Travel convenience store: This Mexican resort is all-inclusive — except, apparently, for lunch and dinner

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

I have booked an all inclusive hotel stay and am afraid I will have to pay for lunch and dinner. I tried to contact Priceline, but they did not respond to the meal question. Can you help ?

A: You have booked an all inclusive resort so your stay should be all inclusive – breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I also tried to make a reservation at the Barcelo. Priceline lists it as all-inclusive and advertises all three meals as 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 making a reservation. If you see any issues, you should get a response before paying your hotel. If you had done that you might have skipped the Barcelo and headed to another hotel where the terms were clearer.

I looked at the Barcelo site and was also confused. The property describes itself as an “all-inclusive” resort, meaning all meals must be included. But your confirmation clearly states that only breakfast is included.

Now might be a good time to ask yourself: what’s wrong with a resort being all-inclusive? It’s not just the money you’ll save on meals; in some of these resort areas, dining options are limited, so you must eat all meals at the hotel. And it could easily double your hotel bill, depending on the size of your party. So sometimes all inclusive is the best option.

But the thing is, Barcelo promised you an all-inclusive experience, which then disappeared. I think you could have reached out to someone at Priceline for clarification. I list the names, numbers, and email addresses of Priceline executives on my consumer advocacy site at elliott.org/company-contacts/priceline.

I contacted Priceline on your behalf. The company contacted your hotel, which verified that your rate was all-inclusive. “Breakfast, lunch and dinner are free,” the rep added.

OK, “free” is probably the wrong word here. But they are certainly included.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit consumer organization. Contact him at elliott.org/help or [email protected].

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