Family vacations can be great, of course. But sometimes, adults need a getaway geared exclusively to grown-up tastes. Whether it's a honeymoon, a special anniversary or "just because," the Caribbean's soft breezes, swaying palms and gorgeous sunsets are renowned for stirring up romance. And while there are hundreds of hotels from which to choose, for many vacationing couples, an all-inclusive resort can be a stress-free and cost-effective option. With dining, entertainment, water sports and many other amenities included in the tab, guests are free to relax and simply enjoy each other. Here are 12 of our favorite adults-only (and nearly adults-only) all-inclusive Caribbean resorts.
-- Lisa Kahn, Oyster.com
1. Sandals La Source Grenada
One of the newest additions to the popular Sandals chain, Sandals La Source Grenada is a 225-room resort that sprawls across 17 acres on the island's southwestern tip. Fortunately, all the main features are centrally located, so it's not difficult to get around. Couples won't lack for activities, thanks to five beautiful pools with plenty of seating, an excellent spa and fitness center, tennis and water sports, and 10 dining spots, including a beachfront seafood restaurant. However, it's the romantic touches -- fire pits, gazebos, and swinging chairs overlooking the ocean -- that make La Source a distinctly adult destination. Bear in mind, though, that beachfront activities here are limited due to rough waters on this part of the island, and ocean swimming is restricted to a roped-in cove.
Tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs, The Caves is arguably Jamaica's most romantic getaway. Twelve rustic-luxe private cottages and suites are far larger and quirkier than traditional hotel rooms, with outdoor showers, large tubs, stone floors, and no TVs (except by request). There's no beach, but a saltwater pool, private ocean-view whirlpool, intimate spa, and free yoga classes allow guests to relax and commune with nature. High-quality, locally focused cuisine, a top-shelf bar, and intimate, incredibly attentive service make this property one of the plushest accommodations in town. But a similar, ever-so-slightly-less-special experience can definitely be had elsewhere along the cliffs, for a lot less money; try other TV-less boutiques like Tensing Pen or the Rockhouse.
3. Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Set on a serene white-sand beach, the adults-only Breathless is one of the most luxurious all-inclusive options in Punta Cana. The 750-suite property is massive, so guests rarely feel overwhelmed by crowds, whether they are bobbing down a lazy river pool, dining in one of 11 restaurants, or strolling along the manicured lawns. Common spaces are calming, with earth-toned decor and teak accents, while rooms are outfitted in bright geometric patterns; all feature balconies and whirlpools. Rates include everything from the food and alcohol to water sports and themed pool parties, although some guests complain that the food and service at the restaurants is less than top-notch. Nonetheless, the Breathless is undoubtedly more stylish than the similarly priced Riu Palace Macao 20 minutes south, and is a solid luxury option in the area.
4. Royal Suites Turquesa by Palladium, Dominican Republic
Named for the striking turquoise waves that lap Bavaro Beach, the oceanfront Royal Suites Turquesa is the more upscale, adults-only section of the massive all-inclusive Palladium resort complex in Punta Cana. The 372-room Turquesa has a more peaceful setting than its sister properties, with indulgent features including swim-up suites and a prime stretch of private beach dotted with lounge chairs, hammocks, and daybeds. The main pool is smack in the center of the resort and has built-in lounge chairs and a swim-up bar. Room options come in seven spacious types, all with canopy beds, stocked minibars (soda, water, beer, and liquor), DVD players, and jetted tubs. There is premium liquor at the bars, and two restaurants (including a romantic French option) are exclusive to this section only. For variety, guests can also access the wide selection of bars, restaurants, and activities at three neighboring Palladium properties, though they're a long walk or crowded shuttle ride away.
5. Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay, Jamaica
One of the more luxurious adults-only all-inclusives in Montego Bay, the sprawling Secrets Wild Orchid offers a laundry list of enticing features: eight restaurants and five bars, and a host of activities including a theater, spa, watersports and dive center, and casino. Rooms have sophisticated contemporary decor, and extras such as four-poster beds, flat-screen TVs, soaking tubs, massive rainfall showerheads, and stocked minibars. But the resort shares virtually all of its amenities with the next-door Secrets St. James, and some of the best amenities and freebies (including free Wi-Fi, a quieter pool, and access to a VIP Club Lounge with a non-stop buffet and help-yourself bar) are reserved only for the VIP guests staying in the "Premiere" part of the resort.
6. Secrets St. James Montego Bay
Slightly cheaper than its sister property next door, Secrets St. James offers a similar abundance of amenities, including a beautiful beach and tons of features, like seven restaurants and bars, an expansive spa, a theater, a dive center, a shopping plaza, and a casino. The atmosphere here isn't overly romantic or hard-partying, but it's somewhere in the middle, which accounts for the resort's broad appeal. Romance is certainly possible, thanks to soaking or whirlpool-style tubs in all rooms, and a spa with hot and cold pools and a Zen garden. But active couples can keep busy, too, with the free water sports, tennis, basketball, croquet, fitness classes, game room, batting cage, and small casino (if you consider that "active). Partiers can get free top-shelf liquor at any of the seven bars (though they may have to fight the crowds).
Situated on a private island accessed via a 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales, the 1,000-acre Parrot Cay by COMO resort is the definition of tranquility. With an incredible infinity-edge pool, waterfront Balinese-style villas, doting service, and more than three miles of pristine beaches, it's easily one of the most luxurious and romantic options in the Caribbean. Gorgeous landscapes and expansive accommodations aside, the resort's COMO Shambhala Spa is the major draw for many guests. This world-renowned sanctuary focuses on holistic therapies like reflexology and Ayurveda, as well as massages and facial treatments. Two restaurants and two bars feature a mix of menus for those looking to indulge -- as well as options for more health-conscious travelers. Unfortunately, hefty price tags put it out of reach for many, and the rare level of privacy comes at the cost of convenience -- a boat commute is required to reach any nightlife or shopping.
Even travelers who are turned off by the mass appeal of all-inclusive resorts might consider a property like Couples Tower Isle. One of Ocho Rio's first resorts (and a former playground for 1950s Hollywood A-listers), this 226-room property is still a sophisticated option for an adult getaway. Amenities are refined: There is a zen spa, a yoga and spinning studio, and diverse dining options including an all-vegetarian cafe, an upscale Caribbean venue, and an Asian-fusion restaurant that hovers over the water in a thatched-roof palapa. Perhaps most compelling, though, are the resort's all-inclusive rates, which cover an impressive range of services, including airport transfers, golf green fees, catamaran cruises, glass-bottom boat rides, snorkeling, scuba diving, tennis, horseback riding, and an all-inclusive booze policy, which includes top-shelf liquors in addition to the usual beer, wine, and rum punch. While public areas are chic and modern, the rooms fall a bit short by comparison. The pools are also unexceptional, though they do have ocean views, and one has a swim-up bar.
Checking in at the 301-room Sandals Grande is akin to being set free in an adult wonderland. This upscale, couples-only resort offers a sensory overload of amenities -- a pool with a huge tower rising from its center, a long, white sand beach, stretching piers with fire pits, eight restaurants, and a laundry list of water sports (the resort possesses the largest water sports operation in the Caribbean). Divers already certified can take advantage of daily dives while others can sign up to get scuba certified (for a fee). Waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, and windsurfing cater to active guests while the more leisure-oriented can partake in snorkeling and lounging in a giant seaside hot tub. Rooms have beautiful colonial-influenced Caribbean style; some have butler service or private lounge access. Candlelit beachside dinners for couples and regular group activities are also on the agenda. Evenings include a rotating calendar of activities that bring out the crowds, including a particularly popular late-night chocolate buffet.
10. Rendezvous Resort, St. Lucia
Couples of all ages come to Rendevous Resort for its easygoing, all-inclusive vibe. Sister to the more upscale (and more wellness-oriented) BodyHoliday LeSport, the 100-room Rendevous is all about romance, connecting as a couple, and being a bit self-indulgent. The staff is trained to help couples bond by arranging private seaside dinners and couples massages, and transforming rooms into romantic retreats. Rendezvous also offers a slew of activities for active guests, including two tennis courts, a gym with modern equipment, yoga, archery, motorized and non-motorized water sports, and scuba. There's a Seaside Pool with a swim-up bar and views of the ocean, a second, more intimate pool, and the Lazy River, a meandering series of streams with private spots for couples to hide out in pod-like day beds. To cap the day, guests can order the resort's Room Retreat, a service that sets the mood with soft music, flower petals on the bed, candlelight, champagne, and aromatherapy.
11. Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
Set on a stunning three-quarter-mile long beach on Antigua's northeastern shore, Galley Bay's relaxed, tranquil environment is a major part of its appeal. This adults-only boutique resort features 98 suites and cottages with thatched roofs and simple but charming Caribbean style, and many are directly on the sand. The focus here is on laid-back romance, so there's no evening entertainment besides the nightly live music, and restaurants shut down around 10 p.m. -- which is exactly the type of atmosphere most guests are looking for. This isn't Antigua's fanciest property, but it doesn't need to be: A truly gorgeous beach and all-inclusive food that's better than average for the island make for a winning combo. Water sports are also included in the rate, but the ocean here can get a bit rough so guests shouldn't count on being able to swim in it every day.
12. Zoetry Agua Punta Cana
The 96-room Zoetry Agua is one of the most luxurious and tranquil all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic. While not strictly an adults-only property, non-discounted rates for children and a lack of kid-friendly amenities means that almost all guests are couples. The resort boasts an uncrowded white-sand beach, sleek, spacious suites, a pristine pool, and one of the Dominican Republic's top spas. Included amenities -- yoga classes, laundry services, top-shelf liquor, and even one horseback riding session per guest-- are plentiful. The property has four lovely restaurants as well as bars by the pool, beach, and in the lobby, but they are decidedly calm, and there's no nightly entertainment here. Those looking for a slightly livelier -- but still upscale -- scene may consider the Breathless Punta Cana or the Dreams Punta Cana, both of which are about 10 minutes down the road.