Many people whose children have grown up and flown the nest, or those who just want some peace and quiet away from screaming kids, opt for an ‘adults-only’ break. Adults-only packages are fantastic for those looking for the ultimate relaxing holiday; however it is imperative to choose the right one to get what you want out of your time away.
Some adults-only resorts have a decidedly raunchy feel – for example certain all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean – that may not be to everybody’s taste. Some are only ‘adults-only’ at certain times of the year (outside the school holidays), and some claim to be ‘for couples’ but still let under 16’s in. We’ve put together a short guide on booking an adults holiday abroad.
Child-free properties are generally more upmarket than those oriented towards families, and as such prices for them tend to be higher. The best-known adults holiday resorts are found in luxury destinations in the Caribbean, particularly the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Barbados.
Trying to locate an adults holiday yourself can actually be quite difficult. Most major tour operators only offer a small selection of adults-only resorts, and these are generally scattered across a range of brochures rather than located in one place. Many hotels that are touted as being ‘for couples’ or having ‘limited family appeal’ by tour operators do not actually guarantee they will be child-free. This is because many hotels are reluctant to turn their backs on the lucrative family holidays market that accounts for a large portion of holiday trade.
The best way to make sure you’re getting a truly adults only holiday, therefore, is to speak to a knowledgeable travel agent who can do the leg-work for you and recommend a selection of suitable resorts. One of Directline Holidays specialities is putting together custom-designed holiday packages, so we’re used to sourcing and creating packages to suit our customers’ needs. Give us a ring and we’ll be able to find you the adults-only hotel you’re looking for.
Where’s the best place to go for an adults holiday?
The majority of large, well-established adults resorts are found in the Caribbean. Hotels such as the Paradisus Royal Service, in Guardalavaca, Cuba and the Iberostar Grand Hotel, in Bavaro, Dominican Republic market themselves on providing a relaxing adults only environment.
Adults holiday resorts in the Caribbean are almost exclusively all-inclusive affairs, with a strong emphasis on luxury. You’ll find attractively designed swimming pools in tropical surroundings, often access to a private beach, large, bright and airy rooms and a choice of bars and restaurants on site. In addition there are usually spas, good sports facilities and health and beauty treatments on offer.
For those not looking to visit the Caribbean, a more adult-orientated break (although perhaps not completely child-free) can be booked by opting to travel outside the peak school holidays periods. This opens up a whole host of destinations. And what’s more, holiday prices tend to be far cheaper when the little darlings are tucked in behind their desks in the UK.
Sardinia stays pleasantly warm well into November, making it great for term-time holidays. Travelling between September-December to the interior of the country will also give you the chance to take part in the unforgettable Autunno in Barbagia festival. During this time, 27 picturesque mountain villages are transformed into open air markets, with a delicious array of meats, cheeses, various anti pasta, olive oil, wine and honey amongst other goods. Locals invite visitors into their dining rooms to sample a delicious range of dishes, and local craftsmen teach tourists the art of their trade. Those particularly fond of Italian cured meats should plan a trip to coincide with the Parma Ham Festival, held between the 10-19 September.
Look for an Egypt holiday in the shoulder seasons of late April and late September, and not only will you see cheaper prices but you’ll avoid hordes of screaming children. Temperatures at this time are hot, but are outside the searingly hot summer season of May-August. Those looking for a lively nightlife scene and a wealth of all-inclusive resorts to choose from should opt for Sharm el Sheikh; particularly the Sharks Bay and Naama Bay areas. Those on a budget could consider staying in the Hadaba district, which sees lower accommodation prices on the whole.
For a more laid-back, relaxing holiday away from the crowds of tourists, Dahab a little further down the coast is a great choice. A former hippy commune with a distinctly bohemian feel, Dahab is your best bet for a child-free holiday, as the resort is relatively unknown compared to the larger, brasher Sharm, and not seen as such a family-orientated destination.
September when the kids are back at school is also a great time to visit Turkey’s stunning Turquoise Coast. Here you’ll find a string of fishing villages – some more commercially developed than others – separated by rugged, pine-clad cliffs that plunge into the sea. The ruins of ancient Lycian settlements and tombs are found along the coastline, making for a fascinating mix of culture, history and fantastic beaches. Those interested in active breaks can hike some of the Lycian Way; a 500km pathway along the coast that connects Fethiye and Antalya – regarded as one of the most spectacular walks in the world.
For a quiet atmosphere, shady cobbled streets and a sleepy harbour, head for Kas; ideal for peace and relaxation. Nearby Kalkan is better for those who like a livelier scene; a popular resort with the British, this resort is built on a steep hill and so may not be suitable for older visitors (or those with small children….)
The huge, sweeping blue lagoon at Olu Deniz is Turkey’s flagship beach; over the school holidays it tends to attract hordes of families who come to picnic under the pines that fringe the shore. In term time however the beach will be much less crowded.
Dalyan, slightly inland, is an attractive former port town situated on the meaning bend of a river. A vibrant café culture, historic sites nearby and thermal springs and mud baths make this a hugely entertaining spot. River boats chug lazily down to Iztuzu beach, where you can see loggerhead turtles on a stunning sandy spit of beach.
While Spain is well-known as a favourite holiday destination for families, if you travel in the autumn months you can get some great deals and avoid the school holidays crowds. The weather in Andalucía remains warm and sunny well into November. The long, expansive stretches of golden sand that are found all along the coast here will be virtually deserted, giving you the whole beach to yourself. No risk of being hit in the head with a stray beach ball, no piercing screams shattering the peace and quiet... lovely. A few miles north of Seville you’ll find the Sierra de Aracena national park – a wonderful place to explore in autumn and witness the changing colours of the Spanish countryside. Take a picnic and sit under the shade of a tree and enjoy a picnic before setting off to explore the tiny atmospheric churches in the area, built by the Knights Templar.