NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's that time of the year when hotels and resorts in the Northeast one-up each other with their fall getaway packages. Although some refer to their destination resorts as "all-inclusive," others simply advertise special rates that "include" more amenities than usual. So which of the two is the better deal?
editorial director for North America, says it depends on the activities each traveler enjoys. Rates at all-inclusive destination resorts, which are growing in popularity among families and group travelers, would typically include accommodations, meals and most resort activities.
in the Poconos, for example, offers fall weekend getaways starting at $199 per adult, per night. The price includes meals, activities on the property such as boating and wall climbing, and evening entertainment.
"The all-inclusive concept is the best value for the consumer who comes to the resort and stays on the resort," Young says. A place such as
, which spans more than 1,200 acres, can offer an entire family plenty of activities within the property. "It's an attractive fall destination, not only for the amenities, but also the opportunities to see fall colors in the Pocono Mountains," Young adds.
Another all-inclusive resort in the Poconos is
. For the fall, rates start at $399 per night for double occupancy. The price includes three meals and access to resort activities such as tennis, mini-golf, archery and waterfall hikes.
Travelers who are used to the Caribbean all-inclusive experience, however, should know that not everything is included in the "all-inclusive" resorts in the Northeast. Alcoholic beverages, activities such as golf and spa treatments will usually incur additional charges. Depending on the resort, taxes and gratuity may already be included in the advertised rate.
To avoid confusion, some destination resorts do not use the term "all-inclusive," even though overnight rates include meals and resort activities.
near the Catskill Mountains is referred to as a Hudson Valley "inclusive" resort. It offers a "leaf-peeper package" starting at $248 per person, per night, which includes three meals, afternoon tea and cookies and activities such as hiking, boating and lawn games. The resort charges extra for carriage rides, mountain biking and rock climbing. Even
"If you know what's included ahead of time, and plan accordingly, there shouldn't be many surprises," Young says. "After all, these all-inclusive type resorts are proving popular with consumers because the price is laid out ahead of time. It's easier to budget for and plan your vacation around." For travelers who are looking to explore small towns and surrounding areas, however, Young says that an all-inclusive resort is not the best bang for the buck.
in Cooperstown, N.Y., has a lot to offer guests within its premises, but it is not an all-inclusive resort. It offers a fall getaway package starting at $239 per night for double occupancy, which includes daily breakfast and a choice of tickets to some of the town's main attractions.
"We want to give our guests the flexibility to enjoy what Cooperstown has to offer," says Robert Faller, The Otesaga's director of sales. Cooperstown is the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the Fenimore Art Museum and one of the country's oldest rural life museums, the Farmers' Museum. The village is also ideal for apple-picking and leaf-peeping.
Guests of The Otesaga can rent a canoe to view the foliage on Lake Otsego for $12 per hour, or play golf at its 18-hole championship Leatherstocking Golf Course for $89 per round.
in the Allegheny Mountains of south-central Pennsylvania is also not "all-inclusive" by definition. It is a spa and golf destination resort that offers a la carte services, but gives guests the option to buy packages that include meals, golf or spa credits. For the fall, rates start at $299 per night for double occupancy.
"All-inclusive resorts are a great value if there are no other places to see or things to do nearby. That is not the case with Bedford," says Lee Bowden, general manager at Omni Bedford Springs. "Our guests might stay with us for two nights, but may only want to dine with us for one night, opting instead to try other restaurants in the area."
For two weekends in October, Bedford, Pa., hosts a lively
Fall Foliage Festival
where food stations abound and visitors can participate in various activities such as carriage rides, antique cars parade and walking tours.
For visitors looking for a unique way to view fall foliage, the Omni Bedford Springs Resort is offering off-road Segway tours for $75 per person. Before the leaf-peeping starts, guests are given lessons on how to use the Segway, a two-wheeled electric vehicle. Guests can also enjoy the scenery by driving around utility all-terrain vehicles, available for rent at the resort for $175 per couple.
-- Written by Marilen Cawad in New York.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.