The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Caribbean All-Inclusive Resort Club Upgrades

The best part of booking an all-inclusive vacation is that everything -- food, drinks, activities, and accommodations -- is supposed to be included in the rate. But have you ever checked into an all-inclusive resort and noticed that some guests have access to otherwise restricted restaurants, premium alcohol, luxe pools, more comfortable beach chairs, and a private check-in area with no line? What's that all about? Well, they paid extra to upgrade to the resort's club program. But is the club upgrade worth the extra money? It can be a confusing process to navigate, since quality and features vary wildly between brands. To help, we've visited hundreds of properties and created a cheat sheet on the various Caribbean all-inclusive resort club upgrades. Keep in mind that while some of the brands do have properties outside of the Caribbean, we decided to focus on the region to narrow things down. One caveat: Facilities aren't exactly the same within brands and cost depends on the season and availability. 

Sandals: Club Sandals

Beach at Sandals Royal Plantation/Oyster

What You Get With the Club Sandals:

  • Personal greeting and chilled towel from a Club Sandals representative
  • Suites are slightly more spacious, have a double vanity, and separate whirlpool tub -- plus better views
  • 24-hour private lounge with games, reading materials, iPads, and a TV
  • Simple snacks like fruits and sandwiches, coffee and soft drinks, and alcohol in the lounge
  • Club Sandals Concierge staff for check-in, check-out, booking activities, and bus escorts
  • Weekly activities like snorkeling, cocktail parties, and wine tastings
  • Free room service from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 
  • Robes and upgraded minibars with beer, wine, and rum in rooms

Is It Worth It?

Some guests truly love the staff and extra attention at Club Sandals, but others report that the extra cash for booze and robes isn't worth it, especially when guests can get a free drink just about anywhere on the property and bring it back to their regular rooms. Sandals also offers a butler option, and these rooms come with a butler to personalize your stay and make reservations -- likely a better upgrade to purchase. 

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Excellence: Excellence Club

Mille Spa at Excellence El Carmen/Oyster

What You Get With the Excellence Club:

  • A premium suite with a private rooftop pool or swim-up pool access
  • Private check-in and check-out, no lines or crowds
  • Chic lounge with concierge service, a free bar, and free hot food presentations
  • Exclusive access to Magna restaurant (no reservations required)
  • Welcome gifts of sparkling wine and fresh flowers
  • Premium liquor and wine in suites, plus Bvlgari toiletries
  • Daily delivery of fresh fruit and petit fours
  • Upgraded room service menu with longer hours
  • Private beach and pool area with upgraded sun loungers
  • Access to the spa's gorgeous thermal facilities

Is It Worth It? 

If having an upgraded suite with a swimming pool is a priority, then the Excellence Club access is entirely worth it. Otherwise, this brand is already known for providing sophisticated restaurants, several pools, free lobster, premium liquor, and a calm ambience that doesn't require paying extra to get away from the masses. 

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Hard Rock: Rock Royalty

Aerial View at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana/Oyster

What You Get With the Rock Royalty Level:

  • Phone number of a Rock Royalty personal assistant on call to serve you
  • Express luggage delivery
  • Free shoeshine 
  • Room extras like an umbrella, beach towel, bathrobe, loofah, and pillow menu
  • Priority Bali beds on the beach
  • Premium liquor dispenser in the room
  • Espresso machine with free coffee and minibar snacks
  • Rock Royaly welcome pin

Is It Worth It?

Rock Royalty Level is an adults-only upgrade available in the Caribbean Sand Suite or Rock Star Suite room categories. Most of the "freebies" are just niceties in the room and there isn't a club lounge. Past guests have complained that their personal assistant was often busy helping other rock stars. 

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Beaches: Concierge Level

Italian Village at Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort Villages and Spa/Oyster

What You Get With the Concierge Level:

  • Greeting on arrival by Concierge agent and private check-in
  • Escort to the room and property orientation by Concierge agent
  • Assistance with planning activities and booking reservations for dinner and the spa
  • Concierge lounge with board games, TV, and reading materials
  • Free alcoholic beverages, sparkling wine, juice, sodas, water, and signature drink
  • Free day and evening sandwiches, fruits, and cookies
  • Rooms come with bathrobes, free Wi-Fi, and a fully stocked bar with liquor, beer, wine, and soft drinks
  • Invitation to a weekly party
  • Reserved tables at the weekly buffet 
  • Recognition of birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions

Is It Worth It?

Beaches is truly a luxury brand, with highly trained staff, and the Turks and Caicos outpost has a whopping 19 restaurants and 12 bars. Guests who want the private check-in and concierge staff may find the upgrade worth it, but others are so busy exploring that they don't even use the Concierge lounge. 

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Breathless: Xhale Club

Aerial View of Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa/Oyster

What You Get With the Xhale Club:

  • Personalized check-in and check-out with concierge service
  • An upgraded room or suite in a premium location -- some with swim-up or private pools
  • Pillow menu in room and upgraded bath amenities
  • Whirlpool on private balcony
  • Upgraded minibar and room service menu
  • Some Breathless locations (like in Montego Bay) have access to a private restaurant, pools, and beach section

Is It Worth It?

For guests staying at Breathless locations with private Xhale Club features, like private restaurants, pools, and beach areas, the added cost may be worth beating the crowds and gaining access to premium booze and mini-buffets. Breathless locations that simply offer room upgrades likely aren't worth the upgrade. 

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Sunscape: Sun Club

Beach at Sunscape Dominican Beach Punta Cana/Oyster

What You Get With the Sun Club:

  • An upgraded room or suite in a premium location
  • Access to a private pool
  • Personalized check-in and check-out 
  • Hot and cold snacks, desserts, and premium liquor served all day in the private lounge
  • Milk and cookies in the evenings as a goodnight snack
  • Upgraded bath amenities
  • Upgraded minibar that's restocked daily
  • Room service available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Is It Worth It?

In a word, yes. Sunscape is known for having some of the cheapest all-inclusive rates in the Caribbean, so even if you spend extra on the upgrade, you're still saving money. Past guests have reported that they've been able to negotiate the cost of the upgrade (when available) on arrival. The private pool is less crowded and families will especially appreciate the milk and cookies. 

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Royalton: Diamond Club

The Diamond Club Junior Suite Ocean View at Royalton Saint Lucia/Oyster

What You Get With the Diamond Club:

  • Preferred room locations
  • Butler service
  • Rooms come with liquor and an upgraded room service menu
  • Preferential reservations in a la carte restaurants
  • Special Diamond Club beach area with waiter service
  • Personalized check-in and check-out
  • Appetizers, snacks, and desserts in the Diamond Club Lounge
  • Selection of pillows from The Royal Spa pillow menu
  • Discounts on spa treatments and beauty services
  • Packing and unpacking of luggage by butler
  • Ironing for one set of clothing
  • Shoe polishing and cleaning
  • Organizing of special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, and engagements)
  • Ice delivery to rooms
  • Preparation of whirlpool bath (in rooms that have whirlpools)

Is It Worth It?

Many all-inclusive properties offer a club level or butler service, and Royalton is the rare exception that provides both. Plus, you get discounts to the spa. For guests who want unlimited luxury and are willing to pay for it, the Diamond Club doesn't disappoint. One downside? A wristband requirement. 

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Barcelo Hotel & Resorts: Royal Level

The Pool at Barcelo Aruba/Oyster

What You Get With the Royal Level:

  • Private section of Palm Beach
  • Rooms on floors 7, 8, and 9 for the best views of the beach
  • Personalized check-in
  • Room service from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Premium brand alcohol
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Preferential bookings at a la carte restaurants

Is It Worth It?

Guests who don't upgrade to the Royal Level often complain about finding an open space on the beach. If you're here for the sand and water, it's worth the upgrade that includes a private section of Palm Beach. Free Wi-Fi will save you money when everyone else has to pay extra for internet access. 

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Dreams: Preferred Club

The Preferred Club Presidential Suite at Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa/Oyster

What You Get With the Preferred Club:

  • Club Suites in premium locations throughout the grounds
  • Upgraded minibar and bath amenities
  • Free daily newspaper delivered to the suite
  • Pillow menu
  • Access to private Preferred Club Lounge with hot and cold snacks, desserts, and liquors
  • Free computer access
  • Daily a la carte and buffet breakfast at Oceana restaurant 
  • Daily a la carte lunch at Oceana restaurant
  • Private beach area with double sun loungers and waiter service
  • Butler service (for an extra cost) that can include breakfast in bed, laundry service, pool drink service, airport transfer confirmation, and express check-out

Is It Worth It?

Non-club guests are typically up early to reserve pool and beach chairs, making the Preferred Club upgrade worth it for guests who want to sleep in and still get a lounger on the sand (there is no Preferred Club section by the pool). The Preferred Club section of the beach is also closer to the resort's bar and restaurant. 

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Finest: Finest Club

The Main Pool at Finest Playa Mujeres/Oyster

What You Get With the Finest Club:

  • Rooms with ocean views, upgraded toiletries, minibar items, alcohol, and a room service menu
  • Private check-in, check-out, and concierge service
  • Late check-out and early check-in (when available)
  • Private lounge is open late and features buffets and bar service
  • Private pool bar and two private pools
  • Private beach area with double sun loungers
  • Daily fruits and petit fours delivered to rooms
  • Fresh flowers and sparkling wine in rooms on arrival
  • One spa treatment, per person
  • Exclusive access to the Bistro

Is It Worth It?

The Finest Club upgrade doesn't buy a better room, just a better view, but it does come with luxe extras and lots of private features -- plus a free spa treatment. Past guests report impeccable service from staff in all of the Finest Club reserved areas, which might be worth the price of admission. 

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