’s closed a night or two during your stay.
Do a Dine-Around
For dinner, consider picking a restaurant for wine and small plates, sitting down around happy hour, and moving to a new restaurant for the main course at around 8-8:30 p.m. Remember, you’re not paying extra for the stops, so take advantage of the culinary options. For example, at Pyramid at Grand Oasis, small plates with wine at Sevilla Wine & Tapas could be followed by a multi-course meal (tiny portions, thankfully) at White Box.
At many all-inclusive resorts, room service is not a luxury or added price -- instead, it’s included in the overnight fee. Experience what it’s like to live like royalty when a wheeled cart is brought into your room and beneath silver domes are plates of fresh fruit, egg dishes and meats, along with a basket of croissants, and a pot of hot coffee. Enjoying sunrise with your scrambled eggs oftentimes makes a beachfront room worth the splurge.
Consider VIP Clubs
At many all-inclusive hotels (The Pyramid at Grand Oasis included), guests can upgrade their reservation to VIP status, allowing for perks like free premium spirits, wine, beer, and upgraded snacks. A similar upgrade is at Barcelo Bavaro Palace in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with a Club Premium reservation, granting access to the lounge 24/7. Because these all-inclusive resorts book hundreds, if not thousands, of guests per night, it’s good to escape the commotion for a quiet, more sophisticated venue for breakfast (with a-la-carte options on a small, but still sizeable, buffet; and table service for drinks and hot-dish items) than a breakfast buffet in a large, packed dining room.