All too often, family vacations entail more work for parents than if they’d stayed home. By the time all the suitcases are unpacked and everyone’s laundry is folded and put away, the sleepovers, PTA meetings and class field trips have resumed. The beach is soon a distant memory.
Why not book your next trip at an all-inclusive, adults-only resort that exists solely to rejuvenate you? The whining of toddlers is noticeably absent. There are no sulky teenagers slamming doors. There are no lunches to assemble or permission slips to sign. The vibe is decidedly laid-back.
If you could use a week of romance or a few days of personal pampering, consider these top-rated, all-adult destinations.
El Dorado Seaside, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
This Mexican oasis lies on Kantenah Bay in Riviera Maya. The architecture is strikingly modern, and the surrounding gardens burst with color. The turquoise water and glistening white sand of the beach beckon just beyond.
Each room has either a swim-up terrace or an infinity pool. Imagine yourself stepping from your balcony and easing into the lazy river that winds through the resort. Suites have separate living areas, replenished liquor cabinets and private Jacuzzis, not to mention breathtaking views of the coastline.
Choose from ten different international restaurants and nine different bars. Food and beverages are unlimited. You may also enjoy a cooking class or tequila tasting. The natives swear that drinking tequila will improve your Spanish. It’s certainly worth a try!
Personalized service includes an assigned butler at the beach and pool. If you’re single and happen to fall in love during your stay, the Seaside’s expert wedding planners can handle all the arrangements.
The Mayas believed that inner peace was achieved when the elements in nature were perfectly aligned. The Seaside spa still takes this approach with traditional Mayan methods, textures and aromas. To learn more about Mayan culture and Mexico’s many natural resources, explore the underground river and cave system of nearby Rio Secreto. Soak up the local atmosphere by strolling La Quinta Avenida, a pedestrian walkway that runs parallel to the beach.
Other activities include the following:
- Snorkeling among the coral reefs
- Yoga or fitness classes
- Steam bath or sauna
Nightly rates average around $300 to $500 depending on the season. Direct flights to Cancun, an hour’s drive away, are available from several airlines in most major cities around the U.S.
Chiva-Som, Hua Hin, Thailand
Live like Thai royalty of the 1920s at this luxurious retreat on the Gulf of Thailand. Chiva-Som, which means “haven of life,” has won top awards in several leading travel magazines. If it’s beauty and serenity that you’re after, you’ll know you’re in the right place.
The resort has earned a reputation as an exquisite spa. Choose from a watsu pool, kneipp bath, kinesis studio, sauna and several types of swimming pools. Some pavilions even include private saltwater pools. Daily Thai massages are part of the package.
Chiva-Som is also lauded for its exotic, romantic ambiance. The rooms feature soothing colors and natural materials that invite ultimate relaxation. You can even specify which linens, pillows, towels and fragrances you prefer. Your personal butler will see to your every comfort.
Take in the panoramic views and heady scent of the gulf from your terrace, smooch undisturbed in your private garden or take a moonlit stroll along the beach. And if you can bear to leave your personal paradise, central Hua Hin is within walking distance. There, you can shop for souvenirs in the colorful open markets and sample some of the freshest seafood on earth.
Diverse destinations for daytrips include the following:
- Hin Lek Fai Mountain
- Buddhist temples with majestic views
- Sam Phan Nam Floating Market
- Pa La-U Waterfall
Chiva-Som posts average rates of about $1,800 per person per night, but loyal guests report that it’s well worth saving up for. The resort provides luxury car service for the two-hour drive from the airport in Bangkok.
Secrets St. James, Montego Bay, Jamaica
The beaches of Montego Bay are some of the finest in the Caribbean, and this moderately priced resort on Jamaica’s north coast has much to offer. Not only that, but Secrets St. James’ guests have unlimited access to the sister resort, Wild Orchid.
Secrets’ attractions include elegant suites featuring romantic canopy beds, separate seating areas, whirlpool baths with separate showers, private, furnished balconies, complimentary wait service at the pool and 25-minute spa sessions.
There are nine separate dining venues with a variety of cuisines including Asian, Italian and French. Meals and beverages are unlimited, so don’t worry about fishing out your wallet at the swim-up bar.
There’s no better place to get in touch with nature. Whether you’re into yoga on the beach at sunrise or sipping native rum as the sun sets, Jamaica has you covered. With pleasantly mild temperatures year-round, you can easily fill your days with a host of activities:
At night, count on live music and dancing on the beach. The resort also boasts an open-air theater and a gaming lounge.
Rooms range from $300 to $600 per night depending on the time of year. Just about every good-sized hub in the U.S. offers flights to Montego Bay, and many are nonstop.
BodyHoliday at LeSport, St. Lucia
St. Lucia in the eastern Caribbean is home to magnificent mountains, pristine beaches, coral reefs and quaint fishing villages. BodyHoliday at LeSport has long been a favorite of honeymooners or married couples looking to rekindle their romance.
Various water activities, beverage tastings, scuba lessons, yoga and archery are included in the room rate. The activity schedule is updated every day. If the last thing you want to be is active, schedule a complimentary 50-minute massage. With such a wide range of options, you can create your own experience.
Suites with sitting rooms overlook lush, tranquil gardens or face the ocean. For dining and winding down after a day in the sun, there are five restaurants, a casual clubhouse and a piano bar. Champagne concerts are staged on the beach. A labyrinth and meditation temple are ideal settings for quiet reflection.
It is for its state-of-the-art spa and wellness facilities that BodyHoliday is best known. Services and treatments include:
- A fitness studio in the treetops
- Freshwater pools
- Ancient massage methods
- Reiki therapy
- A skin clinic
- A specialized beauty salon
With so much included for around $450 to $600 per night, most reviewers consider BodyHoliday a bargain.
Airports across the U.S. offer flights to St. Lucia, but prices vary wildly depending on the number of stops. Be sure to fly into George F. L. Charles Airport in Castries; it’s only five minutes from the resort.
Every parent deserves some grown-up time. What’s good for you is undoubtedly good for your kids.