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Last updated: 24 May 2022

Where to go for a grown-up boutique break

Whether it’s a special birthday, anniversary or much-needed week of peace and quiet, there are times when only a getaway for two – not 2.4 children – will do. We’re talking slide-free pools, spas and swapping sandcastle building for stretching out on a plush ocean-side cabana. Here’s what to look for when booking an adults-only hotel break – and some new luxury spots to inspire you.

The glamour of Gothenburg

Sweden is synonymous with cutting-edge Scandi style. And laid-back Gothenburg, its second biggest city, is fast becoming one of Europe’s hottest destinations – especially if you’ve done Paris, Rome and Stockholm. Without children in tow you can hop on and off trams zigzagging through the edgier streets, linger in trendy cafés and take time to admire the cosmopolitan cityscape.

Some of the coolest places to fika (that’s Swedish for meeting up and having coffee) include the Röda Sten café in a boiler house turned art gallery and warehouse-like micro-roastery Da Matteo. Lovers of the minimalist Scandi style won’t be disappointed – the city is teeming with stylish joints that are bound to inspire.

To make the most of long, lazy lie-ins – without missing out on any must-dos – it’s best to be at the heart of the action in Gothenburg. Dorsia Hotel & Restaurant is a helpful hop, skip and jump from key sights such as the Old Post House, Opera House and Museum of Art. With glamorous rooms that make the Belle Époque look understated and a restaurant that oozes decadence, it’s made for grown-up getaways.

A far-flung fling in the Cook Islands

The truth is, sometimes all you need is sea, sand… and snorkelling. For the ultimate tropical hideaway, it’s difficult to beat the beach bliss provided by the Cook Islands.

These are the kinds of places where you could easily be the first to leave footprints in the (castle-free) sand or be the only two people swimming in natural pools. Plus, there’s just enough going on in Rarotonga to make sure you feel like a contemporary castaway – margarita in hand.

If you’ve got two weeks (or even more) to spare, few places spell total relaxation like the beach. Mexico, especially Tulum, has been turning heads already this year. And there are fresh-faced boutique beach retreats opening their doors here in 2017. A far cry from the hedonism of Cancun, it’s an ideal location if you like to mix up history and culture with sea and sand.

Mexican Mezzanine has both the Caribbean Sea and the Tulum Mayan ruins within easy reach. And being adults-only means there’s little to interrupt the feeling of absolute serenity. If you want to tour the ancient sites in this area, renting a car makes it simple to see Coba, Muyil and Ek-Balam too. Over in the Cook Islands, brand new Little Polynesian Resort is due to be all the rage in the South Pacific. Tailor-made service and tranquillity from the moment you arrive are set to be its hallmarks. Cocktails by moonlight anyone?

Italy’s dramatic island

While Florence, Rome and Venice have a well-deserved track record for romantic getaways, there’s another side to Italy.

Pantelleria, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it island between Sicily and North Africa, is an undiscovered gem. It’s known as ‘The Black Pearl of the Mediterranean’. For a small isle, expect bucket-loads of striking scenery: volcanic landscapes, hot springs and walking trails that curl around vineyards.

To feel like an A-lister, Sikelia should do the trick. Ancient on the outside but a masterpiece of sleek interior design, when it opens in spring it’s due to become the place to truly get away from it all.