Canadian airline WestJet isn't even a quarter-century old, but already it's made a name for itself as being one of the most carefree and casual carriers around. Starting as a no-frills airline, Calgary-based WestJet slowly established more routes and now flies all over North America and parts of Europe. The carrier also edged into the vacation package business, starting with Hawaii in 2001 and now offers an assortment of all-inclusive options, most of them in the Caribbean.
In this assessment, only all-inclusive packages involving five-star resorts were considered and cross-referenced with reviews cited in TripAdvisor, which incidentally voted WestJet as Canada's best airline in 2018. Narrowing down the selections was no easy task, as while it involved several calculations, it still wasn't an exact science.
The method used took the number of reviews for each resort and prorated it with reviews that ranked the vacation as an excellent experience. The five resorts with the highest percentage of excellent reviews made the list.
It should be noted that you won't find exact prices in these capsules, given that they'll vary among departure points. Random cities selected, however, produced differences as great as $200, so a ballpark average is provided for March departures. All of these options are worth exploring, so if you do need more information, check out the WestJet vacation package site and take advantage of its pull-down menu on the home page to help choose the all-inclusive vacation you want.
Enter an oceanfront infinity at El Dorado Seaside Suites
It's official; nearly three out of every four vacationers ranked a stay at Cancun's El Dorado Seaside Suites by Karisma as one excellent vay-cay, receiving a 73.6% rating based on 3,540 TripAdvisor reviews.
And no wonder. You can hang out in either the Palms section, which offers a lush environment of rich vegetation unique to the Yucatan Peninsula. Or you can check out Infinity, which offers a panoramic view of the Caribbean as if it goes on forever, complete with a terraced pool and balcony, with super-modern architectural décor keeping with the theme.
The rooms have all the modern conveniences, while kids have their version of accommodations right next door. The extra touch that emphasizes the relaxation element, though, is the king-size Bali beds providing loads of comfort. A five-day stay here would be in the neighborhood of $1,200 US per person plus tax.
Adults-only luxury at Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall
One big advantage of staying at the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall in Jamaica is that it's right next door to another Hyatt property, the Ziva, so a lot of the amenities are shared. Or what one resort might not have, the other one might be able to help you out. But that probably isn't the biggest attraction that enticed TripAdvisor reviewers to rate their stay at 76.9%.
The place is exclusively designed for adults to make good their escape from a chaotic civilization and live in the moment. To that end, the Zilara is willing to oblige with unlimited dining and beverages at no less than six restaurants and five lounges on the premises.
All the suites were created with pampering in mind and for those who need more, spas and pools will fill that void. Then there's the exquisite beachfront if you want to get relatively more rustic. Five days of relaxation here is worth roughly $1,250 US per person plus tax.
Bahia Principe Luxury Cayo Levantado is an island unto itself
Getting away to an exotic location is one thing, but heading to a spot that's not even on the mainland is another experience altogether. And that adds to the charm of the Bahia Principe Luxury Cayo Levantado Resort that earned a TripAdvisor rating of 79.6% based on 6,252 reviews.
It's actually an island that's part of an island occupied by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Located just off the shore on the east side of the Dominican Republic in Samana Bay, the resort occupies much of the island. The focus here is tranquillity more than luxury, although the idyllic setting does have all the major amenities other five-star hotels provide.
The family-oriented resort also offers kayaking, snorkeling, and even surf yoga. And to paddle something bigger, catamarans are also available. A solid week of peace and quiet in an island setting is worth forking over about $1,350 US per person plus tax.
A romantic getaway awaits at TRS Yucatan Hotel
The TRS Yucatan Hotel near Playa del Carmen in Mexico bills itself as a prime destination for honeymoons and couples wanting to rekindle their romances. It appears that most of its clientele had the same idea since the spot earned a TripAdvisor rating of 79.7 % based on 5,357 reviews.
The resort also prides itself on offering a touch of sophistication to the all-inclusive experience with a classy attitude towards customer service and an elite vibe to the facilities. Almost every amenity offered emphasizes VIP treatment at such attractions as the beach area, pool, and high-end restaurants and lounges.
What isn't available at the resort is only minutes away via golf cart complete with driver. A major draw is a nightly canoe tour up and down the Riviera Maya. If you think romance is priceless, a five-night investment might be worth it at $2,250 per person plus tax.
El Dorado Maroma promises a secluded paradise
El Dorado Maroma by Karisma near Cancun already has a slew of accolades, from landing the fourth spot in Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards in the world's best resort category, and its location on one of 10 of the world's best beaches. So it's probably no surprise that this place gets the top spot, garnering an 81.9% among 6,258 TripAdvisor reviewers.
The choice suites on this resort aren't by the Caribbean, but literally on it, with an assortment of modern huts lined up on a dock that extends beyond the shoreline. And that's not all. You can not only sample world-class cuisine, but classes are also available to learn how to cook those meals that way. There's also full concierge service and an assortment of water-based activities to keep you occupied.
But with all that, you'd be excused if all you want to do is lay back and enjoy the unique marine surroundings. To take advantage of a five-day stay here, it's worth about $1,650 US per person plus tax.