Leaving the kids at home for a blissful child-free holiday in Lanzarote
There is something so deliciously relaxing about a few days away sans les enfants
Barceló Teguise Beach in Lanzarote is an adult-only hotel.
We all love our children and relish spending family time together, but there is something so deliciously relaxing about a few days away sans les enfants – to unwind without having to worry about the depth of the pool, the distance from the balcony to the ground below, the availability of child-friendly food and the need to reserve five seats on the plane together.
And while the thought of escaping for a few stolen days without the kids is every parents’ guilty secret, just imagine being in a place where there are no guests under the age of 18.
I’m not for a moment suggesting it isn’t possible to relax while other people’s children are dive-bombing into the pool and playing tag with water guns in very close proximity to your sun lounger, but it does make switching off just that little bit easier.
So although my own three boys are well beyond the stage of kids’ clubs and are all great company, it was with some delight that my other half and I strapped ourselves in for the four-hour flight to Lanzarote, where we would enjoy almost five whole days of doing nothing more pressing than sunbathing, swimming, walking and a whole lot of eating and drinking.
We were headed to the Barceló Teguise Beach hotel, just a 15-minute drive from Arrecife airport, and from the moment we disembarked into the lightly scented air of the Canary Islands, we could both feel the tension and the Irish chill melt away.
Located just 150m from Las Cucharas beach, this modern hotel is an oasis. Deceptively small from the front façade, the marble foyer opens out onto a courtyard, lush with colourful flowers and funky glass-fronted pool which, lit up with alternating colours at nighttime, actually sits atop the staircase to the basement sports bar so swimmers can be seen doing lengths or cooling down from the noonday sun.
Needless to say, it provided the perfect photo-op, but wouldn’t have been safe with young children splashing about.
There was also a much bigger and grander pool to the right of the courtyard, surrounded by palm trees, regular loungers and a handful of four-poster-bed-style arrangements for romantics who want to relax a-deux, or for habitual bed-hoggers who feel the need to spread out in abundant luxury.
The whole effect was tranquil and indulgent, and I couldn’t wait to unpack and get down to the serious business of doing nothing.
In keeping with the whole adult theme, our room was a junior suite complete with Jacuzzi on the glass-fronted ocean-facing double balcony. There was a bottle of Cava on ice awaiting our arrival, and a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries (just in case we needed further refreshments after the Cava and fresh orange juice provided during check-in). While it was tempting to take a nap in the huge super-king-size bed, there were rays to be soaked up and a locality to explore.
Swapping jeans and jumpers for something a little more appropriate for the local climate, we dumped our bags and headed off to check out the amenities both in and out of the hotel complex.
Bars and restaurants
While the front of the hotel faces the street, the back door (alongside the basement bar) opens out onto the promenade and all the bars and restaurants which come with it. To the right there was a small but defined strip offering the usual holiday resort fayre – but without children looking to buy gaudy souvenirs or teenagers hinting at the chance of a cheeky shandy, we sauntered past safe in the knowledge that we need do nothing more than look.
Strolling back in the other direction, we discovered a long promenade with rolling waves on one side and a smattering of holiday complexes to the other – it would become the perfect place to start each day of our short trip with a bracing early walk before breakfast.
Which brings me neatly on to the topic of food and the fantastic array of choice, which although plentiful, shouldn’t have played too much havoc with my waistline as, being an adult-only trip, we weren’t tempted by the calorific options of a typical children’s menu.
The hot buffet section had options to suit everyone (even those with a more childlike palate) and there were also stations filled with every kind of salad, cheese, fruit, bread and much more.
We opted for sushi and salad starters on the first evening, followed by pan-fried hake and chargrilled vegetables and a plate of local cheese and fruit to share afterwards. Being on an all-inclusive package, wine was included with the meal but there was also the option to upgrade to the wine list (we did for €10 extra).
After dinner, we ambled across the courtyard to the cocktail bar for coffee and a digestif – which again, with everything included in the price, can be a little dangerous. But with our raving days firmly behind us, we didn’t go too wild with the drinks and managed to retire to our quarters with our dignity still intact.
Waking the following morning to the glorious realisation that we had no one to answer to and no agenda for the next four days was simply wonderful.
But determined not to completely veg out, we started the first of our early morning work-outs – me on the promenade, himself doing lengths of the pool – before reconvening in the restaurant for breakfast.
Sitting outside on the terrace, we tried a selection of granolas, fruit, local breads, pastries and yoghurts, with an endless supply of freshly squeezed juices and coffee. There was also the ubiquitous fry for anyone wanting bacon and sausages.
Throughout our mini-adult-only-break, I managed to get through three books (I have an aversion to Kindles), traversed the promenade more times than I care to remember, had a wonderfully restorative massage at the on-site spa (while giving the gym a wide berth), ate more delicious food than I should admit to and drank more than my fair share of cocktails (which despite being on tap all day, I stuck to my self-made rule of not imbibing before sundown).
I’ve had many wonderful holidays and adventures with the kids over the years and while an adult-only break is indulgent and decadent, it’s also very restorative, and will undoubtedly make you a more tolerant parent on your return. Well, that’s my excuse anyway. You might have to find your own.
I stayed at the Barceló Teguise Beach hotel in Lanzarote, where prices start at €184 per night b&b for a double room. barcelo.com. Other adult-only options around Europe include:
· Club Marvy in Ozdere, Turkey, €304 for two nights all-inclusive in a double room clubmarvy.com
· Burley Manor Hotel in the New Forest, England, €189 per night for a double room burleymanor.com
· Corralejo Bay hotel in Tenerife, €155 per night b&b for a double room booking.com
· Hotel Jardin Tecina on the island of La Gomera, €180 per night b&b for a double room jardin-tecina.com
· THB Los Molinos in Ibiza, €88 per night b&b for a double room thbhotels.com
· Le Fabe Hotel in the heart of Paris, €142 per night for a double room lefabehotel.fr
· Hotel 7Sentidos in Bavaria, Germany, €529 for two nights b&b in a double room 7sentidos.de
· Hotel Porto Santa Maria in Madeira, €175 for two nights b&b in a double or twin room portobay.com
All summer long, The Irish Times will offer tips, advice and information for parents on how to help their children thrive during the holiday months. Read all about it on irishtimes.com/summeroffamily