“Adults-only” isn’t good enough for some who seek a romantic getaway. Sure, they don’t want kids around when they’re canoodling by the pool, but there’s more: They also don’t want to be caught in a singles scene. At these new couples-only all-inclusive resorts, couples can safely hum “Just the Two of Us” 24/7.
Sandals Royal Barbados
Like a novel whose characters surprise the author by taking the plot in a different direction than the writer had intended, Sandals Royal Barbados was conceived as an addition to Sandals Barbados. However, says Sandals Resorts International chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart, “After reviewing the scope of the project, we felt that expanding may compromise intimacy, essential to a romantic setting, and possibly service standards.” The solution was to give Sandals Royal Barbados, which opens Dec. 20, a separate identity and management team. Stewart adds, “we designed the new resort to complement Sandals Barbados [so] guests may ‘stay at one, but play at two.’”
The property will have 222 suites, all concierge and butler level, including Sandals’ signature Rondovals, Millionaire Butler Suites, Skypool Suites, and Swim-up Suites, plus private Rolls Royce transfers for guests in six categories: SM1B, M1B, BSKY, B1PP, B1B, and RPP. Other amenities include an immense spa and fitness center, a watersports facility, Sandals’ first-ever rooftop pool and gentlemen’s barber shop, new kinds of fusion restaurants, a living room, and a four-lane bowling alley, because romance is always smoother if you can go bowling. Rates start at about $500 per couple per night, or $3,500 a week.
Serenity at Coconut Bay, St. Lucia
Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa already had an adults-only section, Harmony, but Serenity opened this spring with a more upmarket look and service level. This 36-suite hideaway sits apart from the larger resort, and the secluded entrances to suites in its single-story villas make each one feel quite private. Serenity has its own pool with cabanas, a bar and restaurant, amenities that are de rigueur in any couples’ enclave that calls itself a separate resort.
Every suite is 1,200 sq. ft. or more, with a modernist design featuring natural materials and glass. Each comes with a mahogany bed, a butler, 24-hour room service, an espresso machine, WiFi, a 55-inch TV and Bose sound system, a soaking tub, and a private outdoor patio with a plunge pool, aquabeds, and a wet bar. Airport transfers—in private cars, of course—are included.
Serenity guests may use Coconut Bay’s restaurants, bars, watersports facilities, and other amenities. The resort is also near the Pitons, hiking trails, and drive-in volcano, but couples who just want twosome time can do that, too. “Guests don’t even have to venture out of their suites,” says Serenity CEO Mark Adams. “The suites are indoor-outdoor living areas designed for privacy. Most have outdoor showers, waterfalls, and even coconut trees on the pool decks with hammocks for two.” Rates start at around $700 per night, or $4,900 per week.
Hideaway at Royalton Negril
One of three adults-only, all-suite resorts opening this year in connection with larger Royalton Resorts complexes (the Saint Lucia Hideaway opening in February and a Punta Cana Hideaway debuts in late 2017), the Hideaway at Royalton Negril opened in March. I’m breaking my couples-only rule here: Hideaway accepts adults who aren’t couples, but this is primarily a couples crowd.
“Hideaway’s modern design and white stone walls bring a contemporary appeal to the tree-lined shore,” says Jordi Pelfort, managing director of Blue Diamond Resorts (Royalton falls under the Blue Diamond Resorts umbrella). “The views from every point of the resort are breathtaking, and the sunsets are…magnificent. Royalton Negril will set a new standard of luxury for both international and Jamaican visitors.”
Guests enjoy the Royalton Negril’s sports, spa, fitness center, entertainment, and restaurants, but they also have their own bar, beach area and infinity pool with waiter service and afternoon hors d’oeuvres, and a beachfront restaurant. Of the six other restaurants, Grazie Trattoria is a must, and the de facto adults-only C/X Culinary Experience (extra charge) offers a fine introduction to cutting-edge gastronomy.
Rates start at $186 pp ($372 per couple; $2,604 per week) for a 602-sq.-ft. room. An upgrade to a Diamond Club room, which includes access to the Diamond Club Lounge, a Diamond Club area at the Hideaway pool, butler service, a freestanding jacuzzi near the bed, etc., starts at $433 per couple, or $3,031 a week.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa
At the grand opening of Secrets Cap Cana in late April, I was entranced by the video over one of the bars, a vaguely spiritual scene in India that somehow put me in a cuddly mood. But then, so much at this all-suite, 457-key resort abets romance: the soft-cornered adobe-like buildings, the landscaping, the white-sand beach….
“The new Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa has become the flagship property for the brand,” says Gonzalo del Peon, president of AMResorts. It offers “the highest level of luxury,” he adds, and Juanillo Beach, upon which it sits, is “one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the Dominican Republic.”
Of course, this Secrets offers new rooms and public spaces, and the Unlimited-Luxury perks you’d expect of a new Secrets: the absence of wristbands, 24-hour room service, a la carte restaurants that require no reservations, multiple recreational facilities, free WiFi and calls to North America, plus a fine balance between entertainment and tranquility. In addition, guests can, for an extra charge, enjoy some of the best angling in the Caribbean, three Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, and horseback riding, not to mention the Pevonia Spa.
Even the least expensive suite sports sexy luxuries such as a soaking tub on the balcony or patio. Rates start at about $420 per couple ($2,940 a week); an ocean view suite costs just $30 more ($3,150 a week).
SANDALS SOUTH COAST
This newbie is in a category of its own because of its singular start: Sandals South Coast has stayed open through its transformation from Sandals Whitehouse European Village & Spa, which will be complete by the end of the year. So what makes it qualify as “new”?
“We have brought our most innovative ideas…to absolutely reimagine the guest experience,” says Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International. Those ideas include 12 over-the-water bungalows, Sandals’ first dedicated over-the-water bar (guests can sip cocktails while lounging in hammocks suspended above the sea), new dining concepts, a floating swim-up bar in the ocean, and an over-the-water wedding chapel, with part of the floor made of glass so guests can spot gate-crashers with gills. “The results,” says Stewart, “embody the beauty of the region [while] embracing the incredible beach and… 500 acres of nature preserve.”
All accommodations face the water, and all 112 rooms in The Italian Riviera, formerly the Italian Village, have been renovated. Rates per couple start at about $445 a night, or $3,100 a week.
Hideaway at Royalton Negril: royaltonresorts.com/hideaway-negril
Sandals Resorts: sandals.com
Secrets Cap Cana: secretsresorts.com/cap-cana
Serenity at Coconut Bay: serenityatcoconutbay.com