Warning: Your bargain all-inclusive package may not be all it’s cracked up to be!

Beach SunsetSpoiler Alert: This blog post is a blatant advertisement for the boutique adult-only beach resort that we run. But…all this stuff is totally true!

Go ahead and have a read and you’ll get an idea of why we decided to open our own resort, where personal service and knock your socks off food rule the roost.

The other guys are great for Spring Break, but not so much for a relaxing getaway.

The Mexican resort towns of Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas draw in hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Promises of white sand beaches, sunshine and swimming pools, all you can eat buffets and all inclusive alcoholic beverages attract thousands of holiday makers to fly south for a touch of summer during the long, cold, winter months.

But an increasing number of unsatisfied customers are using websites aimed at people searching for lodging and accommodation to express their disappointment at what awaits them at these destinations.

Why do so many people flock to these well-known resort towns?

Well, many of the large hotels, online booking agents and travel agencies offer hard to resist vacation packages, especially during the off peak season. Offers include fabulous treats like all you can eat buffets, bottomless alcoholic drinks, and multiple pools.

Sounds amazing, so why is this formula going so wrong for so many people? And why are so many complaining on hotel websites?  What is turning these trips to paradise into a living hell?

Let’s start by looking at the most frequently made complaints.

I took a random selection of mid-range, all-inclusive resorts in Cancun, Vallarta and Cabo and perused comments from their guests on advisor websites.

At the top of the complaints list was disappointment with the food:

  • “Crowded with average food.”
  • “Everything tasted the same and was often stale or poorly heated.”
  • ”More FRESH is needed!”
  • “Meals are so basic and boring.”

How about all that free alcohol?

Frequent comments were:

  • “The all-inclusive is not so all inclusive. The bars and restaurants close early.”
  • “Very drunk and noisy patrons.”
  • “The so called all-inclusive= watered down drinks.”
  • “The alcohol in the drinks was the absolute cheapest, rot-gut stuff I’ve ever consumed.”

Other general frequent complaints addressed issues of poor service and overcrowding:


  • “A lot of ignorant staff who just ignore your problems by pretending they don’t understand you.”
  • “Too many people, queueing for everything”
  • “Screaming, running children throughout the resort and hundreds in the pool with no control.”
  • “It is almost impossible to look anywhere without seeing hoards of people.”

Perhaps one of the scariest warnings of the consequences of big resorts cutting costs is demonstrated by this person’s comments about the hidden cost of their vacation: tipping poorly paid staff.


  • ”The first day there we were hounded by employees of the resort begging for tips. If you want a drink, you must tip or you won’t be served. If you want a pizza you must tip or they throw away your order. If you want to be served at the restaurant you must tip or they won’t serve you. I believe we tipped over $500 during the week, due to the begging of employees at the resort.”

The problem with these large resorts seems to be the reality that once you get there you’re just another number passing through the turnstiles.

With the exception of some of the more upscale resorts, getting bang for your buck seems impossible. Inferior quality food and alcohol, hidden charges, and misleading promises seem to be how many of the more average large resorts decrease their prices to get bums on seats, or bodies in beds, as the case may be.

But then I stumbled on something far worse…Timeshare sales!

Page after page of complaints about having vacations ruined by the constant harassment from timeshare sales staff poorly disguised as hotel receptionists. It seems that many of these vacations wrapped up in cheap packages are actually a guise for selling timeshares. I read a variety of complaints from guests who said they couldn’t walk through the hotel lobby without being chased down.

One guest referred to a ‘concierge’ begging on his knees for them to attend his ‘presentation’. Other guests complained of being treated rudely by hotel staff after turning down the timeshare presentation.

This holidaymaker’s comments highlight the most common complaint:

  • ”The reason we won’t ever be going back to the X is the harassment from the concierge. She attempted to get us to attend some timeshare-style presentation upon our arrival, which is fine. What isn’t fine was the constant harassment to attend every time we walked through the lobby. She actually followed us out the door and went so far to ask us where we were going. The next day another concierge also followed us out the door, yelling after us to be careful not to attend any other timeshare presentations. All we were doing was going out to breakfast! We got to the point that we dreaded every time we had to walk through the lobby. You expect this kind of behavior when you walk by the souvenir shops, but inside your own hotel should be a sanctuary.”

So how do you make sure your hard earned holiday doesn’t turn into a nightmare?

Here’s some great advice from a TripAdvisor user: “I would tell anyone thinking of this hotel as a good deal…run away…. faster….. faster! Don’t look back and stay somewhere that cares.”

It would seem that as people become increasingly disillusioned with large resort vacations they are turning towards smaller boutique hotels and resorts that focus on the things that make for a great holiday.

With attributes such as great service, delicious fresh food and the focus on privacy and relaxation it is easy to see why these more intimate beach resorts are a better vacation choice. And it doesn’t get any better than Gecko Rock Resort.

We don’t do crowded. Our food is fresh and delicious. Our service is second to none. You’ll love the quality of our cocktails. We don’t charge commissions on any day trips. There is no up-sell here, it’s all an equal level of fabulous. And best of all, no timeshare hawkers, guaranteed!

Gecko Rock Resort

If you enjoyed this article please subscribe to our Blog to receive notifications of new content.