Is an all-inclusive the only option for your incentive program?

Is an all-inclusive the only option for your incentive program? Of course it’s not! We recently talked about the idea of taking your incentive program out on the high seas. And there are some incredible adventure options we want to talk about soon but in this post we're going to talk about going to a resort style venue that is not all-inclusive.

As an event planner, we are always aware of our clients’ budgets and their worries about booking something that doesn’t include the costs for food and drinks because those expenses can quickly increase a budget.

In February Julia was a guest of Discover Puerto Rico. Julia was invited to their beautiful island to learn about what Puerto Rico has to offer our incentive, conference and meeting clients. 

Puerto Rico does not have all-inclusive resorts. This was the perfect opportunity for Julia to dig into why that is and what that means for our clients.

Puerto Rico is the epitome of a tropical paradise. Wikipedia tells us that it is a Caribbean island and unincorporated territory of the United States with official Commonwealth status. It is located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately1,000 miles (1,600 km) southeast of Miami, Florida, between the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and includes the eponymous main island and several smaller islands, such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. It has roughly 3.2 million residents, and its capital and most populous city is San Juan.

One of Julia’s favorite tales from her visit was that of Dona Fela, Puerto Rico’s “first female mayor and one of the most powerful women in the American continent back then”.


Julia was able to get some great information from the Discover Puerto Rico team about why their island doesn’t have all-inclusives. The answer was actually quite simple. Puerto Rico is an American island which means that they must adhere to the American standards for employment and service. Doing that costs money. And those costs prohibit Puerto Rican resorts from being able to run similar business models to those that many are used to in the Caribbean.

The resorts are very aware of the struggle event planners have in convincing their clients to book a resort without an all-inclusive model so they have developed a meal and drink plan option that can be added into the program if necessary.

We obviously can’t talk about every venue on the island but we can talk about those that Julia saw during her visit. Let’s look at some photos and talk about Julia’s favorite features of each.

Royal Sonesta

“Superbly set before two miles of white sandy Isla Verde Beach yet convenient to the historic Old San Juna, the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport and the financial district.

With 398 newly renovated guest rooms including 22 suites, the Royal Sonesta San Juan captures the exotic and pairs it with the resorts signature sophistication, making it easy to mix business with pleasure. 

Five restaurants will fulfill a worldly gastronomic experience, while the Lobby Bar and our La Bodeguita Cafe and Wine Bar will keep you busy networking or just enjoying a drink on your own.”

  • 24000+ sq. ft. of event space
  • 16 meeting and event spaces
  • Largest room features 6000+ sq. ft.
  • Max reception capacity: 500
  • Max seated capacity: 600

Caribe Hilton

“The historic and iconic Caribe Hilton is situated on a private 17-acre lushly landscaped peninsular with a secluded beach and is located near the Old San Juan historic district and many of the destination’s top attractions. When you arrive at the Caribe Hilton, you’ll find more than just a place to stay - it’s a place to come alive.”

The hotel has 652 recently renovated rooms as well as spacious indoor and outdoor meeting spaces with views that can’t be beat.

  • 65,000 sq. ft. meeting space
  • 4 ballrooms
  • 1 auditorium
  • 24 meeting rooms
  • events for up to 3,000 guests

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

“An ultra luxury hotel from day one, the Condado Vanderbilt shone for its beauty and magnificence, attracting the kind of guests envisioned by Mr. Vanderbilt. From the richly appointed surroundings to the unsurpassed cuisine and highly personalized service, the only standard that applies to Condado Vanderbilt is that of absolute perfection. Now restored to its original grandeur and welcoming guests once again, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel showcases 4 outdoor swimming pools, a spa and wellness center, two 11- story towers, including Commodore Suites and Biltmore Suites. Every floor is equipped with five-diamond service butler quarters. In Puerto Rico, the legend has been reborn and the promise of a brilliant future shines again for the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel - the place where it all began.” 

  • 30,000 sq ft of meeting space

And you just never know who you might run into during your stay.

La Concha Renaissance Resort

“La Concha offers stylish amenities right in the heart of the entertainment capital of the Caribbean, the Condado district. Enjoy San Juan beachside days, warm ocean breezes and hot nightlife. Hang out by lively pools or lounge under the wind-sculpted palm trees hugging the ocean. Enjoy exotic and local flavors at one of the hotel’s chic restaurants or sip a yummy island cocktail while spending time amongst its plush bar and lounge scene.”

  • 12 event spaces
  • 28,261sq ft of meeting space
  • the largest capacity space is 885
  • 8 breakout rooms.

Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve

“Stay steps from the water in beachside suites at Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve, a family-friendly resort framed against the backdrop of the beautiful El Yunque rainforest. Lounge by the sprawling lagoon-style pool, relax in an on-site spa, or tour the historic buildings of nearby Old San Juan.

  • 579 guest rooms
  • largest meeting space is 11,496 sq. ft
  • total of 31,208 sq. ft. of event space

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort

“Golden sands, turquoise waters and tropical breezes about this oceanfront resort, fresh from a multi-million dollar renovation introducing new exciting experiences, plus three sparkling beachfront pools, incredible dining with nine restaurants and lounges, lively casino, relaxing Mandara Spa, two world-class golf courses and more awaits. This resort is the idyllic retreat for any occasion, whether you yearn for a Caribbean golf getaway, crave an oceanfront escape, or you and the one you love need a little under the sun and stars, there’s no place like Puerto Rico.”

  • 400 guest rooms
  • largest event space 21,913 sq. ft.
  • 19 miles from the airport

El Conquistador Resort

“El Conquistador Resort is the most iconic oceanfront destination resort in all of the Caribbean, supplying breathtaking, panoramic ocean views like no other resort. Guests arriving at the resort are welcomed by an amazing open-air lobby with outstanding views of the sea, the resort’s lush tropical gardens, and the adjacent islands. 

All 299 guest rooms at the resort offer equally dramatic ocean views. El Conquistador Resort is also home to the largest and most flexible meeting and special event space in Puerto Rico. Guests of the resort have access to four pools, and five distinctive restaurants and bars. Coqui Water Park - which is the only seaside water park in Puerto Rico - and Palomino Island, where you will find immaculate white-sand beaches, water sports and beachfront dining and drinks - are available for the exclusive use of resort guests. If golf is your passion, we feature an award-winning, 18-hole golf course designed by legendary architect Arthur Hills.”

  • 100,000 sq. ft meeting space

Learn more about why Puerto Rico is a fantastic option for your next conference, meeting or incentive program in Julia’s interview with Yolanda from Discover Puerto Rico