HubbyMine and I chose Mexico for our 20th anniversary fiesta for two. I’ve written before about our preference for hotels offering a larger pool for adults and kids and another for adults only, and our Cancun getaway did its best to fit the bill. Major thanks to the NotMoms who’ve shared their favorite vacation sites. So far, the listing are all in the Caribbean, but we’ll feature other locations just as soon as you share your experiences at places with no kids or low profile kids. Later, we’ll keep this list active and growing under the Food & Travel tab.
It’s important to note that the ocean surpasses any pool in sheer gloriousness, and on most beaches, all ages are welcome. Even so, smart hotels offer nooks and crannies under the palms where singles or couples can find a little quiet.
*Grading within narrow topical parameters is based on travelers’ experiences.
Ritz-Carlton/Cancun, Mexico NotMom Grade: A-
For the Big 2-0, HubbyMine and I nestled peacefully here for 7 wonderful days. Pricey, but well worth it. One of the hotel zone’s older properties, it exudes elegance and attention to service and menus that’s hard to beat. A large, winding pool was filled with children as young as 2, with the expected squeals, yells, and water-went-up-my-nose crying. The kids were fun to watch, to a point. We lasted about 2 hours.
Most of our time was spent at a smaller, blissfully almost always silent pool area about a soccer field away. Although there were no official-looking “Adults Only” signs, thankfully many parents took one look at all the adults quietly reading Kindles or sharing a drink with low laughter and steered their family away. The day that 7 kids were in “our” pool at the same time was a tolerable fluke.
Ritz-Carlton/ Naples, Florida NotMom Grade: A+
An “A+” for having an enforced “their pool/our pool policy”. I can’t say enough good stuff about this location overall, starting with the impressive Jurassic Park-like entrance. Poolside, signage clearly denotes where children are welcome, and transgressors are quickly, politely and firmly informed of their error. We’ve been lucky to find good packages that make a stay here almost affordable, so keep your eyes open.
Iberostar Paraiso Lindo/Cancun NotMom Grade: C
This is another beautiful destination, but… When we stayed here in 2007, kids were everywhere. And during our stay, they were generally uncontrolled by parents. The “lazy river” there was anything but. I lost count of the kids who deliberately clogged the river’s flow, launched tube-to-tube watershooter wars and yelled at full voice to friends farther down the path. I’ve been on lazy rivers that were yoga-like and gently rejuvenating. This one wasn’t much different from a water ride at Cedar Point.
Excellence/Punta Cana, Dominican Republic NotMom Grade: A+
Highly recommended by Kim, who picked this spot for her anniversary retreat:
“A few years ago my husband and I went on a vacation in the DR for our anniversary. We stayed at Excellence Punta Cana and it was fantastic. No one under 18 is allowed at the resort and, from what we heard from people from other resorts who did excursions with us, it had the best service, drinks, and food in the area, too. …I would totally recommend it to others looking for kid-free vacation spots.”
Now Larimar/Punta Cana, DR NotMom Grade: A+
Recommended by Elizabeth:
“We paid to do the preferred option which put us in the Adults Only section of the resort and there was a “preferred only” pool. I didn’t really see anyone enforcing it, but there wasn’t really a need to at least while we were there. … There were 4 other pools for kids to be at, so we never once saw any kids at our pool, or at our “preferred” section on the beach. … It was a VERY relaxing vacation!”
I’ll add that the Now Larimar also has a “kids club”. When you see those on a destination’s website, don’t click off and flee. These clubs’ organized crafts, “explorations” and activities can draw large groups of kids away from waterside for long periods of time. Just sayin’.
This is a pretty small list, but 2013 has lots of time left on the clock. Where’s your best pick for NotMoms looking to recharge?