Six of the best: Adults-only, child-free resorts

Here are some things that make for a relaxing holiday: private villas, lazy late breakfasts, afternoons on the beach with a soundtrack of lapping waves and rustling palm fronds.

Here are some things that don't: children shrieking gleefully as they chase each other, tantrums over toast, and chants of "But he started it!"

Adults-only resort are growing in popularity, and it's not just DINKS who are checking in. Plenty of parents occasionally choose to go on holiday without their kids, expressly to enjoy the kind of grown-up activities that children interfere with – reading books, for instance. The last thing they want is to be distracted by someone else's children while they're racing through the last pages of the latest Lee Child.

In these adult zones, the emphasis is very much on pleasing yourself. So if you're in the mood for a holiday that is the opposite of family-friendly, try one of these on for size.

Jade Mountain, St Lucia

If they need a suitable lair for the next James Bond film – you know, the villain's lavish hideaway, which 007 will break into during one of the movie's most thrilling scenes – they should check whether Jade Mountain is available. There's nothing understated about this Caribbean retreat, from the maze of walkways to the high-impact views of the volcanic Piton peaks. Something as simple as returning to your room becomes an adventure when you have to cross a private bridge to reach your front door. As to sitting and gazing out the window – well, having apparently decided the whole floor-to-ceiling window thing was somewhat passé, they just removed the external wall. Now that's dramatic.

Rates start at $A1097. See mrandmrssmith.com

qualia, Hamilton Island

When your portfolio already includes a winery, a super-maxi yacht and a tropical island, a luxury resort rounds things out nicely. The millionaire Oatley family were able to draw on their personal experience of the good life when they created this Barrier Reef resort. The pampering starts on arrival, when they break out the French champagne and give you the keys to your personal electric buggy. (Walking? Isn't that what poor people do?) The open-plan pavilions are as glamorous as you'd expect, nestled amid the vegetation like treehouses for grown-ups. Splash out on one of the Windward Pavilions, which have private plunge pools and glittering sea views. The nicest touch: breakfast delivered to the room free of charge.

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Rates start at $975 (Leeward Pavilion) and $1525 (Windward Pavilion). See qualia.com.au

LikuLiku Lagoon Resort, Fiji

LikuLiku is famous for having the only overwater bungalows in Fiji, but many of its regulars – oh yes, they have regulars – prefer the deluxe beachfront bures, which have private plunge pools and daybeds just steps from the ocean. Having spent the day energetically idling in your bure, stroll on over to the bar, located on its own island on the far side of the jetty. It's the perfect place to watch the sun go down, but don't load up on pre-dinner snacks. You need to save room for chef Ihaka's sensational food, which takes resort dining to a whole new level. There are new lunch and dinner menus every day, and even breakfast is worth getting up for – mud crab omelette, anyone?

Rates start at FJD2590 (beachfront bure) and FJD2990 (overwater bure). See likulikulagoon.com

Leadwood Lodge, South Africa

On most safari holidays, you can't wait to get out into the bush. At Leadwood Lodge, you can't wait to get home. That's not because the wildlife is disappointing – this private game reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park, offers plenty of opportunities to spot leopard and lions, elephants and rhino. Rather, it's because the lodge itself is so darn seductive. With just four suites, each with an outdoor shower, a fireplace and the ultimate luxury, a private pool, it's a fabulous place to hole up. Or settle in on the open deck overlooking the hippo-filled river and marvel at the wonder that is Africa.

Rates start at ZAR11,000. See andbeyond.com

The Pavilions, Phuket

One thing you're unlikely to do at The Pavilions: go for a sunset stroll along the beach. Unlike most Phuket resorts, this one is set up on a ridge, well away from the water. Another thing you're unlikely to do at The Pavilions: feel that you are missing out. Each of the private villas covers around 300 square metres and comes with its own infinity pool; some even face west over the ocean, perfect for watching the sun setting over the water. Once you've settled in with an in-room foot massage, you may find yourself tempted just to stay put. Should you choose to venture out, the central Plantation Club offers superb dining – try the afternoon tea – and an al fresco bar.

Rates start at THB18,399. See thepavilionsresorts.com

Perivolas, Santorini

If all caves were this comfortable, we might never have moved out of the Stone Age. Once upon a time, farmers and fishermen on this enchanting Greek island carved homes for themselves out of the soft volcanic rock, using comforting curves that are positively womb-like. Three centuries later, thanks to a coat of whitewash and judicious application of soft furnishings in shades of mauve, purple and blue, these peasant dwellings have been reinvented as a luxury getaway. The stunning views across the caldera are better than television (which might explain why there isn't one) and the buzzing bars and restaurants of Oiea are a simple stroll away.

Rates start at $2,115. See mrandmrssmith.com

The writer was a guest of qualia, LikuLiku and Leadwood Lodge.

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