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Best adult only holidays

Best adult only holidays

By Mark Hodson and David Wickers, Sunday Times Travel writers

If your kids have fled the nest, or you just want to enjoy some peace and quiet without children around – yours or other people’s – it’s a good idea to focus on adult only holidays. These may be individual hotels that don’t allow children under a certain age, or activity holidays aimed squarely at grown-ups. Do your homework though – we know of some “adult-only” hotels which welcome the little darlings during school holidays. Here, we highlight some of the world’s best adult only holidays.

Couples celebrating a special occasion might want to see our anniversary holiday ideas.


Note: all the travel companies featured are personally recommended by our editors.

Adult only holidays in the Med

Summer in the Mediterranean

Although most resorts on the Med are open to all comers, you can always find individual adult-only hotels offering an oasis of maturity. One favourite of mine is the The Dionysos Estate, spectacularly located at the top of a canyon overlooking the glorious Lycian coast of Turkey. See more holiday ideas in Turkey.

Rather than turning the whole joint into an exclusive grown up domain, some hotels prefer to allocate just a corner of their property as a child-free haven. The Royal Spa wing and its pool at the five-star Le Meridien in Cyprus, for example, is exclusively reserved for ages 16 and up. In Paphos, the Asimina Suites Hotel is firmly focussed on adult luxury with a private sandy beach, lush gardens, elegant swimming pools, and suites with large balconies. Find more hotels in Cyprus.

The five-star Lindos Blu Hotel & Suites on Rhodes was the first (and remains the only) hotel on Rhodes for adults only. It’s close to charming Lindos town and is a tranquil and contemporary hideaway with a reputation for great food. Book with Sovereign.

The island of Hvar – a short ferry ride from Split in Croatia – has wonderful beaches and stylish hotels. It’s less well known than Ibiza and Mykonos and much better value. We love The Riva for boutique chic, the beachfront Amfora and the luxurious Adriana.

We asked the specialists at Simpson Travel to recommend some adults-only hotels in the Mediterranean. They suggested the Purple Apricot Hotel in Greece, the Arosmari Village Hotel in Crete and their own “secret” hotel in Faralya, Turkey. Intriguing!

How about a “wellness weekend” at L’Albereta, a seriously classy hotel hidden deep in the countryside of Lombardy. Combine spa treatments, nutritional advice with exercise fabulous Italian food.

If you’re looking for a budget holiday without children, head to a holiday village in France. There’s a great choice of locations close to beach, countryside and mountains with upmarket self-catering apartments, spas, restaurants and heated pools. There is a great selection of golfing breaks in France and premium beach residences in Normandy.

Long-haul for grown-ups

If you’re looking further afield, there are a number of tropical resorts which are child-free year-round. Amongst the best known are Sandals Resorts (in Jamaica, Antigua, St Lucia, the Bahamas) which are for adult couples only. A tasty new resort opened in Grenada in December 2013.

Almond Beach Club in Barbados is strictly for adults only. Book with Tropical Sky.

The Body Holiday, Le Sport in St Lucia is for adults only most of the year but they accept children over 12 years of age during the school holidays. That said, their impressive spa is child-free year-round – with a daily treatment included in the price. Book with Thomson Worldwide.

In the Dominican Republic, Secrets Royal Punta Cana is an all-inclusive adults-only resort; the beach is sublime and the value for money hard to beat.

The child-free resort of Chiva Som in Thailand is our pick of the Asian options for grown-ups, especially if you’re looking for amazing spa treatments and something of a healthy holiday. Book with W&O Travel.

Alternatively, there’s the Six Senses Samui on Koh Samui – there are no rules about children but neither are there any kids pools or other child-friendly facilities. Book with Hayes & Jarvis.

So many of the new resorts in the Maldives are offering family-friendly holidays now to the point it’s become a popular family destination – and no resorts categorically state they are for adults only. Our pick would be between NIYAMA for something cutting edge and contemporary and the 4-star-at-3-star-prices Meeru Island Resort where the water villas are for adults only.

Coastal walking holidaysbest walking holidaysYoga by the oceanMan jumping on the beach

Active adults

All sorts of active holidays, from dancing to golf, deep sea fishing to yoga, would be a turn off for young children even if they were allowed to book. Little legs would also barely be able to cope with a walking holiday.

In some instances – on the classic and challenging Alpine High Route through the Bernese Oberland, for example, which passes beneath the peaks of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau – those under 14 would be ‘positively discouraged’ in the words of its organiser, Inntravel.

A hotel-to-hotel cycling holiday is another good option; you will generally stay in smaller, characterful hotels chosen for their great food rather than kids’ facilities. Headwater has some wonderful itineraries; cycling in Gozo in the spring or autumn ticks all the boxes.

You’re guaranteed not to see any children on these adult-only yoga holidays in beautiful locations in Crete, India and Puglia in Italy. Inspa runs health and fitness retreats in equally wonderful locations.

Or how about exploring the backroads of Ireland on a Classic Car Tour – choose between a MGB roadster, Alfa Romeo Spider, Mercedes 350SL or Morris Minor. See more special experiences in Ireland.

Beach clubs for adults

Even some of the most child-friendly companies in the business still feel the need to set aside certain weeks and/or properties purely for grown up pleasures. You won’t, for example, find kids at Club Med’s Kemer village in Turkey or at Otranto in Italy. Find more information about the best all-inclusive holidays.

Culture vultures

Few children would share their parents’ enthusiasm for learned lectures on the finer points of Bernini’s grand design for Papal Rome, the significance of a few shards of Greek urns or the interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Children more or less exclude themselves. For architectural holidays we recommend Andante Travels while Martin Randall Travel offers an excellent selection of expert-led small-group tours in Britain. New departures include Turner & The Sea, Charles Dickens and Mediaeval Middle England.

A wine tour is a great way to soak up some of Europe’s most beautiful landscapes – along with some quality vintages. Arblaster & Clarke offers expert-guided group tours including vineyards visits, tastings and gorgeous accommodation. You could tour Burgundy, Sancerre, the Rhone or Chablis in France, or head out to Italy, Spain or Portugal.

A river cruise is a great way to explore the cultural highlights of Europe, and it’s rare to find children on these boats. In fact, some are reserved for adults only. The most popular destinations include the Danube, Rhine, Main, Mosel, Seine, Rhône and Douro in Europe, also there is increasing interest in Russia’s waterways, the Chobe in Africa, the Mekong in Cambodia and the Ayeyarwady in Myanmar.

Grown up companies

Learning is something that takes place in classrooms before the end of term, not after. At least that will be the view shared by most children, so holiday courses that involve studying French, grasping the subtleties of needlepoint or polishing up painting skills are unlikely to appeal to children. Cookery courses, for example, are hugely popular but not with little ‘uns. Try Expressions Holidays which has cookery classes on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

Going solo – or in a large group

Travel with a company specialising in holidays for single travellers, such as Solos Holidays and you won’t even find lonesome teenagers, let alone children. If you’re a woman travelling alone, see our tips for solo female travel and recommended destinations.

If you have a large group then one of the most enjoyable holidays is renting a large house. For a superb selection of properties in the UK and overseas, go to The Big Domain.

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