Why You Should Stay at an Adults Only Hotel

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On my 40th birthday, I sipped an alcoholic concoction from a pineapple and declared Jenga victory over my husband, Steve, before jumping into the pool and commandeering a raft shaped like a diamond ring.

The milestone anniversary of early 2021 took place at Maui’s Wailea Hotel, Hawaii’s only adult-only property until a few years ago. Among other things, that meant an absence of poolside meltdowns, temper tantrums, and concerned parents. Steve and I had experienced a version of this carefree, carefree resort at properties with adult-only pools, but the magic of those lazy afternoons was shattered by dinnertime, when exuberant children and their over-tired-caring parents reminded us of the family atmosphere of the hotel.

Wailea Hotel founder Jonathan McManus said the impetus for opening the property 10 years ago was a desire to reach a few important luxury markets that were being left behind: “One being adults who love their children, but not other people’s children, and the LGBTQ+ market, which generally seeks smaller, intimate hotels,” he wrote in an email.

Joshua Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel, sees interest in adult-only properties increasing as people delay marriage and children or choose another path. “People are putting more emphasis on self-care and finding time to unwind after a few stressful years,” Bush said, noting that these types of properties typically offer upscale experiences, which means a higher price tag. and “are aimed at an audience with more disposable income. (Although of course there are plenty of super-luxury, family-friendly properties around the world.)

As a childless couple by choice, Steve and I enjoy smaller, intimate hotels with stellar food and drink programs, and we don’t mind paying for the quality. Adult-centric activities, such as cocktail-making lessons or in-room couples massages (amenities often found at adult-only properties), are appealing.

Phil Dengler and Robin England, a New Jersey couple in their thirties (no kids yet, but maybe one day, Dengler said) stumbled across their first adults-only hotel. It was a game-changer, according to Dengler, an entrepreneur whose latest digital venture, the Vacationer, is a travel resource. Dengler described Estate Lindholm, a 17-room bed and breakfast in St. John in the US Virgin Islands, as one of the “quietest, most peaceful hotels I have ever stayed in.” While on St. Thomas, Dengler and England’s awakening was a crying baby who stayed in the bedroom next to theirs. “I love children, but [a] period, I just want to sleep,” Dengler said.

Atlanta-based attorney Lizz Patrick, a regular at the adults-only Triple Creek Ranch in Montana, frequently travels solo and finds it easy to befriend other like-minded travelers when not there are no children. “I love children. They are wonderful human beings, and they are wonderful to be around. But there is a certain element when parents take their children on vacation – they are obviously focused on their children and their children are having fun and being safe,” said Patrick, 58.

When the kids are away, so are the distractions that come with them and the inevitable “family groups”. When all the guests are adults, it can “open up the possibility of making other connections and meeting people,” she said. Many of his return visits to Triple Creek Ranch have been mini-reunions, where Patrick reconnected with other horse lovers.

The chance to meet people on vacation is easier at adults-only properties, agrees Christa Adymy, who makes it a point to seek out kid-free resorts.

A breakup about nine years ago led Adymy, then 31, to go alone to Club Med in Turks & Caicos. “I wanted to find a place where I could meet people and have fun,” she said. Adymy is still friends with some of the people she met on that trip and has since stayed at adult-only properties in Bali, Jamaica and Aruba. The impact of not having children around, the lack of a family atmosphere, allows adults to be more relaxed, looser and even a bit childish, Adymy said.

Although Steve and I didn’t plan on keeping in touch with the people we met at the Wailea Hotel, we certainly found it easier to strike up conversations and engage with couples focused on their own good times. , not on the needs of their children. or nap times – and I also detected a more whimsical attitude, perhaps harder to achieve in the midst of family obligations.

For many parents, an adults-only vacation means multiple dates in a row and a chance to reconnect and recharge, which Juliet Izon, a lifestyle writer who lives in New York with her husband and 6-year-old daughter years, said is important. It’s a chance to “bond with your partner and do the little things you really miss in your pre-childhood life. So sleep in and eat a really late night dinner and drink and don’t worry. not to have a hangover, to take care of your children the next morning.

Izon noted that dining options at adults-only resorts, such as Magee Homestead in Wyoming, where she and her husband stayed in 2019, “can sometimes be more exciting because they really only cater to adults. adults”.

Patrick also appreciates the cuisine typical of the restaurants of the adults-only hotels she visits, where “the food is a step up. The dining experience is a step up.

Alila Napa Valley, an adults-only hotel in a “primarily adults-only destination,” as General Manager Ty Accornero puts it, is heavily invested in the property’s culinary chops — evidenced by the restaurant’s enlistment at the Acacia House hotel by chef Chris Cosentino (a “Top Chef Masters Winner”). “The property was conceived as an intimate retreat (from the architecture and design to the spa and the incredible on-site dining),” Accornero wrote in a E-mail.

The “very private, luxurious and romantic escape” that Wailea Hotel founder McManus said guests love is similarly happening at hotels across the country, such as the Wauwinet in Nantucket, Mass., and Hilton Head Health in South Carolina. In December, the Four Seasons brand opens its first adults-only luxury tented resort in the Americas.

Named Naviva, the resort in Punta Mita, Mexico is a response to travelers’ expectations, said John O’Sullivan, regional vice president and general manager, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. He cited research that found “a demand from people – some of whom have children, by the way – who want to have a level of escape and a level of self-discovery that just doesn’t include children” .

Lastoe is a Brooklyn-based writer. His website is staceylastoe.com. Find her on Twitter: @stacespeaks.

Prospective travelers should consider local and national public health guidelines regarding the pandemic before planning any travel. Information on travel health advisories can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive map showing travel recommendations by destination and on the CDC’s travel health advisories webpage.

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