1. ADVENTURE AND ACTIVITY HOLIDAYS
The five-star Windermere Suites in the Lake District is within walking distance of Lake Windermere, 15 minutes from the Lyth Valley, and 30 minutes from the craggy central Lakes. Owner Victoria Monk offers experience stays: food safaris, photographic breaks, sailing, off-road driving, and tank driving. Packages start from about £200 per couple per night at the Windermere Suites, including a one-day experience. Through Windermere Suites.
The Scarlet is a luxury eco-hotel in Mawgan Porth, Cornwall, gazing out to sea from the clifftops. It’s an adult-only boutique haven, with an outdoor reed-bed swimming pool, an Ayurvedic spa with sleeping pods, and a restaurant serving fresh seafood. Want adventure? Book a surf lesson, try wild swimming or gallop horseback along the beach, then return to outdoor log-fire-heated hot tubs on the cliff top. Doubles from £245 per night B&B in summer, direct through The Scarlet Hotel.
During May, June and September the Neilson Anastasia hotel, near Skioni in Greece, is kept adult-only. No one under 18 is allowed, so you can enjoy all kinds of activity – free water sports, tennis, fitness, sailing and windsurfing – without having to look at teenagers. Seven nights from £614 per adult, through Neilson.
The Triple Creek Resort Ranch is an adult-only wilderness retreat in Western Montana. It’s at the base of the highest peak in Western Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, with log cabins, spluttering fireplaces, steam showers, whirlpool baths. Activities include cross-country skiing and snowmobiles in winter, horseback rides and mountain biking in summer, and private massage all year round. Six nights costs from £2,199pp for two sharing, including accommodation and meals, excluding flights, through Ranchrider.
2. IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD
Vietnamese Highlights is a great introduction to Vietnam, south and north. With teeming cities, traditional towns, ancient temples and great walks that reveal hill tribe cultures and markets, it’s going to be easier and more fulfilling to leave any children behind. From £2,195 per person, including road and train travel (not flights), through HF Holidays.
It’s claimed that Göbekli Tepe in Turkey is the world’s oldest temple. Take the nine-day Eastern Turkey Snapshot tour and visit Göbekli Tepe as well as Mount Nemrut, the holy cities of Sanliurfa and Mardin, the Ottoman Ishak Pasa Palace, Akdamar church on Lake Van and the remains of Ani, the former Armenian capital. Cost: from £1,895 (or £2,095 with flights from London) through Travel the Unknown.
Cortisen am See is a lakeside hotel in Austria, with beautiful views, hiking, biking, water skiing and golf. Smokers can go to the Face Cigar Bar; speeders can take a speed boat ride on Lake Wolfgang Lake, loungers can lounge on the fun zebra-print pillows and black rattan chairs. From €140 per room per night based on two adults sharing, including breakfast, through Kiwi Collection.
Sicily is rough, flavoursome and rammed with antiquities. Try the minimalist, self-catering Tanguera villa in north-west Sicily, near Monreale with its fabulous cathedral, and Palermo, the capital. After the sightseeing, come back to an outdoor sunken bath and large master bedroom complete with Jacuzzi and colour-change lighting. One week at Tanguera costs from €1,350 (sleeps two), flights excluded, through Solo Sicily.
3. BEST CITY BREAKS
Poland’s capital city, Warsaw, and the nearby historic city of Krakow have masses of cultural interest, including Warsaw’s Royal Rout, Krakow’s Royal castle and cathedral, and an excursion to Auschwitz. From £699 per person for a five-day tour including flights, based on two sharing, through Travelsphere.
Barceló Illetas Albatros in Mallorca is an adults-only beach hotel in the island’s capital city, located on the seafront at the Bay of Palma. It was stylishly renovated in 2010 and has 128 guest rooms, a Thalasso spa, a large swimming pool, Balinese-style day beds and (for later) cocktails at the hotel’s Urban Sky bar. Book direct with Barceló.
Boston is the city of Cheers, and the shortest transatlantic crossing you can make from the UK. The hotels range from five-star luxury (Fairmont, Mandarin Oriental, etc) to boutique hotels and there are all manner of restaurants and cultural attractions, including the Museum of Fine Arts, given a new wing by Norman Foster. There are also any amount of Irish bars. In other words, plenty of places to avoid children. Through Mass Vacation.
Come to Lyon, France’s second city, where boutique gourmet travel company Flavours of France has launched a Cookery & Wine Tasting Tour. This child-free break offers cookery classes, gourmet food, a wine tour to the Beaujolais region and a trip to Lyon’s huge and extraordinary covered market, Les Halles de Paul Bocuse. From £969pp for a five-day break (flights and transfers not included) with Flavours of France.
4. BEACH HOLIDAYS
The House, an adults-only resort on Barbados’ west coast, is designed for grown-ups to unwind, and will unveil a refurbishment in October, ready for the Caribbean holiday season. This 34-room hotel has a contemporary design, complimentary ‘jet lag revival’ massages and a personalised butler service. From $428 a night, through The House Barbados.
A stay at the Half Moon resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, is repaid with a championship golf course, an equestrian centre, a dolphin lagoon offering swims, horse riding in the sea, and two miles of white sand beach with nary a brat in sight. Depending on dates, prices start from $209 per night for a double room, around $500 for a suite, up to $1,927 for a six-bedroom ocean-view villa, through Rock Resorts: Half Moon.
Nevis claims to be the Caribbean as it once was, and at Nisbet Plantation Beach Club – a boutique resort with 36 rooms in 30 acres of tropical garden – you’ll find yourself in a child-free plantation inn on the beach. Try the hammocks, beachside swimming pool, a romantic dinner on the beach and think of Fanny Nisbet, who met and married Horatio Nelson here in 1787. From $399 per night (if you book one of their special offers), direct through Nisbet Plantation.
The Biras Creek Resort on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands is a grown-up escape with all the hot white sand you can handle, backing on to a 140-acre nature reserve. It’s accessible only by boat or helicopter, and has 31 suites facing the Atlantic ocean, with ocean views and private plunge pools. From $400 per night for a garden suite, direct through Biras Creek.
5. GROWN-UP TREATS
The Grace Santorini hotel in the Cyclades islands, Greece is set in traditional white houses and most of its 20 rooms have a personal terrace with a plunge pool. It’s close to the Caldera sunken volcano and a ruined castle. After you’ve seen those, return for a Grace cocktail, prepared by Salvatore Calabrese, of vodka, lemongrass, apple juice, pear puree and lemon juice. And there are more grown-up treats, with champagne at breakfast and spa treatments using Greek herbs and oils. Seven nights from £1,170pp B&B (low season) and £1,595 (high season), including flights and transfers. Grace Santorini through Bailey Robinson.
The Old Quay House in Fowey, south Cornwall, politely forbids children in any of its 11 bedrooms, making it a perfectly peaceful retreat where consenting adults can sit on the terrace and dolphin-spot. You can enjoy Cornish scallops in its restaurant, Q, or head along the seafront for a bracing stroll. Doubles from £180 per night B&B, through The Old Quay House.
Glenmere Mansion, in the lower Hudson Valley, New York, is a 150-acre estate crowned with a spectacular hilltop mansion. It was built as a country home for a property mogul in 1911, and has been restored and turned into a 19-room hotel. Everything about it says tradition, and it’s crammed with antiques and art – wasted on kids – and close to the shopping haven of Woodbury Commons. From $529 a night, through Kiwi Collection.
The Hideaway in Windermere was built in 1890 and has several Victorian features including an antique Rowntree’s Chocolate Box in the reception area filled with homemade cakes. Despite this, under-12s are verboten, so you’ll have tea, swim, play scrabble and use the nearby spa in the absence of juveniles. From £50-£170 per night for B&B, including tea and those cakes. Through The Hideaway at Windermere.