I was laying down in the poolside cabana, trying to make myself relax. It’s an effort that requires some inner dialogue: “Stop thinking. Relax. Try taking deep breaths. Stop thinking about home, and work, and the kids. Did I put the laundry in the dryer? Did I pay the electric bill before I left? Shhhhh, brain, just relax.” Then I became aware that I wasn’t hearing any kids’ voices. I was hearing nice music, and grownups laughing and chatting. And the sounds of the ocean waves. I was breathing calmly, and slowly. I was actually beginning to relax. Finally! This vacationing-without-kids thing has merit.
There I was, feeling blissful, with a book (that I’d been trying to start for a year), and a mango daiquiri in hand (brought to me, poolside), while I watched my husband floating in the center of a round swimming pool. Part of the reason for this new-found ability to relax and be present in the moment was because our destination Haven Riviera Cancun Resorts & Spa, is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort. No screaming kiddos rushing past; no fighting siblings and the stressed out energy given off by their parents (been there, done that). Just peace and serenity, and as much activity as my husband and I did or didn’t want.
We woke up when we wanted to, meandered to breakfast one place, lunch at another, and dinner at yet another. We had a couples’ massage and thoroughly enjoyed the hydrotherapy water circuit at the spa which my husband called “a relaxing water park for grownups.” We swam and played in both swimming pools, walked along the shore, spent hours (yes, hours) reading, talking, and napping in a cabana on the beach. On. The. Beach. We had an expert mixologist create custom drinks for us based on our answers to a few questions. We enjoyed live shows in the theater and stayed to dance the rest of the night away. In other words, we did things we do not normally do at home and definitely couldn’t have done if the kids were with us.
People asked us if there was anything WE needed. Could they get US anything. That doesn’t happen in parent-world. And my husband and I talked. Really talked – in full, uninterrupted sentences. And we laughed. A lot. We sat in silence in the Jacuzzi on our room’s deck with only the sounds of the ocean’s waves and rustling palm trees. Yes, I did say Jacuzzi on our deck – every room has one unless they have their own swim-out pool to splash in while overlooking the other swimming pools.
The resort itself is stunning – sleek, modern, full of dramatic views whether it’s of the water, or down a corridor, from one side of a restaurant to the other – it’s beauty everywhere. Even walkways from the main building to the rooms are interesting – no closed-in corridors – breezes flow freely and there are views of constantly-tended gardens everywhere. Don’t let the occasional sound of a Howler Monkey disrupt you – it’s a natural jungle preserve on one side of the property with the ocean on the other.
Budgeting your travel is easier with an all-inclusive format. You’ll quickly get used to the fact that there are no prices on the menus. Do bring tip money for your pool-side drink servers, bartenders at the swim-up bars (yes, plural), your waiters at dinner, the staff at the spa, and your housekeepers and butler (you get the latter if you stay as a Serenity Club member which means ocean views, access to the private beach, and free hydro-therapy treatment). American dollars are fine – no need to exchange dollars to pesos.
At one point, I felt guilt start to rise up in me about enjoying myself so much without the kids. But I quickly put that to rest. Nourishing ourselves, physically and mentally with this trip to Haven Resort was the best thing I could do for myself and for my relationship with my husband. I realized I’d been cheating myself out of a lot of fun and relaxation in life, focusing on everyone and everything else. As we left, I promised to play more and be more in-the-moment. It’s pretty amazing what a little time away can do.
If you go: Every stay at Haven Riviera Cancun Resorts and Spa includes your room, food, drink, live entertainment, access to two pools, swim-up bars, five high-end restaurants, 24-hour fitness center, multi-use tennis courts on-site, and golf privileges nearby. The “Fall Into Relaxation” package includes a private four-course dinner and Couple’s Tantric Spa Treatment, and ends Feb. 20, the Sensational Spring offer with discounted rooms is available through May 31.