July 7, 2022

Help! My all-inclusive hotel in Mexico is only half-inclusive

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I recently booked a room at the Barcelo, an all-inclusive resort in Puerto…

Help! My all-inclusive hotel in Mexico is only half-inclusive

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: I recently booked a room at the Barcelo, an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. When I made the reservation, it listed breakfast, lunch and dinner as included in the rate. But when I read the confirmation, it said only breakfast was included.

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter ...
Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter 

I booked an all-inclusive hotel stay, and I’m concerned that I might have to pay for lunch and dinner. I’ve tried to contact Priceline, but it hasn’t answered the meal question. Can you help?

— Michael O’Connor, Toronto

ANSWER: You booked an all-inclusive resort, so your stay should be all-inclusive — breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I tried to make a reservation at the Barcelo, too. Priceline lists it as all-inclusive and advertises all three meals as being part of the room rate. But when you look at the booking conditions on the page, only breakfast is included.

Your case is a reminder to always check the terms and conditions before you make a reservation. If you see any problems, you should get an answer before you pay for your hotel. If you’d done that, you might have skipped the Barcelo and headed to another hotel where the terms were clearer.

I reviewed the Barcelo site and was also confused. The property describes itself as an “all-inclusive” resort, which means all meals should be included. But your confirmation clearly states only breakfast is included.

This may be a good time to ask: What’s the big deal about a resort being all-inclusive? It’s not just the money you’ll save on meals; in some of these resort areas, there are limited dining options, so you have to eat every meal at the hotel. And that could easily double your hotel bill, depending on the size of your party. So sometimes all-inclusive is the best way to go.