All-inclusive resorts can be a perfect option for travelers desiring an all-in-one vacation experience. Whereas normal hotels only provide a room and, occasionally, a complimentary breakfast, travelers at all-inclusive hotels can expect meals, activities, entertainment, and drinks—all included in the price of staying at the resort.
With some all-inclusive resorts offering competitive prices with non-all-inclusive hotels, a few travelers have begun to wonder about how the resorts are able to cut corners to afford all these extra amenities.
One prominent conspiracy theory is that all-inclusive resorts water down alcoholic drinks, saving them money while the customer is none the wiser.
TikTok user Chelsea (@cheapholidayexpert) is aware of this theory—and decided to test it out for herself.
In a clip with over 623,000 views, Chelsea and a man named James use a refractometer or “alcohol measurer” to test the alcohol content in a shot of a gin and a shot of vodka.
@cheapholidayexpert 🥃💦 Are hotels watering down your drinks?!! SURELY NOT?! So many of you said this to me in the run up to our cheap all inclusive holiday and so James and I decided to INVESTIGATE 🕵🏻 We await your thoughts on our highly scientific experiment 😂 #cheapholidays #cheapholiday #budgettravel #allinclusive #allinclusiveresorts ♬ original sound – Cheap Holiday Expert
The result? Both shots, which should be at around 37.5% alcohol, measure at around 33%—a minor change the pair attribute to heat affecting the device’s readout.
In short, the cheap all-inclusive resort does not appear to be watering down its alcohol.
“We have literally seen them break the seal on brand new bottles,” Chelsea says. “So I’m going to go ahead and say that this place is not watering down.”
As some commenters noted, it does not make sense for the all-inclusive resort to water down its alcohol.
After all, guests at all-inclusive resorts are generally allowed to order as many drinks as they’d like. Watering down a spirit would not stop someone staying at the hotel from ordering multiple drinks using that same spirit—thus consuming the same amount of alcohol.
That said, a few commenters warned that a cheap all-inclusive resort may not create as strong of a mixed drink as you’re used to, or that they may use cheap alcohol to make your order.
Users seemed to not care about these details, sharing their thoughts on all-inclusive drinking in the comments.
“Even if they did [you’re] all inclusive so just drink twice as much,” wrote a user.
“And most people feel like they’re not getting as drunk because they consumed their body weight in food each day,” added another.
“I’ve lost taste buds from the way they pour in my all inclusives,” recalled a third. “They definitely didn’t water down where I have been.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Chelsea via Instagram direct message.
Update 6:41am CT June 1: In an Instagram DM exchange with the Daily Dot, Chelsea, who runs a website on planning cheap holidays, explained her motivation for making the video.
“I’m doing a series on social media where I compare 3 5-star, all-inclusive hotels – one budget, one mid-range and one luxury – and when I posted about the budget option I got loads of messages about how they probably water down the booze,” she recalled. “I made a joke to someone that ‘we’ll have to test it out,’ a lightbulb went in my head, and before I knew it, I’d ordered a refractometer and was on my way to Turkey!”
She says she was not surprised by the outcome.
“We had watched lots of the staff break the deal when they opened new bottles so weren’t expecting any hijinks, but it was a bit of fun to check it out all the same,” she detailed. “I think myths like these happen because when prices are so cheap, people are quick to wonder what the catch is! Plus, as many of these cheaper resorts use local alcohol, they don’t taste the same as they do back home and so that may leave many with questioning what the difference could be.”
As for what she learned from her time staying at all-inclusive resorts, Chelsea said, “5 star doesn’t denote the quality; it’s simply a measure of facilities! However, even after knowing that I was really impressed with how much you got for your money at the budget option – it was clean, the food was tasty and the drink… a decent percentage.”