I have never been tempted by an all inclusive holiday. When Christine was small I may have tried one as they do certainly have their uses, but they just weren't available then. My only experience of all inclusive was of two holidays Christine and I took when Kai was a toddler to Corfu. We actually stayed in room only accommodation, but the hotel was slap bang in between 3 all inclusive resorts.
Of an evening, we used to go out to find somewhere to eat for dinner and there wouldn't be a soul about, as a consequence, there were very few restaurants and bars suitable to take Kai to and speaking to the locals, many bars had closed because there were no customers walking about of an evening, they were all tucked up in their all inclusives.
When I took my first holiday to St Lucia I was asked if I was going all inclusive. When I said no I was looked at as if I had grown another head. I was warned of dire consequences of walking around St Lucia at night. 2 women alone, oh the horror. I was bound to be mugged or kidnapped or in the worst case scenario, killed. I was so horrified I was dreading the holiday.
I had a fantastic time once I'd relaxed. The people of St Lucia were wonderful. One evening we went to a street party in Groselet. It was rammed packed with people, mostly St Lucians. There were stalls selling Caribbean food and the famous rum punch. The music was loud and people were dancing, St Lucians were genuinely happy that we were enjoying ourselves. Of course we got some hassle from the men but a polite rebuff and they were cool. I remember later on sitting on a step having a rest when I saw a boy of about 8 with his younger brother and sister trying to get a drink from some of the stalls. Every stall owner was telling him no so I called him over and asked if he wanted a drink and he answered very politely that he did, I gave him 20 EC dollars and told him to get a drink for himself and his brother and sister. 20 EC dollars wasn't a lot, it was about £5 but it was quite a bit for 3 drinks but I expected not to see any change. 5 minutes later, the boy returned with his brother and sister and held out the change to me, it actually makes me well up when I think of it, I thought it was such a polite thing to do, that I told him to keep it. To see his little face light up was wonderful and he and his brother and sister skipped off, they were about 6 and 4 and as the little girl skipped away she turned back to me with the most wonderful smile and mouthed one word, Thank you. All inclusive takes that away from an area.
I returned to St Lucia when my daughter got married. My son in laws parents retired back there, they arranged a party for the Saturday in their villiage of Canaries which is surrounded by all inclusive hotels, the only tourists they saw were the ones going through on their organised tours. All the villiage were invited (but not all came) and at the beginning of the party, they sat at one end of the garden and we sat the other until I just went along and shook everyones hand and introduced myself with my niece, nephew, sister and brother in law behind me doing the same. That was a fantastic party I can tell you, and on a boat trip later in the week they remembered us and kept the vendors selling dodgy goods away from us.
No, I understand a need for all inclusive, but it's not for me.