Luxury vs Budget Friendly

Here at The Joy of Travel we are consistently asked “what are the main differences between luxury all-inclusive resorts and the more budget friendly all-inclusive resorts”.

I just returned from a very budget friendly resort and can tell you firsthand about the differences.

First and foremost the difference is in the rooms.  Luxurious all-inclusive resorts offer luxurious rooms with elegant bathrooms, comfortable and attractive furnishings, and great beds.  


Our budget friendly resort offered rooms that were on par with a budget motel here at home. The rooms were clean although dated.  The bed was very comfortable, the linens were good, and the bath amenities were good.  The tub wasn’t in the best condition but the hot water was plentiful with great water pressure.

Beach furnishings at our resort were plastic but were in good shape; luxury resorts have those fancy padded beach lounges and chairs.  

I was pleasantly surprised to find great air conditioning in our budget friendly room and in the restaurants.  That’s important in the Caribbean, especially during the hot humid summer months.  I have stayed at budget friendly properties with really pitiful air conditioning.

Available services are different.  At luxury resorts we have beach butler service.  The butlers bring you towels, drinks, food etc. while you’re on the beach.  At our budget friendly resort we had to walk about 50 feet to get those things.  It wasn’t a big inconvenience.

At luxury resorts the mini-refrigerator restock, room service and turn down services are included.  At the budget friendly property they did not check the mini-refrigerator. We had to ask for more water bottles, cokes etc. and those were delivered within an hour or two of the request.  There was no turn down service and there was no room service.

At our budget friendly resort the wait staff service in the restaurants was equal to what we experience at luxury resorts.  It was excellent.  

At our budget friendly resort we had unlimited a la carte dining.  At most budget friendly resorts you are limited as to the number of times you can dine at any of their a la carte restaurants, which I find rather deceiving and we don’t recommend those resorts.

The all-inclusive menu at the budget friendly resort was delicious, however it was rather limited.  More expensive resorts offer a wider variety of food options.

Pools are another difference with budget resorts.  Luxury resorts usually offer huge pools with pool-side butler service.  Our budget property had two rather small pools and no poolside service.  However again there were bars and snacks available just feet from the pools and the pools themselves were in very good condition.

Spa services-both luxury and budget resorts typically offer very nice spa facilities and gyms.  

One big plus to our resort was a truly amazing beach with terrific water clarity and marine life.  That put this resort over the top and made up for a few inconveniences.

We had a terrific time on our “budget friendly” vacation and felt that we received more than we paid for, which is what we always want our customers to say about our recommendations.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel.  Contact Joy at 918-339-4805