Eco-conscious and extraordinarily beautiful, the former surfing retreat of Nihi Sumba Island scores top billing on lists of the world's best beach resorts. It presides over a wild and pristine palm-fringed slice of coast on the remote island of Sumba in Indonesia, about a one-hour flight from Bali.
It's a fitting location considering the resort's philosophy is "The Edge of Wildness." The resort nestles within a nature reserve, and more than 2.5 kilometers of white-sand beach beckons beneath the cliffs below, with fantastic surfing, fishing, and snorkeling. You won't find TVs here, just cool ocean breezes, island adventures, warm and friendly staff, and glorious sea views.
The 33 air-conditioned villas perfectly capture the essence of this tropical hideaway, with soaring thatched ceilings that peek out among the palms and sweeping ocean views. Configurations range from one to five bedrooms, and they come with features like large living rooms, private plunge pools, outdoor showers, and impeccable butler service. Families can reserve a delightfully quirky three-story treehouse.
If you can tear yourself away from the villa and beach, with its fantastic surfing, diving, and fishing, you can go horseback riding on the beach (the resort has an equestrian center), sign up for visits to nearby villages, explore hidden waterfalls, mountain bike, take a Land Rover safari, tour a chocolate factory, or relax at the beach club and pool.
For the ultimate in pampering, embark on a day-long Spa Safari with multiple treatments and healthy meals. Free daily yoga in a sea-view pavilion is also offered.
Rates include all meals, snacks, and some beverages and activities. Children are welcome, and some of the profits from your stay support the Sumba Foundation's community projects, providing fresh water, medical care, and communal farms for local villages, so you can live in the lap of luxury and feel good at the same time.
2. The Brando, Tahiti
If you're dreaming of a Tahitian tropical paradise with an eco-sensitive, low-impact approach, The Brando is for you. Set on a pristine private island embracing a three-mile lagoon, this carbon-neutral resort is the ultimate in laid-back luxury.
The resort was established by screen legend Marlon Brando to preserve the island's beauty and biodiversity and serve as a model of sustainability —solar power, seawater air-conditioning systems, and other renewable energy technologies power the entire island.
Not surprisingly, nature lovers will be in heaven here. Flourishing coral reefs shimmer in the lagoon, birds flock to the shores, whales swim by on their annual migrations, and sea turtles nest on the bone-white beaches.
Set back from the beach, the thatched villas peek out unobtrusively from clusters of pandanus and palms. Modern furnishings and fixtures mix effortlessly with recycled and local building materials like thatch, stone, and wood.
Villas include private plunge pools, outdoor bathtubs, and media rooms with TV and Wi-Fi. Two-bedroom villas add kitchens and dining areas, and the spacious three-bedroom villa is perfect for large family gatherings. All the villas come with bicycles, so you can explore the island with pedal power.
Fusing French, Polynesian, and East-meets-West styles, the food is divine and incorporates fresh produce from the island's organic gardens. Local seafood features prominently, and the fluffy, flaky breakfast croissants are a guest favorite. Vegan options are also offered.
As you would expect, activities revolve around the water, and the resort provides all the equipment you need to paddleboard, snorkel, dive, and kayak in the crystal-clear waters. If you'd like to learn more about the island's ecology and conservation, you can visit the eco-station and chat with the researchers.
The resort also offers talks on Polynesian culture and history. Lagoon School keeps the little ones busy, and tennis, deep-sea fishing, dancing, and fitness classes are more active options.
All-inclusive rates are optional, but all island activities and holistic treatments at the soulful spa are covered by this full-board plan.
3. Ozen Life Maadhoo, Maldives
Synonymous with exclusive luxury in paradise, the islands comprising the Maldives are scattered across thousands of miles of Indian Ocean lagoons just south of India. Ozen Life Maadhoo sits on one of these picture-perfect islands surrounded by a clear turquoise and sea foam green sea, and filled with lush vegetation on land.
This all-inclusive 5-star resort caters to couples and families alike. Book one of the mesmerizing overwater villas if this is a romantic getaway. These come with private pools and direct access to the sea from a ladder on your porch. Families will like the two-bedroom Earth Family Pool Suites. Both come with shared butler service.
The resort is just a 45-minute speedboat ride from the international airport on Male. The INDULGENCE Plan here also includes more than just meals and beverages. It also offers excursions like snorkeling and sunset fishing trips.
Other amenities include an overwater gym, a kids’ club with daily activities, and spa services. Also don’t skip a meal in the underwater restaurant. It is one of four included in your rate.
4. Jumby Bay Island - an Oetker Collection Hotel, Antigua
On a palm-studded private island in Antigua rimmed by dazzling beaches, Jumby Bay is tropical elegance at its best. One of the top luxury all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, Jumby Bay offers all the expected luxuries and modern conveniences of a 5-star resort but in a peaceful pocket of paradise. The entire island is car-free, but you can explore it on a bike and soak up the relaxed pace of life.
Jumby Bay is known for its doting staff, who provide impeccable service with a warm smile. World-class cuisine infused with tropical flavors stars at the fine-dining restaurant, but you can also dine by the pool and beach.
Despite the remote feel of the setting, you can still stay connected to the outside world. The 40 air-conditioned luxury guest rooms and villas come with all the modern conveniences, including large flat-screen TVs, Bose sound systems, Nespresso coffee makers, and Wi-Fi. But they also have timeless romantic features that couples love, including four-poster beds dressed in Italian linens, wraparound terraces, and private outdoor gardens with rain showers.
Red-roofed villas and houses add extra luxuries, like private chefs, personal butlers, and swimming pools. No wonder this is one of the best luxury resorts in the world.
When you're not basking under rustling palms on the beach, you can work out at the gym, swim in the infinity pool, play tennis or golf, or succumb to a pampering session at the spa.
Eco-conscious guests will also appreciate the recycling program and conservation projects, such as the Hawksbill Turtle Preservation Program.
Children are welcome at this 5-star all-inclusive resort, and customized adventures keep them entertained.
5. Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Thailand
If your idea of paradise is an Asian wilderness adventure, Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle is an excellent choice. As Four Seasons' first all-inclusive property, this camp bordering Burma and Laos caters to adventure seekers and nature lovers.
If you think "tents" can't be luxurious, think again. Peeking out from hillsides wrapped in lush jungle, these palatial safari-style tents evoke an elegant 19th-century feel with authentic Thai touches. Handcrafted furniture, clawfoot tubs, and sumptuous netted beds are typical features, and the outdoor showers and rustic textures, such as bamboo and local hardwoods, complement the stunning natural surroundings.
Dining is also an adventure. Pluck fresh produce from trees on the property on a foraging walk and let the chef conjure a mouthwatering meal, or take a Thai cooking class.
Animal-lovers will be in heaven here. You can walk through the wilderness with rescued elephants and their mahouts, or look for other wildlife as you cruise down the Ruak River.
You can soak up some culture, too. Hillside bicycle tours travel through rice paddies and pineapple plantations, and you can also take a day trip to sacred temples or to explore neighboring Burma, among other adventures.
Feel like some pampering? Relax with a mountain botanical treatment at the open-sided jungle spa, tucked within a tranquil bamboo forest.
Guests leave feeling as though they've taken a luxury safari, but they don't have to travel to Africa.
6. Grand Palladium Ibiza Resort & Spa, Spain
In the heart of Ibiza’s Playa d’en Bossa, Grand Palladium Ibiza Resort & Spa is a 5-star, all-inclusive property. The hotel faces the longest stretch of white-sand beach on the island and is surrounded by well-maintained flowering gardens. It caters to couples and families alike and there is an on-site kids’ club if you have little ones.
There are four classes of rooms and suites. All are elegant with a contemporary vibe and some fun bright color splashes. Even the least expensive double rooms come with whirlpool bathtubs. The Deluxe Jacuzzi rooms are what to book if you enjoy your bubbles in a tub. These come with private furnished terraces featuring artificial grass and a hydromassage tub for two.
There are five restaurants to choose from, including one serving Mexican, and another featuring a buffet. Activities from aerobics to Zumba are included in your rate. At night, there is often live entertainment. The hotel also has four outdoor swimming pools and direct beach access.
7. Excellence Playa Mujeres, Mexico
The Mexican Caribbean is home to some of the top luxury all-inclusive resorts in North America. One option is Excellence Playa Mujeres in a gated community about half an hour north of the Cancun airport. Set on a gorgeous stretch of sugary white sand meets turquoise sea beach with views of Isla Mujeres in the background, it is a 5-star, adults-only, all-suite resort.
Suites come in a variety of configurations, but booking the Excellence Club designated rooms adds extra benefits to your all-inclusive experience. These include private check-in and checkout, a private lounge, and a beach area and restaurant only open to club guests. Even if you opt out of this level, the regular service is excellent, and there are nearly a dozen restaurant options with mostly a la carte menus. Food choices range from Mexican to Italian, Indian and Spanish.
The resort is also known for its swimming pools and lazy rivers, which are especially fun for adults as there are no small children splashing around. The water areas weave around the resort’s tropical gardens. Additionally there are four hot tubs on the property.
Other included activities include snorkeling, paddleboarding, yoga classes, and Spanish lessons. While it costs extra, the Miile Spa is well worth booking for a treatment. This also gives you access to the Aqua Wellness Hydrotherapy Circuit.
8. Miraval Arizona, USA
If you are looking for a wellness getaway with a host of activities then Miraval Arizona is the luxury all-inclusive resort for you. About 45 minutes from Tucson, the resort sits at the Santa Catalina Mountains’ base on 400 cacti-strewn desert acres.
The adults-only property offers everything from mountain biking to rock climbing, a ropes challenge course to photography and yoga classes. The spa also has a bevy of treatments on offer.
One thing that is not allowed at Miraval are digital devices in public areas. So don’t come here planning to Instagram from the restaurant or one of the three swimming pools. There is free Wi-Fi in the rooms, however, where you can return to digital civilization should you choose. Choose from rooms, suites, and villas with private pools.
All meals are included, as are many of the wellness activities and classes offered. Rates also include resort credits that can be used on activities like horseback riding and spa services. All meals are very health-focused and made with fresh and seasonal local produce.
9. Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia
St. Lucia is known for its dramatically beautiful scenery, and Jade Mountain Resort capitalizes on it with spectacular views of the ocean and St. Lucia's twin volcanic peaks, the Pitons. This is one of the best all-inclusive adults-only resorts in the Caribbean.
Clinging to a cliffside, the resort encompasses a series of open-sided rooms and common areas that embrace these breathtaking vistas, so you always feel like a part of your surroundings. Despite their sweeping views, the suites offer total privacy, making this a favorite hideaway for honeymooners.
Called "sanctuaries," the 24 open-sided guest rooms here feel spacious and airy, with 15-foot-high ceilings, large living rooms, and plenty of local stone and tropical hardwoods. Typical features include private infinity pools; four-poster beds; Frette bathrobes and towels; 24-hour butlers ("Major Domos"); and jalousie windows, so the tropical breezes can flow freely. SKY suites come with hot tubs instead of the private pools.
Wi-Fi is available at the resort, but you won't find TVs and telephones here, just the sounds and sights of the sea.
Cuisine at the Jade Mountain Club captures fresh island flavors with plenty of produce from the resort's organic farm, and you can also dine at Anse Mamin or Anse Chastanet, the 600-acre sister resort on a silver-sand beach below.
Free time can be as active or relaxed as you like. Swimming, sailing, kayaking, and diving, are all popular things to do along the shores of Anse Chastanet beach, a steep walk from the resort or a shuttle ride away.
You can also hike and bike on the resort's 600-acre plantation; go bird-watching; practice yoga; swim in the resort's infinity pool; or take tours of the botanical gardens, volcano, and sulphur springs. A fitness center and spa are also on-site.
The all-inclusive rates are an optional but great-value choice here — especially as the hotel lies in a remote location.
10. The Ranch at Rock Creek, USA
The rustic luxe Ranch at Rock Creek is the most exclusive dude ranch in the USA. Located in Philipsburg, Montana about a 1.5-hour drive from Missoula, this 5-star property is famous for its impeccable service, gourmet food, and truly all-inclusive experience. Everything, with the exception of spa treatments, is included in the daily rate. And this means guests can book as many activities as they like each day.
Activities on this working cattle ranch are not group affairs, instead you’ll just be paired with the people you are traveling with. Horseback riding, target shooting, fly fishing, and archery are just a few of the 45 adventures offered daily.
For lodging, you have the option of booking charming rooms in the main lodge or one of the many cabins, houses, or glamping tents scattered across the 6,600-acre property. The decor is Western chic throughout. The food here is excellent, and dinners are multi-course affairs that change nightly.