Accepted wisdom says that all-inclusive resorts are for tourists, not true travelers, who wouldn't be caught dead sipping coladas on the beach side of a fence built to keep out local color. But inclusives aren't all defined by buffet lines, pools overrun with children, and watery cocktails. Great resorts allow world travelers to slow down and experience a destination on a profound level. These hideaways are worth seeking out. These are the best of the bunch.
Leave Bora Bora's all-inclusive resorts to the honeymooners and escape to a villa on Motu Teta, a nine-acre private islet in Tahiti's remote Tuamotu Archipelago. This dot along the coral ring around Rangiroa, one of the world's most legendary scuba diving destinations, is only big enough to fit you and five friends, but offers a completely luxurious experience. A local chef prepares your meals and drinks while Tahitian guides provide a range of pastimes, from midnight lobster hunting to desert island picnics, village visits, kiteboarding, and shark diving. The last option is a bit of a must. The area is known for drift dives that meander through zones thick with hundreds of gray reef sharks. [From $1800; yourdreamisland.com]