Adults-only all-inclusives are not always adults-only

Sunset Infinity Pool at the adults-only all-inclusive Hyatt Zilara Cancun
The rooftop infinity pool at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun is great for sunsets

For many couples, adults-only all-inclusives are the holy grail of resorts. It can be Christmas week and a true adults-only resort can be one of the few holiday places that children won’t be seen or heard. There is one problem though: Not all adult-only all-inclusives are truly adults-only.

The different types of adults-only all-inclusives

Resorts are not binary where they either allow kids or are strictly an adults-only all-inclusive. Many are somewhere in-between, even if they advertise themselves as an ‘adults-only resort’. Here are the different types of adults-only all-inclusives that you can expect:

True adults-only all-inclusive resort

These adults-only all-inclusives are what people expect, where the entire resort is free from children. Many bars and restaurants without little ones screaming.

Many resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean are entirely adults-only, some examples include Valentin Imperial Maya in the Riviera Maya, Live Aqua in the Cancun Hotel Zone, or Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic

Adults-only resort part of a larger complex

This category seems to be growing, where a complex of multiple all-inclusive resorts has one that is adults-only. Many, but not all, offer the ability to spend the entire trip completely free from children if you desire, such as the Iberostar Grand Paraiso or Barcelo Maya Riviera.

Others may require a bit of a mix. The TRS Coral in Costa Mujeres, for example, is an adults-only all-inclusive that has multiple restauarants, bars, etc., but most of its nightlife and the spa are in the family-friendly section of the resort.

TRS Coral adult-only all-inclusive
Sunrise view at the TRS Coral Costa Mujeres | Photo Credit: Ben Duffy

Small adults-only section of a resort

These are the tricky ones that are tough to sully out. This is when there may technically be a section of a resort that is advertised as an adults-only all-inclusive, but upon closer inspection you see that the resort is almost entirely family-friendly, with only 1 small adults-only pool, 1 or no adults-only restaurants, and therefore almost impossible to avoid children for large portions of the stay.

An example of this is Turquoize at the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Advertised as “The Adults-Only Experience” and “a serene adults-only haven”, it seems like it would be similar to a resort like the TRS Coral above. Instead, it offers a single adults-only dinner restaurant that’s in the main part of the family-friendly area, the pool overlooks the family-friendly pool, and there’s very little entertainment that isn’t in the main resort. It can be an amazing place to stay if you don’t mind children, but for someone looking for a true adults-only all-inclusive experience, this will not deliver.

Adults-only amenities in a family-friendly resort

If you are avoiding children altogether, avoid going to a resort that just has some adults-only amentities, but this can be good if you are part of a larger family group where you want to escape the kids every now and again. Rather than create an entire adults-only resort, more and more resorts offer adults-only amenitiesin a family-friendly resort, where they may have an adults-only pool, or rotate out restaurants that are adults-only each night of the week.

What to look for

Search Facebook for the hotel’s fan page, practically every resort has one (or more) fan pages. Facebook allows you to search just that page, so use some basic terms like “adults only” to see what they offer, as other people have almost certainly asked the question before and even the fan pages that tend to silence critics will still have a good overview of what to expect.

Also, read between the lines of what the adults-only resort advertises on their website. If it mentions sharing restaurants or pools with a ‘sister resort next door’ or if what they list as adults-only amenities don’t sound like a full resort, you are likely staying in a smaller part of a larger complex.

The takeaway

An adults-only resort are often part of (or very mixed in with) family-friendly resorts. If you are expecting a child-free vacation, triple-check that the resort you want is a true standalone adults-only all-inclusive

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Ben Duffy
Ben has visited all-inclusives for years, enjoying the ability to watch the ocean from a Bali Bed with a fresh margarita in hand and not a care in the world
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