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

When Michael O'Connor books an all-inclusive resort in Mexico through Priceline, he discovers it's only half-inclusive. How can he fix that?

I recently booked a room at the Barceló, 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 only said breakfast was included.

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

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 Barceló, too. Priceline lists it as an 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 Barceló and headed to another hotel where the terms were clearer.

I reviewed the Barceló 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.

But the point is, Barceló promised you an all-inclusive experience, which then disappeared. I think you could have reached out to an executive at Priceline for clarification. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Priceline executives on my consumer-advocacy site,

I contacted Priceline on your behalf. The company reached out to your hotel, which verified that your rate was all-inclusive. "Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are free," the representative added.

OK, "free" is probably the wrong word here. But they're certainly included.

Christopher Elliott's latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Get help by contacting him at

© 2022 Christopher Elliot


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