TOP 5 ALL INCLUSIVE RESORTS FOR WINE LOVERS
For many of us, the best thing about jetting off on holiday isn’t simply the sun, sea, sand or even the opportunity to relax. For those who love their food and wine, the best thing about an all inclusive holiday is the chance to indulge in some guilt-free, cost-free, eating and drinking and to heck with the scales! Who doesn’t enjoy relaxing by the pool, knowing that your next drink is a finger click away and totally free? We sat down with one of the UKs best wine blogger to get the low down on the best destinations to get a bottle of the good stuff...
Back in January, I went to Fuerteventura on an all inclusive holiday and while the food and cocktails were top notch, as a wine lover, the local wines available as part of the package were harsh and unpalatable. Now, Fuerteventura is known for many things, but the barren, dry and arid landscape does not naturally lend itself to low cost, quality wine production.
Most all inclusive resorts offer only free local wine inside their packages. So if you’ve booked a getaway to Bulgaria, for example, the quality of wine included in your “free” all inclusive deal will, in most cases, be of a lower quality than that offered on the Costa Brava. There are exceptions to the rule, though.
A top end, 5-star resort in an area not known for wine production will likely offer better wine than a 3-star resort in a wine making region. But on the whole, star for star, choosing to holiday near a wine producing area will mean the free wines included in your all inclusive package will be of a higher quality.
Luckily for the UK holidaymaker, the quality of wine production at all levels has been improving in some of our most treasured holiday destinations. Spain, Portugal and Greece have all undergone a wine renaissance in the last 15-20 years and wines that were considered average years ago are now the new go-to wine regions. Think Cava, think wines from the Douro, even Assyrtiko from Greece is winning International wine awards in 2018.
We’ve put together a list of the five best places to holiday if you love going all inclusive and your wine, together with a resort recommendation that offers superb quality within their all inclusive wine offering;
1. COSTA BRAVA & BARCELONA
The Costa Brava is now the gastronomic highlight of Spain. In fact, some of the world’s best restaurants are now concentrated along the Costa Brava. The rapid and dramatic improvement in the quality of the local restaurants, inspired by the fame of the world’s best restaurant, El Bulli (sadly now closed) meant that the hotels along the coast also needed to up their game, to ensure their clientele ate at the hotel. Great food can’t be served with poor wine and so as the local food improved, so did the local wine.
For those who love their Cava and Grenache (Garnacha locally) there’s no better place to go for an all inclusive holiday than the Cost Brava.
RECOMMENDATION: Hotel Volga, a 4-star property located in Calella.
Of all the Spanish Islands, Majorca offers the best quality local wine (and food). If you love an Island holiday but still like some gastronomic variety, Majorca is the island for you. In the South East of the Island you’ll find incredible reds, from indigenous grape varieties like Manto Negro and Fogoneu. Inland, towards Manacor, you’ll find vineyards who have also embraced French varieties and some excellent Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah wines as well as blending with local grapes. This depth and breadth of grapes together with the excellent climate means, good quality, low priced wine abounds, perfect for the holidaymaker.
RECOMMENDATION: Iberostar Royal Cristina Hotel, positioned on the seafront in Playa de Palma.
3. GREEK ISLANDS
A holidaymaker is spoilt for choice in the Greek Islands! Both Crete and Santorini have a long tradition of winemaking and both have undergone a quality hike especially in the last five years. If you love your white wines, then Santorini is the island for you as home to some of the most highly rated whites in the world. If you enjoy both red and white wine, then Crete is gaining an international reputation for its local and international grape varietal wines.
RECOMMENDATION: Mitsis Laguna Resort & Spa, a 5-star hotel on the gorgeous island of Crete.
Portugal is blessed with an excellent climate that is both perfect for the holidaymaker and the winemaker with sun and sea breezes ideal for growing grapes. It also has a mighty river, the Douro, which has a long history of helping to grow and transport wine through the ages.
The UK is Portugal’s largest export market for Port. We Brits have been not only consumers of Port but instrumental in the Port trade for centuries with many of the greatest estates bearing English names.
The love affair between Portugal’s wine and the UK consumer extends also to table wine with wines from the Douro frequently touted in the UK press as amongst the best quality/value in the world. The Algarve itself also has a thriving wine scene producing quality reds from Touriga Nacional and Syrah.
RECOMMENDATION: Agua Hotels Vale Da Lapa, a luxurious all inclusive property in picturesque Carvoeiro, Algarve.
Mexico isn’t known as a great wine producing country (yet) although some excellent wines are made in the Valle de Guadalupe. Mexico is known for fabulous, luxury resorts who provide delicious cocktails and import wines from neighbouring California. Mexico is a favourite holiday destination for US holidaymakers who have increased their wine consumption since 2000 by a third! The recommendation below is for a hotel styled on its gourmet credentials – going all inclusive here is a foodie, as well as a holiday, experience.
RECOMMENDATION: El Dorado Royale Gourmet All Inclusive, a 5-star complex located steps from the sugar-coated Playa Brava beach.